The EPC, in partnership with the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), has joined an amicus curiae brief filed with the Supreme Court of the United States in support of the biblical definition of marriage. The Supreme Court will hold a hearing on appeals related to the culturally divisive issue beginning April 28, 2015.
Supporters of “marriage equality” will argue that according to the Fourteenth Amendment, the right of marriage should be extended to homosexuals. In addition, they will argue that those who oppose homosexual marriage on religious grounds do so out of “animus” (hatred).
The NAE brief presents three contrasting positions:
- Traditional marriage is central to the faith, personal identity, and way of life of millions of religious Americans;
- Voiding marriage laws for reasons of animus would harm religious liberty and distort constitutional law; and
- Mandating same-sex marriage on other grounds will generate conflicts with religious liberty.
Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk, said the ruling “could determine whether and how we will enjoy the freedom to preach and teach biblical truth in the years to come.” The Supreme Court will likely announce its ruling in late June.
As a member of the NAE, the EPC was invited to join the brief. The EPC Amicus Review Team reviewed and unanimously recommended participation to the Committee on Administration (COA), which gave its approval on March 30.
“I’m pleased we are part of this,” said Dale Schaeffer, COA member and Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of Mid-America. “It’s important.”
Carl Esbeck, University of Missouri law school professor and member of the EPC congregation The Crossing in Columbia, Mo., was instrumental in developing the brief. “Carl did an outstanding job leading the team that drafted the NAE amicus,” Jeremiah said.
The EPC Amicus Review Team consists of Jim Rimmel and John Graham, both former General Assembly Moderators, and Kent Talbert, current member of the Board of Benefits. “These three attorneys did invaluable service for us as the Amicus Review Team,” Jeremiah added.
Signatories represent more than 50 million Americans from a variety of faith traditions. In addition to the NAE and EPC, others include the Christian Legal Society; Fellowship of Evangelical Churches; Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod; Assemblies of God; Christian and Missionary Alliance; Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.); Evangelical Congregational Church; Free Methodist Church–USA; and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
An amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief is filed by an individual or group who is not a party to a particular court case, but who believes that the decision may affect its interest.
Click here to download the full 57-page brief in pdf format.