NOM BLOG

National Organization for Marriage Files Brief With US Supreme Court Detailing Public Support for Marriage; Tells Court There Is No Federal Constitutional Right to Same-Sex Marriage

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 7, 2015
Contact: Elizabeth Ray or Matille Thebolt (703-683-5004)


"The notion...that the American people have significantly altered their views on same-sex marriage...is simply not true."
— Frank Schubert, NOM Political Director —

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Washington, D.C. — The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and its political director, Frank Schubert, have filed a joint amicus brief with the US Supreme Court contesting the notion advanced by many gay activists that the nation has undergone a rapid change of opinion and now supports same-sex marriage. They also warned the court that a decision to impose same-sex marriage on the nation despite the votes of over 50 million people in nearly three-dozen states would galvanize opposition to same-sex marriage, just like the Roe decision galvanized opposition to abortion.

"The notion advanced in some corridors that the American people have significantly altered their views on same-sex marriage in recent years to the point that large majorities now support a redefinition of marriage and therefore would readily accept a mandate from this Court imposing same-sex marriage on the nation is simply not true," said Frank Schubert, NOM's national political director.

Schubert examined more than one dozen recent public opinion surveys and found that they fell into one of four categories:

  1. Those showing majority support for traditional marriage;
  2. Those showing support for same-sex marriage dropping;
  3. Those showing plurality support for one side or another, but not majority support; and
  4. Those showing majority support for same-sex marriage.

Schubert directed the Supreme Court's attention to the results of the February 2015 survey conducted by WPA Opinion Research for the Family Research Council, showing that "53% of Americans agreed that marriage should be defined only as the union of one man and one woman." These results were consistent with two 2012 surveys conducted for NOM by The Polling Company. Schubert also pointed out two recent surveys that showed a drop in support for same-sex marriage — Rasmussen Reports (February 2015) and Pew Research Center (September 2014). Rasmussen reported that, "Support for gay marriage has fallen to its lowest level in over a year," noting that support had dropped by 6% since December 2014, "tying the low last reached in late 2013." Rasmussen found that 42% of Americans support same-sex marriage, but 44% oppose it. Pew's survey found that support for same-sex marriage had dropped by five points in the previous seven months, while opposition increased by two points.

Schubert also reviewed surveys that show the country split on the issue of same-sex marriage, including a poll conducted by the Associated Press/GfK (February 2015 — 35% favor same-sex marriage while 31% oppose it), Relationships in America Survey (February 2014 — 42% of adults age 18-60 support same-sex marriage while 31% oppose it) along with the February 2015 Rasmussen Report survey showing results at 42% for and 44% against same-sex marriage.

Schubert also addressed several national surveys purporting to show majority support for same-sex marriage, including the Gallup Survey (May 2014) which claims that 55% of Americans believe that "marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized as valid with the same rights as traditional marriages." 42% disagree. Schubert noted that the Gallup survey suffers from two flaws. First, it connects the marriage issue with "rights," making it difficult to separate out the issue of redefining marriage from the general issue of gay rights. Second, Gallup engages in a practice called "priming" by asking a leading question about whether gay relationships should be legal (they have been legal for decades) designed to elicit support for same-sex couples right before asking respondents about support for same-sex marriage.

Schubert said, "[T]he most accurate statement of public opinion on the issue of the definition of marriage is that Americans have conflicting viewpoints on the issue. Neither side has "won" the debate, but one thing is clear: It is a debate that should be resolved by voters and legislators through the democratic process, not one that is truncated and its outcome mandated by [the Supreme] Court.

The brief was authored by John Eastman, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, Director of the Claremont Institute's Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence and former Dean and current constitutional law professor at the Chapman University Fowler Law School. Eastman pointed out in the brief that the definition of marriage has been on statewide ballots 39 times in 35 states and that over 84 million votes have been cast on the issue, with over $216 million raised by the competing sides. He said, "Having failed in their efforts to redefine marriage through the democratic process and to change the policy judgments of their fellow citizens by persuasion, petitioners and their supporters seek to have this Court dramatically change both the definition and the purpose of marriage by judicial decree."

Eastman argued that there is no "fundamental right" or legal basis for the Court to impose same-sex marriage on the nation. "Fundamental rights...do not simply materialize from the Hollywood set of Will and Grace or because a President has "evolved" on this issue. Were it otherwise, the result would not be a "subtle" transfer of policy-making authority from the people to the court, but a broadside against democratic self-governance. This Court has never taken such a step, and in fact declined to do so when first asked forty years ago. It should not do so now," he wrote.

To schedule an interview with Frank Schubert, political director of the National Organization for Marriage, or John Eastman, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, please contact Elizabeth Ray (x130), [email protected], or Matille Thebolt, [email protected], at 703-683-5004.

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