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Journal Star: Nebraskans should know that the right to “exercise” their religion is vulnerable in this state. And our legislators should be discouraged from passing laws in the name of nondiscrimination that, simultaneously, work a discrimination against an emerging religious minority. We must establish a more appropriate balance.
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.
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.
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.
Omaha.com: Otoe County Clerk Janene Bennett in southeast Nebraska says she doesn’t think she could ever issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple, even if a judge ordered her to do so.
Daily Caller: “The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals already upheld Nebraska’s marriage policy against the ACLU’s challenge in 2006,” Caleb Dalton, litigation counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
ABC 8: C.A.R.E. is hoping to change LPS policy regarding such issues. Using some language from the Alliance for Defending Freedom, a Christian conservative group.
Religion Clause: A lawsuit was filed yesterday in federal district court in Nebraska by 7 couples challenging the constitutionality of Art. I, Sec. 29 of Nebraska’s state constitution.
Lincoln Journal Star: CARE wants the policy to be more specific, and require that parents be notified if their child is involved in any class or activity — and of any training materials or research — that “includes sex education, family planning, gender identity, diversity issues, extreme violence or any controversial issue” with enough notice that parents can opt to take their children out of the activity or review the materials. Cosby said the proposed language comes from the Alliance for Defending Freedom.
Christian News Network: A school district in Nebraska is facing opposition over its teacher and administrative training, which urges faculty to stop using gender-specific terms such as “boys and girls,” but to rather utilize more inclusive language so as to accommodate transgender students or those who don’t think they fit into any gender.
Breitbart: As Breitbart News reported, the lawsuit, brought by Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of Susan Thayer, a former facility director of Planned Parenthood, charges that her former employer “repeated false, fraudulent, and/or ineligible claims for reimbursements” to Medicaid and failed to meet adequate medical standards.
Live Action News: Casey Mattox of Alliance Defending Freedom, the legal group defending Thayer, said that American deserve to know whether their tax dollars are being abused, regardless of their stance on abortion: “No matter what people believe about abortion itself, everyone can agree that Planned Parenthood should play by the same rules as everyone else. We look forward to continuing our defense of the American taxpayer in this case.”
The Des Moines Register: “Americans deserve to know if their hard-earned tax money is being funneled to groups that are abusing it,” the group’s senior counsel, Casey Mattox, said in a press release. “No matter what people believe about abortion itself, everyone can agree that Planned Parenthood should play by the same rules as everyone else. We look forward to continuing our defense of the American taxpayer in this case.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit Friday reinstated a former Planned Parenthood facility director’s lawsuit against Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing Susan Thayer filed suit in 2011, alleging fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars. A district court judge had dismissed the lawsuit in 2012.
Life News: A complaint filed by Operation Rescue against nationally known late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart over a recent string of botched abortions has been placed with an investigator with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHH).
The Washington Times: Granting the divorce “would in effect disenfranchise 70 percent of Nebraska’s voters (who voted for the amendment), and recognize something that hasn’t been recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court itself,” said Assistant Attorney General James Smith.
Life News: The College of St. Mary gets it. Instead of telling a young woman with an unplanned pregnancy that having a baby would end her career goals, this institution is providing the means for her to both raise her children and earn a diploma.
The Federalist: An MSNBC producer for noted theologian and constitutional law scholar Al Sharpton has found out something extremely disturbing about the Republican nominee to be Nebraska’s next U.S. Senator. Turns out he believes in religious liberty.
AP: North Dakota’s attorney general said Wednesday the state was appealing a judge’s ruling that overturned a state law banning abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
Associated Press: “Nebraska lawmakers could get a chance this year to debate a bill that would prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation.”
Lincoln Journal Star: “A Raymond woman who married her longtime, same-sex partner in Iowa in 2009 is now petitioning the Nebraska Supreme Court to be allowed to divorce. The issue of same-sex divorce has only recently begun to crop up. A total of 17 states now recognize same-sex marriage, but Nebraska is not one of them.”
Beatrice Daily Sun (AP): “Abortion foes and supporters are at odds over a Nebraska bill that would require clinics to post conspicuous signs saying women can’t be pressured into having the procedure. . . . The bill is LB1032.”
Times-Republican (AP): “Sarpy County commissioners have decided to extend health insurance benefits to spouses of gay county employees who have legally married in another state but live in Nebraska.”
World-Herald: “State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha said he introduced Legislative Bill 675 to help the state coffers. Property taxes paid by religious groups could ease the burden on other taxpayers, as well as reducing the need for state aid to schools and other local subdivisions, he said.”
Greenwich Time: “Abortion clinics in Nebraska would have to post signs telling patients that no one legally can force them to have an abortion, under a new bill in the Legislature.”
Lincoln Journal-Star: “Attorney General Jon Bruning said he will defend Nebraska’s so-called fetal-pain law despite Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling throwing out a similar law in Arizona.”
Nebraska Judicial Commission won’t investigate judge who told 16 year old abortion would “kill the child inside you”
JournalStar.com: The state commission that oversees judges has refused to investigate one who told a 16-year-old state ward seeking to terminate her pregnancy that having an abortion would “kill the child inside you.”
Omaha.com: Douglas County will extend benefits to the same-sex spouses of employees who were married legally in other states. The County Board voted Tuesday to change the definition of an eligible spouse from “legally married spouse” to “the person to whom the employee is legally married, regardless of whether that person is of the same gender or opposite gender of the employee.”
LifeNews: It will be a sad day in our country when a judge faces disciplinary action for stating a scientific fact during a hearing—but that is exactly what abortion rights advocates want. NARAL Pro-Choice America and RH Reality Check filed a formal complaint against Judge Peter Bataillon with the Nebraska Commission on Judicial Qualifications, in part because he stated from the bench that abortion kills a child.
Religion Clause Blog: In EEOC v. JBS USA, LLC, (D NE, Oct. 11, 2013), a Nebraska federal district court held that a beef processing plant need not accommodate the prayer practice of Somali Muslim employees because doing so would impose “undue hardship.”
Nebraska High Court: 16 Year Old Too Immature To Consent To Abortion, Despite Fear of Religious Foster Parents’ Reaction
Religion Clause Blog: In In re Petition of Anonymous 5, (NE Sup. Ct., Oct. 4, 2013), the Nebraska Supreme Court in a 5-2 decision ruled that a 16 year-old girl living in foster care had not established that she is sufficiently mature and well informed about abortion to have the procedure without the consent of a guardian.
Nebraska.tv: Three same-sex couples plan to sue Nebraska because they say the state won’t allow them to become foster parents.
Christian Newswire: Pro-Life Action League Executive Director Eric Scheidler said that local activists are “highly motivated” to protest Chastine, and indicated that the Oak Park physician can expect to see pro-life advocates outside her office on a regular basis.
ABC: Danielle Powell was just months away from her college graduation when she fell in love with a fellow student at Grace University in Omaha, Neb. But the other student was a woman, and same-sex relationships were forbidden at the biblical-based Christian college.
USA Today: A prominent Nebraska abortion clinic is facing a new legal challenge from state officials who want to revoke the license of the clinic’s only nurse because of allegations of questionable care.
Star Herald: Prayer at the beginning of Kearney Public Schools Board of Education meetings is unconstitutional, the district’s attorney says. “We’ve received information from our school attorney and were told, I quote from our attorney, ‘We advise against such practice as courts have determined that school board prayers are unconstitutional,’” board president Tim Higgins said at Monday’s meeting.
KHASTV.com (includes Kellie in video): Thursday lawmakers got together to debate an issue that’s faced a number of Nebraska cities lately and it is now hitting a state level – workplace discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation . . . “This bill fails to protect the First Amendment freedoms. Instead, it seeks to confine religious freedom in particular to the four walls of a church or a place of worship,” said Kellie Fiedorek, Alliance Defending Freedom.
Journal Star: Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers forced a vote Tuesday on the issue of discrimination based on sexual orientation with an amendment to an unrelated bill.
HSLDA: The Supreme Court of Nebraska will decide whether homeschoolers Eric and Gail Thacker violated Nebraska law because their homeschool calendar didn’t start until October while the public schools began in August.
Journal Star: On Tuesday she introduced a bill (LB485) that would prohibit discrimination in hiring, recruitment, promotion and other workplace issues, based on sexual orientation or marital status. The prohibition would not apply to religious organization
Journal Star: An anti-abortion group wants Nebraska lawmakers to pass legislation that requires four-dimensional ultrasound images of human fetuses to be posted on a state website.
Omaha.com: The council voted 6-4 to add the bias protection. Nickerson had voted against the proposal, along with council members Chuck Haase and Scott Dugan and Council President Peg Gilbert.
Washington Times: Last month, Scott Lautenbaugh, an Omaha attorney and Nebraska state senator, filed a lawsuit against the Nebraska State Bar Association in federal district court in Omaha. Days later, Mr. Lautenbaugh sought a preliminary injunction and to certify his case as a class action. Mr. Lautenbaugh is an outspoken opponent of the bar’s use of member dues for political and ideological purposes. In fact, he filed a petition with the Nebraska Supreme Court asking that it “de-integrate the bar,” that is, make membership in the bar voluntary.
Omaha.com: “The Catholic Church is not going to back down,” said Denver Auxiliary Bishop James Conley, who will start as the new bishop of the Lincoln Diocese on Nov. 20. “We are never going to compromise our principles. We will defy it and face the consequences.”
Courthouse News: A Republican lawmaker challenged the Nebraska State Bar Association’s practice of using mandatory dues for lobbying. Scott Lautenbaugh, a state senator from Omaha, filed a class action in Federal Court. Lautenbaugh claims the Bar’s use of mandatory membership dues for lobbying violates Bar members’ right to free speech.
The Church Report: A recent poll from the Omaha World-Herald had Kerrey trailing state Sen. Deb Fischer (R) by 16 points among likely voters.
Omaha.com: In attempt to repeal Omaha’s legal protections for gay and transgender residents is under way, a move that could inject the contentious issue into next year’s city election. A group calling itself the Omaha Liberty Project filed a petition request with the City of Omaha this week, seeking to put the city’s expanded anti-discrimination protections to a public vote.
NBC: A new rule that requires Nebraska public schools to set aside time for the Pledge of Allegiance is drawing complaints from some teachers who are worried that schools may pressure them to recite it against their will, a civil liberties group said Monday
NY Daily News: A hate crime reported last month by a lesbian claiming three masked men tied her up in her Nebraska home, carved derogatory slurs into her skin and set fire to her house was allegedly an elaborate hoax, police said Tuesday….
LifeNews: A federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit filed by attorneys general of several states against the Obama HHS mandate that requires to religious employers to pay for or refer women for abortion-causing drugs and birth control in violation of their religious liberties | Nebraska v. HHS, Order
KPTM.com: It’s an 11-year-old battle between the Nebraska ACLU and Columbus Lakeview High School. The school told Fox 42 that it is tradition for the graduation ceremony to include prayer. The ACLU says prayer shouldn’t be allowed. Lakeview High parents and students say they won’t stop praying anytime soon.
The Hill: The Senate Republican primary in Nebraska has turned into a proxy war between conservatives and establishment Republicans that could complicate efforts to wrest control of the Senate from Democrats.
JournalStar.com: Councilman Carl Eskridge plans to propose a fairness ordinance, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes.
WOWT.com: The Omaha City Council approved a controversial city ordinance Tuesday that will make it against the law to discriminate in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Non-Catholic Christian groups, state governments sue over Obama birth control mandate | Daily Caller
The Daily Caller: But the more surprising development may be the entrance into the fight of Christians from denominations other than Roman Catholicism. On Tuesday the Alliance Defense Fund filed suit on behalf of Geneva College, a Beaver Falls, Penn. school affiliated with the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, and Louisiana College, a Baptist institution, adding them to the growing list of plaintiffs.
MSNBC: Seven states asked a federal judge Thursday to block an Obama administration mandate that requires birth control coverage for employees of religious-affiliated hospitals, schools and outreach programs.
The Daily Caller: The November decision to reject the construction plan “was the result of a decision made, to honor, the concerns of those in Nebraska, including the Republican governor … [that the pipeline] would threaten the water supply in Nebraska,” Carney said.
KHASTV.COM (includes video): Gay rights advocates are preparing to fight a bill in the Nebraska Legislature that would prevent cities from enforcing local rules to protect gays and transgendered people from discrimination.
The Hill: The threat came from the attorneys general of Nebraska, Texas and South Carolina.
Omaha.com: In the Legislature, State Sen. Beau McCoy’s Legislative Bill 912 would amend state law to prohibit local governments from creating new classes of residents protected from discrimination.
Religion Clause: In Franks v. Nebraska, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2829 (D NE, Jan. 10, 2012), a Nebraska federal district court rejected a Title VII employment discrimination claims by a correctional officer who was not permitted to carry a pocket-sized Bible while at work in the Omaha Correctional Center.
Omaha.com: Lincoln lawyer Jeff Downing, who has defended schools and cities in cases involving religious expression, said the school probably overreacted by taking down the sign. “I think it’s a completely defensible thing to have on a school kiosk at this time of year,” he said. “It could have a meaning for one observer that’s completely different from the next observer who looks at it.”
LifeNews.com: Formerly a celebrated pro-life Democrat who enjoyed support from Right to Life for his standing as a minority voice within the Democratic party speaking against abortion, Nelson lost his support within pro-life circles after he voted for the abortion-funding Obamacare . . .
JournalStar.com: federal appeals court on Wednesday agreed to review its decision in a Missouri case that could decide the constitutionality of Nebraska’s funeral picketing law.
HSLDA: New truancy enforcement laws have sparked criminal charges against several homeschool families in Nebraska. A Dawson County Sheriff’s deputy actually threatened to remove one family’s children unless they enrolled them in public school.
The New American: The ACLU’s Nebraska franchise is demanding that a school district in that state put a stop to prayer at its high school graduation, even though the ceremony is sponsored and run privately by parents.
Columbus Telegram: Patrons of Lakeview Community School District, including eight senior students, showed their support Monday night for the continuation of prayer during graduation ceremonies.