The U.S. Supreme Court has reportedly been swamped with dozens and dozens of “amicus” briefs in support of same-sex marriage.
The briefs, which can be filed by any "friend of the court" who cares about the case, were submitted ahead of the Court's hearing on challenges to same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee set for April 28.
The briefs came from some familiar LGBT groups—but also some unexpected groups, like one brief signed by 300 conservative Republicans.
Below you’ll find some notable (and surprising) excerpts the briefs. You might see of the arguments listed below in the decision come later this year.
This is perhaps the most popular brief of them all, because it includes a total of 379 companies coming out in support of gay marriage. Corporations like Apple, Google, and Facebook signed on to the brief for all the right ethical reasons but also because marriage inequality is costing companies millions of dollars.
Then there's the surprising support from a number GOP leaders. More than 300 conservatives and Republicans signed onto this historic brief that argues same-sex marriage bans are “inconsistent with the United States Constitution’s dual promises of equal protection and due process.”
Key Signers include: Kenneth B. Mehlman, Chairman, Republican National Committee, 2005-2007; Mark McKinnon, former chief media advisor to President George W. Bush; Beth Myers and Carl Forti, former Mitt Romney senior advisers; David H. Koch, Libertarian philanthropist; Zac Moffatt, Digital Director, Romney for President 2012; Beth Myers, Romney for President Campaign Manager, 2007-2008 and Senior Advisor, 2011-2012; John Bailey, Policy Director, Bush-Cheney 2004;
Religious groups, organizations, and clergy leaders from all 50 states signed onto this brief arguing in favor of civil marriage for same-sex couples. The religious leaders say religious views should not influence state laws.
The groups who signed on to the brief include Muslims for Progressive Values and Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies of The Episcopal Church.
The Human Rights Campaign filed what it called the "people's brief," with close to 208,000 signatures collected online over a three-week period. The "people's brief" has more signatories than any amicus brief ever submitted to the Supreme Court, according to HRC. Printing alone required four days of round-the-clock printing in order to complete the 50 copies required by the Court.
The American Bar Association filed a brief urging U.S. Supreme Court justices to rule that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex. The group that represents close to 400,000 legal professionals included tables detailing the many legal protections afforded to married couples and their children that are denied to same-sex couples and their families.
Sociologists study human behavior—and apparently they’re forecasting the anti gay-marriage lawyers will argue same-sex couples make terrible parents.
The last one on this list is not unexpected, but it is a surprisingly meaningful brief that acknowledges the harm some federal laws caused LGBT Americans in years past. The 46-page brief filed by the U.S., signed by U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., and other Justice Department officials, acknowledges the stigma same-sex marriage bans create.
“Perhaps the starkest form of discrimination against lesbian and gay people is our Nation’s long history of demeaning their existence by making their private sexual conduct a crime.”
The brief also notes that while hate crimes have gone down overall attacks against LGBT people have risen.
A notable snub from the 46-page brief submitted by the U.S. was how same-sex bans unfairly affect U.S. citizens who marry immigrants. The term immigration was only included once in the brief, as it relates to the Immigration Act of 1990 that blocked some immigrants from entering the U.S. “on the ground that they were “persons of constitutional psychopathic inferiority.”
In recent years the Supreme Court has cited amicus briefs more frequently in decisions. Briefs from supporters of same sex marriage bans had an earlier deadline.
Over the five terms from 2008 to 2013, the Supreme Court’s opinions cited factual assertions from amicus briefs 124 times, according to a study by Allison Orr Larsen, a law professor at the College of William and Mary.
It’s unclear how many actual briefs in support of same-sex marriage were filed by Friday’s deadline but legal insiders expect the numbers surpassed the high numbers submitted in the Affordable Care Act case and in same-sex marriage cases decided in 2013.