Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
LifeSiteNews: A pro-abortion doctor is insisting there are strict protocols in place to avoid the awkward problem of having “to deal with a live, aborted infant.” In a letter printed in Tuesday’s National Post, Dr. Christiane Dauphinais seems to be trying to quell public concern after the mainstream media reported on StatsCan data suggesting hundreds of babies were left to die after being born alive following failed abortions between 2000 and 2009. But something tells me this isn’t going to help her cause.
Christian Science Monitor: More than 100 Conservative MPs voted against the gay marriage bill backed by Prime Minister David Cameron, but support from Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs carried the vote.
NY Law Journal: Rivera garnered the support of all 11 Democratic members of the committee but failed to capture the 12 votes necessary for committee support. The end result is Rivera’s future will be decided by the full Senate, where Democrats hold a thin majority. A vote is expected on Feb. 11.
Sentencing Law and Policy: I noted in this prior post the must-read opinions from a split Second Circuit panel in US v. Broxmeyer, No. 10-5283 (2d Cir. Aug. 27, 2012) (available here), in which the panel upholded the reasonableness of a 30-year sentence for possession and attempted production of child pornography.
Topeka-Capitol Journal: Abortion opponents have delivered a rezoning petition with about 14,000 signatures to the Wichita City Council in a move to block the opening of a clinic at the building once owned by slain abortion provider George Tiller.
The Telegraph: In a surprise move, peers passed an amendment to the Defamation Bill to introduce a cheap arbitration service between newspapers and people who feel wronged by the press – one of Lord Leveson’s key recommendations.
Michael Foust at Baptist Press: Lind is represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom. “Americans have the God-given freedom to live and do business according to their faith,” said Alliance Defending Freedom senior legal counsel Matt Bowman. “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. Freedom is not the government’s to give and take away when it pleases. The court did the right thing in issuing its order, and we are confident that this unconstitutional mandate’s days are numbered.”
LIfeNews: When twins Mackenzie and Cameron Glover were born 17 weeks prematurely on 17 June last year, they were so tiny that their mother said they could ‘fit inside a pint glass’.
Abortion pill mandate ‘exceptions’ leave Colo. senior centers in the cold | Alliance Defending Freedom
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allied attorneys have filed the first legal challenge to the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate since the announcement last week of additional proposed rules that do not respect the religious freedom of family business owners. The federal lawsuit was filed Monday on behalf of the owner of several small businesses that run senior living centers and skilled nursing facilities in Colorado.
Biz Journals: Making the proposed policy change would have profound implications regarding religious liberty and First Amendment rights,” said Liberty Institute President Kelly Shackelford in concert with Mathew Staver, Chairman and Founder of Liberty Counsel, and Gary McCaleb, Chief Solicitor and Executive Vice President of Alliance Defending Freedom. “We are also happy to provide representation to protect your First Amendment rights if you choose to continue respecting and adhering to your longstanding view of what the Scout Oath means when a scout promises to be “morally straight.”
Christian Institute: David Cameron suffered a “disaster” tonight, as most of his Tory MPs failed to back his Bill to redefine marriage. Early indications suggest that more Tory MPs voted against Mr Cameron than supported him.
Global Post: As Britain’s parliament votes on whether to pass legislation to allow homosexual couples to marry following is a breakdown of countries with similar laws on the books.
CBS: An ethics panel has criticized a Maryland lawmaker for using his official letterhead to urge Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to restrain a football player from publicly supporting same-sex marriage.
FT.com: France is at war in Mali, and at home unemployment is rising fast, but the issue dominating the nation’s parliament is a ferocious debate over the Socialist government’s proposal to legalise same-sex marriage.
Telegraph: Conservative MP David Burrows says he will vote against marriage being extended to same-sex couples as he does not feel the institution needs to be redefined.
Washington Post: The Pentagon has decided to extend certain benefits to the spouses of gay and lesbian personnel, according to officials and people notified about the decision, responding to the increasingly vocal appeals of same-sex couples in the military.
Forbes: What’s the big deal, right? Just like Skype! Or ooVoo or any number of other video chat apps for the desktop. Except there’s no intermediary! This demonstration uses a relatively new protocol called WebRTC that promises to change the way we all use the internet.
One News: Christian attorney John Mauck argues that natural law and common sense provide ample reason to preserve marriage as it has always been understood — the union of one man and one woman.
Chicago Tribune: An Illinois Senate committee advanced a same-sex marriage bill 9-5. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, next moves to the full Senate, where backers indicated it could come up for a vote on Valentine’s Day.
Huffington Post: “What we’re really talking about here is creating a world and a society where sexual orientation change efforts are looked upon as as ridiculous for LGBT people as they are for a heterosexual person,” said Toiko Kleppe, a representative of the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. “That is also a world that human rights law is in favor of.”
WUSA9.com: District of Columbia officials are announcing a partnership between prosecutors, the mayor’s office and the gay, lesbian and transgender community.
NY Times: Kevin L. James, a conservative talk show host running for mayor of Los Angeles, was sitting in his campaign office recently pondering which was his bigger obstacle to victory: being openly Republican, or being openly gay.
BBC: The Commons voted in favour of the The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, by 400 to 175, a majority of 225, at the end of a full day’s debate on the bill.
Times Argus: “There are people in the state who are not able to access health coverage simply because their spouse’s employer refuses to recognize their marriage,” says Rep. Paul Poirier, a Barre City independent. “We passed gay marriage, but a lot of people still can’t get the benefits of marriage.”
Dallas Morning News: This morning, a group representing gay Boy Scouts and Scout leaders presented petitions urging the Boy Scouts of America to rescind its ban on gay members.
LifeSiteNews: A private Catholic high school in Montreal has decided to appeal to Canada’s highest court in its fight for academic and religious freedom.
LifeSiteNews: Planned Parenthood is not only facing an uphill battle in state legislatures seeking to deprive the organization of taxpayer dollars, it is also receiving a distinctly chilly welcome at some university campuses.
LifeSiteNews: Under state law, schools do not need to obtain parental consent to dispense the drugs. The $2.7 million program has provided contraceptives to 22,400 teens as young as 14.
LifeNews: The Arkansas state House on Monday voted to approve a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the science showing unborn children feel pain at that point.
Today, scientist may have turned urine into a different kind of gold, stem cell gold. Researchers in China have created neural stem cells from the cells found in urine. From Wired . . .
Cal Thomas at Townhall: The core issue as I see it — and there are others — is whether the government has the right to define a church as a building in which people congregate on Sundays and whether a private company headed by a religious person qualifies for conscience exemptions
Pastor Jailed for Refusing to Testify in Prosecution Arising from Lesbian Custody and the First Amendment | Eugene Volokh
Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy:Of course, under the Free Exercise Clause as interpreted by Employment Division v. Smith (1990), the pastor’s religious belief would likely be constitutionally irrelevant — the duty to testify would likely be viewed as a generally religion-neutral law of general applicability, and even sincere religious objectors would not be entitled to a constitutional exemption. (I generally think this is the right approach.) There are some possible counterarguments. One might argue that the law is not generally applicable because the duty to testify includes a religious exemption for clergy (of any denomination) who refuse to testify about confidential communications that they feel religiously obligated to keep confidential. One might also argue that this case involves a “hybrid rights” claim, involving a supposed combination of a Free Exercise Clause claim and a freedom-from-compelled-speech claim.
Atlanta J. Constitution: The chief judge of the federal appeals court in Atlanta said Monday he may wait until the Senate fills one of two current vacancies on the court before he becomes a senior judge. Chief Judge Joel Dubina . . .
Religion Clause Blog: In Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth v. Sebelius, (ND TX, Jan. 31, 2013). a Texas federal district court rejected both standing and ripeness challenges to a lawsuit challenging the application of the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate to the Fort Worth Diocese . . .
Religion Clause Blog: The three largest religious sponsors are Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (37,000 units), the Methodist Church (11,000 units) and the Roman Catholic Church (8,000 units).
Travis Barham appeared on the Zeb Bell Show to discuss the Cowboys for Life case at Oklahoma State University. | MP3 audio 13:35 mins
Counton2.com: In a letter to top Boy Scout officials, Liberty Institute, Liberty Counsel and the Alliance Defending Freedom note that the Supreme Court upheld the ban as part of scouting’s self-defined mission to instill morals, so making gay membership optional would suggest the Boy Scouts no longer consider homosexuality immoral. The letter says that would expose scout troops that disagree to discrimination lawsuits they can’t afford.
One News Now: In a letter to top Boy Scout officials, Liberty Institute, Liberty Counsel and the Alliance Defending Freedom note that the Supreme Court upheld the ban as part of scouting’s self-defined mission to instill morals, so making homosexual membership optional would suggest the Boy Scouts no longer consider homosexuality immoral.
One News Now: Stanley tells OneNewsNow the Fredericksburg City Council claims the children are dangerous. “What it really boils down to is just that the city council is exhibiting a really prejudicial attitude and stereotypes about disabled kids,” he states. “These children are not dangerous. There’s no evidence that they’ve ever been dangerous, but yet the city council denied zoning because of their fear.”
Wesley Smith at National Review: The Obama Administration has really pulled a fast one. In its proposed rule to supposedly provide greater protections to non house of worship religious organizations opposed to contraception, it actually ensures that contraception coverage will be provided to all religious employees–whether house of worship, convent, or school. In other words, the proposed rule expands the government’s intrusion into religious affairs, rather than reduce it.
The New American: Kevin Theriot of Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal advocacy group, said it appears that InterVarsity has a strong reason to file a suit against the University of Michigan for religious discrimination. Such religious discrimination, particularly against Christian groups, has increased in the wake of a 2010 Supreme Court decision,Christian Legal Society vs. Martinez, in which the High Court ruled that a public university may implement a policy effectively requiring religious groups to receive “all comers” as long as it applies the same rule to all campus groups. It’s really amazing that we have come to this place in our society where a Christian group can’t require Christian leaders,” Theriot told Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink. “It’s really kind of silly, but we are seeing more and more universities do this.”
Patheos: The White House has made no concessions to the religious conscience claims of private businesses, and the whole spirit of the “compromise” is minimalist. As a result, the latest White House “compromise” already has a wave of critics, including respected national religious liberty law firms like the Becket Fund and the Alliance Defending Freedom. And many are far harsher than Professor Bradley in their analysis.
Helen Alvare at Public Discourse: The latest proposed amendment to the HHS mandate still draws on empirically unsound data and violates religious freedom.
AP: While bills to permit same-sex civil unions and a ban on discrimination against gays made it out of committee, they went down in votes in the full House and Senate. That they even got that far was seen by many as a sign of how the shifting national attitude toward gay rights is affecting views in red states such as Wyoming.
AP: A gunman tried to shoot a Danish writer and prominent critic of Islam on Tuesday, but missed and fled after a scuffle with his intended victim, police and the writer said.
SCOTUS Blog: Arguing that the National Labor Relations Board has lost its power to take any action, lawyers for a Connecticut nursing home company on Monday asked the Supreme Court to forbid a lower court from enforcing a Board order arising out of a union strike.
Rasmussen Reports: New recruiting commercials present the U.S. Navy as “a global force for good,” a description that aggravates some policy analysts. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that it doesn’t do too well in the court of public opinion either.
SCOTUS Blog: In April the Court will hear oral argument in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics on the single question, “Are human genes patentable?” At issue in the case are nucleotide sequences that, in their native state, predispose the individuals carrying them to breast cancer. Myriad has isolated and patented the sequences for use in diagnostic testing.
Michael Foust of BP News on the Christian Examiner: 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.
David Bohon at the New American: Matt Bowman of Alliance Defending Freedom, another conservative legal group representing several Christian non-profits and businesses in suits against the mandate, said the federal government “has no business putting religious freedom on the negotiating table, or picking and choosing who is allowed to exercise faith. The administration must immediately abandon the idea that it has the power to withhold or dispense our fundamental freedoms to whomever it chooses. The mandate is losing in court. The only acceptable solution is for the administration to obey the Constitution and its legal duty to protect religious freedom.”
CBN: The government has no business putting religious freedom on the negotiating table, or picking and choosing who is allowed to exercise faith,” said Matt Bowman of Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal ministry also involved in numerous legal battles against the mandate. “The administration must immediately abandon the idea that it has the power to withhold or dispense our fundamental freedoms to whomever it chooses. The mandate is losing in court. The only acceptable solution is for the administration to obey the Constitution and its legal duty to protect religious freedom.” Complete statement.
DFW Catholic.org: The Alliance Defending Freedom – which is handling several religious freedom lawsuits challenging the regulation – explained that the “new exemption is simpler than before but continues to cover only a sliver of religious organizations.” This is because the exemption still relies upon a section of tax code that categorizes churches, their conventions, auxiliaries and religious orders, the group explained in a Feb. 1 blog post.
Tom Krattenmaker at Green Bay Press Gazette: If only groups such as the American Life League could likewise pause and assess before erupting in the predictable cries about religious freedom under attack. The Obama administration continues “to treat our country’s conscience like a jailor,” railed Judie Brown, president of the American Life League. Matt Bowman, senior legal counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, demanded that the administration “immediately abandon the idea that it has the power to withhold or dispense our fundamental freedoms to whomever it chooses.”