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7 Times the WBC Out-Crazied Fellow Antigay Kansans

7 Times the WBC Out-Crazied Fellow Antigay Kansans


The infamously hateful Westboro Baptist Church wants to help the state of Kansas defend its ban on same-sex marriage. Bet you can't guess why ...


Not to be outdone by the antigay animus of a married opposite-sex couple who last week filed a brief to intervene in a federal lawsuit challenging Kansas's ban on same-sex marriage, the infamous Westboro Baptist Church has now asked to formally join the state's leadership in defending the voter-approved ban in court, reports The New Civil Rights Movement.

The Westboro Baptist Church made a name for itself with its vicious antigay rhetoric -- claiming "God Hates Fags" -- and its penchant for picketing at funerals of LGBT people and slain U.S. soldiers with crass and offensive signs, claiming that the former deserved to die and will burn in hell and that the latter were killed by God as retribution for a nation that was too tolerant of gay people.

In a lengthy brief filed Sunday with the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, Westboro notably steers clear of the inflammatory, slur-filled language that still marks the congregations's demonstrations nationwide, reports the Washington Blade. But that doesn't mean the right-wing church, founded by the late defrocked pastor and attorney Fred Phelps, has anything nice to say about gay and lesbian people. Instead, the brief, signed by Phelps's daughter and current church matriarch Margie Phelps, points to biblical condemnation as justification for legal discrimination.

After a married opposite-sex couple filed a similarly absurd and Bible-quoting motion to intervene in the pending federal case against Kansas's ban on same-sex marriage, the Topeka-based church apparently couldn't miss an opportunity to get in on the antigay action. In fact, the Westboro brief actually points to that couple's failed motion to intervene, attempting to persuade the court that marriage -- as validated by a marriage license -- constitutes property that would be taken from heterosexual couples if same-sex couples were allowed access to the institution.

What follows is our summary of the most outlandish arguments advanced by the Westboro Baptist Church -- a church made up mostly of Phelps family members, several of whom are lawyers, known for successfully defending the group's claimed First Amendment right to say hateful things to grieving families:

"Same-sex marriage will destroy Kansas."

This is the central argument of the 22-page brief, filled ominous predictions that fall in line with Westboro's doomsday rhetoric, certified as an antigay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

"Throughout its years of picketing, WBC has warned Kansas that the sin of homosexuality, and particularly same sex marriage, will bring great woe and harm to this state," continues the brief. "Today the number one moral issue facing this nation is same sex marriage ... "

"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."

Same-sex couples are asking Kansas to "officially require respect and dignity and social approval of same sex marriage."

"It is constitutional folly to suggest that a sinful-behavior-based union should be a union that is afforded civil rights and granted the imprimatur of respectability by a license from the government; and that in doing so the government violates its duty of religious neutrality; and puts itself in the position of imposing sin on the citizens, to the great detriment and harm of the health and welfare of the citizenry."

"It is no small matter for a nation to accept the sin of sodomy, and the lifestyle or agenda that it entails," continues the brief, pointing to Bible verses. "The description of the utter annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah and three nearby cities is stark, and directly tied to homosexuality. This historical event described in Genesis 19:1-28, Holy Bible, must be considered at this hour, in all its graphic glory. ... Every adult, child, suckling and animal -- utterly destroyed. (Most likely amidst a lot of talk about committed loving relationships and dignity and respect.)"

Existing Kansas law "minimally hold[s] the line against complete corruption of a proper Bible marriage."

"Same sex marriage rips that symbol [of "man-woman marriage"] to shreds, and is utterly contrary to Bible doctrine," reads the brief, referring to the constitutionally guaranteed separation of church and state as "a battle cry for enabling sin" and ignoring that marriage licenses issued by the state of Kansas are civil documents, not religious ones (although clergy members are able to officiate weddings and serve as witnesses on marriage licenses).

"The standard for marriage in the Bible is one man, one woman, for life," explains the brief. "When this nation tampers with marriage as properly defined in the Scriptures, it is tampering with the very symbol of Christ and His Bride, the Church. It is a very serious matter; same-sex marriage is totally contrary to the standard of God. Unquestionably it is best for the health, safety and welfare to follow God's standard on marriage, and the benefits of a proper scriptural opposite-sex, one-man-one-woman-for-life marriage are enumerable, that being a lovely symbol of Christ and His Bride, and being a great blessing from God."

Legalizing same-sex marriage will incur God's wrath, and the state has a "duty to follow the standard of God."

"The government has no greater responsibility than to protect the people from such grievous sin that the inevitable result will be the outpouring of the wrath of God on the land, bringing great mayhem, carnage and destruction," claims the church. "Nothing is better for the health, safety and welfare of the people than to obey God. When a critical moral issue becomes the centerpiece of the discussion, and is put squarely before this Honorable Court, or before any governmental body, the duty is to follow the standard of God. Not invent a multitude of sociological, pseudo-scientific, historical or any other theory or reasoning that leads to ignoring and disobeying the plain standard of God. The highest interest of government is to follow the standard of God; appeal to the people to follow the standard of God; and establish policies and laws that follow the standard of God."

"No form of government will ever survive if it rejects and casts away as rubbish the standards of God," continues the brief. "On no issue is this more apparent than the issue of same sex marriage. Many laws in this nation are based on Bible standards. This Court should not disregard the Bible standard on the question of same sex marriage, any more than it would ignore the Bible standard on the issue of murder."

Westboro has a legal and moral obligation to defend its interpretation of the Bible in civil court proceedings.

Despite the fact that Westboro is technically a religious organization -- and therefore would likely be exempt from any local nondiscrimination ordinance that might compel public venues to offer equal accommodation to same-sex couples -- the group still claims that the arrival of marriage equality in Kansas would hinder the church's religious freedom.

"WBC has a vital interest in what the courts rule regarding this issue, as it directly impacts their religious practices, beliefs, preachments, picketing, association and speech, as well as the wellbeing of their fellow man," reads the brief.

No other entity can effectively protect Westboro's interest in preventing same-sex marriage, because the attorney general isn't antigay enough.

Even though Kansas governor Sam Brownback and Attorney General Derek Schmidt have launched a full-throated defense of the state's existing ban, complete with antigay, religious-based rhetoric, the church argues that only its attorneys can fully illuminate the potential harm that would befall Westboro if marriage equality came to Kansas.

"Kansas Attorney General ... is unable to adequately represent WBC because of the political pressure that flows from widespread disagreement with WBC and her ministry and religious message," claims the brief. "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."

Further, the brief argues, "The Kansas Attorney General is unable to adequately represent WBC's interests, in light of comments he has made in his official capacity (both as Attorney General, and in earlier years as the Kansas Senate Majority Leader and 'chief architect' of legislation against WBC), reflecting official disagreement with WBC expressly related to her religious preachments."

Finally, the church argues that the attorney general has not advanced the correct religiously based antigay arguments -- which is why Westboro should be allowed to intervene, attorneys claim.

"WBC asserts that the government has a compelling and significant government interest in protecting the health and welfare of the citizens, and same sex marriage is contrary to the health and welfare of the citizens," reads the brief. "The Kansas Attorney General has not asserted this position in its filings herein. Specifically, the Kansas Attorney General has not, and likely will not assert that the government has a compelling interest in protecting the people from the destructive effects of same sex marriage."

Marriage equality would violate Westboro's constitutional right to religious freedom, along with that of all the antigay bakers and wedding venue owners.

Any law that might enact marriage equality "does not address the unique circumstances that WBC presents, particularly related to the very real need to protect WBC's constitutional rights against an onslaught that will be effectuated if same sex marriage becomes the law of Kansas," reads the brief. "It would be naive to suppose that granting marriage licenses to homosexuals will end the discussion; the Court can take judicial notice of the waves of litigation that have ensued where same sex marriage is recognized, with homosexual activists trying to force others to participate, from bakers, to florists, to clergy, and anyone else on the path of their journey to force all America to call these same sex unions that violate God's law, holy."

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Sunnivie Brydum

Sunnivie is the managing editor of The Advocate, and an award-winning journalist whose passion is covering the politics of equality and elevating the unheard stories of our community. Originally from Colorado, she and her spouse now live in Los Angeles, along with their three fur-children: dogs Luna and Cassie Doodle, and "Meow Button" Tilly.
Sunnivie is the managing editor of The Advocate, and an award-winning journalist whose passion is covering the politics of equality and elevating the unheard stories of our community. Originally from Colorado, she and her spouse now live in Los Angeles, along with their three fur-children: dogs Luna and Cassie Doodle, and "Meow Button" Tilly.