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Billings Gazette: A bill to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation passed a Wyoming legislative committee Wednesday, a move that gay activists say is crucial to affording them the full rights of citizenship. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4-1 Wednesday morning to endorse the bill sponsored by Sen. Chris Rothfuss, D-Laramie. It now heads to the Senate floor.
AZ Capitol Times: Saying members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community deserve equal treatment under Arizona law, a Democratic lawmaker has introduced four bills addressing employment, adoption and marriage.
De Spiegel: Moscow is currently seeking to make “homosexual propaganda” a prosecutable offense. But in Germany, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has warned Russia’s ambassador that the new legislation could aggravate European-Russian relations.
Frank S. Page at Baptist Press: Second, there is providence. I find it very interesting that the Scouts themselves set the first Sunday in February (this weekend, Feb. 3) as Scout Sunday. This means that across our nation, thousands of churches will be focusing their attention on the Boy Scouts. I strongly urge every Southern Baptist member and congregation to direct our prayers toward the heavenly Father that the board members will reject this recommendation. Focused prayer on Sunday; board meeting on Monday. What a divine moment!
Christian Newswire: Lower Court Rulings Striking Down California’s Prop 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act Rest on Faulty Logic, Brief Says
Matthew Kaal at Family Scholars: I appreciate David B., Barbara D. Whitehead, and Jonathan Rauch’s view that we can have fruitful policy discussions about the decline of marriage as a positive normative cultural institution, what is causing its decline, whether or not that decline is cause for grave concern, and if so, how to reverse it.
TodaysTHV.com: An Arkansas Senate panel has advanced legislation that would ban abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected, a move that would ban the procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
Christian Institute: The mother of twins who survived after being born at just 23 weeks – a week earlier than the current legal abortion limit – has criticised the law.
NewsMax: New Mexico lawmakers are reviewing two pieces of legislation that would have opposite affects on same-sex marriage in the state, according to KOB4 TV in Albuquerque.
Kathleen Parker at the Washington Post: On Tuesday, Blankenhorn and more than 70 diverse signatories released a letter urging Americans to end the war over gay marriage and change the question from “Should gays marry?” to “How can we save marriage?”
Washington Post: A Senate committee in the Virginia General Assembly on Tuesday narrowly endorsed a measure to amend the state’s Bill of Rights to require all public places and schools to accommodate prayer or other religious activity and allow students to be dismissed from assignments or presentations that conflict with their religious beliefs.
MPRNews: A North Dakota House committee is considering a bill that would ban abortions in the state if a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Seattle Post Intelligencer: Democratic state lawmakers are renewing a push that fell short a year ago that would require Washington insurers to pay for abortions, in addition to the maternity care they’re already mandated to provide.
Christian Post: A U.S. District Court judge ruled that a major pro-life organization is not guilty of defamation against a politician who sued the group two years earlier over losing a re-election bid.
World Magazine: Matt Bowman of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF)—a group representing several plaintiffs—says the issue is likely headed to the Supreme Court, and the outcome could affect religious freedoms for all Christians who believe their faith extends to every area of life: “The question becomes: Is Jesus Christ the Lord of all human life or not? And the federal government is saying He isn’t allowed to be.”
Daily Caller: An attorney on the side of the plaintiffs, Travis Barham, describes the case as a “textbook violation” of the First Amendment.
Bob Vander Plaats at the Family Leader: I ask you the reader, is this really what politics is about? Are we really supposed to abandon the core values and principles that have served us well throughout civilization so we can win elections? And, when we do moderate, and if we do win elections, what did we win by abandoning our core beliefs?
The Hill: The 73-page IRS regulation, and a fact sheet for the public, focus primarily on exemptions to the mandate — referred to as the law’s “shared responsibility” provision. | HHS Regs. | IRS Regs.
Reuters: Marriott International Inc. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. are among at least 13 companies throwing their support behind an effort to repeal a U.S. law that defines marriage as solely between one man and one woman.
Deacon John’s Space: The following comes from a January 22 press release from Alliance Defending Freedom. Defenders of California’s marriage amendment filed their opening briefwith the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday. The brief argues that the high court should affirm the validity and rational basis of the amendment and refuse demands for a judicially-imposed end to the robust, ongoing public debate about marriage.
Ken Connor at LifeNews: Americans are living in an age, however, where the actions of government increasingly come into conflict with Christian values. As issues like abortion and gay marriage continue to insert themselves into the cultural milieu, Christians and other traditional-minded Americans – including those of other religious faiths – find themselves marginalized and even demonized. The moral authority increasingly rests with those who control the narrative: Big Government, Hollywood, and the mainstream media.
Greg Baylor at Speak Up Movement: On January 8, 2013, plaintiffs represented by the ACLU,Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and theNew Hampshire Civil Liberties Union launched an assault on educational freedom in New Hampshire.
Religious Liberty Limited to the Four Walls of Church? The HHS Threat | Matt Bowman and Emily Hardman on Breakpoint
LifeNews: The Republican Party is now officially on record as supporting the de-funding of the taxpayer-supported Planned Parenthood abortion business. On Friday, top GOP officials at the RNC approved a measure supporting efforts to revoke its taxpayer funding.
Alliance Defending Freedom has distributed a letter to Georgia legislators and Christian schools across the state in response to an activist group’s false allegation that Georgia’s school choice scholarship program supports religious schools with “anti-gay” policies simply because the schools adhere to Christian ethics.
Rebecca Hagelin at Townhall: A recent New York Times article, “The End of Courtship,” portrays Millennials as a group bent on “subverting the rules of courtship.” Style columnist Alex Williams begins his article with this real-life scenario: a guy asks a girl out on what she assumes is a date – but instead of showing up, the guy texts her at 10:30pm asking her to come hang out with him–and his friends–at a nearby pub. The article characterizes this typical, laid-back behavior as, “one step below a date, and one step above a high-five.”
Illinois Review: IFI’s Executive Director David Smith and Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Joseph LaRue told the pastors representing black, Latino and mixed congregations that the legislation is more expansive than simply allowing two persons of the same sex to legally marry.
Religion Clause Blog: In Britain yesterday, the House of Commons completed its action on the Succession to the Crown Bill. Now that Commons passed the bill on its third reading, it goes to the House of Lords for debate and vote.
LifeNews: “Universities should promote, not quarantine, the free exchange of ideas,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Litigation Staff Counsel Travis Barham. “Oklahoma State University does not have free reign to censor students. The university can’t exile this club’s displays or restrict students from distributing literature simply because their materials challenge a narrow orthodoxy or offend the hyper-sensitive feelings of administrators.”
OH University fires Christian who opposed comparisons between “gays” and blacks in civil rights struggle
Religion Clause Blog: The Pacific Justice Institute announced last week that it had filed suit in a Tulare County, California state court on behalf of John Vadnais, an elder at a local church, who wants to share his Christian belief with other shoppers at Visala Mall.
Florist Sued For Discrimination After Refusing To Deliver Flowers To Winning Establishment Clause Plaintiff
Religion Clause Blog: Following up on a right-to-sue letter it obtained from the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights (see prior related posting), the Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed a state court lawsuit against a florist who refused to deliver flowers ordered by FFRF for a successful plaintiff in an Establishment Clause case.
Fox News: Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has selected his former chief-of-staff William “Mo” Cowan to serve as interim U.S. senator until a special election to fill the seat left vacant by Secretary of State designate John Kerry.
Religion Clause Blog: As previously reported, a New York federal district court earlier this month refused to issue a preliminary injunction to block enforcement of the New York City Health Department’s rule requiring that a mohel(Jewish ritual circumciser) obtain a written informed consent form from parents before he performs a circumcision using the oral suction technique (metzitzah b’peh).
Doug Napier at Townhall: In 2010, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and Americans United for Separation of Church and State pressured the Bulverde, Texas’ City Council to change their policies regarding prayers to open public meetings. Subsequently, the city council changed its policies to more clearly welcome invocations from all faiths.
William Carroll at Public Discourse: Religion isn’t outdated simply because some people claim that we can only know what the natural sciences tell us. Philosophy and theology are the next steps in our search for truth about nature, human nature, and God.
FRC: Meanwhile, Americans (only 42% of whom support this change) want to know: Will a new policy help produce young men with greater moral clarity or responsibility? Will it help make the transition from boy to man easier? These are the questions our nation should be asking the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America. No one can blame the BSA for wanting to put the exhausting conflict of the last 30 years behind them. But throwing up your hands on 103 years of tradition doesn’t end the controversy–it begins another
AP: A lawsuit by a Southern California Christian school against two former teachers who refused to provide proof of their faith could pose one of the first court tests of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on religious freedom.
SCOTUS Blog: Political polarization in Congress seems to be affecting the relationship between Congress and the Supreme Court, inadvertently strengthening the Court at the expense of Congress. These days – unlike in the past – Congress rarely overrides the Supreme Court’s statutory decisions. Yet the same congressional polarization that is strengthening the Court is likely to spill over into the Supreme Court nominations process, greatly increasing the risk of a Senate filibuster when the next conservative Justice leaves the Court.
USA Today: In his first interview since the Pentagon opened ground combat jobs to women, the commandant of the Marine Corps said some occupations may ultimately remain closed if only a small number qualify.
Gatestone Institute: These reactions are indicative of the contempt the political elites have for the concept of democratic accountability.
Denver Catholic Register: “There is no need to force individuals to violate their deeply held religious beliefs,” said Kellie Fiedorek with the Alliance Defending Freedom. “Yet we’ve handled multiple cases where laws expanding sexual liberty have negatively impacted regular every …
Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield at Faith That Inspires Action (includes Erik Stanley Audio Soundbite): Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley will be available for media interviews Tuesday following his oral argument at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit seeking reinstatement of a church school’s lawsuit against the city of Fredericksburg. In 2011, the city council refused to allow a church to begin a school program for mentally and emotionally challenged children even though city planning officials recommended approval.