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As has been discussed lately, here and elsewhere, the State of Utah, whether because of turmoil in their Attorney General's office or because they simply aren't up to the task or perhaps a combination of the two, has hired an outside special counsel (or as he's described it, a "Special Assistant Attorney General") to conduct their appeal of the district court's ruling striking down the state amendment which bans marriage equality.

The state's counsel, Gene Schaerr, comes from a high-level DC-based law firm, was a clerk for Chief Justice Warren Burger and has an otherwise fairly impressive record. So it's a bit surprising that he'd go off the deep end by admitting that his motive for taking the on case is that he has (in his own words)  a religious and family duty to fulfill. If that doesn't translate to "mission from God" I don't know what does.

I find this sort of statement quite troubling since, the last I checked, the laws of the United States are not supposed to favor one religious viewpoint over another. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints may not wish to solemnize the marriages of same-sex couples, but other religious denominations have no problem with doing so, and most of those individuals who profess no particular religion or who expressly disavow it in general are, in the main, not opposed to legal marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Why should his church's view be the one that gets legal recognition?

At the same time, I'm not sure how he's really serving his client by making it clear to anyone with internet access that his arguments in court will be based not on the words of the US Constitution as interpreted by way of various court rulings, but on the his religious convictions. It's even been suggested by some commenters on Joe My God that such statements as the one he made could actually serve as grounds for debarment on the basis that by being admitted to the bar he has sworn an oath to uphold not his religion but the Constitution. I don't know enough about these matters to be able to tell if those folks are correct but it does make a certain amount of sense on the most obvious of levels.

He noted as well that he has confidence in the "scriptural promise" that "all things work to the good for them that love God." I suppose in that case he won't be terribly upset when he loses in court.

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Originally posted to sfbob on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 04:15 PM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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