Several groups, including those whose religions are normally at odds theologically, are supporting Utah as a federal appeals court in Denver considers the constitutionality of its gay marriage ban.
"Our theological perspectives, though often differing, converge on a critical point: that the traditional, husband-wife definition of marriage is vital to the welfare of children, families and society," says an amicus brief filed by several churches and religious groups.
Thirty similar briefs have been filed since Monday by constitutional scholars and religious and political groups siding with Utah in a lawsuit that struck down Utah's law banning gay marriage.
Plaintiffs in the Derek Kitchen vs. Gary Herbert case have until Feb. 25 to file their brief in the case. Groups supporting the plaintiffs' viewpoint will then have a week to file amicus briefs. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals plans to hear oral arguments in the case in April.
A coalition of religions not normally allied together — Mormons, Catholic bishops, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) and the Southern Baptist Convention — has joined in an amicus brief filed by an attorney for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C., and members of a Salt Lake City law firm.
The brief says a common tactic by proponents of same-sex marriage is to claim that their opponents are "irrational or even bigoted, ... motivated by 'anti-gay animus,' ... in the form of unthinking ignorance or actual hostility.
"The accusation is false and offensive. It is intended to suppress rational dialogue and rational dialogue and democratic conversation, to win by insult and intimidation rather than by reason, experience and fact," the brief states. "In truth, we support the husband-wife definition of marriage because we believe it is right and good for children, families and society."
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers joined attorneys general from the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Carolina in an amicus brief supporting Utah's position. Michigan filed a separate amicus brief supporting Utah.
"Traditional marriage is too deeply imbedded in our laws, history and traditions for a court to hold that more recent state constitutional enactment of that definition is illegitimate or irrational," the brief by 10 states says.
"It is implausible to suggest, as the legal argument for same-sex marriage necessarily implies, that states long ago invented marriage as a tool of invidious discrimination against homosexuals," it says.
Nevada officials on Monday said they would not defend the state's gay marriage ban when it goes before another federal appeals court in San Francisco. Nevada's governor told The Associated Press that the state's case "is no longer defensible in court."
Kirk Mitchell: 303-954-1206, denverpost.com/coldcases or twitter.com/kmitchelldp