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AFP: Deputies voted 249-97 in favour of Article One of the draft law, which redefines marriage as being a contract between two people rather than necessarily between a man and a woman.
LifeSiteNews: These three and a growing number of others affected by rape have been traveling the country in recent weeks to launch Save the 1, an initiative against the rape exception. Their goal is to let women know there is hope after rape, even for those who conceive.
Telegraph: The pressure comes as Mr Cameron faces the biggest split of his leadership, when MPs vote next week on the Government’s Bill to introduce gay marriage.
Christian Institute: More than 40,000 teachers say they will probably refuse to teach about “the importance of” same-sex marriage, according to a new poll.
UK: Panicked Response to ‘Conservative Grassroots’ Show Efforts to Redefine Marriage Tearing Party Apart
Christian Concern: The Conservative Chairmen behind yesterday’s letter delivery to Downing Street have reacted with dismay and disbelief to renewed attempts by the Party machinery to create the impression that there is broad support for the Bill within the Conservative Party.
Consider Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.’s most prominent client, President Obama. In May, in announcing his support for same-sex marriage, Mr. Obama said the issue should be decided state by state. In his Inaugural Address last month, Mr. Obama seemed to …
Cynthia Davis at Townhall: We now live in a time where social welfare incentives have engendered unprecedented numbers of unmarried parents, causing record deficits. The inability to address this issue has politically-hobbled every Republican president since Reagan. Our government needs to take responsibility for creating this monster and start on a new path of adopting policies that are good for families.
David Frum at CNN: The long debate on same-sex marriage is coming to an end. A plurality of Americans now support same-sex marriage; the figure is 63% among voters under 30. The rest is just a matter of time. The end of the same-sex marriage debate does not, however, settle the problem of marriage in America. Not remotely. Among the 95% to 97% of Americans who are not gay, the institution of marriage continues to weaken — with ominous consequences for the next generation.
LifeNews: The North Carolina Department of Health has cited an abortion clinic, A Preferred Women’s Center in Charlotte for multiple violations. The report comes after a local pro-life advocate filed a complaint with the department about conditions at the facility after she witnessed a medical emergency there in October, 2012.
Huffington Post: Forty years after the Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion, children who were conceived through rape — and women who were raped and chose to end the pregnancy — are speaking out, opening a new front in the often-fraught discussions of a decades-old culture war.
TodaysHV.com: Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe says his office’s preliminary research suggests a proposal to ban most abortions in the state is unconstitutional but isn’t ready to say whether he opposes the legislation.
AP: The new archbishop of Canterbury on Monday formally took up his post as the leader of the world’s 80-million-strong Anglican Communion.
Volokh Conspiracy: Bill Henderson has a post over at The Legal Whiteboard that has been getting a lot of attention in law school circles, praising W & L’s innovative curriculum, which focuses on practical lawyer skills, as both an educational success and as a hit with law school applicants. Bill goes over some of W & L’s recent admissions data, and concludes: ”A sizeable number of prospective students really do care about practical skills training and are voting with their feet. W&L has therefore become a big winner in the race for applicants.”
Lyle Denniston at SCOTUS Blog: The application Health Bridge Management v. Kreisberg, docket 12A769) thus put before the Court for the first time the high-profile constitutional controversy over the President’s authority to make temporary appointments of government officials — a power sharply restricted by the D.C. Circuit Court last month.
Religion Clause Blog: Under the Agreed Order (full text) in United States v. City of Lomita California, (CD CA), the city will consider on an expedited basis a new application from the Islamic Center.
Education News: Handouts of the “morning-after pill” to sexually active students have skyrocketed under an unpublicized project in which health centers in public schools offer girls a full menu of free birth-control drugs and devices, records obtained by The Post show.
Religion Clause Blog: As reported by the Hodge Jones & Allen law firm, the English and Wales High Court (Family Division) last week handed down a judgment that for the first time in Britain endorsed the determination of a matrimonial dispute through reference to a Jewish religious court (Bet Din).
Religion Clause Blog: AP on Friday reported that Kenneth Miller, a Mennonite pastor from Stuarts Draft, Va., was sent back to jail by a Vermont federal district judge who has ordered him to testify before a grand jury about a man involved in the 2009 flight of Lisa Miller and her daughter to Central America.
Greg Baylor at Alliance Defending Freedom: Religious organizations, for-profit businesses, and individuals have filed over 40 cases, attempting to protect their deeply held religious beliefs and exercise from the unconstitutional dictates of the federal government. Alliance Defending Freedom represents Louisiana College, Geneva College, Biola University, Grace College, Tyndale House Publishers, the Newland family (Hercules Industries), and the Hepler family (Seneca Hardwood) in their challenges to the illegal Mandate. I thought it might be helpful to provide a brief snapshot of where these and other cases stand.
LifeNews: Under this new rule, the Obama administration is still picking and choosing who can exercise their faith. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), one of the many legal groups fighting the mandate in court, insists that it will keep suing until every American can enjoy the freedom guaranteed by the Constitution. “The First Amendment [does not] say ‘for religious entities only,’” Alan Sears said. That might explain why the President’s mandate continues to lose in court. Of the 14 cases heard so far, 10 of the 14 have been decided in freedom’s favor. But until Congress or the courts correct this problem for everyone, institutions will still have to choose between civil disobedience coupled with large fines–or violating their faith.
Religion Clause Blog: According to today’s New York Daily News, Aaron Klein, the owner of Sweet Cakes in Gresham, Oregon, says he was following his strong religious beliefs in deciding not to be a part of a same-sex marriage.
National Right to Life Statement on Obama Administration Proposal for Revisions in Preventive Services Mandate: “Changes in packaging in an attempt to conceal continuity in substance”
National Right to Life applauds the ongoing work of Alliance Defending Freedom and others in challenging the Obama Administration’s infringements on the free exercise of religion in the courts. National Right to Life will continue to work with like-minded members of Congress to seek legislative remedies, as well.
Cardinal Dolan, bishops will ‘study’ Obama compromise proposal on contraception | Staten Island Advance
Staten Island Advance: The Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative religious liberty group which is representing several for-profit businesses in lawsuits over the regulation, said it would continue to press for exemptions for business owners in court. So far, about 10 businesses have obtained temporary injunctions against the regulation while their cases move through the courts.
KOSU: “The administration’s narrow gesture does nothing to protect many faith-based employers or religious families from the unconstitutional abortion pill mandate,” says Matt Bowman of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal group backing some of the suits. “The government has no business putting religious freedom on the negotiating table, or picking and choosing who is allowed to exercise faith.”
David Cortman at Townhall: As a federal court recently declared, “Tolerance is a two-way street.” And this is a lesson the Atlanta-based Southern Education Fund needs to learn after its recent call for private, Christian schools in Georgia to be kicked-out of participating in the state’s tax credit scholarship program.
Catholic World Report: Matt Bowman, legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, argues at Catholic Vote that Catholic institutions—such as hospitals and universities—are not exempt from providing contraception coverage under the proposed regulations, although churches and religious orders are.
The New American: Matt Bowman of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the conservative legal advocacy group that is representing Grote, applauded the ruling. “Americans have the God-given freedom to live and do business according to their faith,” he said in a statement. “Forcing employers to surrender their faith in order to earn a living is unprecedented, unnecessary, and unconstitutional. Honoring God is important every day, in all areas of life, including in our work. Freedom is not the government’s to give and take away when it pleases.” He added that the ADF is “pleased that the court delivered the Obama administration a reminder of this foundational truth, and we are confident that this unconstitutional mandate’s days are numbered.” According to a mandate lawsuit “scorecard” created by the ADF, the Obama administration has not fared well in preliminary federal court rulings.
Christian Post: “All Americans, not just those in church organizations, are guaranteed freedom of conscience in their daily lives and work,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “The administration’s narrow gesture does nothing to protect many faith-based employers or religious families from the unconstitutional abortion pill mandate. The government has no business putting religious freedom on the negotiating table, or picking and choosing who is allowed to exercise faith.”
Times Online: An attorney representing Geneva College and other faith-based institutions said his group is not impressed by a concession made Friday by the Obama administration. Gregory Baylor, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, a national coalition of about 2,000 Christian attorneys, called the proposed change “an accounting gimmick.”
The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, an organization of chaplain endorsers, has submitted a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of upholding the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The brief emphasizes the importance of DOMA in assuring the continuing freedom of chaplains to speak about the good of marriage between one man and one woman, as clearly taught in Scripture.
NY Times: The biggest donors in the Republican Party are financing a new group to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party’s efforts to win control of the Senate.
Robert Weiss at the Huffington Post: Internet-driven, pervasive porn use among boys and young men is an issue of concern on several levels (unrelated to traditional morality or religion). Among these issues is the effect that consistent porn use can have on a young person’s evolving ability to develop and maintain sexual and emotional focus on any single individual, as this is not the stuff of most online porn
Washington Examiner: A new scholarly analysis suggests that the more straight guys, especially those who are less educated, watch pornographic videos, the more they warm to same-sex marriage. The reason: Porn opens their mind up to accepting non-traditional sexual situations, like gay sex. “Our study suggests that the more heterosexual men, especially less educated heterosexual men, watch pornography, the more supportive they become of same-sex marriage,” Indiana University Assistant Professor Paul Wright told Secrets. | Paul Wright Bio and Publications list | Paul J. Wright and Ashley K. Randall, Pornography Consumption, Education, and Support for Same-Sex Marriage Among Adult U.S. Males, Communications Research (Jan. 13, 2013) http://crx.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/01/09/0093650212471558.abstract
John Hayward at Human Events: This is an interesting study even if the hot-button issue of gay marriage is set aside. If the research holds up, it’s a very clear illustration of the way culture influences political attitudes. Here you have a rather decidedly un-political, agenda-free form of (ahem) entertainment, made by people who probably aren’t taking the trouble to fill their script with ideological sucker punches or subtle themes. However, it seems to profoundly impact the attitude of its consumer on the very politicized issue of same-sex marriage.
Michael Brown at Townhall: Chris Culliver, the San Francisco 49ers player who badmouthed gays last week, will soon begin LGBT sensitivity training. When do the public figures who badmouth conservative Christians begin their sensitivity training?
LA Times: Chris Culliver, the San Francisco 49ers cornerback who made headlines with anti-gay remarks, will take sensitivity training and education classes after the Super Bowl. Culliver will eventually become a volunteer with the Trevor Project, which provides crisis and suicide intervention for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.
Ken Klukowski at Breitbart: The lead lawyer on the case, Matt Bowman from the Alliance Defending Freedom, said: Americans have the God-given freedom to live and do business according to their faith. Forcing employers to surrender their faith in order to earn a living is unprecedented, unnecessary, and unconstitutional. Honoring God is important every day, in all areas of life, including in our work. Freedom is not the government’s to give and take away when it pleases.
USA Today: This would be a grave mistake. Every American who believes in freedom of thought and religious liberty should be alarmed by the attacks upon the Boy Scouts, who have had core convictions about morality for 100 years. Every Scout takes an oath to keep himself “morally straight.”
Arizona Legislature Introduces Increased Accountability Measures For Education Savings Account Program
American Federation for Children: The ESA program, which was enacted in 2011, allows parents to receive 90 percent of the per-pupil expenditure to use on a variety of educational tools for their children, including tuition and fees, textbooks, educational therapies, and tutoring. There are currently more than 300 students enrolled in the program, which serves students with special needs.
NCPA Policy Digest: A new Reason-Rupe poll reveals Americans’ attitudes about federal spending and the gun debate, among other issues.
Richard W. Garnett at Public Discourse: Rather than cave to self-interested protests against school choice from teachers unions, we should do what we can to make Catholic schools a viable school option for low-income children.
The HIll: Obama said that female troops had shown that they could handle the rigors of military life. The president said there were already “extraordinary women in uniform who can do everything a man can.”
The HIll: Senate Republicans are demanding the administration hand over all documents related to Jack Lew’s failure, when he was head of the Office of Management and Budget, to comply with a law aimed at ensuring Medicare’s solvency.
Robert Barnes at Washington Post: Instead, the nine brandish definitions as a way to dress up their subjective decisions with an “objective veneer,” they say.
The Concord Monitor interviews former Justice David Souter: Warner: But you do not think as some believe – Justice (Antonin) Scalia being one – that you can stick to what he calls the fair reading of the text, which he says is basically what a reasonable reader would understand the text meant at the time of its adoption? Souter: No, you cannot stick to that. I gave a speech a couple years ago in which I gave an example of why simply reading doesn’t do it. That is, if you look at the text of the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech and so on,” no law sounds pretty tough. But in fact everybody recognizes – conservatives, liberals – there are some laws that Congress can make that in a practical sense do limit the freedom of speech.
USA Today: For that reason, the arguments raised by opponents in last week’s briefs could be critical. They break down into several categories: Procreation and child-rearing . . . Special legal protections . . . Long Arm of History . . . States vs. Courts . . . After gays, the deluge . . .
Lyle Denniston at SCOTUS Blog: Later today the blog will begin publishing an online symposium on the Supreme Court case testing whether human genes, taken out of the body and isolated in a laboratory, without change, can be given a patent. A roster of the contributors to the symposium is available here. The following post explains, in non-legal language, what is involved in that case (Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., on the Court’s docket as 12-398). The Court is expected to hold a hearing on it in April, and decide the case before the end of this Term in late June.
Only A Sliver Of Religious Organizations Covered By Proposed Exemption To HHS Abortion Pill Mandate | Hugh Jones at Alliance Defending Freedom
Hugh Jones at Alliance Defending Freedom: The new exemption is simpler than before but continues to cover only a sliver of religious organizations. As before, the new exemption cross-references and relies upon an unrelated section in the tax code that exempts certain church-related organizations from filing annual returns with the IRS.
Washington Post: Obama gave a one-word answer: “Yes.” Pressed to elaborate, Obama said, “I think that my attitude is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does in every institution and walk of life.”
The Boy Scouts flirtation with dishonor and destruction: Highly paid executivers buckle to corporate bullying | Robert Knight
Robert Knight at Washington Times: In other words, sponsoring organizations could now coerce Scout troops to accept openly homosexual men and boys. Scout councils in liberal jurisdictions would lose the national shield. Those who resist would be kicked out of schools and other locales. This “local option” would signal surrender and destroy the Boy Scouts. Without parental trust, the Boy Scouts, founded in 1910 and which have been instrumental in helping millions of boys transition to manhood, would implode like a popped balloon. Does anyone other than left-wing ideologues and America’s enemies think this would be good for America?
Naple News: “All Americans, not just those in church organizations, are guaranteed freedom of conscience in their daily lives and work,” said Matt Bowman, legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has filed lawsuits on behalf of family-based companies.
Michael Foust at Baptist Press: Alliance Defending Freedom senior legal counsel Matt Bowman said the proposal still infringes on religious liberty. “Religious non-profits will, in fact, be forced to provide an insurance plan with a provider that gives the religious group’s employees abortion-pill coverage in direct connection with that plan, the coverage is definitely not free, and the coverage is imposed ‘automatically’ even against the objection of many employees who don’t want free abortion-pill coverage for themselves or their daughters,” Bowman said.
NPR: “The administration’s narrow gesture does nothing to protect many faith-based employers or religious families from the unconstitutional abortion pill mandate,” says Matt Bowman of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal group backing some of the suits. “The government has no business putting religious freedom on the negotiating table, or picking and choosing who is allowed to exercise faith.”
Christian Post: “Americans have the God-given freedom to live and do business according to their faith,” Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman said in a statement following the order. “Honoring God is not just important within the four walls of a church; it is important every day, in all areas of life, including in our work.”