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MLive: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday quickly signed controversial legislation allowing adoption agencies that contract with the state to decline service to prospective parents on religious grounds.
The Detroit News: Lawmakers continued a Michigan battle over religious and civil rights Wednesday with the passage of legislation allowing faith-based agencies to turn away gay and lesbian couples seeking state-supported adoptions.
Reuters: Earlier this month the company, RG & GR Harris Funeral Homes Inc, retained the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian group that calls itself a “legal ministry” and has been involved in dozens of high-profile cases involving religious liberty, in a 2014 suit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Michigan approves bills that allow adoption agencies to refuse service based on sexual orientation and religion
World Religion News: There are three bills heading toward the Governor’s desk passed through the House on party line votes. Prior to the votes, two hours of opposition and supporting testimonies were given by a wide range of people, including parents of varying sexual orientation who have adopted children into their homes.
The State News: Hours after U.S. Supreme Court heard the cases of same-sex married couples in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, state Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, testified in front of the state Senate Judiciary Committee to show support to Senate Bill 4, or the Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Michigan adoption agencies may soon be allowed to refuse some applicants applicants on religious grounds
Christian Today: House Bill 4188 provides that adoption agencies can refuse to provide any services “under circumstances that conflict with the child placing agency’s sincerely held religious beliefs contained in a written policy, statement of faith, or other document adhered to by the child placing agency.”
Detroit Free Press: On 4-1 party-line votes, the Senate Families Seniors and Human Services passed three bills that will allow Faith-based adoption agencies to refuse to serve prospective parents based on their religious beliefs.
Christian Today: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says he will veto a religious freedom bill in his state if it fails to include an expansion of the Elliott-Carter Civil Rights Act.
The National Law Journal: The private-practice lawyer who will defend Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage before the U.S. Supreme Court is working independently from his firm, Warner Norcross & Judd, which declined to get involved in the litigation.
Reuters: A Michigan-based Islamist preacher whose online sermons have been a leading source of inspiration for foreign fighters in Syria is free to return to social media after restrictions on his Internet use lapsed.
Crux (AP): Gov. Rick Snyder warned Thursday that he would veto religious objections legislation unless lawmakers also send him a bill extending anti-discrimination protections to gays.
Click On Detroit (AP): The Republican-led state House has approved bills that would allow adoption agencies to discriminate based on religion.
M Live: A civil rights group says a complaint it made to a Byron Center-area charter school stopped two adults from unlawfully leading students in Christian prayer on campus.
The World and Everything In It: Planet Fitness has revoked the membership of Yvette Cormier after she complained about a transgender male in the female locker rooms. Plus: an ABC Family television show depicts a homosexual kiss between two 13-year-old boys.
Christian News Network: A mayor in Michigan states that he will be countering an atheist booth that will be set up near a prayer station at city hall by distributing “In God We Trust” posters through his office
Christian Today: A US city and its mayor have been fined $100,000 for refusing to allow an atheist “reason station” to be erected next to a Christian “prayer station” in its city hall.
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.
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.”
Detroit Free Press: As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to decide this spring if same-sex marriage should be legal in Michigan and other states across the country, legislation aimed at protecting businesses and agencies from providing services that conflict with their religious beliefs is making its way through the state Capitol.
Detroit Free Press: If a church can have a prayer station inside city hall, then an atheist can have a reason station there, too.
Petoskey News: A group of Republican state lawmakers are sponsoring a bill in the Michigan House of Representatives that prohibits public school officials from discriminating against students or their parents based on a religious viewpoint or expression.
The Stream: I once asked my late father if he had any experiences with anti-Semitism. There weren’t many. Although that was probably in part because of his scoring methodology. The Irish kids who beat up the Jewish kids in his Bronx neighborhood didn’t do so because they were anti-Semitic, but because “they had to fight somebody,” as my dad put it. Today, such behavior would probably be called a hate crime.
Baptist Press: “The city fired him for nothing other than his faith, and that’s not constitutional,” ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot said in a written statement.
Associated Press: Gov. Rick Snyder says Michigan will recognize more than 300 same-sex marriages performed during a brief window when they were allowed last year.
Holland Sentinel: If the issue reaches the litigation stage, the county should not accept legal support recently offered by the group Alliance Defending Freedom, according to the county’s attorney. The group, based in Arizona, defines itself on its website as “an alliance-building legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.”
The Detroit News: Mitch Kahle, who moved to this lakefront community in western Michigan a year ago, has quickly made his presence felt. He convinced Ottawa County to remove a religious sign from a county park, persuaded Grand Haven to turn a 48-foot cross on city land into an anchor, and got two school districts to stop a minister from continuing to hold lunchtime programs at schools.
Michigan Live: The Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which made it through the Republican-led House during last year’s lame-duck session but did not reach the governor’s desk, has returned in the Senate.
Detroit News: A Detroit minister has sued Michigan in federal court, alleging state law violates his right to religious freedom by barring him from conducting same-sex and polygamous marriages.
One News Now: Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorney Greg Baylor believes this issue will eventually wind up before the Supreme Court.
The Christian Institute: A Bill protecting religious freedom has been passed by the US state of Michigan’s House of Representatives.
The Daily Signal: Finishing off a week that was pretty bad for the media, CBS News is now spinning a story about a Michigan religious freedom bill. Their headline reads: “Bill would let Michigan doctors, EMTs refuse to treat gay patients.” But the bill does nothing of the sort.
Christian News Network: The Michigan House of Representatives has approved a state version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) despite opposition from those who claim that the bill will give license to people of faith to “discriminate.”
The Washington Times (AP): Attorney General Bill Schuette and supporters of gay marriage have at least one thing in common: They want the U.S. Supreme Court to use a Michigan case to settle the legality of same-sex nuptials.
SCOTUS Blog: Moving rapidly to help persuade the Supreme Court to take up the same-sex marriage issue promptly, Michigan officials filed their brief Monday night in a key case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit — the only federal appeals court in the recent round of rulings to uphold a state’s ban on such unions.
Detroit Free Press: Two Michigan nurses took a big step Monday that could land them in America’s history books: They took their same-sex marriage case to the U.S. Supreme Court in a pioneering effort to make same-sex marriage legal in America once and for all.
Life News: The Planned Parenthood abortion business in Michigan has closed an abortion referral clinic because it didn’t get enough business.
The Daily Signal: Earlier today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit overruled lower court decisions that had struck down state laws defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
CNN: “The people of every state should remain free to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman in their laws,” ADF senior counsel Byron Babione said in a statement.
The Christian Post: Byron Babione, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, argued that the Sixth Circuit decision was consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court decision Windsor vs. United States.
The New York Times: “The people of every state should remain free to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman in their laws,” said Byron Babione, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal group that has argued several same-sex marriage cases. “As the Sixth Circuit rightly concluded, the Constitution does not demand that one irreversible view of marriage be judicially imposed on everyone.”
National Right to Life: National Right to Life News Todayhas closely followed the legal and administrative proceedings brought against Michigan abortionist Robert Alexander going back to January 2013. But his trail of incompetence and dangerous practices reaches back many years before that.
ABC News (AP): Weddings, court rulings and confusion are defining a week that started with the U.S. Supreme Court denying appeals from five states seeking to retain their marriage laws or amendments.
Students for Life: Following National Pro-Life Chalk Day last week, where pro-life student groups drew positive messages with chalk at their colleges, universities and high schools across the country, students at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, MI found today that vandals that covered their drawings with the Nazi swastika symbol and threw water on the chalkings as well.
Aleteia: A protest over the firing of chemistry teacher and coach, Barb Webb — who is newly pregnant through “nontraditional means” (read IVF) and “married” to her lesbian partner — drew about 120 people to the sidewalks at Marian High School in the northern Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills.
Fox News (AP): A Michigan funeral home and a Florida eye clinic illegally fired employees because they’re transgender, a federal agency alleged Thursday in two lawsuits.
USA Today: For weeks, Bashar Bakoz of Waterford, Mich., pleaded with his parents over the phone to flee their hometown of Qaraqosh, a Christian town in northern Iraq. With the radical Islamic State on the march, he said it was too dangerous for them to stay.
The Detroit News: Just a few years ago, you could count on one hand the number of unanimous opinions. This term, the Michigan Supreme Court spoke unanimously 15 times – roughly 40 percent of our opinions. What does this mean? In resolving some of the most contentious issues involving interpretation of statutes and our constitutions, the seven justices saw eye to eye.
The New York Times: The steady march of judicial approval for same-sex marriage over the past year ran into some skepticism here on Wednesday as a three-judge federal appeals panel heard arguments in six same-sex marriage cases from four states.
LA Times: A federal appeals court in Cincinnati began hearing arguments Wednesday from six same-sex marriage cases that have worked their way up from lower cases in four states.
Life News: Michigan abortionist Robert Alexander, whose Muskegon abortion facility was shut down by the fire marshal after horrific conditions were discovered there, is set to appear before Administrative Judge Shawn M. Downey for a disciplinary hearing on September 3, 2014, at 9 AM at the Ottawa Building in Lansing, Michigan.
Cincinnati.com: Same-sex marriage is a novel concept that is not as old as Google or Facebook, yet it is leading some courts to re-imagine the rights endowed by the U.S. Constitution and re-write human history.
Christian News Network: Three prominent church-state separation groups have filed suit against a Michigan mayor for denying the request of an atheist activist to erect a ‘reason station’ near an existing ‘prayer station’ at city hall.
SCOTUS Blog: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, set to review a same-sex marriage case from each of the four states in its geographic area, will consider all four of them before the same three-judge panel on August 6, the court said in orders issued Monday.
Michigan Live: The injunction was applauded by Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based Christian legal-advocacy group whose attorneys are representing Cornerstone and Dordt.
“Christian colleges should remain free to operate according to their defining beliefs,” ADF Senior Counsel Gregory Baylor said in a statement. “Under this mandate, religious employers have no real choice: they must either comply and abandon their religious freedom, or resist and be taxed for their faith.”
Christian News Network: “Christian colleges should remain free to operate according to their defining beliefs,” added ADF Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor in a press release surrounding the injunction. “Under this mandate, religious employers have no real choice: they must either comply and abandon their religious freedom, or resist and be taxed for their faith.”
“If the government can force Christian colleges to act contrary to their deeply-held religious convictions, then the government can do just about anything,” he said. “The court was right to block enforcement of this unconstitutional mandate.”
Campus Reform: The court’s decision only affects employees of the universities, which were represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, and not their students. For Dordt, that means it affects 191 employees it insures and their dependents.
Des Moines Register: A Christian college in northwest Iowa does not have to pay for some types of contraceptives for employees — at least for the time being — a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
The Christian Post: Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents the colleges, praised the decision, arguing that religious colleges should have the freedom to behave according to their religious convictions.
“Christian colleges should remain free to operate according to their defining beliefs,” ADF Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor said. “Under this mandate, religious employers have no real choice: they must either comply and abandon their religious freedom, or resist and be taxed for their faith. If the government can force Christian colleges to act contrary to their deeply-held religious convictions, then the government can do just about anything. The court was right to block enforcement of this unconstitutional mandate.”
The Aquila Report: A federal court issued an order Wednesday [May 21. 2014] that halts enforcement of the Obama administration’s HHS mandate against two Christian colleges: Dordt College in Iowa and Cornerstone University in Michigan.
Court issues preliminary injunction against ACA contraception mandate enforcement against two religious colleges
Religion Clause: ADF issued a press release announcing the decision. Des Moines Register reports on the decision.
Caffeinated Thoughts: “Christian colleges should remain free to operate according to their defining beliefs,” said ADF Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor. “Under this mandate, religious employers have no real choice: they must either comply and abandon their religious freedom, or resist and be taxed for their faith. If the government can force Christian colleges to act contrary to their deeply-held religious convictions, then the government can do just about anything. The court was right to block enforcement of this unconstitutional mandate.”
Life News: “Christian colleges should remain free to operate according to their defining beliefs,” said ADF Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor. “Under this mandate, religious employers have no real choice: they must either comply and abandon their religious freedom, or resist and be taxed for their faith. If the government can force Christian colleges to act contrary to their deeply-held religious convictions, then the government can do just about anything. The court was right to block enforcement of this unconstitutional mandate.”
Alliance Defending Freedom: A federal court issued an order Wednesday that halts enforcement of the Obama administration’s HHS mandate against two Christian colleges: Dordt College in Iowa and Cornerstone University in Michigan.
USA Today: Declaring “the fight is on,” a formidable coalition of conservative Christian groups filed legal briefs in federal appellate court Wednesday supporting Michigan’s ban on gay marriage.
USA Today: Same-sex marriage advocates launched a public relations campaign Thursday across Michigan to make what they said was a fresh start at persuading Michiganders that the state ban on gay marriage should be overturned.
Detroit Free Press: Attorney General Bill Schuette hopes the appeals court uses the same reasoning when deciding Michigan’s same-sex marriage case as the U.S. Supreme Court used when upholding Michigan’s voter-approved ban on affirmative action policies used by the state’s universities.
Detroit Free Press: “Warren Mayor Jim Fouts has turned down an atheist’s request to place a ‘reason station’ inside city hall for one year, saying it would disrupt an existing prayer station allowed by the city.”
MLive.com: “The Bay County Board of Commissioners approved changes to the county’s personnel policy on Tuesday, April 15, protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender county workers from employment discrimination. The 5-2 vote in favor of the changes means the policy changes take immediate effect.”
Washington Times: “U.S. District Judge David Lawson is considering whether to overturn the 2011 law as an unconstitutional attack on gays and lesbians. He stopped it with an injunction last summer after finding that opponents’ arguments were credible.”
Detroit Free Press: “The conference was held at the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, which filed the lawsuit to make sure that the marriages of 300 same-sex couples performed after last month’s historic gay marriage ruling are recognized by the state. Within 24 hours after U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman declared Michigan’s gay-marriage ban unconstitutional, 300 same-sex couples across the state got married.” | ACLU press release (including complaint)
Marcia Coyle, The National Law Journal: “On April 17, Oklahoma’s defense of its ban will be made by James Campbell of Alliance Defending Freedom. ‘At the core of almost all of these cases are two claims,’ said Austin Nimrock of Alliance Defending Freedom. One is that the 14th Amendment’s equal-protection and due-process guarantees prohibit states from denying same-sex couples the fundamental right to marry, he said. Second, in some but not all of the cases, is that under the U.S. Constitution’s full-faith-and-credit clause, states must give legal effect to gay marriages performed outside of their boundaries.”