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Tuscaloosa News (AP): The Alabama Supreme Court on Monday upheld a GOP-championed school-choice law that gives tax credits to help some families pay for private school.
Religion Clause: In Waters v. Ricketts, (D NE, March 2, 2015), a Nebraska federal district court issued a preliminary injunction, effective March 9, prohibiting enforcement of the state’s laws that bar same-sex marriage and recognition of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.
USA Today (The Indianapolis Star): In March the McGaths faced a firestorm of protest after declining a request to bake a cake for a commitment ceremony for two men. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Indiana since Oct. 7.
Religion News Service (Reuters): Big business rallied behind the same-sex marriage cause on Thursday as the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled oral arguments for April 28 on the contentious social issue that promises to yield one of the justices’ most important rulings of 2015.
The Washington Times: By an almost 2-1 margin, Americans in a recent poll declared they agree that “States and citizens should remain free to uphold marriage as the union of a man and a woman and the Supreme Court shouldn’t force all 50 states to redefine marriage.”
The Washington Post: The British actor and comedian made news last week for making the video above, in which he discusses the impact of porn in his own life and asks whether the current ubiquity of lurid content — running the gamut from literal porn to lingerie billboards — might be having some negative consequences for our interpersonal relationships.
The Washington Post: The Maryland parents investigated for letting their young children walk home by themselves from a park were found responsible for “unsubstantiated” child neglect in a decision that has not fully resolved their clash with authorities over questions of parenting and children’s safety.
Aleteia: Eighty-one percent of Alabamans voted to affirm in the state’s constitution that marriage consists of one man and one woman. A federal judge decided they were wrong, and she sought to enforce her ruling by ordering probate judges in the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She was backed by the US Supreme Court. The highest judge in the state’s judicial system ordered probate judges to ignore her order.
Alabama Supreme Court affirms natural marriage, orders probate judges to cease issuing illegal licenses
Liberty Counsel: “The ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court is historic, and is one of the most researched and well reasoned opinions on marriage to be issued by any court in the country,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.
The New York Times: The Alabama Supreme Court on Tuesday night ordered probate judges around the state to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, ruling in direct opposition to a federal judge that the state’s ban on same sex marriage did not violate the United States Constitution.
WILX: Legislators will take their first look at a set of bills Wednesday, that would allow adoption agencies to refuse services if those services conflicted with the agency’s “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Yahoo News (AP): U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Bataillon struck down Nebraska’s constitutional amendment, triggering an appeal less than an hour later by the state attorney general’s office.
NOM Blog: The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today commended the Alabama Supreme Court for ordering state officials to cease issuing marriage licenses that are illegal under state law, and thus defied a federal judge who is attempting to impermissibly impose her views of marriage on the people of Alabama.
Family Studies: When popular car service company Uber announced that it was launching a fleet of cars equipped with car seats, they reached an under-tapped demographic of American consumers: families.
USA Today: Lawyers representing same-sex marriage plaintiffs from four Midwest states filed their initial briefs with the Supreme Court on Friday, claiming to be on “the right side of history.”
The Washington Post: In the brief, the signatories argue that they “have concluded that marriage is strengthened, and its value to society and to individual families and couples is promoted, by providing access to civil marriage for all American couples—heterosexual or gay or lesbian alike. In particular, civil marriage provides stability for the children of same-sex couples, the value of which cannot be overestimated. In light of these conclusions, amici believe that the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits States from denying same-sex couples the legal rights and responsibilities that flow from the institution of civil marriage.”
Religion Clause: The U.S. Supreme Court today denied certiorari in ProtectMarriage.com v. Padilla, (Docket No. 14-434, cert. denied 3/2/2015) (Order List). In the case, the 9th Circuit in a 2-1 decision (full text) rejected a challenge by backers of California’s Proposition 8 to the state’s campaign contribution disclosure requirements. Challengers had argued that contributors to the campaign against same-sex marriage had been harassed.
The Washington Post: In response to two male athletes on its volleyball team coming out in an article published on OutSports.com last year, the college, which is aligned with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian tradition, released a strongly worded denouncement of homosexuality on campus that many read to be a behavioral ban.
LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM? Housing for 15 alternative sexualities is OK, but men-only fraternities are not, Wesleyan University says
The Christian Post: Wesleyan University housing has an option for students who want to live with others identifying with one of 15 categories — LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM. The university’s inclusiveness excludes, however, male-only fraternities.
Aleteia: When Pope Francis listed Gender Theory among the most destructive threats we face today, many people had no idea what he was talking about.
Family Studies: Last week, the New York Times chronicled the dramatic case of two babies switched at birth. Two decades ago, two mothers came home from a hospital in southern France with the wrong daughters. As the girls got older it became increasingly clear that they had little biological resemblance to their parents. Indeed, the father of one girl left her mother because he was suspicious of the girl’s origins.
Military: The military’s divorce rate dropped again last year reaching its lowest point since 2005, according to statistics released today by the Defense Department.
Christian Today: A provision passed by North Carolina legislators on Wednesday would allow officials to opt-out of conducting same-sex marriage ceremonies.
Lincoln Journal Star: A U.S. district judge has struck down Nebraska’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, but county clerks across the state won’t be issuing marriage licenses just yet.
America Magazine: The one subject guaranteed to start fireworks today is children. Hence the pyrotechnics whenever Pope Francis talks of rabbits, sterility or contraception. Judging from my 16 years teaching family law, the law struggles with children too, for reasons similar to why individuals do. A church trying to figure out how to speak about marriage and family needs to understand this struggle, given that lawmakers are now considering redefining marriage—the last and most basic “place” where family law safeguards children.
Religion Clause: Three senior faculty members at the University of Notre Dame earlier this week published an interesting attack on the decision by Notre Dame University and some other Catholic institutions to grant same-sex couples who are legally married the same employee benefits available to married heterosexual couples.
Religion Clause: Knox v. Union Township Board of Education, (D NJ, Feb. 23, 2015), is a suit by a former tenured special education teacher at a public high school in New Jersey who was suspended after a posting comments on her personal Facebook page expressing her religious disapproval of a school billboard that promoted alternative homosexual lifestyles.
Life Site News: A vast majority of Americans want the government to stay out of their personal affairs when it comes to defining marriage and how they conduct their work lives or businesses, a new survey says. And a great majority also oppose the idea of the Supreme Court forcing the entire country to accept marriage redefinition.
Public Discourse: When running for the presidency in 2008, Barack Obama misled the voters about his true position on the question of same-sex marriage. This is not an accusation made by one of the president’s political enemies, but an admission made by one of his closest political advisors: David Axelrod.
NBC News: Simply put, while the marital status of a child’s parents can influence the overall well-being of the child, the family’s economic situation can be even more important, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data conducted by the Council on Contemporary Families (CCF).
The Washington Post: These days, 20something marriage has gotten a reputation for being a bad idea. That’s partly because parents, peers, and the popular culture encourage young adults to treat their twenties as a decade for exploration and getting one’s ducks in a row, not for settling down. In the immortal words of Jay-Z, “Thirty’s the new twenty.”
Ed Excellence: As I explain in Education Next, a more holistic approach would also take seriously what Isabel Sawhill and Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution call the “success sequence”: get at least a high school diploma, work full time, and wait till you are at least twenty-one and married before having children. They estimate that 98 percent of individuals who follow those three norms will not be poor, and almost three-quarters will be solidly middle class. On the flip side, three-quarters of young people who fail to follow any of those norms will be poor, and almost none will be middle class.
Family Studies: How can we address the decline of marriage and the rise of single parenting in America? Most answers to that question center on reforming the social safety net to address marriage penalties, widening access to contraception, improving relationship education programs, and increasing the availability of stable, well-paying jobs. In a new article for Education Next, Michael Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, proposes another way to tackle the problem: Involve schools.
Deseret News: Eric Moutsos doesn’t believe he should have to leave his personal convictions at home when he walks out the door to go to work — particularly his religious beliefs.
Yahoo News (AP): A former Salt Lake City police officer who was put on leave and later resigned after he objected to riding in the motorcycle brigade at the front of last year’s pride parade is speaking out against what he believes was a violation of his religious liberties.
Faith and Reason: Dr. Ryan Anderson, William E. Simon Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, delivers his talk entitled “Marriage Equality and Marriage Reality at the Supreme Court: What You Need to Know About Marriage and the State.” Dr. Anderson’s talk was part of the Distinguished Speakers Series at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
First Things: When I started graduate school in English in the early 90s, I thought that a certificate in Women’s Studies would widen my training and help my career. My university happened to have a famous professor in the field, a pioneer in academic feminism who had created one of the first graduate degree programs in Women’s Studies. A tough, learned woman with exacting standards, she did not suffer fools or histrionic students lightly. She was also a conservative.
Family Studies: If you imagine a single woman having a baby around 1980, what do you think her life has been like since? By the time that child became an adult, was the mother any better off than she had been when the child was born?
Indy Star: Senate Bill 101 is intended to increase legal protections for those with strongly held religious beliefs, but has raised new questions about the dividing line between discrimination and religious freedom.
Family Studies: Young people are less likely to be victims of crime if they live in two-parent than in single-parent households. That has been a consistent finding of the National Crime Victimization Survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice.
First Things: Mary Ann Glendon wrote nearly a quarter century ago that “a new form of rights talk has come into being” in contemporary America, in which rights are “presented as absolute, individual, and independent of any necessary relation to our responsibilities.”
Public Discourse: For some people, scientific research on the subject of same-sex parenting is irrelevant. A new volume is meant for those who still approach the topic of parenting and sexuality with open minds. According to the best data, average life outcomes for children raised by parents in same-sex relationships tend to resemble those of children raised by single and divorced parents.
Religion Clause: Today’s New York Times carries an article titled Among the Navajos, a Renewed Debate About Gay Marriage. The two largest Indian tribes– the Navajo Nation and the Cherokee Nation– ban same sex marriage, though at least ten smaller tribes have legalized same-sex unions. The national debate on the issue is causing some Navajos to consider repealing a 2005 tribal law– the Dine Marriage Act– which prohibits same-sex unions on the Navajo reservation.
The Washington Examiner: A majority of Americans, especially men, African-Americans and regular church-goers, oppose same-sex marriage and want the Supreme Court to keep its paws off the issue, according to a poll released Tuesday.
Philly Mag: Well this is a game-changer if I ever heard one: Scientists say that same-sex couples may soon be able to produce biological children together.
CBS Connecticut (AP): Members and alumni of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Wesleyan University have filed a discrimination lawsuit against the Connecticut school over a recent decision that requires all residential fraternities to become coed within three years.
Public Discourse: It is morally indefensible for Catholic institutions to recognize and incentivize same-sex marriages by extending marriage benefits to employees who declare themselves legally married to a person of the same sex.
First Things: Several friends contacted me over the weekend with news that Wesleyan University has taken the ever-expanding list of initials used to refer to sexual identities to new heights of absurdity or sensitivity, depending on one’s perspective. We are now apparently up to fifteen letters: LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM.
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission: The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention submitted an amicus brief today to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that marriage between a man and a woman is vital to the welfare of children, families and society.
Christian News Network: This past Sunday, during an episode of Oprah’s “Super Soul Sunday,” Rob Bell, the former head “pastor” of Michigan’s Mars Hill Bible Church and author of “Love Wins,” a book questioning the orthodox Christian view of Hell, told the talk show host that he believes the Church is “moments away” from embracing same-sex “marriage.”
Texas county issues its first marriage license to same-sex couple; Texas Supreme Court issues stay halting other marriages
The Washington Post: In response, the state’s attorney general asked the Texas Supreme Court to halt any same-sex marriage activity, and the court issued an emergency stay on Thursday afternoon. The Texas attorney general also declared the historic marriage license void on Thursday.
ABA Journal: Fleet and Smith says it has a dozen people who are qualified to officiate at weddings and will ask for more volunteers from outside the firm to officiate if necessary, the Daily News reports.
Public Discourse: The structure and logic of the legal arguments made for nationwide judicial imposition of same-sex marriage are remarkably similar to the arguments made by those who argued for the judicial imposition of slavery nationwide. Will the Republican Party produce another Lincoln to stand against them?
CBS News (AP): The marriage license given to two Austin women – who succeeded by seizing on a ruling this week in an unrelated estate squabble – thrust Texas back into the national spotlight over gay marriage but didn’t send same-sex couples rushing to courthouses.
CNN: The state high court ruling did not invalidate the marriage of the two women in Austin, but Paxton said his office will seek to void their marriage license “due to the erroneous judicial order.”
Christian Today: Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown will become the country’s first openly bisexual mayor when she is sworn in on Wednesday.
Family Studies: Children’s educational outcomes—their cognitive skills, grades, and educational attainment—are closely linked to their parents’ level of education.
First Things: In the Gospel of St. Mark, the Lord Jesus teaches that “from the beginning of creation ‘God made them male and female.’” He then declares a great and beautiful truth inscribed in creation: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh” (Mark 10:6–8).
Time: Travis County Probate Judge Guy Herman made the ruling as part of an estate dispute, in which a woman sought to have her eight-year relationship with her late partner accepted as common-law marriage, the Austin Statesman reports.
Religion News Service: On Feb. 4, Covenant officials told Phillips they were dropping support for Christ Church because of his “personal convictions and advocacy for the full inclusion and participation of LGBT Christians in the church at all levels of membership and leadership,” he said in a statement.
Public Discourse: CNN anchor Chris Cuomo recently argued that rights are a simply matter of “collective agreement and compromise.” His remarks are evidence of a desire on the part of America’s intellectual and cultural elite to divorce America from its traditional political identity and from the notion that politics has any connection to God.
Statesman: Travis County Probate Judge Guy Herman ruled Tuesday that the Texas marriage law was unconstitutional, raising questions about whether same-sex couples can begin marrying in the county.
Family Studies: More than 40 years ago, no-fault divorce laws opened the door for people to leave problematic marriages without needing to “show cause.” This has been heralded as a great victory for those imprisoned in abusive marriages, and it has provided a much-needed mechanism to escape such relationships.
One News Now: Probate judges and others in Alabama are waiting to see if they must bow to a ruling issued by one federal judge over homosexual “marriage.”
The Washington Post: Everyone wants to know whether Jeb Bush can survive his support for Common Core and comprehensive immigration reform in today’s Republican Party. One deal-breaker that might surprise people, though: His opposition to same-sex marriage.
The Daily Signal: Fifty-one years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the War on Poverty. Since then, taxpayers have spent more than $22 trillion fighting Johnson’s war, three times the cost of all military wars in U.S. history.
USA Today: The decision to discharge transgender soldiers from the Army would be made by a top, senior civilian official under a plan outlined in a draft document obtained by USA TODAY.
The Week: Every group of people has a worldview, and every worldview is based on stories that are at least partly mythical. For example, a key part of the progressive worldview is the idea that social change driven by appeals to science and reason is (a) good and (b) irreversible.
Public Discourse: Neurons that fire together wire together. BDSM causes the neural networks controlling sexual arousal, aggression, and fear to become dangerously intertwined. An examination of the phenomenon of BDSM from the perspective of a psychiatrist.
The New York Times:
Religion Clause: While Probate Judges in 50 of Alabama’s 67 counties have begun to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, opposition to a federal district court’s invalidation of the state’s same-sex marriage ban has not ended. The Alabama Policy Institute and the Alabama Citizens Action Program filed a petition (full text) with the Alabama Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking a writ of mandamus ordering county probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples or recognize licenses issued to them. The petition argues that fededral court injunctions aimed at the state’s attorney general do not bind probate judges. The Supreme Court yesterday issued an order, with two justices filing dissenting opinions, (full text) ordering respondents to file answers by Feb. 18. Justice Shaw dissenting said: “I would urge restraint and would urge this Court not to interject more confusion into what is already a very confusing situation.” Also yesterday Equality Alabama filed and amicus brief (full text) urging dismissal of the petition. Meanwhile, a Mississippi Ku Klux Klan faction called for support of efforts to defy federal court same-sex marriage rulings.
Omaha.com: Otoe County Clerk Janene Bennett in southeast Nebraska says she doesn’t think she could ever issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple, even if a judge ordered her to do so.