“Thousands of individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction ‘have made the personal decision to leave homosexuality’…’They chose to change their orientation and now live in opposite-sex relationships.’” Cheryl Wetzstein
“Science doesn’t agree on a definition for homosexuality, bisexuality or even sexual orientation.” Dr. Paul McHugh
“The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on these issues March 26 in California’s Proposition 8 case, and March 27 in a separate case.” Cheryl Wetzstein
Court cases will put focus on gay identity
Cheryl Wetzstein, The Washington Times, March 4, 2013, p. 16
Lady Gaga may belt out that gays are “born this way?’ but questions about the origin and unchangeability of homosexuality are central to multiple lawsuits, including two before the Supreme Court next month.
A key argument in the battle over same-sex marriage is whether homosexuality is inborn and “immutable,” and whether gays, as a class of people, need special protection or “heightened scrutiny” from the courts on equal-rights issues.
Attorneys David Boies and Theodore Olson made these exact points in then-new brief to the Supreme Court in Holling-sworth v. Perry, the California case challenging a proposition passed by state voters essentially blocking same-sex marriage.
“Because of their sexual orientation—a characteristic with which they were born and which they cannot change—plaintiffs. … ‘are being excluded from one of life’s most precious relationships. They may not marry the person they love,” the attorneys wrote Thursday.
“Sexual orientation is ‘immutable’ or beyond the group member’s control” the brief added, one key reason that the high court should give heightened scrutiny to the gay respondents’ claims that they face discrimination under the Constitution.
Opponents of same-sex marriage reject the central premise of the challenge, countering that homosexuality is neither permanent nor inborn.
Thousands of individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction “have made the personal decision to leave homosexuality” attorney Dean R Broyles wrote in hisbrief for Parents & Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, in support of Proposition 8.
The brief tells the stories of two men and two women “who have done exactly what” a California federal judge said they couldn’t do: “They chose to change their orientation and now live in opposite-sex relationships,” Mr, Broyles wrote.
A struggle to define
Science doesn’t agree on a definition for homosexuality, bisexuality or even sexual orientation, Dr. Paul McHugh, a psychiatry professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a brief filed by Gerald Bradley of Notre Dame Law School in support of Proposition 8.
The high court should resist taking “the momentous step” of assigning “heightened scrutiny” to people based on sexual orientation, Dr. McHugh advised. A legally protected classification must be “discrete” and “determined solely by accident of birth,” like race or national origin. “Sexual orientation fails that test,” he said.
The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on these issues March 26 in California’s Proposition 8 case, and March 27 in a * separate case, Windsor v. United States of America. In the latter case, Edith Windsor ofNew\brkis suing to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 because it blocked the federal government from recognizing her Canadian marriage to her longtime lesbian partner.
Many legal observers think that if the high court finds sexual orientation to be a protected class deserving of heightened scrutiny, the court will hand the gay clients victories and overturn both marriage laws.
In California, the 9th US. Circuit Court ofAppeals in San Francisco is slated to hear arguments the week of April 15 in two lawsuits against SB 1172, a California law that forbids teens and children from receiving sexual-orientation change efforts.
The law was enacted out of concern that gay children and teens are harmed by efforts to change their “normal” and “natural” same-sex attractions, according to legal briefs.
Supporters of sexual-orientation change efforts say same-sex attractions are not permanent or inborn, argue that youths who want to escape such attractions should be able to receive counseling to support that goal, and SB 1172 illegally interferes in that free and protected speech.
In New Jersey, four gay men and their family members say they suffered consumer fraud when Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing’s paid counselors failed to help the men change their sexual orientations, causing deep psychological scars.