Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
New Jersey: A longtime Wawa employee is suing the convenience store chain in federal court, claiming she was harassed and eventually fired from her corporate office job after working to create a Gay-Straight Alliance group at the company in 2012.
North Jersey: “In most of these cases when a teacher is operating on their private Facebook page, it’s very clear they’re speaking in their personal capacity and not as an employee,” said Rory Gray, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom.
New Jersey Law Journal (Subscription Required): U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was on friendly ground when he appeared to speak at a Federalist Society event in Morristown recently—both as a native of the state and a longtime supporter of the organization—but his remarks aimed at the legislative branch and others in Washington, D.C., were less chummy.
New Jersey Law Journal: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has nominated four lawyers for initial seven-year terms on the Superior Court bench and eight sitting trial judges for tenure.
Yahoo News: A federal appeals court on Monday rejected a fresh challenge to New Jersey’s ban on so-called gay conversion therapy for minors, saying the prohibition does not violate the rights of either children or their parents.
Religion Clause: The U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday, for a second time, rejected a constitutional challenge to a New Jersey statute (A3371) that prohibits providing “sexual orientation change efforts” counseling to minors.
Christian Today: An atheist group has decided not to appeal a ruling against its case challenging the constitutionality of the phrase ‘Under God’ in New Jersey schools’ Pledge of Allegiance.
NC Register: When an atheist association challenged the Pledge of Allegiance’s place in public school over the words “under God,” New Jersey high school student Samantha Jones decided with her family to step forward and defend it.
Aleteia: On her Facebook page, Patricia Jannuzzi criticized gay activists and gay marriage as threats to the traditional family. Now the long-time religion teacher at Immaculata High School in Somerville, New Jersey, has been suspended after actress Susan Sarandon complained about the post, according to media outlets.
Breitbart: A long-time teacher at a Catholic school in New Jersey has been suspended over comments made about homosexuality on her personal Facebook page.
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.
National Review: According to a media report out of New Jersey, a third doctor–the others are Shewmon and Calixto–has signed a declaration stating Jahi McMath is not brain dead. The family attorney Chris Dolan says he will petition the California Secretary of State to rescind the death certificate.
9News: Supporters of the bill called it a common sense law. Michael Norton, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom said that sex offenders pick victims by opportunity and current Colorado law allowed these individuals easier access to their victims. Other supporters echoed this sentiment.
The Denver Post: At Wednesday’s hearing, Ransom had a lawyer from the powerful Christian conservative Alliance Defending Freedom help explain her bill to the committee.
The Christian Post: If you artificially remove one requirement for marriage – in this case, the binary male-female prerequisite – then there is no justification, logically or legally, for not removing all requirements.
Christian News Network: A New York woman from the Great Lakes region says that she is set to marry her biological father after being estranged from him for 12 years—a report some say confirms the slippery slope America is on concerning the devaluation and redefinition of marriage.
Public Discourse: No one wants pain. But the debate about assisted suicide is not just about those who are terminally ill and in pain. It is about all of us. By voting for assisted suicide, we are implicated in an intrinsically immoral act.
Christian News Network: The Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has ruled that a New Jersey school district violated the rights of a substitute teacher when it fired the man for giving a middle school student his Bible during the lunch period.
Public Discourse: Did New Jersey’s Assembly approve an assisted suicide bill without understanding it? The bill is bad public policy, shot through with dangerous loopholes and contradictions that threaten to push many vulnerable citizens of New Jersey toward death.
Global Dispatch: “Schools have a duty to protect the privacy, safety, and dignity of all students,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “No child should be forced into an intimate setting – like a bathroom or a locker room – with a child of the opposite sex. Our model policy provides a solution that prevents children from being exposed to threats to their privacy and safety and prevents schools from being exposed to liability.”
One News Now: Jeremy Tedesco of Alliance Defending Freedom says the email contained a recommended policy to protect the privacy of students in restrooms and locker rooms while providing a solution for students who are struggling with their sexual identity. The suggested solutions include providing gender-confused students with access to a single stall restroom, access to a unisex restroom or controlled use of a faculty restroom, locker room, or shower.
Daily Press: Advocacy groups have weighed in on the issue, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Alliance Defending Freedom. The groups disagree on whether forcing Grimm to use an alternative facility violates Title IX, a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in schools.
NJ.com: A Monmouth County Superior Court judge reserved a decision Wednesday in the case where a school district motioned to dismiss a lawsuit that aimed at removing the words “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.
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.
Life News: The New Jersey Assembly today passed a bill to legalize assisted suicide and it will now send the measure to Governor Chris Christie, who has promised to veto it.
One News Now: Steven Chase Brigham has already lost his license in several states —including Delaware, Virginia and Florida — and now has lost his license in New Jersey, as well, where he owns eight abortion facilities.
Christian News Network: A toll collector in New Jersey is alleging that she was told to stop saying ‘God bless you’ to drivers who passed by her booth because some might find it offensive.
Religion Clause: In Doe v. Christie, (D NJ, July 31, 2014), a New Jersey federal district court for the second time (see prior posting) rejected constitutional challenges to New Jersey’s law barring mental health professionals from treating minors using Sexual Orientation Change Efforts. This challenge was brought by parents seeking reparative therapy for their 15-year old son.
Life News: Abortionist Steven Chase Brigham was in a New Jersey court on Friday seeking to persuade a judge to allow him to keep his last remaining medical license, which is currently under suspension after the discovery of his secret illegal bi-state late-term abortion scheme in 2010.
National Review: Chris Christie rose to national prominence in 2010 in part on his reputation for taking on unpopular battles, entrenched interests, and vocal critics at town-hall meetings across his heavily Democratic state.
South Jersey Times: “A Cumberland County woman argues that the state Motor Vehicle Commission’s alleged denial of issuing an ’8theist’ license plate violated her First Amendment rights, according to a lawsuit filed on Thursday.”
Religion Clause: “Yesterday’s Newark Star Ledger reports that a hearing is scheduled April 1 in a New Jersey Superior Court on an action by three cemetery monument companies against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark seeking to enjoin the Archdiocese from selling monuments and private mausoleums at Catholic cemeteries.”
Philadelphia Inquirer: “Rabner’s seven-year term ends in June, and Christie has not announced plans to renominate him. While the Republican governor hasn’t said he will remove Rabner, a Democrat, he has spoken of a need to reshape the state’s high court, which he decries as ‘out of control’ and unaccountable to the public. Last summer, he publicly criticized one of Rabner’s decisions.”
Religion News Service: “Muslim Advocates and the Center for Constitutional Rights on Friday (March 21) appealed a federal judge’s ruling that affirmed the right of the New York City Police Department to spy on Muslims based on their faith and ethnicity.”
New Jersey Herald: “A northern New Jersey town has established a buffer zone to prevent protesters from getting too close to an abortion clinic and other health care facilities.”
Religion News Service: “Jyoti Sharma fondly remembers Diwali festivities from her childhood in India. The Hindu festival of lights is observed every autumn with prayers, fireworks and feasts. But one thing that made Diwali really special, Sharma said, is that she had five days off from school to observe the holiday.”
Reuters: “U.S. District Judge William Martini in Newark, New Jersey, threw out a lawsuit brought by several New Jersey Muslims who claimed the New York Police Department illegally targeted them for undercover monitoring solely because of their religion.” | Hassan v. City of New York, (D NJ, Feb. 20, 2014)
Associated Press: “The New Jersey Bar Association is urging the reappointment of the chief justice of the state Supreme Court, telling Gov. Chris Christie that a refusal to rename him would represent ‘an unprecedented intrusion of politics’ into the judiciary.”
Asbury Park Press: “David Wells, 57, of Ocean Township was arrested in November by Eatontown Police after mall security had asked him to stop handing out religious pamphlets inside the mall. According to the police report, Wells disagreed with mall management, then refused a request to stop distributing and refused to leave the property.”
The Star-Ledger: “Instead, he spoke for seven minutes before the official swearing-in of Justice Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina, the first high court appointee Senate Democrats have supported during a two-year standoff with the governor.”
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief Friday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in opposition to a New Jersey law that prohibits minors from obtaining counseling for unwanted same-sex attraction even with parental permission.
The Star-Ledger: “Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill today that would have permitted people who underwent a clinical sex change procedure to amend their gender designation on their birth certificates.”
Paul Mulshine at NJ Star Ledger: When I wrote on Sunday about the same-sex marriage bill pending before the state Senate, I noted that the advocates of this sort of thing claim to support liberty but in fact want to destroy the liberty of others. Boy, did I ever get that right!
NJ.com: Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg said Sunday that she decided to follow the advice of Lambda Legal, a gay rights law group, to take the bill off the agenda. It was to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee this afternoon.
The Blaze: “Keep Christ in Christmas” sign in a New Jersey borough has sparked a two-year fight over church-state separatism — one that has led the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a secular activist group, to post a holiday response on a nearby billboard.
NJ.com: A Mount Laurel teacher at a suburban Philadelphia Catholic high school was fired Friday after he applied for a marriage license in New Jersey with his partner, NBC Philadelphia reported.
NJ.com: Mayor David Fried yesterday said his township is putting the “Christmas” back in its annual tree lighting ceremony, saying political correctness has gone too far in denuding the holiday trees of their original name.
Washington Post: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will ask the Supreme Court to allow sports gambling in state casinos after a federal appeals court said late Friday it would not rehear the case.
Jonathan V. Last at the Weekly Standard: In the late 1860s, a Methodist preacher named William Osborn assembled a small group of pastors from around Philadelphia to purchase a patch of land at the shore in central New Jersey. On July 31, 1869, they christened their one square mile of paradise “Ocean Grove.”
Religion Clause Blog: The EEOC announced yesterday the entry of a consent decree in a suit against a New Jersey car dealership for refusing to hire a Sikh man as a sales associate because his religiously-required beard did not meet the company’s dress code. The decree in EEOC v. United Galaxy Inc., d/b/a Tri-County Lexus, (D NJ) . . .
Religious songs to be reinstated for winter concert Board will discuss long-term implications | CentralJersey.com
CentralJersey.com: Prior to the superintendent’s letter, Alliance Defending Freedom, a nonprofit legal organization that deals primarily with religious freedom issues, sent a letter to district officials to lobby for the songs’ inclusion. ”We write to explain that every federal court to examine the issue has determined that including Christmas carols and other religious music in school choir programs fully complies with the First Amendment and to urge you to immediately rescind the new policy instituted by administrative officials,” the letter read. The letter, written by the organization’s legal counsel, further stated the district’s role as it pertains to the First Amendment is to remain neutral from religion and refrain “from demonstrating an unconstitutional hostility toward songs with religious origins.”
NorthJersey.com: It’s an issue that has bedeviled American communities for decades: Does God belong in government? North Jersey’s elected officials tackled that question last week as they awaited a U.S. Supreme Court decision on secular prayers at town meetings.
Fox News: Students at Rutgers University are rallying for the reinstatement of a campus bus driver who says he was pressured to resign after praying for a disabled passenger, but the company says he was ousted over a safety violation.
Robert Carle at Public Discourse: California and New Jersey’s new laws banning talk therapy to address same-sex attraction in minors violate the rights of parents and children to seek counseling that conforms to their values. They also endanger First Amendment rights.
School Christmas shutdowns show unconstitutional hostility | Jeremy Tedesco on the Morning Drive with Steve James
LifeNews: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is pro-life and vetoed Planned Parenthood funding five times before he ran for re-election in a state that is not known as a bastion of conservatism. While abortion activists and the media elite claim Republicans can’t win on a pro-life platform — saying they are supposedly engaging in a War on Women instead, Christie proved them wrong.
Liberty Counsel: Liberty Counsel filed suit on behalf of New Jersey parents against the law that bans their son from receiving counsel from a licensed professional counselor regarding unwanted same-sex attractions, behavior, or identity.
AP: A southern New Jersey couple has sued Gov. Chris Christie over his signing of a bill banning so-called gay conversion therapy, claiming it violates their constitutional rights.
National Review Bench Memos: New Jersey’s highest court has distinguished itself as one of the most lawless in the country, taking on the role of judiciary, legislature, and chief executive on a range of issues from the state budget to the definition of marriage.
AP: Gay marriage became legal in New Jersey this week, a cause for celebration for same-sex couples who have been pushing for nuptials for years but also the source of some legal confusion.
The New American: Austin R. Nimocks, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, responded to the news with the declaration that “marriage — the union of husband and wife — is timeless, universal, and special, particularly because children need a mother and a father.” Bruce Hausknecht, a judicial analyst with Focus on the Family, said that Americans dedicated to strong families “have to shake their heads when they see activist courts in action. First the U.S. Supreme Court decides that the federal definition of marriage must be judicially re-written to conform with state definitions that include same-sex marriage. Now a New Jersey court says that its own state definition of marriage is dependent on the new federal definition of marriage. With circular reasoning like that, there is no amount of social engineering that the judiciary cannot accomplish to achieve its own ends.”
New Jersey “gay marriage” begins with Christian protester, Booker says no ‘substantive and worthy objections”
Christian Post: One attendee at the City Hall gathering that attracted dozens then proceeded to stand up and yell: “This is unlawful in the eyes of God and Jesus Christ,” according to NJ.com. The protester was then reportedly escorted out of City Hall and Booker said that because there were no “substantive and worthy objections,” the ceremony could proceed.
PBS: Joining me now to outline what’s happening is David Crary. He reports on social issues and policies as a national writer at the Associated Press.
Matthew J. Franck at National Review: Last week at Public Discourse, I detailed how New Jersey Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson turned legal reasoning upside down and inside out in order to reach the conclusion that the state constitution now requires legal recognition of marriage for same-sex couples.
Politicker NJ: The Christie Administration today decided to withdraw its appeal of a lower court’s decision to authorize same-sex marriages in New Jersey, citing the New Jersey Supreme Court’s biased decision not to stay the ruling until the case could be heard in full.
ABC27.com: Two Pennsylvania lawmakers are calling on Gov. Tom Corbett to follow the lead of New Jersey’s governor and end his opposition to same-sex marriage.
KGW.com (AP): Efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania and New Jersey help illustrate similar situations happening across the country in the months since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of a federal law that restricted the rights of gay couples. A sampling of efforts in key states . . .