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What’s next for the Christian chapel owners who refuse to back down from refusal to perform same-sex marriage?
The Blaze: Jeremy Tedesco, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, the conservative legal firm representing Donald and Evelyn Knapp, owners of Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, told TheBlaze Wednesday that city attorney Michael Gridley confirmed in a letter Monday that “for-profit companies … are subject to the non-discrimination ordinance.”
Sonoran News: “No one in America should be forced to choose between following their conscience and serving their employer,” said ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Kellie Fiedorek. “The First Amendment protects the right to basic freedoms, including the freedom to live and work according to one’s conscience. These freedoms are guaranteed to every American, including those issuing marriage licenses.”
World Magazine (requires subscription): The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) have filed a complaint with the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on behalf of seven churches compelled to provide insurance coverage for elective abortions.
Look closely at these gov’t letters. The ‘elective abortion’ language could have major implications for churches
The Blaze: Casey Mattox, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, told TheBlaze Thursday that the regulatory amendment requiring abortion coverage was made by California’s Department of Managed Health Care.
The Global Dispatch: “There’s only one answer to Houston’s shameful problem: Withdraw the subpoenas. We agree with the commissioner that Houston should do just that immediately,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley.
The Global Dispatch: “No one in America should be forced to choose between following their conscience and serving their employer,” said ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Kellie Fiedorek. “The First Amendment protects the right to basic freedoms, including the freedom to live and work according to one’s conscience. These freedoms are guaranteed to every American, including those issuing marriage licenses.”
The Global Dispatch: “Public schools ought to encourage, not suppress, the free exchange of ideas. That includes respecting a student’s freedom to include a Bible verse and a reference to God in a Valentine’s Day card,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “We commend Nazareth Area School District for revising its speech policy so that it respects student religious expression.”
North American Ministries: “Public schools ought to encourage, not suppress, the free exchange of ideas. That includes respecting a student’s freedom to include a Bible verse and a reference to God in a Valentine’s Day card,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “We commend Nazareth Area School District for revising its speech policy so that it respects student religious expression.”
Fox News: Kerri Kupec discusses the Hitching Post case on Special Report with Bret Baier.
ADF Media: A U.S. civil rights commissioner issued a letter Wednesday to Houston Mayor Annise Parker that asks her to withdraw the city’s subpoenas for 17 different forms of private communications belonging to five pastors as part of lawsuit in which they are not involved. Alliance Defending Freedom represents the pastors in opposition to the subpoena requests in Woodfill v. Parker.
Washington Examiner (Written by our own Roger Kiska): The European Court of Human Rights has defined a democratic society as one which exhibits tolerance, broad-mindedness and pluralism. Western democracies, however, are often Orwellian in their redefinition of these very terms, as exemplified in the recent Houston subpoena scandal.
Alliance Defending Freedom: If you ask a bunch of high school students to collect things that they think represent our culture in this point in time, you have to be prepared for anything.
Idaho State Journal: According to the Spokesman-Review, the lawsuit was filed by Georgia and Arizona-based attorneys for Alliance Defending Freedom in partnership with Coeur d’Alene attorney Virginia McNulty Robinson. The group’s website defines ADF as a “legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.”
National Review: But Obamacare forbids states from discriminating against policies that don’t provide abortion coverage. True. Alliance Defending Freedom and Life Legal Defense Foundation are on the case.
KTVB: Their attorney, David Cortman, with the Alliance Defending Freedom, says they openly admit their chapel is for-profit, but say because of their religious beliefs, they refuse to marry gay or lesbian couples.
The Christian Post: Jeremy Tedesco, senior legal counsel for the Scottsdale, Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom legal organization, told The Christian Post that while Coeur d’Alene has an ordinance saying that under “public accommodation” businesses cannot discriminate, state law offeres a possible exemption for the Knapps.
The Spokesman-Review: The Alliance Defending Freedom in Lawrenceville, Georgia, filed the suit on behalf of the Knapps. Attempts to seek comment from the alliance about the AFA’s involvement in the issue were unsuccessful Tuesday.
CT Post (AP): “We’re disappointed in the ruling because we think it’s premature,” said Ken Connelly, an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents Hawaii Family Forum, a group that intervened in the case as a gay marriage opponent and wanted the lawsuit to remain.
Citizen-Times: Equality North Carolina issued a news release Friday calling memos sent out by the NC Values Coalition and the Alliance Defending Freedom misleading. The memos encouraged state officials with “sincere religious or moral beliefs” to refrain from issuing marriage licenses.
Catholic San Francisco (CNS): He had given the parties that fought Arizona’s ban and the Alliance Defending Freedom, a group defending the law, until Oct. 16 to respond. – See more at: http://www.catholic-sf.org/ns.php?newsid=1&id=62866#sthash.dHmeVjAY.dpuf
WND: WND reported outrage from across the nation ensued, and lawyers with the Alliance Defending Freedom asked a court to throw out the subpoenas. Amid the protest, city officials at first doubled down, with Parker stating, “If the 5 pastors used pulpits for politics, their sermons are fair game.”
ADF Media: Nazareth Area School District has revised its policy restricting student religious expression in the wake of a federal lawsuit Alliance Defending Freedom filed on behalf of a 1st grade student and his parents. In a settlement agreement approved by a federal district court and resulting in a voluntary dismissal filed Wednesday, the school district acknowledged that it had changed its policy and would recognize that the First Amendment protects student religious expression.
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom has issued legal memos to advise North Carolina, Arizona, Idaho, and Nevada officials responsible for issuing marriage licenses that they do not have to issue certain licenses where doing so conflicts with their religious or moral beliefs.
ADF Media: “The people of Puerto Rico – and the people of every U.S. state and territory – should be free to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The district court in this case was right to conclude, as the U.S. Supreme Court recognized in its Windsor decision last year and in its previous Baker decision, that marriage law is the business of the states. Echoing last month’s decision from a Louisiana federal district court that affirmed the states’ authority over the definition of marriage, the court said that ‘[i]t takes inexplicable contortions of the mind or perhaps even willful ignorance…to interpret Windsor’s endorsement of the state control of marriage as eliminating the state control of marriage.’” -Alliance Defending Freedom Litigation Counsel Caleb Dalton
Aleteia: That’s not how Erik Stanley sees it. Alliance Defending Freedom’s Senior Legal Counsel said Friday, “The city of Houston still doesn’t get it. It thinks that by changing nothing in its subpoenas other than to remove the word ‘sermons’ that it has solved the problem. That solves nothing. Even though the pastors are not parties in this lawsuit, the subpoenas still demand from them 17 different categories of information — information that encompasses speeches made by the pastors and private communications with their church members.”
The Federalist: A regulatory change in California has placed abortion in the category of ‘basic health services’ all insurance plans must cover. Even those churches buy.
One News Now: “The city somehow expects ordained pastors just to flip a switch and turn off all faithfulness to their God and to their vows,” says Jonathan Scruggs, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom. “But the U.S. Constitution doesn’t permit that.”
ADF Media: The Coeur d’Alene city attorney confirmed in a letter Monday that ordained ministers operating a for-profit wedding chapel are in violation of a city ordinance for declining to marry same-sex couples.
The Patriot Post: “Right now,” said attorney Jeremy Tedesco, “they are at risk of being prosecuted. The threat of enforcement is more than just credible.” Unlike bakery owner Jack Phillips, who Colorado bullied with similar charges, the Knapps are both ministers. And while their chapel is considered a “religious corporation,” even it isn’t safe from the same-sex “wedding” march that threatens to put the First Amendment asunder.
Christian Today: “The government has no business compelling ministers to violate their beliefs and break their ordination vows or risk escalating jail time and fines,” said the Knapps’ attorney, Jeremy Tedesco.
The Christian Post: “Right now they are at risk of being prosecuted,” their ADF attorney, Jeremy Tedesco, told me. “The threat of enforcement is more than just credible.”
ABC13 (KTRK): Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian religious rights legal organization that filed the motion to quash the subpoenas, said the city “still doesn’t get it.”
USA Today: Equality North Carolina issued a news release Friday calling memos sent out by the N.C. Values Coalition and the Alliance Defending Freedom misleading. The memos encouraged state officials with “sincere religious or moral beliefs” to refrain from issuing marriage licenses.
Boise Weekly: Oct. 17, days after the last legal barriers to same-sex marriage were removed, Knapp and Alliance Defending Freedom—a religious freedom legal defense group—filed suit against the city over its ordinance, which prohibits discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity within city limits.
Examiner: On Monday, city attorney Mike Gridley sent a letter to Alliance Defending Freedom, the organization representing the Knapps, asking them to drop the lawsuit.
The New American: On October 17, the conservative legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit against the city of Coeur d’Alene on behalf of the Knapps, asking a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order barring the city from any actions against the couple over their refusal to obey the ordinance.
CrossMap (Worthy News): “Blaine declined the request to print the shirts not because of any characteristic of the people who asked for them, but because of the message that the shirts would communicate.” -Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jim Campbell
Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty: In an opinion piece for Time Magazine, Eric Yoffie reminds me that earlier this month Allicance Defending Freedom (ADF) once again promoted their yearly act of civil disobedience known as Pulpit Freedom Sunday.
The Christian Post: Todd Starnes posted an article on FoxNews.com that quoted Erik Stanley an attorney of the Alliance Defending Freedom that the intent of the subpoenas was nothing more than a, “strong-arm intimidation tactic to silence these pastors.”
Life Site News: The battle came to a head earlier this year, after Idaho’s marriage law was overturned by a federal court. At the time, a deputy attorney for the city said that The Hitching Post would have to follow the ordinance because it charges what theAlliance Defending Freedom (ADF) calls “a small fee” to conduct the ceremony and provide marriage materials with a Christian theme.
Frontiers LA: The Hitching Post is being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), who have filed a federal lawsuit and requested a temporary restraining order to prevent the city from enforcing the non-discrimination ordinance, which could see the owners face jail time or fines.
KXLY: The Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit in federal court on the behalf of the Hitching Post’s owners, Don and Lynn Knapp. The chapel says the city’s ordinance violates constitutional rights. The ordinance bars sexual orientation discrimination in public accommodations.
The Christian Times: The Alliance Defending Freedom legal group has stepped in to aid the two ministers, with lawyer Jeremy Tedesco telling Fox News that “Right now they are at risk of being prosecuted.”
Citizen Times: The Values Coalition shared a similar memo distributed by Washington, D.C.-based Alliance Defending Freedom stating that “the First Amendment to the United States Constitution ensures that neither state nor county officials may impede registers’ free exercise of religion.”
Alliance Defending Freedom: We put “In God We Trust” on our money. We say “under God” in the Pledge. We sing “God Bless America” at ballgames, for goodness’ sake. How bad can it really get? The answer to that became startlingly clear last week in Houston.
Deseret News: On Friday, two days after county clerks in Idaho began issuing same-sex marriage licenses, the Knapps refused two requests to perform weddings for same-sex couples, according to attorney Jeremy Tedesco of the Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona religious liberty law firm.
Christian Headlines (Religion Today): Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) stepped in to protect the pastors and their pressure worked. As ADF Litigation Counsel Christiana Holcomb said, “The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions. Political and social commentary is not a crime; it is protected by the First Amendment.” Their lawsuit to stop the subpoenas states that the city’s demands are “overbroad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and vexatious.”
Time Magazine: On October 5, referred to by its organizers as “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” more than 1,500 pastors preached sermons about political candidates and their views on matters before the electorate. The day was organized by Alliance Defending Freedom, a group that advocates the absolute right of clergy to endorse candidates or parties without interference from the government or the IRS.
Chicago megachurch pastor on Houston sermon subpoena: Gov’t ‘bullying tactics’ are not acceptable; create ‘bigotry’ toward Christian beliefs
The Christian Post: “The city of Houston still doesn’t get it. It thinks that by changing nothing in its subpoenas other than to remove the word ‘sermons’ that it has solved the problem,” ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley said in a statement.
Alliance Defending Freedom: Same-sex marriage has been legal in Idaho for all of 2 days, and two ministers already face jail and fines for declining to perform a same-sex wedding ceremony.
Fits News: Not surprisingly, a federal lawsuit in defense of the pastors in Coeur d’Alene was filed last week by Jeremy Tedesco of the Alliance Defending Freedom.
The Washington Times: “Many have denied that pastors would ever be forced to perform ceremonies that are completely at odds with their faith, but that’s what is happening here — and it’s happened this quickly,” Mr. Tedesco said, The Daily Caller reported.
Tyler Paper: The city of Houston has gone too far. City Hall has subpoenaed the sermons and communications of several pastors, and that’s unacceptable.
The Christian Post: “The city must respect the First Amendment and abandon its illegitimate mission to invade the private communications of pastors for the purpose of strong-arming them into silence in a lawsuit that concerns nothing more than the authenticity of citizen petitions,” Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley said in a statement.
The Christian Post:: “The government should not force ordained ministers to act contrary to their faith under threat of jail time and criminal fines,” ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco said in a statement.
One News Now: On behalf of the pastors, Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a motion to stop efforts that ADF says could potentially have “a chilling effect” on future citizen-led efforts to circulate petitions in opposition the ordinances passed by the Houston City council.
Daily Caller: Jeremy Tedesco, senior legal counsel at ADF, said, “The government should not force ordained. Many have denied that pastors would ever be forced to perform ceremonies that are completely at odds with their faith, but that’s what is happening here – and it’s happened this quickly.”
Charisma News: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit and a motion for a temporary restraining order Friday to stop officials in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, from forcing two ordained Christian ministers to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples.
YouTube: Kerri Kupec and Pastor David Welch discuss Houston Subpoenas of Sermons on Fox & Friends.
YouTube: Erik Stanley and Pastor Khanh Huynh discuss Houston subpoenas of sermons on Huckabee.
YouTube: Hands-on-Originals discussed on The Christian Institute news bulletin.
The Washington Post: In Idaho, where same-sex marriage also recently became legal, a religious liberty group, Alliance Defending Freedom, filed a lawsuit Friday on behalf of two ordained ministers who don’t want to perform same-sex marriages at their for-profit wedding chapel.
Religion News Service: On Friday (Oct. 17), an Arizona-based religious liberty group, Alliance Defending Freedom, filed alawsuit requesting a temporary restraining order, arguing that applying the ordinance to the Knapps’ situation would be unconstitutional and would violate Idaho’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Fox News: “Right now they are at risk of being prosecuted,” their ADF attorney, Jeremy Tedesco, told me. “The threat of enforcement is more than just credible.”
Christian News Network: “The government should not force ordained ministers to act contrary to their faith under threat of jail time and criminal fines,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco in a release about the matter on Saturday.
The Daily Signal: The Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a motion arguing that this action “violates [the Knapps’s] First and 14th Amendment rights to freedom of speech, the free exercise of religion, substantive due process, and equal protection.”
CBN: “The city of Houston still doesn’t get it. It thinks that by changing nothing in its subpoenas other than to remove the word ‘sermons’ that it has solved the problem. That solves nothing,” ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley said in the statement.
CBN: The Alliance Defending Freedom filed a motion on behalf of the Knapps arguing their First and 14th Amendment rights are being violated – pointing out that not only were the Knapps freedom of religion and free speech rights were violated but also the right to due process and equal protection.
One News Now: “All they do is cabin speech into these small boxes on campus so that students really have very little rights to speak, which is unfortunate, and it’s downright censorship,” David Hacker of Alliance Defending Freedom submits.
Reason.com: The Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal group, is representing the Knapps against the city to halt enforcement of the law, and so there’s lots of outrage to go around.