Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette: His letter proposes the district either remove sexual orientation and gender identity from the policy or replace it with one based on a policy drafted by either Alliance Defending Freedom or Liberty Counsel, two conservative organizations.
The Becket Fund: After a scathing Supreme Court decision against the state of Arkansas for not respecting religious freedom, last Thursday a federal district court issued a permanent injunction against the state.
Christian News Network: A federal appeals court panel consisting of all George W. Bush appointees has declared an Arkansas state law banning abortion when a heartbeat is detected to be “unconstitutional,” upholding a lower court ruling opining the same.
Alliance Defending Freedom: After the uproar over religious freedom laws in Indiana and Arkansas, some states may be wondering whether Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA) are such a good idea.
Associated Press: Little Rock officials voted Tuesday to prohibit the city and companies contracting with it from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity, challenging a new Arkansas law criticized as anti-gay.
Lovely County Citizen: Martin said Keep Eureka Fair is purely a grassroots effort, not supported by outside interest groups like HRC. Repeal 2223 is being spearheaded by the Black Robe Regiment, which has ties to Alliance Defending Freedom. The alliance worked successfully to repeal a similar ordinance in Fayetteville late last year. disagree.
One News Now: “The law that Arkansas passed is a very strong religious freedom law that’s similar to what Congress and 20 other states have already enacted,” Kellie Fiedorek of Alliance Defending Freedom explains. “And it essentially ensures that the courts balance government interests when they come into conflict with the religious convictions of Arkansans.”
Yahoo News (AP): Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Thursday he doesn’t see an urgent need to expand workplace anti-discrimination protections for gay and lesbian state employees after lawmakers reworked a religious objections measure to address concerns it was discriminatory.
Alliance Defending Freedom: Two big stories emerged last week. The first is that the Indiana Legislature announced a “fix” to the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”), one which explicitly protects sexual orientation and gender identity from “discrimination.” The second is that Arkansas has passed its own RFRA.
Times Record: Twenty-two years ago, President Bill Clinton signed into law the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. By signing Arkansas’ version of that law, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has brought Arkansas in line with the federal government and 20 other states that already ensure that every American is guaranteed the freedom to live and work consistent with their faith. This is a good day for Arkansas.
The Washington Post: Supporters say the measures require providers to give women information that could prove critical if they have a change of heart.
Surprise! Two major newspaper stories that seek to understand the religious freedom side in Indiana, Arkansas
Get Religion: “Cooking a rack of lamb and putting it on a table in front of somebody is not endorsing anything that you may find in violation of your beliefs” and therefore not something that ought to be protected behavior, said Greg Scott, a spokesman for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal nonprofit group that advised Indiana lawmakers.
Patheos: There is much to be said about this argument, but I must admit to being a bit stunned by the popularity of this post. In the fallout over Indiana’s RFRA law Kantrowitz, a free-lance editor and part-time nanny, penned a blog that went viral, competing with the reach of those of us who do religious liberty for a living.
National Review: And we also worry about a host of real-life instances highlighted by the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Becket Fund, and others, such as the eighty-something couple whose faith-based signage was restricted to less than a fifth the size of political signs in their neighborhood, the fire chief fired for self-publishing a book about living as a Christian, the pastors subpoenaed for daring to speak out against a citywide ordinance opening all public restrooms to people of both genders, and the American Indian not allowed legal avenues to prevent the bulldozing of his tribe’s sacred grounds.
Life Site News: I’m a designer. I love the shiny silver products created by Apple. But when those products become philosophical pontifications in Op-Eds and news media campaigns of misinformation, I want to dump my Apple tech in the trash can where Tim Cook’s “dangerous” religious freedom propaganda belongs.
The Washington Post: Kristen Waggoner, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal aid group, said in a statement that the proposed amendment “unjustly deprives citizens of their day in court, denies freedom a fair hearing, and rigs the system.”
Centrail Maine (Chicago Tribune): Social conservatives aren’t all in agreement on the issue. Lawyers for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom criticized Indiana’s “fix” as unnecessary.
SF Gate: “Cooking a rack of lamb and putting it on a table in front of somebody is not endorsing anything that you may find in violation of your beliefs” and is therefore not something that ought to be protected behavior, said Greg Scott, a spokesman for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal nonprofit that advised Indiana lawmakers. “But if you’re a wedding singer and somebody says, ‘I want you to lead all the ceremonies for my wedding,’ that’s really a different story because you are expressing yourself in support and coerced into the celebration of something you don’t believe in it.”
Central Maine: As Greg Scott of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which assists defendants in such cases, said recently, “A government that has the power to tell you what you can’t say is bad enough. A government that tells you what you must say in order to avoid ruin is terrifying.”
Alaska Dispatch News: “The religious freedom law is a good law,” Kristen Waggoner, senior counselor of the group, said. “It does not pick winners or losers, but allows courts to weigh the government’s and people’s interests fairly and directs judges to count the cost carefully when freedom is stake. The new proposal unjustly deprives citizens their day in court, denies freedom a fair hearing, and rigs the system in advance. ”
Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette: Jordan Lorence is a veteran attorney who in 2006 represented a female photographer in one of the cases widely cited in the “religious freedom” law debate last week.
The Christian Post: Although Santorum’s comparison of Westboro Baptist Church might seem original, a similar analogy to Westboro Baptist Church was used by Alliance Defending Freedom legal counsel Joe La Rue in an interview with The Christian Post in February, 2014. In the interview, La Rue provided a hypothetical scenario where Westboro protestors have just finished up protesting at a soldier’s funeral and want to order a cake that has the words “God Hates Fags,” written in icing to celebrate. La Rue asserted that business owners should have the ability to use discretion when dealing with situations like that.
The Federalist: Indiana’s ‘fix’ to its religious-freedom law will actively force private business owners to violate their consciences.
The Federalist: Not a single person who identifies as homosexual has been harmed by the federal or dozens of state religious freedom acts.
The Washington Examiner: Amid the current controversy over Indiana’s religious freedom law, it is important to understand just how important religious freedom has been in America’s legal history. By protecting religious beliefs and the free exercise of religion by its citizens, America has become a diverse society where people function successfully among others with whom we may not agree.
CNS News: Unfortunately, amidst many of today’s debates about the efficacy of religious freedom, such as the debate over Indiana’s religious freedom law, a pernicious underlying assumption exists that religious freedom is only for the religious. Such a belief is as dangerous as it is false. Religious freedom benefits all of us, though many unfortunately do not recognize it.
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jim Campbell: “Government should protect people’s freedom to follow their beliefs in their lives and work. We commend the governor’s decision to support a law that does this. Government shouldn’t be able to punish Americans for exercising basic civil rights. Religious freedom laws ensure that freedom gets a fair hearing, and they limit the government’s power to intrude on our liberties. We hope other states join Arkansas and many others in adopting similar laws.”
Alliance Defending Freedom: Two major legal actions last week illustrate with startling clarity not only what’s at stake in the current struggle for religious freedom in America, but how much courage is required to put forward even the most modest protections for that freedom.
Alliance Defending Freedom: The first time something happens it is certainly OK to speculate about the outcome and the consequences. This is pretty normal, and is actually quite wise. The second time something happens the question is always: Was the first time a fluke? Will the second time result in a different outcome? By the third time something happens you have enough data to start to prove a point.
The Washington Post: On Tuesday afternoon, after some debate in the state House of Representatives, lawmakers signed off on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The law now heads to the desk of Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), who has said he intends to sign it into law.
Time (AP): The House voted Tuesday to approve the measure, which prohibits the state and local governments from infringing on a person’s religious beliefs without a “compelling” interest. The measure now heads to Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who has said he will sign it into law.
Baptist Joint Committee: Article VI of the U.S. Constitution clearly states, “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” It is one of the few direct references to religion in our founding documents, outside the First Amendment.
Thomas More Society: Today the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (the “Department”) has confirmed pro-lifers’ First Amendment right to hold signs, including along the State’s Highways, in response to Thomas More Society’s letter challenging the Department’s censorship of Fayetteville 40 Days for Life participants’ pro-life signs.
Thomas More Society: Thomas More Society attorneys have sent a letter to the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (“Department”) challenging the censorship of Fayetteville 40 Days for Life participants’ pro-life signs. During the pro-lifers’ eighth peaceful prayer vigil outside the Fayetteville Planned Parenthood abortion facility along Highway 265, a Department employee told the pro-life volunteers that they could not display any signs during their vigil, threatening each participant with a fine if they continued to hold their signs. Thomas More Society contends that this demand is a blatant violation of these pro-lifers’ First Amendment rights.
Times-Standard (AP): Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson allowed legislation to go into law without his signature that bars cities and counties from expanding anti-discrimination ordinances beyond what the state already prohibits, making Arkansas the second state to approve such a prohibition. Arkansas’ anti-discrimination protections don’t include sexual orientation or gender identity. Monday marked the end of the five-day window for Hutchinson to take action on the bill or allow it to become law.
The Cabin (AP): Classrooms could be filled with Christmas trees, menorahs and other religious holiday imagery under a bill filed by an Arkansas lawmaker.
Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty: The Indiana Senate will vote later today on a bill that would allow organizations that receive state funding to discriminate in hiring on the basis of religion if the organization is affiliated with a religion. Senate Bill 127 is aimed at “hospitals, universities, and child-service providers,” according to a report by the Indianapolis Star.
Kelly Clarkson’s new song featuring her baby’s prenatal heartbeat debuts as heartbeat cases are heard in court
The Daily Signal: On the same day as “Heartbeat Song” released, two national pro-life groups released a collaborative video calling attention to the “Heartbeat” court cases being heard in federal appeals court the following day.
Associated Press: A closely watched legal fight over two of the nation’s most stringent abortion bans resumed Tuesday, with attorneys for North Dakota and Arkansas asking a federal appeals court to reinstate two laws overturned by two separate lower federal courts.
Christian News Network: A number of atheist organizations are seeking to remove long-standing language from seven state Constitutions that bans secularists from holding public office.
The Christian Post: An Arkansas town’s controversial transgender ordinance that Michelle Duggar of “19 Kids and Counting” had campaigned against has been repealed.
Religion News Service: A billboard posted in Arkansas as part of a campaign targeting “in-the-closet atheists who are pressured to observe religious traditions during the holidays” prompted a local church to purchase an ad of their own to appear on the same digital display.
The Washington Times (AP): Nearly two years after approving a pair of the most restrictive abortion bans in the country, Republicans in Arkansas’ Legislature are weighing additional measures to make it more difficult for women to get the procedure.
Crossmap: “Passing laws that guarantee special protections for some but punish others is a reckless avoidance of this duty,” said Kellie Fiedorek, ADF litigation staff counsel, in an email interview with BP. “If this ordinance is enacted, people of all backgrounds and beliefs would be forced to accept, endorse and even promote government-dictated messages, ideas and events, even if they violate their deepest convictions.”
AP: Arkansas and Mississippi became the latest two states Tuesday to have their gay marriage bans overturned by federal judges, but there are no rushes to the altar as both orders are on hold so the states can considers appeals.
Springfield News-Leader: A year and a half later, on Oct. 15, same-sex marriage became legal in the state. Christian religious rights legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit against the city on Oct. 17, contending that the anti-discrimination ordinance forced Hitching Post Wedding Chapel owners Don and Lynn Knapp to perform same-sex marriages, thus violating their freedom of religion.
Christian News Network: Following a firestorm of controversy over the issue, officials at Arkansas State University (ASU) have decided to allow members of the university’s football team to wear a cross decal on their helmets—as long as the players personally choose to affix them and pay for the stickers themselves.
National Review: Last week, I wrote about Arkansas State University telling its football players to either remove or alter cross decals with the initials of fallen team members from their helmets. The university’s counsel buckled to objections that ASU had violated the separation of church and state by permitting the cross to be visible, arguing that the public institution was endorsing Christianity. One suggestion included removing parts of the decal to only show the initials on a horizontal straight line.
Christian News Network: Members of the Arkansas State University (ASU) football team, also known as the Red Wolves, will be removing or altering a cross decal from their helmets following a complaint from a local attorney who alleged that the symbol is unconstitutional.
Religion News Service: Arkansas State is removing a Christian cross decal from the back of its football helmets after a complaint that it violated separation of church and state, the university said Wednesday (Sept. 10).
The Washington Times: Pro-life groups are attacking Democrats in some of the most watched Senate races, criticizing them for opposing legislation that would ban most abortions nationwide after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Christian News Network: The Christian owner of an Arkansas pizza parlor received a warning letter from atheists for offering discounts to customers who bring church bulletins to the restaurant.
Bloomberg: An Idaho judge’s decision to strike down the state’s gay marriage ban was put on hold by a U.S. appeals court as Arkansas’ attorney general waits for that state’s top court to rule on his bid to block a similar ruling.
The Republic: Attorneys for a group of gay couples are asking the state’s highest court to dismiss a bid to suspend a judge’s decision striking down all measures preventing same-sex couples from marrying.
Dallas News: The Arkansas Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to put on hold a ruling that overturned the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage, but the short-lived ability for same-sex couples to wed in the state still came to a halt amid confusion about what comes next.
The Washington Times: Attorneys for a group of same-sex couples are asking a judge to clarify that he intended to strike down all Arkansas laws prohibiting same-sex marriage when he voided the state’s ban last week.
Fox News: The Arkansas Supreme Court has rejected the state attorney general’s request for a stay of a judge’s ruling that overturned Arkansas’ constitutional ban on gay marriage.
The Hill: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) is calling for the impeachment of the judge who struck down the marriage law that he signed into law 17 years ago.
Arkansas Times: The Arkansas Supreme Court has responded to Attorney General Dustin McDaniel’s request of Judge Chris Piazza’s ruling overturning the same-sex marriage ban by giving plaintiffs until noon Tuesday to respond.
The Washington Times: Arkansas: Washington County has begun issuing wedding licenses to same-sex couples after a circuit judge in Pulaski County overturned the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage.
Associated Press: “Advocates of ending Arkansas’ ban on same-sex marriage took their case before a Pulaski County Circuit Court judge Thursday, who said at the end of the hearing that he expected to issue a ruling within two weeks.”
Arkansas News: “McDaniel said in the filing in U.S. District Court in Little Rock that his office will appeal the ruling to the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis on behalf of members of the Arkansas State Medical Board who were named as defendants in the lawsuit that led to the ruling.”
Arkansas News: “The superintendent of the Sheridan School District on Tuesday defended the decision of school officials to ban publication in Sheridan High School’s yearbook of a profile of a gay student that would have included his coming-out story. . . . The Human Rights Campaign has sent letters to Gov. Mike Beebe and state Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell asking them to get involved and see that the Ellis’ profile is published.”
Clarke Forsythe at National Review: “This case has significance for those evaluating the wisdom of pursuing similar twelve-week limits or whether an approach that focuses on a mother-child strategy, limiting abortion later in pregnancy based on both the impact of abortion on women’s health and the pain felt by the unborn, should be considered instead.”
Associated Press: “A federal judge Friday struck down Arkansas’ attempt to ban most abortions beginning 12 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy, saying viability, not a heartbeat, remains the key factor in determining whether abortions should be allowed.” | How Appealing has a link to the ruling.
Religion Clause: “The U.S. Supreme Court today granted certiorari in Holt v. Hobbs, (Docket No. 13-6827, cert. granted 3/3/2014). It also granted petitioner’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis.”
TribTown (AP): “Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel’s office on Friday filed court papers arguing that sexual orientation is not a cause for equal protection and that the plaintiffs aren’t being treated differently because of their gender.”
Merced Sun-Star: “Arkansas legislators didn’t raise any objections Friday to a set of rules enforcing a state law approved last year banning most abortion 20 months into a woman’s pregnancy.”
AP: “Opponents who have chipped away at abortion with state-level restrictions are facing a dilemma in some of the places where they have been most successful: Do they continue with that approach or seek more dramatic policies that risk court rulings that could undo previous gains?”
Arkansas Matters: “A foundation advocating the separation of church and state says a cross on the grounds of the Searcy Police Department should be removed.”
Democrat Tribune: With the complaint from FFRF, EPC school district had no choice but to stop the prayer. EPC school board members did decide to replace the prayer over loudspeaker with a moment of silence.
The Weekly Standard: The Obamacare event took place at the University of Central Arkansas last weekend. It was hosted by a group called the Living Affected Corporation, which apparently has received a grant from the federal government to educate the public about Obamacare.