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AP: Fights about using tax dollars to help make private schools more affordable are popping up around the country.
NY Daily News: Rovani Wangkoa, 45, is supposed to report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be sent back to the homeland he fled in 1995 because of religious persecution.
NJ.com: Faced with a state Supreme Court nomination in jeopardy and hearings a day away, the Christie administration countered critics of both nominees Tuesday with the endorsement of an advisory panel he had hand-picked.
Deseret News: The Alliance Defense Fund filed a complaint with HHS, and Vanderbilt quickly backed down. “Christians and other pro-life members of the medical community shouldn’t be forced to participate in abortions to pursue their profession. That’s what federal law says, and that’s why Vanderbilt is doing the right thing in changing its policy and application,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman.
Times Union: There was a verdict in the wrenching Rutgers webcam spying case, but no resolution to a broader question that hovered over it: To what extent are hate crime laws a help or a hindrance in the pursuit of justice? . . . “These laws serve only one purpose — they criminalize thoughts and beliefs that are not considered politically correct,” said Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund. “There’s a clash and a conflict — I don’t know that it’s here yet, but it’s coming — with freedom of expression and freedom of religion,” Stanley said.
Jeff Jacoby at Townhall: N A NEW JERSEY COURTROOM on Monday, the defense rested in the trial of Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers freshman accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate’s intimate encounter with an older man. The roommate, Tyler Clementi, later committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge, and his death unleashed a national outcry about teen-age bullying and antigay persecution.
Harold Cassidy at NJ Law Journal (subscription only): The New Jersey Supreme Court heard oral argument in a surrogate-mother suit, The Matter of the Parentage of a Child by T.J.S. and A.L.S., and exposed the case’s greatest weakness: the class of women with the greatest rights at risk was unrepresented . . . The birth mothers were not heard from. Of such stuff, bad law is made.
The Advocate (a homosexual advocacy website, embeds video of Christie): New Jersey governor Chris Christie made a careful distinction today by separating “gay marriage” from “gay rights,” which he says he supports.
Bloomberg: Governor Chris Christie said he expects to win passage of a limited school-voucher program this year, even as the state’s largest teachers union tries to block.
Wall Street Journal: . . . voters overwhelming support Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s call to put the issue up for a public referendum, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday . . .
USA Today: Superior Court Assignment Judge Linda Feinberg is allowing the suit against the state to include a previously dismissed argument that New Jersey’s marriage laws deny equal protection under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
NJE3.org (includes video): Supporters of a bill to give scholarships to tens of thousands of students in failing public schools to attend private and parochial schools rallied on the Statehouse steps today, urging legislators to take action.
CNN (includes video): “I know this is a very emotional issue and a very divisive issue in my state,” Christie said in an interview to air on Piers Morgan Tonight Tuesday. “The only way we have to amend our constitution in New Jersey – which is by referendum – let’s put it on the ballot and let’s let the people decide.
Politico: Assembly spokesman Tom Hester says the bill was delivered to Christie’s office by the Assembly clerk’s office Friday morning, a day after the chamber approved it 42-33. The Senate passed the gay marriage proposal on Monday.
NJ.com: Trenton will be packed with emotion this week as both houses of the Legislature are expected to pass a gay marriage bill, but leaders on both sides of the issue concede it will kick off a long political standoff between Republican Gov. Chris Christie and Democrats.
NJ.com: State Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Somerset) has introduced a measure to allow voters to decide whether New Jersey should allow gay couples to get married.
American Federation for Children: The leader of New Jersey’s largest teachers union dismissed the plight of low-income families across the state who are in desperate need of high-quality educational choices, saying in a recent local television interview that “life’s not always fair” while arguing against giving expanded educational options to students trapped in failing schools.
Bloomberg: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said his pick to be the first openly gay justice on the state Supreme Court won’t rule on issues involving same-sex marriage.
News from Missouri Family Policy Council: Jim Campbell, staff counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, deplored the judge’s attack on religious freedom. “The government should not be able to force a private Christian organization to use its property in a way that would violate its own religious beliefs. Religious groups have the right to use their private property in ways that are consistent with their religious convictions.”
Philadelphia Inquirer: Gay rights advocates in New Jersey have been pushing for a decade to get state courts or lawmakers to recognize same-sex marriage. But last week, they demurred when Gov. Christie called for a public vote to settle the topic.
NJ.com: The Legislature must “put its money where its mouth is” to keep the New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights intact, a state panel ruled today in a decision that said the new law poses an unfunded mandate for school districts.
NJ.com: When Christie introduced Harris and fellow nominee Phillip Kwon to the press on Monday, he made a point of noting that Harris is openly gay. He also introduced the domestic partner of the 61-year-old Chatham mayor, who is an attorney in private practice.
NJ.com: Steven Goldstein, chairman of the gay rights group Garden State Equality, said a public vote on the issue would not really reflect the will of the people.
NYTimes.com: But asked on Thursday whether he was satisfied with the approach taken by Mr. Christie, a Republican, Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, did not seem to want to get involved.
In evaluating the adequacy of alternative channels of communication when deciding an as-applied constitutional challenge to the State’s statute limiting the places where sexually-oriented businesses may operate, trial courts are not precluded from considering the existence of sites that are located outside of New Jersey but that are found within the relevant market area as defined by the parties’ experts.
WSJ: New Jersey Democrats believe they are within spitting distance of securing enough support to override a veto of same-sex marriage legislation if Gov. Chris Christie chooses not support it.
Stephen Sweeney at NJ.com: Equality, fairness and justice are the most basic of American principles. The last century especially has seen numerous episodes of Americans fighting for, and eventually receiving, their civil rights. Yet there remain Americans for whom these principles are not fully realized.
News from The Associated Press: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has signed a bill into law legalizing sports betting in his state – but only after a federal ban on such gambling is overturned.
Judge Rules Christian facility cannot ban same-sex civil union ceremony on its own premises | LifeSiteNews
LifeSiteNews: “He said this isn’t a case of religious liberty, which is simply not true,” Jim Campbell, who represented the resort and serves as litigation staff counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), told LifeSiteNews.com. “What this case involves at its core is the rights of a religious group to use its property in a way that is consistent with its religious beliefs.” Campbell said most people will find Metzger’s belief that the state can force a religious facility to violate its conscience “a very scary concept. If that is a principle of the law, then essentially the government can cast aside religion if it deems something more important.” Campbell called Metzger’s ruling “an error of Constitutional law.”
Examiner.com: However the response was: “The government should not be able to force a private Christian organization to use its property in a way that would violate its own religious beliefs,” said Jim Campbell, a litigation staff counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund. “Religious groups have the right to use their private property in a way that is consistent with their beliefs. That right, protected by both the New Jersey and U.S. constitutions, obviously trumps any law enacted by the state’s legislature.”
Manasquan.patch.com: When asked if they would appeal the decision, the association’s attorney, Jim Campbell, of the Alliance Defense Fund based in Scottsdale, Ariz., said his client was discussing “all options.” Campbell added that he still believed that the association was on the right side of the law. “The government should not be able to force a private religious organization to use its property in a way that would violate its own beliefs,” Campbell said by telephone on Friday. “That’s why Ocean Grove is asserting its constitutional rights and that’s why Ocean Grove ultimately believes that the law is on its side.”
One News Now: Jim Campbell, an attorney representing the church, said the decision may be appealed. He said, “The government should not be able to force a private Christian organization to use its property in a way that would violate its own religious beliefs.”
NJ.com: U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez agreed yesterday to meet again with U.S. Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz, a welcome sign that he may back down from his confrontation with the Obama administration over her nomination.
NECN: Attorneys representing the church said they were reviewing the decision for possible next steps. “The government should not be able to force a private Christian organization to use its property in a way that would violate its own religious beliefs,” Jim Campbell, an attorney representing the church, said in a statement Thursday. | Via Religion Clause Blog
National Organization for Marriage Pledges Major Fight in New Jersey to Prevent Passage of Same-Sex Marriage
NOM Blog: The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today pledged an all-out effort to prevent same-sex marriage from becoming law in New Jersey, and said it would spend upward of $500,000 to support legislators who stood to preserve traditional marriage and hold those accountable who impose same-sex marriage in the state.
SouthBrunswick.patch.com: Although the last attempt to legalize gay marriage in the state ended losing in the Senate by a 14-20 vote, this time Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), said he has at least the 21 votes needed to pass the bill in the upper house.
Kathleen Hunker at Townhall.com: The New Jersey controversy prompted a series of questions regarding the rights of individuals who oppose abortion, and whether they retain the right to abstain from facilitating what they view as the termination of a human life in the course of their professional and/or business activities.. . . Kathleen Hunker has an LL.M. in Public Law and Human Rights from the University College London. She is a third-year student at the Columbia University School of Law and an Alliance Defense Fund Blackstone Fellow.
NYTimes.com: Democratic leaders in New Jersey are planning to make a bill allowing same-sex marriage the centerpiece of their agenda for 2012, reflecting a key change from two years ago, when a leading Senate Democrat abstained from a vote on the issue.
: The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) agreed not to require nurses to aid in abortions, according to the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), which represented 12 nurses in a lawsuit against the hospital. A federal judge had issued a temporary restraining order in the case against the hospital in November, protecting two of the nurses who were scheduled to assist in abortions the next day.
NJ.com: The move, which has effectively derailed the nomination of U.S. Magistrate Patty Shwartz to the Third Circuit, marks the first time a judicial appointee of President Obama has been held up by a senator from his own party.
Christian Institute: ADF’s Matt Bowman, who represented the nurses, said: “No pro-life medical personnel should be forced to assist or train in services related to abortions. The hospital has finally done the right thing in agreeing to obey the law and not force our clients to do any work on abortion cases in violation of their beliefs”. He added: “The hospital agreed not to penalize our clients in any way because they choose not to participate in abortion according to their legal rights.”
News from The Associated Press: A New Jersey doctor charged with 10 counts of murder for providing late-term abortions in Maryland has agreed to return to that state to face charges.
News from Missouri Family Policy Council: The Alliance Defense Fund had filed suit on behalf of the pro-life nurses in defense of their conscience rights under federal law.
NC Register (12/28): According to the Alliance Defense Fund, which represented the 12 nurses, the terms of the settlement require that if a woman suffers a true emergency from an abortion, the nursse will help protect her until other staff, such as the emergency team, arrives moments later. “Because the abortions are all elective, outpatient surgeries, and the court is requiring the hospital to fully staff all abortion cases with non-objecting medical personnel, the pro-life nurses should never actually be needed in any such case,” the ADF statement said. [more Matt Bowman quoted]
Christian Examiner: “No pro-life medical personnel should be forced to assist or train in services related to abortions. The hospital has finally done the right thing in agreeing to obey the law and not force our clients to do any work on abortion cases in violation of their beliefs,” said ADF legal counsel Matt Bowman. “The hospital agreed not to penalize our clients in any way because they choose not to participate in abortion, according to their legal rights.”
David Bohon The New American: ADF Attorney Matt Bowman, who represented the nurses in the case, recalled that the change in hospital policy had come “out of the blue,” noting that UMDNJ “had been performing abortions for decades without forcing nurses to violate their religious beliefs.” In September hospital officials announced to nurses at the Same Day Surgery Unit that they would now be required to assist with the procedures. The hospital instituted the policy change the following month “and repeatedly threatened that they must assist abortions or be terminated,” Bowman explained. “When one nurse objected to assisting abortions on the grounds of her religious beliefs, a supervisor responded that UMDNJ has ‘no regard for religious beliefs’ of nurses who object to participating in abortions.”
Catholic Culture (12/28): “It is a victory because the hospital finally agreed to obey the law and not force our clients to do any work on abortion cases in violation of their beliefs,” said the nurses’ attorney, Matt Bowman of the Alliance Defense Fund. “The hospital agreed not to penalize our clients in any way because they choose to not help abortions, according to their legal rights. The hospital is required to fully staff all abortion cases so that our clients would never be needed for those cases, and the hospital cannot use pro-abortion staff to replace our clients or reduce their hours.”
National Right to Life News (12/28): Last week I asked the nurses’ lawyer, Matt Bowman of the Alliance Defense Fund, how he would describe the settlement: a “victory” he told National Right to Life News Today. “It is a victory because the hospital finally agreed to obey the law and not force our clients to do any work on abortion cases in violation of their beliefs. The hospital agreed not to penalize our clients in any way because they choose to not help abortions, according to their legal rights. The hospital is required to fully staff all abortion cases so that our clients would never be needed for those cases, and the hospital cannot use pro-abortion staff to replace our clients or reduce their hours. The judge warned the hospital that our clients could return to his court if they were assigned to work abortion cases or if the hospital claims that routine abortions are emergencies. We hope that other hospitals will realize that they should agree to obey conscience laws that protect pro-life medical personnel.”
LifeNews: This was indeed a great victory, and the credit goes to twelve brave and principled nurses who stood their ground, and attorney Matt Bowman of the Alliance Defense Fund for his skillful and equally courageous defense of the nurses. There is a fundamental principle at stake here, one that is testing all of our established human anthropology, metaphysics, ethics, and jurisprudence . . . Blessedly, we have principled leaders and warriors today in people like Matt Bowman of the Alliance Defense Fund, Nikolas Nikas and Dorinda Bordleee of the Bioethics Defense Fund, who speak frequently at medical and law schools about conscience rights, and brave medical professionals who are dedicated to upholding the highest estimation of humanity under the law.
The Washington Post: The state Division of Gaming Enforcement ruled Friday that it would be OK to have a strip club inside the Taj Mahal Casino Resort. It would be Atlantic City’s first so-called “gentlemen’s club” inside a casino in the 33-year history of legalized gambling here.
Legal settlement: New Jersey’s pro-life nurses will not be forced to assist with abortions | LifeSiteNews
LifeSiteNews: We are glad that the hospital finally agreed to obey the law and not force our clients to do any work on abortion cases in violation of their beliefs,” Matt Bowman, the attorney who handled the case for the Alliance Defense Fund, stated in an e-mail statement sent to LifeSiteNews.com. “The hospital agreed not to penalize our clients in any way because they choose to not help abortions according to their legal rights.”
Samantha Henry Salon (AP): “I’m still scared about the part of them having four nurses brought in and we might become the surpluses,” Racpan Vinoya said, referring to the hospital hiring four nurses who do not object to assisting with the procedure. Matt Bowman, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, a coalition of Christian lawyers and organizations that represented the nurses, said they were satisfied with the agreement.
NJ Star Ledger: “The hospital has agreed that pro-life nurses do not have to assist abortion cases,” said Matt Bowman, an attorney with Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based Christian nonprofit group.
LifeNews.com: “I’m still scared about the part of them having four nurses brought in and we might become the surpluses,” Racpan Vinoya said. Matt Bowman, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, said he was pleased with the agreement. “Pro-life nurses shouldn’t be forced to assist or train in services related to abortions. Federal and state law both prohibit this,” said Bowman. “These 12 nurses have encountered threats to their jobs at this hospital ever since a policy change required them to participate in the abortion cases regardless of their religious and moral objections. It is disturbing that the hospital is fighting to continue violating laws that clearly protect conscience rights.”
Alliance Defense Fund Legal Counsel Matt Bowman will be available for media interviews following a court hearing Thursday in the case of 12 nurses being forced to assist with abortions at a New Jersey hospital.
NJ.com: On one side of the parental tug-of-war over the 5-year-old twin girls at the center of the long-fought court battle were Donald Robinson Hollingsworth and Sean Hollingsworth — a gay couple who married in California and live in Jersey City. On the other was Angelia Robinson, Donald Hollingsworth’s sister, who agreed to serve as a surrogate, ultimately giving birth to the girls through a donor embryo fertilized by Sean Hollingsworth.
Business Management Daily: Lawyers for the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative Christian nonprofit organization, represent the nurses and requested the injunction. More hearings on the case are scheduled for this month.
CBS Philly (includes video): Some residents of a South Jersey town are calling a Knights of Columbus banner that hangs over Broadway in Pitman, a sign of the season.
NY Daily News: Harry Pangemanan, 41, has been told to report to immigration officials, with plane tickets in hand, three days before Christmas. He’s hoping for a reprieve. Indonesian Christians urged the feds to get into the holiday spirit and spare them from deportation — by singing “Silent Night” and “Joy to the World” in front of Manhattan’s federal building.
National Right to Life News: “’The hospital filed a brief last week [December 3] asking the court’s permission to continue bullying nurses into participating in elective abortion cases,” [Alliance Defense Fund] lawyer Matt Bowman said in an e-mail. “Only by guaranteeing the court and the nurses that it has reversed its position would it prove that UMDNJ might finally be interested in following the law. Until then, ADF will continue to fight the illegal discrimination against these pro-life nurses.”
Cathy Ruse at Human Events: They are represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, which obtained a temporary restraining order against the hospital in November. The hospital temporarily consented to the order, but will fight it at a hearing set for Dec. 22. The hospital received $60 million in federal taxpayer funds this year, maybe more
Asbury Park Press: Attorneys for the nurses contend that “UMDNJ admits that it is breaking the law. It simply asks this Court to let it do so.” Meanwhile, UMDNJ has called the lawsuit “nothing more than a vehicle to promote the anti-abortion political agenda of the Alliance Defense Fund,” referring to the legal organization representing the nurses.