From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
STATED CLERK FILES BRIEF IN COLORADO GAY RIGHTS CASE
05 May 1996 13:18:47
95242 STATED CLERK FILES BRIEF IN COLORADO GAY RIGHTS CASE
by Jerry L. Van Marter
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--Citing General Assembly policy that supports civil rights
protections for gay and lesbian persons, Stated Clerk the Rev. James E.
Andrews has filed an "amicus curiae" brief in the U.S. Supreme Court,
joining the opposition to a controversial constitutional amendment in
Andrews filed the brief in the case of "Romer v. Evans" on June 19.
At issue in the case is the constitutionality of Colorado's "Amendment
2," which was passed by voters in 1992. The amendment prohibits gay,
lesbian or bisexual Coloradans from obtaining any protected status or
making a claim of discrimination. The Colorado Supreme Court overturned
Amendment 2 in 1993, and that ruling is now being appealed to the U.S. high
According to court records, more than a dozen religious organizations
have filed "amicus" briefs on both sides of the case.
In his brief Andrews wrote, "The General Assembly has consistently
voted support for the protection of the civil rights and personal liberties
of gay and lesbian persons" in resolutions ranging back 20 years.
In the oft-quoted policy statement of 1978, the Assembly advised that
"vigilance must be exercised to oppose federal, state and local legislation
that discriminates against persons on the basis of sexual orientation."
Andrews stated, "The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) disapproves of
homosexual behavior, particularly with respect to ordained officers of the
church, and has declared that homosexuality is not God's wish for
humanity.' Nevertheless, these same pronouncements call for such activity
to be treated as matters of private conduct protected from government
intrusion. The Presbyterian Church has consistently sought to reserve such
matters for moral and theological dialogues."
The 1993 General Assembly identified Amendment 2 as discriminatory and
instructed Andrews to monitor its movement through the courts. Andrews
said that when the U.S. Supreme Court decided to review the
constitutionality of the amendment, he informed the Colorado presbyteries
that he was preparing a brief.
The brief argues that the amendment violates three constitutional
principles: equal access to government for all citizens, religious freedom
from ecclesiastical establishment and the right of minorities to an
effective voice in public debate.
Andrews also observed, that "The General Assembly does not speak for
all Presbyterians, nor are its deliverances and policy statements binding
on the membership of the Presbyterian Church."
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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