Supreme Court must decide if gays ‘exist’

Protestors with Repeal DOMA now postersBY ZACK FORD
ThinkProgress

Next week, the Supreme Court will hear the oral arguments on two legal challenges to laws that limit the government’s recognition of same-sex marriage. While there are various legal nuances to how both the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 cases might be decided, the Justices will actually be weighing a more fundamental question: Do gay people exist?

At the core of conservatives’ argument against marriage equality in both cases is the idea that gay people actually do not exist — only “homosexual behavior” does. In House Republicans’ final reply brief filed this week against DOMA, attorney Paul Clement argued that “sexual orientation is defined by a tendency to engage in a particular kind of conduct.” Proponents of Prop 8 similarly suggested that “sexual orientation is a complex and amorphous phenomenon that defies consistent and uniform definition.” The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops added in its amicus brief that homosexuality is a “voluntary action” just like polygamy. Herein lies greatest challenge for gay and lesbian civil rights: the fact that sexual orientation is an invisible identity.

Read more at ThinkProgress.org

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