A coalition of black pastors has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of traditional marriage in a federal case that upheld Michigan's constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
The Thomas More Law Center filed the brief at the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the National Coalition of Black Pastors and Christian Leaders, asserting that marriage should be reinforced, not redefined.
The brief supported the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision in the case of Deboer vs. Gov. Rick Snyder, which upheld Michigan’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman as constitutional.
The Sixth Circuit Court’s decision affects laws in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Thomas Moore Law Center began filing amicus briefs on behalf of the black pastors earlier this year as part of a new strategy to stem the tide of federal cases overturning the definition of traditional marriage as passed by overwhelming majorities of voters in more than 20 states. In many of the cases, a single federal judge was able to overturn laws approved by a state's voters.
Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the center, told WND in September that he believed the black pastors could play a key role in deconstructing the argument that same-sex couples are being discriminated against in the same way blacks were in the Jim Crow South. Many black pastors refute that argument as wholly inappropriate.
"At the end of the day, of course, the Supreme Court will decide this issue. But one of the reasons we think this is a game changer is, much of the argument the same-sex advocates make is they refer to the civil rights movement of African-Americans in the 1960s," Thompson said. "We have black pastors who were involved in that movement and are more familiar with it, and they say this discrimination is in no way similar to that (racial) discrimination. They have never had to sit in the back of a bus, never had separate drinking fountains, never were removed from lunch counters, and you could go on down the list.
"At one period in time, blacks were treated as property and gays could have owned black persons, so this comparison is totally without merit."
Thompson said the legal briefs will reflect the views of a nationwide coalition of more than 25,000 churches, most of them affiliated with the Apostolic World Christian Fellowship, which represents approximately 5 million congregants. The coalition continues to grow, he said, and pastors wishing to join it should contact the Thomas More Law Center at 734-827-2001.
TMLC formed a legal team consisting of its own senior trial counsel, Erin Mersino, and co-counsels William R. Wagner and John S. Kane of Lansing, Michigan. TMLC has now filed four friend-of-the-court briefs dealing with traditional marriage.
"There is no surer way to destroy an institution like marriage than to destroy its meaning," the TMLC lawyers wrote in their Sixth Circuit Court brief. "If 'marriage' means whatever a political activist, a cherry-picked plaintiff, or an appointed judge wants it to mean, it means nothing. If it has no fixed meaning, it is merely a vessel for a judge's will. It is a subterfuge for judicial legislation."
"The voters of Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee, by an overwhelming majority, affirmed a truth upon which our nation was founded and has flourished for over two hundred years: that the natural family is the optimal environment in which children should be raised. Human history, scientific observations of human biology, and our own experience, common sense and reason tell us that children naturally come exclusively from opposite sex unions, and children benefit from being raised by their biological parents whenever possible."
TMLC's brief asked the Supreme Court to grant the request for a review and uphold the Sixth Circuit's opinion that correctly abstained from redefining the state-approved meaning of marriage, or to deny the petition for review to allow the Sixth Circuit’s well-reasoned decision to stand.
Thompson said the Law Center will continue to file amicus briefs in cases "to convey the unique voice of the African-American Christian community on this issue crucial to the survival of our families, culture and nation."
Another underlying legal argument behind the same-sex marriage movement is that the nation's legal system has no basis in tradition or morality. Some federal courts have bought this line of thinking, Thompson said.
"If you use that logic as the argument for overturning overwhelming votes for upholding traditional marriage, if you say religion and morality can't be used, then you come into a parade of horrors because many of our laws are based on morality whether it's prostitution, bigamy, theft or murder," he said.
Thomas More Law Center, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a national, nonprofit public interest law firm that promotes America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, including the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values and the sanctity of human life, according to its website. The center does not charge for its legal services but is supported by donations from individuals, corporations and foundations.