Missouri Family E-News

March 3, 2015

                     
Missouri Family Policy Council Speaks Out
for Marriage    


The Missouri Family Policy Council has submitted a friend-of-the court brief in federal court in St. Louis defending the legal and social merits of Missouri's voter-approved marriage initiative.

The amicus brief was filed in connection with a case before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals known as Lawson v. Kelly, which is described in the adjacent lead story.

The 8th Circuit will be hearing an appeal of a decision by U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith, who ruled that Missouri's Marriage Amendment unconstitutionally denies same-sex "couples" the fundamental right to "marry" each other.

The brief points out that the 8th Circuit previously ruled that state constitutional provisions codifying the traditional definition of marriage do not violate the Equal Protection Clause or any other provision of the U.S. Constitution.

That case, known as Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning, was issued in 2006 in response to a challenge to Nebraska's laws preserving traditional marriage.

The brief disputes the ludicrous position taken by Judge Smith that there is "no rational basis" for defining marriage as a heterosexual relationship, despite the fact that nearly every culture in the history of the world has always defined it that way.

The document restates portions of the Bruning decision and other federal case law that acknowledges the many rational and compelling reasons for the traditional structure of the family.

"The government has an interest in steering procreation into marriage, and in establishing laws that encourage procreation to take place within the socially recognized unit that is best situated for raising children."

"It is hard to conceive of an interest...more paramount for the state than promoting an optimal social structure for educating, socializing, and preparing its future citizens to become productive participants in civil society," the brief cites.

Much of the brief focuses on the pronounced evidence from social science that children benefit most when they are raised in a home by their biological mother and father.

The document delineates the scholarly conclusions of numerous sociologists, such as David Popenoe, who have agreed that mothers and fathers make unique contributions to parenting.

"The burden of social science supports the idea that gender-differentiated parenting is important for human development...We should disavow the notion that 'mommies can make good daddies,' just as we should disavow the popular notion...that 'daddies can make good mommies'" Popenoe writes.

"The two sexes are different to the core, and each is necessary--culturally and biologically--for the optimal development of a human being," Popenoe adds.
"Few propositions have more empirical support in the social sciences than this one:  Compared to all other family forms, families headed by married, biological parents are the best for children."

The brief also points out the conclusions of a recent extensive study that documented the many negative outcomes experienced by children raised in same-sex parenting households.

That study was conducted by Mark Regnerus, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin.  Unlike other flawed studies touted by the
"gay rights" movement, the Regnerus study probed the observations of children who were parented by same-sex "couples."

The study found that, compared with children raised by a married biological mother and father, the children of homosexuals did worse on 77 out of 80 outcome measures of social well-being.

The brief emphasizes that man-woman marriage is a bedrock social institution that is crucial to the future of children and the future of the nation.

"Marriage is more than friendship.  Marriage is more than a series of sexual encounters.  Marriage is more than a living arrangement.  And, marriage is more than a economic relationship," the brief states.

"Marriage is based on the truth that men and women are complementary...and the reality that children need a mother and a father.  Redefining marriage does not simply expand the existing understanding of marriage; it rejects these truths.  The future of this country depends on the future of marriage."

Springfield attorney Marsha Stiles prepared this brief on behalf of the Missouri Family Policy Council, and we appreciate her diligent efforts in doing so.

Additional briefs were filed by Liberty Counsel, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund.
  

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MO Legislative Leaders File Court Brief in
Defense of Marriage


Legislative leaders in the Missouri General Assembly have filed a brief in federal court in defense of Missouri laws preserving traditional marriage.  Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey and House Speaker John Diehl have submitted an amicus brief before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals supporting Missouri's Marriage Amendment.

The 8th Circuit is hearing an appeal of a decision by U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith in early November of last year which struck down Missouri's Marriage Amendment.  That amendment, approved by Missouri voters in August of 2004, reaffirmed the historic definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.  Nearly 71% of Missouri voters ratified the amendment, which had been overwhelmingly endorsed by the Missouri Legislature.

The lawsuit was filed by the ACLU on behalf of two same-sex "couples" in Kansas City who demanded that the Jackson County Recorder of Deeds issue them "marriage" licenses.  Judge Smith ruled that the homosexual "couples" had a fundamental right to be "married," and ordered the Jackson County Recorder of Deeds to grant them "marriage" licenses.

However, Judge Smith stayed the effect of his ruling until the case could be appealed and heard by the 8th Circuit.  The Jackson County Recorder's Office proceeded to begin issuing "marriage" licenses to homosexual "couples" anyway, in violation of state law and in contempt of court.  Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster appealed Judge Smith's ruling, but did not ask that the judge order Jackson County officials to comply with the stay of his ruling.

In his renegade decision, Judge Smith ignored U.S. Supreme Court and 8th Circuit Court precedent on the subject of marriage.  He also rewrote longstanding federal case law concerning fundamental rights to impose his own personal "gay rights" agenda on the people of Missouri.

The legislators' brief takes direct aim at Judge Smith's ridiculous assertion that there is "no rational basis" for laws that define marriage in the only terms that it has ever been known throughout the history of the world.  This has been a common vacuous claim made by outlaw federal judges like Ortrie Smith who have mandated so-called same-sex "marriage" on one state after another.

"By defining marriage as the union of man and woman, diverse societies, including the people of Missouri, have drawn a line between man-woman couples and all other types of relationships...," the brief states.  "...It is based on an undeniable biological difference between man-woman couples and same-sex couples--namely, the natural capacity to create children."
"...[T]he State recognizes marriages for the purpose of providing stability to the types of relationships that are presumptively capable of naturally producing children and affording them both of their biological parents," the brief asserts.  "That vital purpose of marriage is not a relic of history; even today, the State has a compelling interest in encouraging arrangements where children are more likely to be raised by both their biological mother and their biological father."

The legislators' brief references countless sociological studies that affirm that the traditional family is the "optimal childrearing environment" for children.  "The intact, biological, married family remains the gold standard for family life in the United States, insofar as children are most likely to thrive---economically, socially, and psychologically--in this family form."

Senator Dempsey and Speaker Diehl point out in the court filing that "a host of judicial decisions" have concluded that traditional marriage laws "are rationally related to the government's interest in steering procreation into marriage and connecting children to their biological parents."

The legislative leaders spoke out vigorously in the brief in defense of the right of the people of Missouri to determine the legal status of marriage.  They reminded the court of the recent Windsor decision of the U.S. Supreme Court which reaffirmed that the subject of domestic law and marital relations has historically been the exclusive province of the states.

"When they enacted the marriage laws challenged here, Missourians legitimately protected this collective right to decide one of the most profound and divisive questions of our day--the definition of the marital relation.  The Fourteenth Amendment does not prohibit this."

We commend Senator Dempsey and Speaker Diehl for demonstrating moral leadership and true integrity in standing up for the sacred institution of marriage and the family values of the people of Missouri.  We also thank Kansas City attorney Mike Whitehead for filing the brief on behalf of the legislators with assistance from attorneys for the Alliance Defending Freedom.

We suggest you contact the Pro Tem and the Speaker and thank them for defending God's design for marriage and the family.  The contact info for Senator Dempsey is:
tom.dempsey@senate.mo.gov
(573) 751-1141

The contact info for Speaker Diehl is:
john.diehl@house.mo.gov
(573) 751-1544

It is expected that oral arguments in this case, known as Lawson v. Kelly, will be heard by the 8th Circuit in mid-May.  The three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit who will decide the case will likely be announced by the end of the month.

Missouri has another case pending involving a challenge to Missouri's Marriage Amendment.  St. Louis City Circuit Judge Rex Burlison ruled in early November that Missouri's marriage laws are an unconstitutional violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.  Attorney General Koster appealed Judge Burlison's tyrannical decision to the Missouri Supreme Court.

However, Missouri's High Court has decided to place that case (State of Missouri v. Florida) in abeyance until the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court rule on the cases before them.  The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling on an appeal of a 6th U.S. Circuit Court decision by the end of June.  Whether the 8th U.S. Circuit will rule on the Lawson case before the nation's High Court issues their definitive ruling is the pivotal question at this time.

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