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Westboro Church Wants to Block Kan. Gay Marriage; Fears God's Wrath

By William Peacock, Esq. on October 27, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Westboro Baptist Church (the "God Hates F--s" folks who protest funerals) is always good for a publicity stunt or two. What's today's stunt? The WBC wants to intervene in the legal challenge against Kansas's gay marriage ban, reports the Washington Blade. But the church isn't exclusively citing legal authority to support its motion to intervene in the district court.

It's also citing a higher power: the Bible. And the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, because the group asserts Kansas will burn if marriage equality is achieved.

WBC Fears the 'Condign Destructive Wrath of God'

Though the WBC goes over a number of reasons why it wants to intervene, including the possibility that its constitutional rights will be violated by litigious homosexuals (WBC's brief cites the baker who refused to make a cake for a gay wedding as an example), what the group is really worried about is the "condign destructive wrath of God." (Props for the new SAT word: condign.)

"It is no small matter for a nation to accept the sin of sodomy, and the lifestyle or agenda that it entails," WBC's brief argues. "The description of the utter annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah and three nearby cities is stark, and directly tied to homosexuality."

The motion continues:

"Same-sex marriage will destroy Kansas. If this Court requires Kansas officials to treat what God has called abominable as something to be respected, revered, and blessed with the seal-of-approval of the government, that will cross a final line with God. The harm that will befall this state, when the condign destructive wrath of God pours out on Kansans is the ultimate harm to the health, welfare and safety of the people."

Also, Separation of Church and State

The WBC wasn't without any meritorious arguments -- remember that the Church did win a Supreme Court case, after all. The WBC cited a Tenth Circuit environmentalism case for the proposition that it should be allowed to intervene as a matter of right. In that case, the circuit court held that although both the Forest Service and environmental groups would defend the plan, it could not be assumed that the environmental groups' interests wholly aligned with those of the Forest Service as views may shift over time and "the government is obligated to consider a broad spectrum of views, many of which may conflict with the particular interest of the would-be intervener."

Would the state's viewpoints change? Though Kansas officials have said that they would defend the law, the WBC argues that they cannot represent the church's interests because:

  • "[O]f the political pressure that flows from widespread disagreement with WBC and her ministry and religious message";
  • "[T]o do so would cause the Attorney General to assert religious viewpoints and constitutionally protected religious rights, which is arguably contrary to the duty of the government to remain neutral on matters of religion, and would constitute a breach of the separation of church and state doctrine"; and
  • "No arguments are asserted about the constitutional rights of religious liberty, speech, practice, worship, association and speech which are core to protecting WBC's interests."

Ironic that the WBC cites separation of church and state as a reason to let the group intervene, yet they cite the Bible as authority for barring same-sex marriage. It's not clear when the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas will rule on the motion.

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