Thomas More Law Center and the National Coalition of Black Pastors Fight On
Last Friday afternoon (January 16), the United States Supreme Court agreed to review the 6th Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision in DeBoer v. Snyder and three other cases which upheld state laws defining marriage exclusively as the union of one man and one woman. The 6th Circuit Court’s DeBoer decision upheld laws preserving traditional marriage in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky. Written by Judge Jeffrey Sutton, the DeBoer decision was the only one of five court of appeals decisions which upheld the vote of citizens on traditional marriage.
The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, filed a friend of the court brief (amicus brief) supporting traditional marriage in the 6th Circuit’s DeBoer case on behalf of the National Coalition of Black Pastors and Christian Leaders (Coalition).
Richard Thompson, the TMLC’s president and Chief Counsel, commented, “The 6th Circuit was the only Court of Appeals that sustained the will of the people expressed by their overwhelming votes in favor of traditional marriage. And if the Supreme Court strikes down these state laws defining traditional marriage, it will be the worst example of judicial activism since Roe v. Wade. It will lead to further persecution of Christians who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds, and over time, the ultimate the demise of marriage and Western civilization as we know it.”
Continued Thompson, “The notion of same-sex marriage has been foisted on our culture by well-planned and executed public relations campaigns and the tremendous influence of militant homosexual activists in the news media, entertainment industry and most of academia.”
Aside from its briefs in the DeBoer case at both the appellate and Supreme Court level, the TMLC has played a prominent role in the defense of traditional marriage. It was instrumental in crafting the language of Michigan’s constitutional amendment defending traditional marriage which was passed by fifty-nine percent of Michigan voters. The other states covered by the 6th Circuit’s DeBoer decision passed their laws defining traditional marriage by overwhelming votes, as well: Kentucky by seventy-four percent, Ohio by sixty-two percent, and Tennessee by eighty percent. Moreover, the TMLC has filed amicus briefs on behalf of the Coalition in support of traditional marriage in several other federal appellate courts across the country.
Will the Court be willing to nullify thousands of same-sex marriages in states where courts have already allowed it? The language of the Supreme Court’s order granting review has caused a great deal of speculation on what the court will do. The order specifically limited the argument to two issues: “1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? 2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?”
The Justices will hear oral arguments in the case in April 2015, and render their decision before by the end of June 2015. The Court has allotted a total of two and half hours for oral arguments. Many Court observers have opined that the Court decided to hear the case as a clear sign there are enough votes in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in all states. However, to render that kind of decision, the court would have to find that a state has no rational basis for their laws defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman. Whatever the final outcome, it will likely be a 5-4 decision with Justice Kennedy as the swing vote.
In 2014, TMLC launched a national strategy to defend traditional marriage and formed a legal team headed by senior trial counsel Erin Mersino and co-counsels William R. Wagner and John S. Kane of Lansing, MI as part of an effort to stem the onslaught of federal cases overturning the definition of traditional marriage that were passed by overwhelming majorities of voters.
TMLC’s legal team has worked extensively to file legal briefs on behalf of the National Coalition of Black Pastors and Christian Leaders in significant cases dealing with same-sex marriage. One of the purposes of these briefs is to negate the homosexual community’s fallacious argument that discrimination because of one’s sexual preference is the same as racial discrimination. To date, TMLC has filed four briefs with the Supreme Court, as well as with the 5th and 6th Circuit Courts in support of traditional marriage.