Bishop Anthony Taylor of the Roman
Catholic Diocese of Little Rock argues in a brief in support of
Arkansas' gay marriage ban that allowing such unions would lead to
On May 9, Pulaski County Circuit Judge
Chris Piazza struck down the state's 10-year-old voter-approved
constitutional amendment and a 1997 law prohibiting gay couples from
marrying. Roughly 500 gay and lesbian couples, most of them in
Pulaski County, exchanged vows during the 6 days that transpired
before the state's highest court put the ruling on hold pending an
appeal by the state.
In a friend of the court brief
submitted Thursday, Taylor argues that allowing gay couples to marry
would undermine an institution that is the bedrock of society and
lead to unions of “couples such as mother and daughter, sister and
sister, or brother and brother.”
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, denounced the church's brief.
“In a state with a history of
oppression, we would hope that religious leaders above all would
understand that defending freedoms under the Constitution protects
people in the margins – those who have rarely been protected by
popular vote,” Lisbeth Melendez Rivera, director of Latino/a and
Catholic Initiatives at the HRC Foundation, said in a statement.
“Bishop Taylor’s language is not
only un-Christian, but so utterly offensive that it only serves to
undermine his integrity and the already-untenable notions contained
in his anti-marriage equality brief,” Rivera added.