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Lambda Legal: Last April, Amber Hatcher made plans to observe National Day of Silence, a student-led day of action sponsored by Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) in which thousands of students across the country remain silent to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools. She asked for permission from her principal, Mrs. Shannon Fusco, nearly a month before the event and provided information from GLSEN and Lambda Legal that explained the observance and students’ legal right to participate. When Principal Fusco threatened Amber with “ramifications” if she participated . . .
Baptist Press: Virginia lawmakers have voted to give college campus groups the right to restrict membership to students who agree with their mission.
Wall Street Journal: A coalition of physicians says Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed abortion rights bill will hurt women, forcing many into lifetime bouts with depression and guilt while making late-term abortions more common and more dangerous.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a brief Friday with the U.S. Supreme Court inUnited States v. Windsor arguing, among other things, that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, but only under “heightened constitutional scrutiny,” as described in this legal analysis.
LifeSiteNews: Canada’s top court has released an unanimous decision today that critics say has struck a monumental blow against freedom of speech, opinion, and religion across the country.
Blog of the Legal Times: Jane Kelly got an extra friendly reception from the Senate Judiciary Committee at her confirmation hearing Wednesday for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, soaking up a stream of compliments and fielding questions about why diversity in the courts is important.
Religion Dispatches: Kellie Fiedorek of the Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund) reprised arguments she made at a recent Family Research Council event, characterizing the bill as an effort to expand “sexual liberty” at the expense of religious liberty. She said the bill’s lack of provisions to allow social service agencies, judges and clerks, and individual business owners to discriminate against gay couples was evidence of an “intent to legislative prejudice” against people who have religious objections to same-sex marriage.
Canadian Supreme Court: Freedom Of Religion And The Right To Equality Must Co-exist | Christian Legal Fellowship
World: It’s one of many custody battles in which courts have ruled in favor of the “right” of same-sex couples to have children, instead of the right for children to have both a mother and father.
NewsObserver: The first abortion bill of the session has been filed. Senate Bill 132 would require that students be taught that abortion can cause premature births in subsequent pregnancies. Whether that’s true or not is a matter of some dispute among medical professionals, and a committee of the state Child Fatality Task Force heard from doctors on both sides in November. But it was one of the recommendations the full task force ultimately included in its list for legislators to consider this session.
Ariz. town: Church signs tightly regulated, political signs…well, not so much | Alliance Defending Freedom
Christian Institute: Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon risks losing her Holyrood seat if the SNP continues to press ahead with plans to redefine marriage, a former Party activist has said.
Anchorage Daily News: Experts scheduled to testify on an abortion bill Wednesday are “extremists” who have made “outlandish, demonstrably false claims” about abortion, the chairman of the Alaska Democratic party said ahead of a hearing on the measure.
Reuters: The Indiana state Senate on Tuesday approved Republican-backed legislation to require women seeking to end pregnancies through use of the so-called abortion pill to have an ultrasound examination.
Arkansas Matters: The Arkansas House has voted to override Governor Mike Beebe’s Tuesday veto of the 20-week abortion ban bill.
San Francisco Chronicle: A South Dakota Senate committee on Wednesday approved an extension of what is already the nation’s longest waiting period for a woman to receive an abortion.
ADFMedia has created a resource page listing pending HHS suits by state.
Independent.ie: “A transgender dentist is to launch a fresh legal challenge for a new birth certificate recognising her female gender.”
AP: Australia’s highest court on Wednesday narrowly rejected the case of two Muslim activists who argued they had a constitutional free-speech right to send offensive letters to families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan
Ryan T. Anderson at Heritage Foundation: Some former officials in the Republican Party are urging the Supreme Court to redefine marriage for the nation. But support for marriage as the union of a man and a woman is essential to American—and conservative—principles. Indeed, nothing could be less conservative than urging an activist court to redefine an essential institution of civil society.
Reuters on Yahoo: Gay and lesbian couples living together report poorer health than straight married couples, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday, speculating that legalizing same-sex marriage could reduce the disparities.
Denver Post: The parents of a transgender 6-year-old have filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division because Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain banned the first-grader from using the girls’ restroom.
Pascal Emmanuel Gobry at The American Scene: But of course, as any freshman philosophy student can tell, the problem comes when you try to ground those universal human rights. Where do they come from? Who confers them? Why should they be respected? There’s basically only two ways to do so, one theistic and one non-theistic. Universal human rights are perfectly grounded if they come from God, as the Declaration of Independence asserts and as I believe in my heart of hearts. But not everybody likes that, and it sort of defeats the purpose of creating this secular moral system to begin with. The only other way that I’m aware of to ground the idea of universal human rights is in, wait for it, the natural law.
Robert Knight at Townhall: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has lost its six-year campaign to tear down a Ten Commandments monument at the Dixie County, Florida courthouse. They’ve even lost their usual extortion money for harassing a community.
Religion Clause Blog: The court dismissed a petition filed on behalf of a 17-year old Muslim girl who claimed that the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act is not applicable to Muslims because Muslim Personal Law permits marriage of a girl after she has attained puberty.
Religion Clause Blog: The Wyndgate Country Club of Rochester Hills, Michigan cancelled its contract for CFI to hold a dinner at the country club after the club learned that the speaker for the event was famous atheist Richard Dawkins. The club justified the cancellation by saying “the owner does not wish to associate with certain individuals and philosophies.a
Religion Clause Blog: Last year the Freedom From Religion Foundation objected, arguing that this amounts to preferential treatment in public accommodations on the basis of creed– a violation of Wis. Stat. 106.52(3)(a)(2).
Religion Clause Blog: The by-law was challenged by two street preachers. In Attorney-General (SA) v Corporation of the City of Adelaide, (HCA, Feb. 27, 2013) . . .
Mercury News: Hundreds of businesses on Wednesday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a 1996 federal law barring benefits to same-sex couples, including Silicon Valley tech titans Apple, Google, Oracle and eBay.
Religion Clause Blog: In Moore-King v. County of Chesterfield, Virginia, (4th Cir., Feb. 26, 2013), the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld against various constitutional challenges a Virginia county’s regulation of fortune tellers. The regulations require fortune tellers to obtain a license and business permit, and to obtain a conditional use permit in order to locate their business in specifically zoned areas.
Community.scoop.co.nz: Family First NZ says the Select Committee report on the same-sex marriage bill confirms that the terms husband and wife will be removed from 16 pieces of legislation as it seeks to redefines marriage. The report also confirms that the committee has …
Americans United for Separaiton of Church and State: By reciting a Christian prayer to open its meetings, the Brentwood, Md., Town Council has aligned itself with a single religion in violation of the U.S. Constitution, Americans United for Separation of Church and State has told a federal court. In a lawsuit filed today on behalf of two residents of the community, Americans United said the council’s practice of beginning its sessions with the Lord’s Prayer transgresses the First Amendment.
ACLU: The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Pennsylvania have sent a letter requesting that school officials at Governor Mifflin School District in Berks County stop using Internet filters that violate students’ First Amendment free speech rights. The district uses a “sexuality” filter that blocks sites that express support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, and an “intolerance” filter that blocks political advocacy sites that are labeled as intolerant.
Radio Free Europe: The Belarusian Justice Ministry has refused to legally register a homosexual rights organization in Minsk.
Newsitem.com: The Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way Board announced Friday it will be placing discretionary funding for the Susquehanna Council of Boy Scouts of America on “pause” while the national Boy Scouts of America organization concludes its review of a policy of “not granting membership to open or avowed homosexuals.”
Scoop.co.nz: Family First NZ says that the proposed Select Committee amendments to the same-sex marriage Bill will not protect places of faith from having to host ‘same-sex weddings’ if their facilities are available to the general public, and marriage celebrants who are not part of approved mainline churches or approved organisations will not be lawfully able to refuse a request to marry a same-sex couple by reason of the same-sex of the couple.
Gay Star News: ‘Most churches and sociologists agree that adult behaviour in all areas is shaped and influenced by what has happened in the family. ‘Spousal abuse, incest and rape, all these have irreversible negative effects on children and unfortunately and regrettably these are on the rise. ‘And I believe the root cause of some persons embracing the homosexual lifestyle’.
Hartford Courant: A lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut said during a public hearing before the joint committee on children Tuesday that the group opposes a bill that would restrict children’s access to certain video games.
LifeSiteNews: A recent paper by a Ph.D. priest from Poland has been circling the globe in recent weeks and given heightened prominence by the recent revelations of a Vatican inquiry into a “gay mafia” inside the Vatican. “Standing with the Pope against homoheresy,” was written in late 2012 by Fr. Dariusz Oko, Ph.D., a priest of the Archdiocese of Krakow and Assistant Professor at the John Paul II Pontifical University in Krakow.
World Magazine: Before the committee vote, Alliance Defending Freedom lawyer Kellie Fiedorek criticized the bill, according to the Chicago Tribune, telling lawmakers it “advances religious intolerance and discrimination towards Illinois citizens with sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Chicago Sun Times: “Religious freedom belongs to all people. It’s not confined to four walls of a church or to a certain individual. It belongs to every American. This bill fails to protect religious freedom, that is the constitutionally protected freedom that belongs to every American,” said Kellie Fiedorek, litigation counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, based in Washington, D.C.
Chicago Tribune: Kellie Fiedorek, an official with the Alliance Defending Freedom, argued against the bill. She said it failed to protect the religious freedoms of all Illinoisans because it “advances religious intolerance and discrimination towards Illinois citizens with sincerely held religious beliefs
Windy City Media Group: Kelly Frederick, of the Alliance Defending Freedom, said that the bill failed to protect religious freedom. She noted that Catholic Charities lost its state adoption contracts after the charities refused to place children with same-sex civil union spouses.
Jurist: The Constitutional Court of Hungary [official website, in Hungarian] on Tuesdaystruck down [judgment, PDF, in Hungarian, press release, in Hungarian] a law that outlines how churches are given official designation, finding that it was too political. Under the law, only Parliament could give churches official status.
KPHO (Joe LaRue in the video): It gives an open door to any sexual predator, not the transgender community, but any sexual predator that pretends to be transgender. That person can go into the women’s restroom and this gives them easy access to women and, especially, children,” said Joe La Rue of the group Alliance Defending Freedom.
Robert Gilligan at Chicago Tribune:Redefinition of marriage legislation making its way through the Illinois Legislature is not simply about fairness, as proponents claim. This legislation radically alters the legal definition of, and consequentially the cultural attitude toward, a key framework of our society.
Chicago Sun Times: Legislation that would make Illinois the 10th state to legalize gay marriage eked out of a House committee late Tuesday in a sign it still may be short of votes to pass the full legislative chamber.
ABA: A group of plaintiffs that includes lawyers and legal organizations has no standing to challenge a foreign surveillance law, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a 5-4 opinion.
New York CBS: The controversial pastor of a megachurch in Dallas spoke to his congregation on Sunday about “a wild week,” which centered around a scheduled appearance by Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow.
ABC 22: Chicago public schools students get their sex education in the fifth grade as most do in the U.S., but CPS wants to change that, so the instruction begins at age 5.
Sentencing Law and Policy Blog: A helpful reader alerted me to a notable ruling by a Sixth Circuit panel today in US v. Gamble, No. 11-5394 (6th Cir. Feb 27, 2013) (available here). Here is how the majority opinion gets started . . .