Indiana authors 2 amicus briefs in same-sex cases before SCOTUS

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The issue of same-sex marriage is before the Supreme Court of the United States, and Indiana has authored one amicus brief and co-authored another arguing that the states should be able to define marriage.

The briefs in U.S. v. Windsor, 12-307, and Hollingsworth v. Perry, 12-144, were filed Tuesday before the U.S. Supreme Court. Sixteen states joined the Indiana brief in Windsor; 17 states joined the Hollingsworth brief, which was co-authored by Virginia.

In Windsor,  the U.S. justices are being asked to decide whether Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, 1 U.S.C. Section 7, violates the equal protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

“Because the same equal protection principles generally apply to state and federal laws … it requires no great leap of logic to conclude that a judicial rejection of DOMA would erode constitutional support for similar state laws,” states the Windsor brief, which was drafted by Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher. He argues that the amici states have two interests at stake in this case: protecting their own power to define marriage in the traditional manner and clarifying equal protection principles that apply to marriage laws.

In Hollingsworth, in which the question before the court is whether a state can define marriage as between one man and one woman,  the states argue that they have an interest in protecting their ability to define and regulate marriage and preserving the integrity of their constitutions and democratic processes. The case stems from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in which the court struck down California’s Proposition 8 that amended the state constitution to say that only marriage between a man and woman is valid or recognized in California.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller released a statement Tuesday on the cases, saying, “The State of Indiana has been a leader in advocating generally for the legal authority of states to determine their own marriage license definitions and specifically for the traditional marriage definition of one man and one woman.  Our briefs filed before the U.S. Supreme Court defend the authority of other states to define marriage – including those nine states that legally recognize same-sex couples – and also defend the traditional marriage definition that underpins traditional family structure and is of central legal importance to our state.  

“This legal position does not discriminate against the right of any individual to choose their partner nor discourage same-sex couples from providing loving and stable family environments for children.  It is a defense of the legal ability of the people through their elected representatives to make a policy choice.  As Indiana’s Attorney General, I respect the U.S. Supreme Court’s role in determining this important constitutional question and will respect their decision as is my duty as an officer of the court.”

Arguments in the two cases are scheduled for March 26 and 27, with the court expected to rule by the end of June.



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  1. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

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  4. I hope you dont mind but to answer my question. What amendment does this case pretain to?

  5. Research by William J Federer Chief Justice John Marshall commented May 9, 1833, on the pamphlet The Relation of Christianity to Civil Government in the United States written by Rev. Jasper Adams, President of the College of Charleston, South Carolina (The Papers of John Marshall, ed. Charles Hobson, Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2006, p, 278): "Reverend Sir, I am much indebted to you for the copy of your valuable sermon on the relation of Christianity to civil government preached before the convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Charleston, on the 13th of February last. I have read it with great attention and advantage. The documents annexed to the sermon certainly go far in sustaining the proposition which it is your purpose to establish. One great object of the colonial charters was avowedly the propagation of the Christian faith. Means have been employed to accomplish this object, and those means have been used by government..." John Marshall continued: "No person, I believe, questions the importance of religion to the happiness of man even during his existence in this world. It has at all times employed his most serious meditation, and had a decided influence on his conduct. The American population is entirely Christian, and with us, Christianity and Religion are identified. It would be strange, indeed, if with such a people, our institutions did not presuppose Christianity, and did not often refer to it, and exhibit relations with it. Legislation on the subject is admitted to require great delicacy, because freedom of conscience and respect for our religion both claim our most serious regard. You have allowed their full influence to both. With very great respect, I am Sir, your Obedt., J. Marshall."