Marriage Law Project

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The Marriage Law Project (MLP) is a public interest legal aid organization founded in 1996. It aims "to reaffirm marriage as the union of one man and one woman." Its offices are located in the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Its founder, David Orgon Coolidge, was Senior Fellow at the Columbus School of Law Ethics and Public Policy Center and a Research Fellow in the Columbus School of Law Interdisciplinary Program in Law and Religion. William C. Duncan, J.D. is Assistant Director of the Marriage Law Project.[1]

The Marriage Law Project monitors the progress of state and federal legislation regarding marriage and same-sex unions. It provides information regarding headline news, current legislative progress, various arguments against same-sex marriage, case and statute law, news reports, and links to other resources. The Marriage Law Project is a frequent contributor as a spokesperson in the cultural homosexuality debates, especially from a Roman Catholic point of view. MLP participated in filing the injunction against San Francisco when that city's clerk decided to issue same-sex marriage licenses.[2]


MLP and the Marriage and Family Law Project at Brigham Young University Law School co-hosted a symposium in September 2006 entitled "'What's the Harm?'—How Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Will Harm Society, Families, Adults, Children and Marriage".[3][4]

Another joint symposium by these schools was held February 1–3, 2001, and was entitled "The ALI Family Dissolution Principles: Blueprint to Strengthen or to Deconstruct Families?"[5]

Published works[edit]

The Marriage Law Project has continued to submit Amici Curiae briefs in court cases and appeals regarding equal marriage all over the United States. Articles have been published in several law journals. Letters and memorandums have been sent to Congressmen; even a book was published concerning gay parenting. All this has been done in the effort to stop the spread of equal marriage.

In Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Marriage Law project submitted an Amicus Curiae brief on behalf of the American College of Pediatricians. This report concerning the effects of gay parenting on children was intended to show that there was not enough evidence to determine if gay parenting was harmful to children.[6] In the case of City and County of San Francisco v. State of California, a brief was submitted by the Marriage Law Project. This brief was on behalf of African-American Pastors in California in an attempt to highlight the discrepancies in comparing same-sex marriage to interracial marriage.[7] And in the Supreme Court case Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Project filed an Amicus Curiae brief in support of Prop 8. The purpose of this report was to highlight the differences between genders, whether Prop 8 discriminates against gender, whether religious beliefs are being dismissed, and whether it is a violation of the First Amendment to reverse a decision that passed with a majority vote.[8]

The Marriage Law Project also utilizes communication with the federal government in an effort to prevent equal marriage. In a letter sent to both John Boehner, Speaker of the House, and Lamar Smith, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, the call to arms to defend DOMA stated that protecting DOMA would also be protecting the House's own constitutional powers.[9] The MLP's view in this area is that Congress is weakened by allowing the judiciary to overturn their laws, asking, "Is the House going sit idly by and let the judiciary get away with it?" Enclosed with this letter, and sent separately to other members of the House, was the MLP memorandum "Is the House Going to Submit?" This memo reiterates the Marriage Law Project's belief that the overturn of DOMA would "threaten the rights and prerogatives of the Legislative Branch of government".[10] Lincoln Oliphant of the MLP testified before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House Judiciary Committee regarding the legal implications of equal marriage. In this testimony, he stated that bankruptcy, immigration, income tax, and veterans' benefit laws should only be changed by the committees that oversee them, not by the courts in regard to a separate issue.[11]

Some law journals have published writings by members of the Marriage Law Project, as well. The Ave Maria Law Review published an article concerning the implications of Massachusetts' marriage evasion law.[12] This law prohibits non-residents from getting married if they are citizens of a state that does not recognize their marriage and has been in effect since 1913. The Regent Law Review also published an article written by the assistant director of the Marriage Law Project, William C. Duncan. This article discusses changing trends in marriage such as equal marriage laws and covenant marriages, as well as perceived implications concerning how these changes will affect marriage in the future.[13] Duncan also published an article in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy as the director of the MLP. In this essay, he highlights legal measures that have been taken to change or prevent change to marriage laws, and challenges to their implementation.[14]

A book was also published by the Marriage Law Project. No Basis: What the Studies Don't Tell Us About Same-Sex Parenting questions the validity of several studies concerning children of same-sex couples. Statements are made regarding inadequate or biased samples, lack of control groups, and vague hypothesis.[15]


  1. ^ Narth Institute
  2. ^ Planet Out: "Groups that oppose marriage for gays and lesbians promised a court fight.", accessed April 25, 2011 Archived May 15, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ [3]
  6. ^ Massachusetts v. Dept. of Health & Human Servs., 698 F. Supp. 2d 234 - Dist. Court, D. Massachusetts 2010. Document: 00116162492. PDF file.
  7. ^ In re Marriage Cases, 43 Cal. 4th 757 - Cal: Supreme Court 2008. Pg 756. PDF file.
  8. ^ Hollingsworth v. Perry, 133 S. Ct. 2652 - Supreme Court 2013. PDF file.
  9. ^ Destro, Robert A., Letter to John Boehner. Mar. 3, 2011. PDF file.
  10. ^ Destro, Robert A.. "Is the House Going to Submit?". Ed. Marriage Law Project. PDF file.
  11. ^ Oliphant, Lincoln C.. "Legal Threats to Traditional Marriage: Implications to Public Policy." Testimony to the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House Judiciary Committee. PDF file. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-12-18. Retrieved 2013-12-10.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ Duncan, Dwight G. "Is the Massachusetts Law on Marriage of Non-Residents a Barrier to the Spread of Same-Sex Marriage?", Ave Maria Law Review. 3.2 (2005): 483-498. PDF file. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-14. Retrieved 2013-12-10.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Duncan, William C. "Whither Marriage in the Law?." Regent University Law Review. 15.1 (2002): 119-129. PDF file.,%20No.%201,%206%20Duncan.pdf
  14. ^ Duncan, William C. "Speaking Up for Marriage." Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy. 32.3 (2011): 915-931. PDF file. Archived 2010-07-08 at the Library of Congress Web Archives.
  15. ^ Lerner, Robert, and Althea K. Nagai. No Basis: What the Studies Don't Tell Us About Same-Sex Parenting. Washington D.C.: Marriage Law Project, 2001. eBook.

External links[edit]