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Religion Clause: A fascinating decision handed down by an Idaho federal district court last week shows the complexity faced by prisons in attempting to applying the U.S. Supreme Court’s January RLUIPA decision in Holt v. Hobbs.
Detroit Free Press: With the U.S. Supreme Court set to decide the legality of same-sex marriage in Michigan and elsewhere this year, dozens of legal briefs representing hundreds of thousands of parties calling for the laws to be overturned flowed into the court ahead of a filing deadline today.
SCOTUS Blog: The Obama administration, urging the Supreme Court to adopt for the first time a more rigorous test of laws that discriminate against gays and lesbians, on Friday joined in the plea to give same-sex couples equal access to marriage. In a thirty-six-page brief, the government argued that state bans on such marriages cannot survive the new test it proposed.
Religion News Service: As the Supreme Court readies to hear a group of cases that could make same-sex marriage legal from coast to coast, support for allowing same-sex couples to marry is piling in from all directions.
The Hill: A GOP bill unveiled this week would ensure that states don’t exclude faith-based organizations from offering child welfare services.
Denver Post: Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, R-Colorado Springs, is presenting a bill that would protect “artists” from civil rights complaints if theyrefuse to do something they disagree with, citing the case of a Denver baker who refused to make a cake that she said demeaned gays.
Christian Concern: A petition urging Scottish ministers to change the definition of adultery following the introduction of same-sex ‘marriage’ has been rejected by MSPs, because there is insufficient time to consider it in this parliamentary term.
Christian Examiner: A man has every right to use the women’s locker room at Planet Fitness franchises, Yvette Cormier was told before her membership was cancelled because she complained about it.
Public Discourse: However, once I did begin to think about what I was doing and where my life was headed, I eventually came to the conclusion that I had committed a grave injustice against my kids by divorcing my wife and attempting to create a family with another man. They deserved to be raised by both their mom and dad under the same roof. Who was I to deny them this most basic of children’s rights? I became determined to find a way to bring our family back together for the sake of our kids as they finished out their high school years.
Public Discourse: While religion and tradition have led many to their positions on same-sex marriage, it’s also possible to oppose same-sex marriage based on reason and experience.
WND: “The government can’t tell ministers they must perform same-sex marriages under threat of jail time and crippling fines,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco.
The Christian Post: “Consistent with the Supreme Court’s 2013 Windsor decision, which said that ‘states have the essential authority to define the marital relation,’ the 6th Circuit rightly concluded that the Constitution does not demand that a new view of marriage be judicially imposed on everyone,” ADF Senior Counsel Austin R. Nimocks said in a statement at the time. “We are hopeful the Supreme Court will uphold the freedom of the people to affirm marriage.”
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.
Christian Today: The South Korean Constitutional Court decriminalised adultery last week after 62 years of the act being punishable by two years in prison.
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.
RAAN Network: Fast forward two years later to Tuesday, January 6, 2015 and the dismissal of Atlanta Fire Chief, Kelvin Cochran. Cochran, a 30-year firefighting veteran, was discharged by Mayor Kasim Reed for sharing a book with three city workers. The book, “Who Told You That You Were Naked?”, was written by Cochran and shared with men he considered fellow Christians. The issue? The book calls homosexual behavior—along with all sexual activity outside of traditional marriage—vile and inappropriate.
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.”
ERLC: A few weeks back, LDS officials announced their intention to craft first-of-its-kinds legislation that would attempt to balance the concerns of the LGBT community with the concerns of religious liberty advocates. The much-anticipated bill has finally been unveiled. So the question remains why we—and our Roman Catholic religious liberty allies—don’t sign on to this strategy as well. We can’t speak for the Catholic bishops, of course, but here’s how we see it.
The Daily Signal: Why is the nation even discussing what Murphy, a second baseman for the New York Mets, thinks about gay and lesbians? Well, because after Billy Bean, a gay former Major League Baseball player who now serves as the League’s Ambassador for Inclusion, visited the Mets, a reporter talked to Murphy.
States weigh legislation for religious freedom as they look towards Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling
The New York Times: Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said the religious-freedom bills were necessary to address the “increasing religious pluralism in American culture.”
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.
Breitbart: Austin Nimocks of Alliance Defending Freedom said: “The free market works. With so many corporations free to make this choice, and so doing, why do we need SCOTUS to impose it on everyone? The states, like these corporations, should remain free to choose.”
Do You Believe: Our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom are stepping up and helping Chief Cochran fight for his rights—and his job. In a great piece on FoxNews.com, Todd Starnes shares his thoughts on this strange new reality in our country.
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jim Campbell: “The people of Nebraska, Alabama, and every state should remain free to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman in their laws. The courts should respect the freedom of the people to debate this important issue and decide it as a community. The Constitution does not demand that one irreversible view of marriage be forced on all the states.”
Public Discourse: A shopkeeper who objects to sex-same weddings but who nevertheless provides services at such weddings generally acts in a morally permissible way if he acts to comply with a validly-enacted law, to preserve the goodwill of his business, and to make a just profit. Nevertheless, a law that in this way coerces a shopkeeper to cooperate with actions he reasonably believes immoral is gravely unjust.
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.
SCOTUS Blog: The Supreme Court on Thursday released the calendar of oral arguments for the final sitting of the Term, beginning April 20, and listing the four cases on same-sex marriage for hearing on Tuesday, April 28.
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.
SCOTUS Blog: Sharply criticizing the Supreme Court for its recent actions on same-sex marriage, the Alabama Supreme Court on Tuesday evening ordered all state judges who have the duty to issue licenses to wed to stop doing so immediately for same-sex couples.
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.
Yahoo News (AP): The measure has a rare stamp of approval from the Mormon church and stands a high chance of passing in Utah, where the church is based and many state lawmakers and the Republican governor are members of the faith.
U.K. Christian children worker claims she lost her nursery job due to ‘state-sponsored hostility’ to her Biblical views on homosexuality
The Gospel Herald: A Christian children’s worker in London who claimed that she was sacked from her job for expressing her Bible-based views on homosexuality has taken her case to a tribunal in the United Kingdom.
Jurist: The Slovenian Parliament [official website] passed legislation granting same-sex marriage and adoption rights Tuesday amid public opposition from conservative and religious groups.
SCOTUS Blog: The audio recording of the Supreme Court’s April 28 hearing on the same-sex marriage cases will be released soon after that hearing is completed, the Court announced on Thursday. Both the audiotape and the written transcript should be available by no later than 2 p.m., the Court said.
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.”
Christian Legal Centre: An Employment Tribunal in the case of Sarah Mbuyi, a Christian nursery worker who expressed her opinion on marriage, has heard that Christian views on the topic should not be expressed in the workplace.
Reason: Folks on both sides had also already filed amicus briefs when these cases were still at the district level. Alliance Defending Freedom, supporters of the one-man-one-woman marriage model, had already filed briefs on behalf similarly minded legislators and activist groups for some of the cases the Supreme Court will be hearing.
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.
Law and Religion Australia: For many people in Australia the “battle” over recognition of same sex marriage seems, in popular opinion at least, completely over. Tim Dick in the Sydney Morning Herald on 1 March tells us that the “public argument is won” and we are now just up to the stage of deciding whether or not to allow “latecomers” to join the party. We are often told that those who do not support extending the legal status of “marriage” to unions involving same sex couples are on the “wrong side of history”. Their stance is often characterised as “homophobia”, a word which has in common parlance (despite its etymology) nothing to do with “fear” and everything to do with an irrational hatred of, and desire to harm, homosexual persons.
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.”
Idaho Press: Most people know about the lawsuit against the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, for refusing to make a cake celebrating a same-sex marriage. Now the tables have turned.
The Washington Post: Utah lawmakers from both parties, Mormon Church leaders and local gay equality advocates are expected to announce proposed legislation Wednesday meant to protect from discrimination lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, as well as opponents of gay equality who cite religion as a basis for their beliefs.
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.
Utah Policy: In other words, says Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, his SB100 will not go beyond “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in the religious belief area, he told UtahPolicyMonday morning.
Casper Star Tribune: So concerned was Pastor Tim Moyer about an anti-discrimination bill for gay and transgender Wyomingites, he drove eight hours from Thayne to testify against it. Moyer, who ministers at Emmanuel Bible Church of Star Valley, attended a legislative meeting wearing a white sticker on his shirt with the words “Wyoming Pastor’s Network,” along with dozens of others.
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.
Religion and Politics: The new proposed amendments to state RFRAs seek to undo the result in Bob Jones, by exempting those who discriminate on religious grounds from the operation of statutes protecting civil rights. Supported by conservative religious groups such as the Beckett Fund and the Alliance Defending Freedom, such laws have become the go-to solution for states that seek to resist what they predict will be the law of marriage nationwide, after the Supreme Court decides the question by the end of its current term, in June 2015.
Baptist Press: Backed by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Stutzman is appealing the case, and is prepared to take it to the nation’s highest court.
Alliance Defending Freedom: Religious freedom and Sexual Orientation Gender Identity (SOGI) ordinances are on a collision course. They cannot coexist.
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.
Religion Clause: By a vote of 7-2 yesterday, South Korea’s Constitutional Court struck down the country’s 1953 law criminalizing adultery.
Alliance Defending Freedom: It might be helpful to understand what we mean by “conscience.” Conscience is what guides a person’s understanding of what is right or wrong, and this definition is OK, but it does not discuss what is naturally implied: action. If one cannot act on what they believe to be right or wrong, then what worth does a conscience have? None at all. For a good and just society, a person must have the freedom to act on what they believe is morally right. But that is not the current state of things.
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.
Baptist Standard: Cochran’s lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta by attorneys with the national conservative advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom, claims Cochran followed proper procedure in notifying his superiors about his plans to write a book on his free time about ideas developed after leading a men’s Bible study at his church.
The Christian Institute: Charles Keidan and Rebecca Steinfeld do not want to get married and are calling for civil partnerships – which currently are for homosexual couples only – to be extended.
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).
Ex-NFL player who claims he was fired from broadcasting job over his views on homosexuality delivers passionate religious freedom speech
The Blaze: The owners of Sweet Cakes By Melissa, an Oregon bakery at the center of national controversy for declining to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, and Craig James, the former NFL and sportscaster who claims he was fired from Fox Sports Southwest over his opposition to homosexuality, have something in common: they’re refusing to back down.