Marriage supporters argue that marriage is not only a personal promise, it has a public purpose far beyond the promise of two individuals. The diversity of those who support that position enhances its persuasiveness. In addition to the more than 20 state attorneys general who stepped across the line in support of marriage, briefs were also filed by self-identified “LGBT” authors explaining the importance of protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman, by African American groups demonstrating that preserving marriage’s time-honored understanding as a man-woman union is nothing like laws banning interracial marriage, by scholars of federalism and judicial restraint contending that the states should remain free to preserve the natural definition of marriage, by international judges and scholars from all over the world demonstrating that international law does not support the redefinition of marriage, and by others highlighting the threats to religious liberty that accompany a redefinition of marriage.
This overwhelming amicus response dwarfs the number of filings in cases such as Roe v. Wade, Lawrence v. Texas, or Romer v. Evans. In fact, the total number of amicus briefs filed on both sides in the
Proposition 8 case exceeds the total number of briefs filed in all three of the above cases combined.
This amicus response from both sides demonstrates an ongoing democratic debate. While the Supreme Court should heed the line articulated by those groups and scholars supporting marriage as a man and a woman, it should at the very least affirm that society’s best interest is served by 1) allowing the national debate to continue and 2) resisting demands to hijack the democratic process by imposing a 50 state mandate.
Legend has it that as Colonel Travis issued the call for those who were willing to stand for what they believed in, a wounded and bedridden Jim Bowie inspired the men by asking Davy Crocket and a few others to carry him across the line because he could not walk himself. He demonstrated unflinching commitment to a cause that would serve generations to come. As a part of the legal team defending the California marriage amendment before the Supreme Court, Alliance Defending Freedom is thankful for, and inspired by, the more than 7 million Californians that demonstrated their commitment to future generations by stepping across the line in support of Proposition 8 and the bedrock institution of marriage.
California and other states should maintain the right to support marriage: a private promise between a man and a woman with a public purpose—the only relationship that combines love with the procreative possibility of life and the highest probability of stable, nurturing homes for children.