Thursday, January 31, 2008

Liberty Counsel Files Brief at Iowa Supreme Court to Protect Traditional Marriage

Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief at the Iowa Supreme Court in a case that will ultimately either protect or destroy the definition of marriage in Iowa, which has always been the union between one man and one woman. Liberty Counsel’s brief, written by Senior Litigation Attorney Mary McAlister, argues that the fundamental constitutional right to marry includes rights and obligations that cannot be eliminated because they come from the inherent nature of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, rather than from a state-sanctioned union of any two people who love each other.

In Varnum v. Brien, at various times in 2004 and 2005 six couples applied for marriage certificates to the Polk County Recorder and Polk County Registrar, Timothy Brien, who denied their applications for marriage on the basis of Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act. Trial court Judge Robert Hanson ruled the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional and same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. Brien appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court.

Liberty Counsel submitted an Amicus Brief in support of Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act. In previous cases the Iowa Supreme Court has repeatedly expressed that marriage – the union of one man and one woman – is a “most vital social institution.” State marriage laws do not create a bundle of rights called “marriage,” but instead regulate a social institution upon which society has been built and the future of society rests. Society is not obligated to recognize and bestow benefits upon any group of individuals who profess to love each other. The opposing side is actually trying to deconstruct the institution of marriage at the same time that they are asking to become a part of it. Furthermore, the definition of marriage neither discriminates on the basis of sex or sexual orientation nor deprives anyone of the fundamental right to marry.

Virtually every court that has considered challenges to traditional marriage has correctly concluded that the matter of marriage should be decided by the people, not by the courts. Courts are not proselytizing engines of radical social change. Marriage between one man and one woman is a historically shared value that transcends time and cultures. Untying the knot that holds together traditional marriage will unravel the family, destabilize the culture, and hurt children.