Infamous Westboro Baptists Join Mainstream Right To Support DOMA
Several groups—including Citizens United and the infamous Westboro Baptist Church—used amicus briefs to voice legal support this week for the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage at a federal level as between one man and one woman.
"I think that these organizations are attempting to, quite frankly, cling to a view of the world that is fast fading," Stuart Campbell, executive director of Equality North Carolina, told Campus Progress. "The reason that we are looking for full marriage equality is to recognize couples’ relationships, and the over 1,100 federal benefits that come from being recognized as a married couple."
The NC Values Coalition, which passed a ban on same sex marriage and civil unions in North Carolina, dubiously claimed in their brief that overturning DOMA would result in “irreparable damage to a broad array of cherished liberties, including religious freedom, conscience, speech, association, privacy, and the right to earn a living.”
Citizens United, a group best known for its role in the controversial Supreme Court decision that let corporations make campaign contributions, said in their brief that federal laws against discrimination were unconstitutional. The brief refers to Bolling v. Sharpe, a case decided on the same day as its more famous counterpart, Brown v. Board of Education.
Though the decision in Brown referred to the fourteenth amendment, which holds in part that “[n]o State shall… deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” Bolling cites the fifth amendment’s due process clause as akin to federal equal protection, and therefore as the basis for a federal ban on racial discrimination. The brief claims that this reasoning is “judicial fiction” and Bolling should be reversed— though doing so would overturn nearly sixty years of legal precedent.
The Westboro Baptist Church, best known for protesting the funerals of dead soldiers and blaming tragedies on the gay community, also filed a brief in support of the Act. That group's argument, however, is almost entirely based in religion rather than law, citing 59 biblical passages and sermons but only noting eight legal precedents.
"I think they make our case for us—by quoting biblical chapter and verse they make a strong argument in favor of separation between church and state," Campbell said.
Jenn Nowicki is a reporter for Generation Progress.