Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
First Things: Nevertheless, the present situation does not appear to me to be as rosy as David French (a lawyer who has advised President Lindsay and Gordon College) depicted it in his May 1 National Reviewonline article, “Gordon College Keeps Its Faith and Its Accreditation.”
The American Conservative: Michael Lindsay, the president of Gordon College, spoke this morning to the Q Ideas conference here in Boston. He, and the college he leads, are under severe attack for holding to orthodox Christian teaching on LGBT. Gordon is Evangelical, but very far from a fundamentalist stronghold. Yet they are seen by many people — many powerful people — as a bastion of bigotry.
The Washington Times: “The Committee is discriminating against these college students purely on the basis of their association with Gordon College and their imputed religious beliefs,” he said. “This the Constitution forbids.”
The College Fix: In the wake of Gordon’s reaffirmation earlier this month of a provision in its conduct code that bans “homosexual practice,” a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has warned the mayor of Lynn that the school district’s action was unconstitutional.
The Christian Post: A Massachusetts Christian academic institute under fire for maintaining a policy for students and faculty that only allows for sex within heterosexual marriage has reaffirmed its stance.
The Gospel Coalition: In a statement issued today, Gordon College reaffirms commitment to biblical sexual ethics and launches campus taskforce on human sexuality.
Item Live: Lynn Public Schools and Gordon College have collaborated for the last 11 years, with several college students serving as student teachers each semester. Lindsay said that volunteering is also a major part of the college’s focus, particularly in a student’s first year. In last year’s freshman class, half of the students volunteered 14,000 hours doing after-school tutoring and working with church and youth group organizations in various area communities, Lindsay said.
WCVB (ABC News): “When I walked into the room, they all turned to me and said, ‘Leo has Down syndrome,’” he told ABC News. “I had a few moments of shock.”
Get Religion: Alongside that big U.S. Supreme Court case on same-sex marriage, another 2015 showdown merits journalistic attention.
National Review: In the new climate of liberal intolerance, conservative Christians can’t even find refuge by agreeing with Elizabeth Warren. Just ask Michael Lindsay, president of Gordon College.
USA Today: As the quest for a jury in the Boston Marathon bombing trial approaches its fourth week, some of the area’s 2 million Roman Catholics are growing frustrated with criteria that effectively disqualify followers of church teachings.
Family Studies: When states of the U.S. are compared on indicators of child well being, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts usually does well. In the 2014 Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, for example, Massachusetts is number one in the overall ranking of the 50 states. But another recent report, entitled Fatherlessness in Massachusetts: The Economic and Social Costs to Our Commonwealth, finds sizable disparities in the state, not just in family wealth and incomes, but in child wellbeing.
Christian News Network: An appeals court has overturned a lower court ruling that ordered the state of Massachusetts to pay for the sex change operation of a man who was convicted of murder over 20 years ago.
Boston Globe: A federal appeals court has overturned a ruling that a transgender Massachusetts prison inmate is entitled to taxpayer-funded sex change surgery.
Huffington Post (AP): Attorneys offered contrasting interpretations of the Pledge of Allegiance during oral arguments Wednesday in a New Jersey family’s lawsuit claiming a school district is discriminating against their child’s atheist beliefs.
Yahoo News (AP): D. Michael Lindsay thought he was on safe political ground when he signed the letter.
The National Law Journal: A federal appellate court has revived a First Amendment challenge to Massachusetts billboard regulations that give one state official broad power to reject proposed billboards and cancel a billboard owner’s license.
One News Now: Feeling the pressure from outside and inside the school, a Christian college in Massachusetts is reviewing its policy that prohibits homosexual behavior.
Christian News Network: A Christian college in Massachusetts has announced that it will take at least a year to review its policy prohibiting homosexual behavior in light of scrutiny from a local accreditation board.
The Christian Post: In response to my October 3rd article, “Gordon College, Don’t Sell Your Soul for Secular Accreditation,” a representative of the school reached out to me with some very positive news, assuring me that the school had no intention of changing its policy on homosexual practice.
Andrew Sullivan: They key issue here, it seems to me, is whether the college’s orthodox views about sex are being fairly implemented. If the prohibition against non-marital sex is enforced only on gay students, we have a problem. But there is no evidence that it is. And the college – which implemented its own review of this policy – seems attuned (see the last sentence) to the problems for gay students in such a setting.
Christianity Today: Gordon College will spend the next year studying current campus policies on same-sex behavior, the college and its regional accreditation board announced.
Stand to Reason Blog: Gordon College has been given 18 months to recant. If they do not change the standards for sexual behavior in their “life and conduct statement” (which prohibit “sexual relations outside of marriage” and “homosexual practice”), they will lose their accreditation.
Boston Business Journal: The regional body that accredits colleges and universities has given Gordon College a year to report back about a campus policy on homosexuality, one that may be in violation of accreditation standards.
Life News: The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine has filed a disciplinary petition against Vito Cordone for failing to report the sexual abuse of patients committed at his fertility clinic by former Planned Parenthood abortionist Ian Hardy.
Mass Live: Church teaching that married love is between a man and a woman, for the purpose of reproduction, as ordered by nature, that itself was ordered by God, is not likely to be modified, no matter the pastoral approach to it.
National Review: In the Court’s recent ruling in McCullen v. Coakley, all nine justices agreed that theMassachusetts statute that created a general no-speech zone on public streets and sidewalks within 35 feet of an abortion clinic violated the First Amendment.
Christian News Network: The governor of Massachusetts has signed a new abortion buffer zone bill into law in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling that declared such free speech-free zones as being unconstitutional.
Politico: “There are a lot of places where there could be new challenges,” said Matt Bowman, the alliance’s senior legal counsel. “All of those laws are in deep constitutional trouble because the Supreme Court said that you can’t punish speech … and all those laws do that.”
The Washington Times: Barely a month after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the state’s previous statute as unconstitutional, Massachusetts lawmakers Wednesday cheered passage of a new abortion clinic “buffer zone” law Wednesday, while pro-life supporters warned that the law was worse than the old one.
National Review: Massachusetts demonstrated its abortion radicalism today as Governor Deval Patrick signed a new buffer-zone law under the guise of protecting public safety. In doing so, he makes the state less safe for the unborn and less free for the mother who feels pressure from the culture and due to her circumstances to abort her child.
Public Discourse: Requiring all colleges and universities to adopt the same practices and policies would destroy their institutional identities and prevent them from achieving their diverse missions.
Life News: Despite the fact the nation’s highest court took the state of Massachusetts to task for passing a law curtailing the free speech rights of pro-life advocates, the Bay State is again trying to suppress them.
Telegram: Matt Bowman, senior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, which funded the lawsuit that abortion opponents filed in the buffer-zone law case, McCullen v. Coakley, said he has concerns about the bill.
Life News:Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is urging the passage of a new state law that will restrict abortion protesters, calling the legislation “a pressing need” in the wake of the unanimous Supreme Court decision that struck down that state’s “buffer zone” law, which prevented pro-life speech within 35 feet of abortion facilities.
Alliance Defending Freedom: In the understandable excitement so many of us felt two weeks ago over the wonderfully welcome and important U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding the Conestoga / Hobby Lobby case, I have delayed celebrating another high court decision in another Alliance Defending Freedom supported-case – one with its own enormous implications for your family’s First Amendment-protected freedom of speech. And, even more importantly, for the defense of life in the womb.
Chron: The bill would also prohibit any physical act or threat of force from being used to intimidate anyone trying to enter or leave a clinic. It would also prohibit anyone from knowingly impeding an individual or vehicle’s access to a facility. The bill is a response to the high court’s decision last month to toss out a state law that established 35-foot protest-free “buffer zones” around the entrances of abortion clinics. Massachusetts Citizens for Life President Anne Fox cautioned lawmakers from overreaching as they craft a response to the court’s unanimous ruling on the buffer zone law. The group opposes abortion.
TribLive: An Arizona-based legal ministry that helped overturn protest-free “buffer zones” at Massachusetts abortion providers might try to reverse a similar rule in Pittsburgh, a ministry lawyer told the Tribune-Review. “I’m certainly looking very closely into the possibility of bringing that challenge,” said Matt Bowman, senior legal counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom. He would not say when he might file an objection.
Deseret News: The accreditation of an evangelical Christian college near Boston is under review, and a city contract was terminated last week, after the president of Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, signed a letter asking for religious liberty protection under proposed federal anti-discrimination rules involving homosexuals.
The Christian Post: A city in Massachusetts has opted to end a contract with a Christian college over the academic institution’s opposition to homosexuality.
The Washington Times: Massachusetts lawmakers should proceed cautiously to avoid future lawsuits as they consider altering security rules around abortion clinics in the wake of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, a group that opposes abortion said Tuesday.
Greg Scott, a spokesman for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is litigating in several states to support traditional marriage, said the group hopes the U.S. Supreme Court will continue its view that marriage should be defined by the states, as it expressed in its 2013 ruling, U.S. vs. Windsor, which struck down the prohibition against same-sex marriage in federal law.
“We hope the Supreme Court stays consistent,” Scott said. “Marriage is worth fighting for and there are a lot of people that do believe that. Perhaps a wrong decision at the Supreme Court will inspire millions of Americans to rebuild a culture of strong marriages and understand again what marriage is about.”
ADF Media: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled Friday that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools does not violate the commonwealth’s constitution or laws.
Boston Globe: The state’s highest court today rejected the proposition that the phrase “under God’’ in the Pledge of Allegiance violated the religious beliefs and the equal rights of an atheist couple whose children are students in the Acton-Boxborough Regional School District.
Life News: A former Planned Parenthood abortionist has surrendered his Massachusetts medical license amid allegations that he sexually molested patients – many under anesthesia – during fertility treatments at Fertility Centers of New England.
MassLive: “The measure, approved by 76 percent of Norwood voters, calls for the public school vacation week currently named “Winter Recess” to be renamed as ‘Christmas Recess.’”
WTSP: “In order to get a divorce in Massachusetts, the couple has been told they must return to that state and live there for a year. But the attorneys for the two women contend one reason their request should be granted in Florida is because the state’s ban on same-sex marriage doesn’t specifically prohibit divorce.”
Associated Press: “A Puerto Rico attorney who married her longtime partner on the U.S. mainland has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to have their marriage recognized in her home territory.”
Associated Press: “The Massachusetts Senate has overwhelmingly approved a bill designed to build on the state’s 2010 anti-bullying law by strengthening protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and students with disabilities.”
Providence Journal: “Attorney General Martha Coakley filed a court brief Thursday in support of a married gay couple who sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester for allegedly refusing to sell them a Northbridge mansion because church officials were concerned they would host gay weddings at the site.”
The Guardian: “Negotiations to allow long-excluded LGBT participants to march openly in the South Boston St Patrick’s Day parade have collapsed, and chances of a compromise before Sunday’s event appeared slim on Thursday.”
Daily News: “Members of the K-8 School Committee Wednesday said they are leaning against a controversial proposal to eliminate from the school calendar days off for religious holidays.”
LifeSiteNews: “The organizers of Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade have rescinded their controversial invitation to a homosexual advocacy group, saying they believe the group’s application was a ‘ploy’ made under ‘false pretenses.’”
Worcester Telegram: “As organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston work to ease a two-decade ban on gay organizations, the longtime principal of a Catholic school here has maintained his position not to condone ‘the homosexual lifestyle’ and says the school will not participate in the March 16 event.”
Washington Times: “The push to ban sexual-orientation “change” therapy for children is growing as lawmakers in at least eight states have introduced bills to outlaw the practice and gay-rights advocates expect at least a few to become law this year.”
Boston.com: “The department said it would appeal to the full bench of the US Court of Appeals for the First First Circuit. A three-judge panel of the court had ruled in Kosilek’s favor earlier this month, upholding a district court’s finding that the surgery was needed to address Kosilek’s gender identity disorder.”
CBS: “A Milton man has filed a discrimination complaint against an all-girls Catholic prep school in Milton, claiming they rescinded a job offer after learning he has a same-sex spouse. Matthew Barrett is filing the complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.”
The Pendulum (Elon University): “Steven Aden, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom on the side of the plaintiff in McCullen v. Coakley, argued that this case should guide the court in the future to not allow any similar buffer zone laws. ‘Any law that creates a no-speech-zone on a public sidewalk is constitutionally suspect,’ Aden said.”
Telegram: “Residents of Northboro and Southboro packed a meeting at Algonquin Regional High School last night to voice their opinions on a recommendation that the school districts no longer close school in observance of Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Good Friday.”
TribLive: “‘The underlying legal issues are very similar. The precedents are the same. If the court issues a dissenting decision, Pittsburgh may have to re-evaluate as well,’ said Steven Aiden, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christian conservative legal defense organization representing lead plaintiff Eleanor McCullen.”
National Journal: “‘No state should have power to circumscribe a line around speech it disagrees with, and shut out the speakers, and completely foreclose means of communication,’ said Steven Aden, vice president of human-life issues at the Alliance Defending Freedom, which he says has provided funding and support for the challenge. ‘That’s exactly what the state of Massachusetts has done in this case.’”
Boston Globe: “A federal appeals court in Boston today upheld a judge’s ruling that a transsexual inmate convicted of murder is entitled to a taxpayer-funded sex change operation as treatment for her severe gender identity disorder.”
Wendy Kaminer at The Atlantic: “I’m arguing that a woman’s right to right to choose and obtain abortions, and other reproductive heath services, doesn’t diminish her obligation to tolerate extremely irritating, occasionally hysterical, and potentially invasive protesters.”
“A 35-foot protest-free zone outside Massachusetts abortion clinics appeared unlikely to survive Supreme Court review after liberal and conservative justices alike expressed misgivings about the law in arguments Wednesday.”
LifeNews: “‘Peaceful pro-life citizens should be able to freely share their message to mothers in vital need without having to shout from outside a “First Amendment-free zone,”‘ explained Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden, who will also be available for media interviews following oral arguments.”
Religion Clause: “The U.S. Supreme Court this morning heard oral arguments in McCullen v. Coakley, a case challenging on free speech grounds a Massachusetts law creating a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics to shield women entering the clinics from abortion opponents.”
Burlington Free Press: “Their lawyer, Michael DePrimo, is also one of the lawyers representing the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case, McCullen v. Coakley. He said in an interview that the two cases are tied together. ‘The Supreme Court really is going to decide the life or death of the Burlington ordinance,’ DePrimo said. He lives in Connecticut and is connected with with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal group based in Scottsdale, Ariz.”
Attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom will be available for media interviews Wednesday following oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of a Massachusetts law that creates a 35-foot “buffer zone” restricting pro-life advocates from speaking with people entering abortion facilities.
SCOTUSblog: “At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hold one hour of oral argument on the power of government to limit protests and demonstrations outside abortion clinics. Arguing for the challengers to a Massachusetts ‘buffer zone’ law in the case of McCullen v. Coakley will be Mark L. Rienzi of Washington, D.C., a law professor at Catholic University.”
Sarah Elizabeth Richards in the New York Times: “ANDY INKSTER, a transgender man, had always wanted biological children. So when he embarked on the transition from female to male at age 18 — changing his name, taking testosterone and eventually undergoing surgery to remove his breasts — he left his female reproductive organs intact.”
Adam Liptak in the New York Times: “Early last Wednesday, bundled up against the 7-degree cold, Ms. McCullen said she found the line to be intimidating, frustrating and a violation of her First Amendment rights. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Wednesday in her challenge to the law.”
Ryan T. Anderson at Heritage: “The ‘State Marriage Defense Act of 2014,’ HR 3829, requires the federal government to respect state laws on marriage. The Act requires the federal government to look to the laws of the state where citizens reside to determine the definition of ‘marriage.’ It states that the term ‘marriage’ shall ‘not include any relationship which that State, territory, or possession does not recognize as a marriage, and the term “spouse” shall not include an individual who is a party to a relationship that is not recognized as a marriage by that State, territory, or possession.’”
NRO Bench Memos: As Ed has previously noted, next Wednesday the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in McCullen v. Coakley, which presents the question of whether the First Amendment permits a state to forbid pro-life counselors and others from peacefully talking to women on a public sidewalk within 35 feet of an abortion clinic.