Press Release

SBC’s public policy commission files friend-of-the-court brief in support of Prop. 8

Jan 11, 2010

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—As the Proposition 8 federal court case begins today in San Francisco, Dr. Richard Land commented on the "friend-of-the-court brief": filed by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission in support of the 2008 California constitutional ballot initiative which defined marriage as only between a man and a woman.

“The support for traditional marriage is not motivated by animus toward homosexuals but by deeply held religious convictions of many faiths, including tens of millions of people over several millennia,” said Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Commission.

“If the court were to rule that opposition to same-sex marriage is _de facto_ animus toward homosexuals, it would in effect seek to negate and nullify the First Amendment, free-exercise religious rights of all Americans of faith guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.

“This case is now not just about same-sex marriage but about whether or not Americans are free to bring their deeply held religious convictions to discussions of public policy in the public square. All Americans of religious faith and those of no religious faith should have a profound interest in this case’s outcome, which will undoubtedly end up in front of the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court whichever way it is decided in California.

“I think that our friend-of-the-court brief in this case states clearly why Americans have the right to defend traditional, heterosexual marriage as the only relationship defined as marriage and why it is wise and prudent of them to do so.”

The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest non-Catholic denomination with more than 16.2 million members in over 44,000 churches nationwide. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is the SBC’s ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn., and Washington, D.C.