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LifeNews: In Europe, Ireland is a symbol of resistance against abortion. Nevertheless, Ireland is on the point of giving in to the concerted pressure of the Council of Europe and the pro-abortion lobbies.
Marriage And Health: Married Gay Couples Are Psychologically Healthier, Study Finds | Huffington Post
Huffington Post: Researchers from San Francisco State University and UCLA found that married gay, lesbian and bisexual people have lower levels of psychological distress than their unmarried counterparts, according to a study published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health.
C-FAM: A UN committee of legal experts reprimanded the Russian Federation last month for allowing the Ryazan province of Russia to enforce a law that bans the promotion of homosexuality among minors as part of a national effort to protect children from early sexualization, and related adverse health consequences.
Blog of the Legal Times: The Senate continued its run of district court confirmations during the lame duck session, approving two federal judges in New York and planning votes for two more on Monday. The Senate voted 91-0 on Thursday to confirm Lorna Schofield . . .
Stars and Stripes: The officers’ spouses club at Fort Bragg, N.C., is asking for more time to determine whether to allow Ashley Broadway to join. Broadway, who is legally married to Lt. Col. Heather Mack, recently contacted the Association of Bragg Officers’ Spouses in hopes of joining. She said she was told she could not join because she does not have a military dependent ID card.
Metro Weekly: In a statement released Thursday, OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson expressed confidence in Obama’s final decision, but alluded to the Nebraska Republican’s lackluster record on LGBT rights as speculation continues to circulate that he will replace current Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
NJ Today: Assemblyman Reed Gusciora introduced a measure placing the question of marriage equality on the 2013 November ballot. Gusciora remains “encouraged” in light of three states, Maryland, Maine and Washington, each successfully passing such measures this past November.
Alliance Defending Freedom Blog: You’ll be shocked at the unconstitutional tactics colleges and universities use to silence and intimidate Christians. On campuses all across America, school officials . . .
National Review Bench Memos: In a move that surprised no one, North Caroline governor Bev Perdue has appointed appellate judge Cheri Beasley to the Supreme Court of North Carolina
CNSNews: The Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he plans to hold a hearing in January to consider changing federal drug laws to allow people to possess up to one ounce of marijuana.
Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Paul Coleman has authored an important new book, released this week, about the criminalization of so-called “hate speech” in Europe and the widespread threat it poses to free speech everywhere.
A victory for free speech: Lords vote to axe law banning insults that had led to countless arrests of ordinary people
Daiy Mail: Free speech campaigners have hailed a vote by the House of Lords to scrap a draconian law that made it a crime simply to insult someone. The controversial legislation led to countless arrests of ordinary people for making jokes and expressing opinions about religion and sexuality.
Christian Institute: The court, the highest in the country, ruled unanimously in X v Mid Sussex Citizens Advice Bureau that volunteers are not covered by the same discrimination rights as employees. The Christian Institute intervened in the case to protect the religious freedom of churches and other religious bodies. | X v Mid Sussex Citizens Advice Bureau,  UKSC 59
Christian Concern: She then laid out concerns about protecting religious freedom, and what “consideration has been given to the teaching of equal marriage in schools”.
Telegraph: The Daily Telegraph has used its editorial to urge the Government to drop a controversial law that criminalises “insulting” words or behaviour.
Christian Concern: Homosexual rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has questioned the legality of the government’s plans to make it illegal for the Church of England and Church in Wales to perform same-sex ‘marriages’.
The Hill: Prominent abortion-rights groups responded with praise and rancor Friday to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R-La.) proposal that Republicans back over-the-counter birth control.
LA Times: Score a big victory for critics of the University of California’s contemporary-style and much derided new logo. Responding to a online wave of revolt against the sculptural design, university officials announced Friday that they are suspending further use of the logo.
Guardian: David Cameron’s strategy of exploiting the euro crisis to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s EU membership and claw back powers from Brussels has run into stiff resistance from France on Friday.
Voice of America: As Egyptians prepare to vote in the first round of a constitutional referendum Saturday, both opponents and supporters of the controversial document were out in the streets to protest.
San Francisco Chronicle (AP): New York was given federal approval Friday to set up an online marketplace for individuals and small businesses to buy health insurance.
The Star Phoenix: Ashu Solo continues to stack up complaints against City Hall — this time targeting Merry Christmas signs on buses. Earlier this year, he filed a human rights complaint over a Christian prayer by a city councillor at a City of Saskatoon volunteer appreciation dinner. The Saskatchewan human rights commission hasn’t ruled yet on the complaint.
Independent: Organisers behind a British conference on Islam and evolution say they nearly had to cancel the event after receiving a torrent of opposition from Muslim students at one of the country’s top scientific universities, The Independent has leanred.
Quebec’s ‘totalitarian’ take on religious education in high school | Barbara Kay at the National Post
Barbara Kay at the National Post: In 2008, however, Quebec introduced a province-wide program called Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) running throughout elementary school, and all but one high school year. Every Quebec student — even the homeschooled — is obligated to take this state-composed program. And teachers, whatever their beliefs or religious affiliation, must teach it.
Jonathan D. Rockoff at Wall Street Journal (via Google): A Massachusetts biotechnology company said it expects as early as Friday to start the process for regulatory approval of what experts said would be the first human trial involving stem cells created by reprogramming adult cells back to an embryonic-like state.
W. Bradford Wilcox at Family Scholars: So, even in Sweden, with one of the world’s strongest welfare states, children “seem to suffer” when marriage disappears.
The Politico: Justice Elena Kagan opened up about life on the Supreme Court on Thursday night during a wide-ranging, humor-filled interview, discussing what it’s like to write a dissent (with which she has had “a little bit of practice now”), diversity on the court, public opinion and what she anticipates will be the next important issues the court will take on.
Religion Clause Blog: In Fields v. City of Tulsa, (ND OK, Dec. 13, 2012), an Oklahoma federal district court rejected objections by a Christian police officer to a directive that he either attend or find volunteers to appear at a Law Enforcement Appreciation Day hosted by the Islamic Society of Tulsa.
Baptist Press: ADF is pleased Ward and “her constitutionally protected rights have been vindicated,” said a spokesman for the legal organization. “Public universities shouldn’t force students to violate their religious beliefs to get a degree. The 6th Circuit rightly understood this and ruled appropriately, so the university has done the right thing in settling this case,” ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco said in a written release.
Religion Clause Blog: According to yesterday’s St. Louis Post Dispatch, Muslim cab driver Raja Awais Naeem has filed a religious discrimination lawsuit in state court against the city of St. Louis, its Metropolitan Taxicab Commission and Whelan Security, a private security company apparently in charge of security at the St. Louis airport.
AP: Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan says her colleague Antonin Scalia deserves a lot of credit for getting the high court to divine what laws mean by focusing on the words Congress used.
AP: Now a group of federal judges is pushing a class-action lawsuit to ensure all of the rest of the federal judges who also missed out on their cost-of-living increases get what they feel is their due.
AP: The U.S. and more than 20 other countries refused to ratify the accord by the 193-nation International Telecommunications Union. Here is a look at Internet restrictions and availability at selected countries and regions around the world:
Business Insider: Not only do they want their tuition back, but graduates suing their law schools want the institutions to own up to their alleged lies.
Robyn Hagan Cain at Findlaw: Justice Antonin Scalia moseyed over to Princeton University on Monday to promote “Reading Law.” It didn’t go too well.
Mark Davis at Townhall: It is about acceptance. The agenda on this issue has less to do with the real-world lives of gay married couples than with the desire to have homosexuality recognized as just another way to be, like red-haired or left-handed.
The End of Birth-Control Politics: Over-the-counter sales of oral contraceptives will cut off a disingenuous attack line. | Bobby Jindal at WSJ
Bobby Jindal at the Wall Street Journal (via Google):As an unapologetic pro-life Republican, I also believe that every adult (18 years old and over) who wants contraception should be able to purchase it.
Al Daniel at SCOTUS Blog: In addition to the Office of the Solicitor General, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has seven litigating divisions, each headed by an Assistant Attorney General: the Antitrust Division, the Civil Division, the Civil Rights Division, the Criminal Division, the Environment and Natural Resources Division, the National Security Division, and the Tax Division. Each of these Divisions has a group of attorneys called either the Appellate Staff or the Appellate Section (collectively, “Appellate Staffs”).
Ryan T. Anderson at Ricochet: Redefining marriage would abandon the norm of male-female sexual complementarity as an essential characteristic of marriage. Making that optional would also make other essential characteristics—like monogamy, exclusivity and permanency—optional, as my co-authors and I argue in our new book, What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.
Linda Greenhouse at NY Times: Is it heretical of me, or merely quirky, to find myself nearly as fascinated by the procedural game the Supreme Court is playing in the same-sex marriage cases as I am by the underlying merits of the two appeals the court has agreed to decide?
CNBC: Only 15 states have told the federal government they plan to operate health insurance exchanges under President Barack Obama’s reform law, leaving Washington with the daunting task of creating online marketplaces for two-thirds of the country.
Family Research Council: For our troops in the Middle East, it’s not away in a manger — it’s away goes the manger! After years of celebrating Christmas with a live nativity, the U.S. Navy is ordering military families to tear down its display on a Bahrain base. Service members were stunned. The news was most upsetting for the kids, who look forward to playing their parts all year long. “It was devastating,” one officer told Fox News. “Here we are serving in the Middle East, defending our country and other people’s religions… and we can’t even enjoy our own.”
Bradley Abramson at the Christian Post: For more than half a century the city of Santa Monica, Calif., allowed local churches to place nativity scenes in one of the city parks during the Christmas season. However, this practice was stopped after Christmas 2011 when Santa Monica atheist Damon Vix secured a permit to place an atheist display near the nativity scene – for he constructed not a “celebrate atheism” display, but one that disparaged and attacked Christianity.
The Hill: The United States said Thursday that it will not sign a United Nations telecommunications treaty that U.S. technology companies warn would disrupt governance of the Internet and open the door to online censorship.
Deseret News: New crosses honoring 15 fallen Utah Highway Patrol troopers now overlook I-15 just north of exit 273, taking the place of memorials that were removed from public land following a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year.
Jackie Gingrich Cushman at Townhall: Marriage — and the relationship between partners and their God — should be defined by the church. Civil unions and their legalities should be defined by the state.
NY Times: German lawmakers on Wednesday passed legislation ensuring parents the right to have their boys circumcised, bringing a close to months of legal uncertainty set off by a regional court’s ruling that equated the practice with bodily harm.
Religion Clause Blog: Newly elected Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) will become the only new member of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the next session of Congress, the Senate Democratic Steering Committee announced Wednesday.
Live Action News: Alliance Defending Freedom’s cover story in their latest issue of “Faith & Justice” covered the story of twelve nurses who stood up against a hospital when their faith and ethics were on the line. Here is a part of their story, but I would encourage you to read the entire account, found here.
France to promote secularism, steps up struggle against religious radicals – “including traditionalist Catholics”
Reuters: France will deport foreign-born imams and disband radical faith-based groups, including hardline traditionalist Catholics, if a new surveillance policy signals they suffer a “religious pathology” and could become violent.
Religion Clause Blog: Last October, Kazakhstan enacted a new, more restrictive Religion Law. (See prior posting.) Under it, religious organizations had one year to register, or re-register, with the state. Forum 18 reported Tuesday . . .
AP: Two Illinois lawmakers said Thursday they will seek legislative approval of gay marriage when the General Assembly reconvenes in three weeks, answering Gov. Pat Quinn’s hope that he could sign same-sex marital rights into law as early as January.
Constitutionality of Washington Anti-Discrimination Exemption For Religious Non-Profits Certified To State Supreme Court
Religion Clause Blog: In Ockletree v. Franciscan Health System, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175515 (WD WA, Dec. 11, 2012), a Washington federal district court certified to the Washington Supreme Court the question of whether the broad blanket exemption in the Washington Law Against Discrimination for non-profit religious organizations is constitutional under the Washington state constitution.
AP: Wounded veterans and their spouses who want to have children could get the government to pay for fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization under legislation beginning to move through Congress in the waning days of the session.
Washington Post: The White House and the nation’s most prominent charities are embroiled in a tense, behind-the-scenes debate over President Obama’s push to scale back the nearly century-old tax deduction on donations that the charities say is crucial for their financial health.
Judicial Watch: Here is a strong indicator that the Obama Administration’s crusade to appease Islam has gone too far; a new U.S. military handbook for troops deployed to the Middle East orders soldiers not to make derogatory comments about the Taliban or criticize pedophilia, among other outrageous things.