Weeks before Mike Huckabee was set to announce his presidential campaign, a policy group bearing his name told the Supreme Court that gay marriage is a public health risk that could cause premature death.
“Empirical evidence demonstrates that homosexual behaviour — especially chronic and habitual practice — is likewise associated with early mortality,” Mike Huckabee Policy Solutions wrote in a brief filed in April.
The group, which aims to “support the national policy aims of Mike Huckabee,” cited a Danish study from 2013 finding that mortality rates for married lesbians had begun to rise recently and that they were particularly at risk for suicide and death. (As the Los Angeles Times noted, gay couples represented fewer than 1% of the adults in the study, which limited the findings.)
The Huckabee group also analysed obituaries from “homosexual publications” in attempt to show that married gay people died younger on average than single gay people.
“Mike Huckabee policy solutions and Family Research Initiative beseech this court to show true compassion and kindness for the benefit of millions of American young people who, as a function of behavioural and lifestyle choices encouraged by unwise or uncaring public policy decrees, would die early,” the group wrote.
The amicus brief came in a case that the Supreme Court heard last month which considered the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. The brief was filed in support of the states, which are trying to hold onto those bans.
The group wrote “that deference to the States in the regulation of lawful marriage, as well as federalist restraint and humility by this Court, would represent an act of love,” the group wrote. “Tough love, perhaps, but love nonetheless.”
Huckabee’s campaign did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on the brief, and it’s not clear whether he authorised it. The group itself says it’s not “authorised, funded, or directed” by Huckabee but that it advocates for his “articulated policies.”
A longtime opponent of gay marriage, Huckabee has ramped up his anti-gay marriage rhetoric in recent days. The former Arkansas governor suggested that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) could defund the judiciary branch if the Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage, and argued that states could disobey a Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage.
In his announcement speech, the former governor doubled down on comments that Christianity trumped any ruling from the high court.
“The Supreme Court is not the Supreme Being,” Huckabee said. “It cannot overturn the laws of nature or of nature’s God.”
Gay rights advocates brushed off Huckabee’s campaign announcement, saying that the ex-governor’s gay rights stances are “hateful” and out-of-touch.
“There’s nothing hopeful about opposing marriage equality, and no matter what city Mike Huckabee launches his campaign in, he can’t erase his long history of hateful rhetoric, like comparing being LGBT to alcohol abuse,” JoDee Winterhof, HRC’s Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs said in a statement. “If Mike Huckabee bases another campaign on his opposition to marriage equality, he is going to find out that his hateful rhetoric has left him isolated in a country where more than 6 in 10 voters support marriage equality.”
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