Friends, The new Alliance Alert Daily Digest is finally here! You can subscribe to the daily e-mail here: Subscribe to our mailing list * indicates required Email Address * First Name * Last Name *
NY Post: Mark Krolikowski claims he was branded as “worse than gay” and relieved of his responsibilities after he admitted to school officials two years ago that he was transgender, according to a new lawsuit.
Liberty Institute: oday, on behalf of several distinguished Christian theologians and scholars, Liberty Institute filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the United States Supreme Court supporting a request for the High Court to hear an important religious freedom case that could determine the future of prayers before legislative bodies throughout the U.S. The theologians seek to overturn the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s ruling in the case Galloway v. Town of Greece, which declared the town’s legislative prayers unconstitutional because they were not religiously diverse. A copy of the brief may be found here.
NY Law Journal: The six-year renovation of the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse at 40 Foley Square is nearing completion at a time when space is needed to accommodate a record number of federal judges in lower Manhattan.
Religion Clause Blog: Now in Priests for Life v. Sebelius, (ED NY, Dec. 21, 2012), the parties have filed a stipulation in a New York federal district court agreeing that Priests for Life qualifies for the temporary enforcement safe harbor.
David Hacker at the Speak Up Movement Blog: We have a lot to be thankful for this year at Alliance Defending Freedom as our clients prevailed time and again in cases across the country. Here’s a recap of the top university victories in 2012 . . .
Religion Clause Blog: The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced Tuesday the unsealing of indictments (full text of charging documents) charging 26 individuals in overlapping immigration fraud schemes involving fabricated claims of persecution asserted by Chinese aliens seeking asylum. Those charged were lawyers and paralegals in ten different law firms in the Chinatown area of Manhattan and Queens . . .
N.Y. Federal Court Hearing Today in Priests for Life’s Legal Challenge to HHS “Contraception” Mandate
American Freedom Law Center: Today, Robert J. Muise, Co-Founder and Senior Counsel of the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC), is presenting oral argument in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in support of AFLC’s request that the court immediately halt the enforcement of the Obama administration’s “contraception” mandate.
WKTV.com: Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced Wednesday that his office has secured a new court order protecting a Planned Parenthood site in Utica that is currently undergoing expansion from threatening and obstructive action by protesters.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed suit against the New York Department of Motor Vehicles in 2004 for rejecting a pro-adoption group’s application to sponsor a “Choose Life” specialty plate as part of a state program.
Matt Bowman at the Alliance Defending Freedom Blog: Religious freedom won a victory in New York in the first week of December when a federal court ruled on behalf of the Archdiocese of New York and other Catholic entities and …
US Supreme Court asked to weigh in on strange ruling against NY town’s prayer policy | Alliance Defending Freedom
In May, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit said that, because the town contains predominantly Christian clergy, it should invite non-Christians from other jurisdictions to invite to pray at its own town meetings and take other uncommon steps to ensure that non-Christians do not “feel like outsiders.”
Washington Blade: The Senate Judiciary Committee reported out by voice vote the nomination of Pamela Ki Mai Chen, whom President Obama nominated in August for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The panel reported out her nomination in an en banc vote as part of a group of seven nominees.
Catholic New York: On Dec. 11, oral arguments in that appeal are scheduled before New York’s Second Circuit Court of Appeals; representing the foundation, pro bono, is the Alliance Defending Freedom. The foundation also has a raft of endorsements from organizations and prominent individuals, including Cardinal Dolan, supporting its effort.
Religion Clause Blog: In Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York v. Sebelius, (ED NY, Dec. 5, 2012), a New York federal district court permitted the Archdiocese of New York, the Catholic Health Care System (ArchCare) and Catholic Health Services of Long Island to proceed with their 1st Amendment, RFRA and Administrative Procedure Act challenges to the contraceptive coverage mandate imposed under the Affordable Care Act.
Findlaw: The name of the game is reasonable compromise. United Parcel Services will learn this the expensive way, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The federal watchdog agency is suing UPS on behalf of a former employee who was denied time off to attend the Memorial of Christ’s Death, which is an annual religious service for Jehovah’s Witnesses.
NYC: No equal access for churches that worship | Jordan Lorence on the World and Everything In It with Mary Reichard
Religion Clause Blog: AP reported Saturday that the 21-family congregation of Swartzentruber Amish who have lived in western Pennsylvania are moving to St. Lawrence County in upstate New York rather than continue their battles with local officials over sewage disposal codes.
Reuters: They’re focusing on a type of worship that is Judeo-Christian, and that is the type of religion being excluded,” Jordan Lorence, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, the Christian nonprofit representing the Bronx church, told a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
One News Now: “Well, we are facing the reality that we are before … the same three judges who ruled against us 2-1 in June of 2011,” he tells OneNewsNow. “But we [now] have some different arguments and new evidence, and we are hopeful that they will take a fresh look at this and vote in favor of religious liberty.”
Jordan Lorence at Speak Up Movement Church Blog: The ongoing legal battle for equal access of churches to meet in New York City’s public schools returns to court Monday
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence will be available for media interviews following his oral argument Monday in favor of a ruling that would allow churches and other faith groups to continue meeting for worship services in New York City public school buildings on weekends.
Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy: The problem? The parents wanted to change the children’s last name to a name other than either the mother’s or the father’s, plus (and it’s not clear how relevant this ended up being) they had changed one child’s name three years before. From In re Kobra, 2012 WL 5373490 (N.Y. City Civ. Ct. Oct. 26) . . .
“Former Gov. George Pataki Slams Rabbi’s Comments That Superstorm Sandy Destruction Tied To Gay Marriage Vote”
NY Daily News: Former Gov. George Paaki ripped an upstate rabbi for making “offensive and disgraceful” comments that described Hurricane Sandy as divine payback for New York legalizing gay marriage. Pataki called on fellow Republican Neil DiCarlo — who is running on the Conservative Party line for a state Senate seat from the Hudson Valley — to denounce the remarks of Rabbi Noson Leiter. DiCarlo opposes gay marriage, and the orthodox rabbi made the statements in support of his third-party candidacy.
Bronx Household and Obama’s continued assault on religious liberty | Jordan Lorence on the Zeb Bell Show
Bloomberg: New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, an independent, issued a surprise endorsement of President Obama’s re-election Thursday, pointing to the president’s belief in global warming.
Blog of the Legal Times: No, New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman didn’t take a poll or worry about the reaction when he announced a plan in May to require 50 hours of pro bono service for admission to the New York bar. At a moment of crisis for access to justice, Lippman told a gathering of D.C. lawyers today, the judiciary and the legal profession “must be bold and proactive.”
Daily Freeman: Ad-Hoc Committee to Preserve Hospital Care in Kingston, which has held protests outside Benedictine Hospital, has strongly objected to abortions being performed there, noting it has operated as a Catholic institution for more than 100 years and sits on “holy ground.”
Religion Clause Blog: Pursuant to a stipulation of the parties, a New York federal district court in Central Rabbinical Congress of the USA & Canada v. New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, (SD NY, Oct. 23, 2012), entered a temporary stay of enforcement of the health department’s newly adopted regulation requiring informed consent from parents when a Jewish religious circumcision involves use of the oral suction technique (metzitzah b’peh).
Bloomberg: New York’s highest court refused to hear a challenge to the state’s same-sex marriage law after an appeals court ruled earlier this year that legislators didn’t violate open-meeting laws in passing the measure.
Religion Clause Blog: In Youth Alive v. Hauppauge School District, (ED NY, Oct. 12, 2012), a New York federal district court dismissed for lack of standing a claim by a high school after-school Bible club that the school board violated the Equal Protection clause when, in order to comply with the federal Equal Access Act, it refused to furnish the club a paid advisor.
Townhall: The Obama Department of Justice has shown surprising indifference to religious liberty by declining to follow the DOJ’s earlier repeated support for the right of religious groups to meet for worship services in New York City public schools during non-school hours.
AP: Two upstate New York women turned away from a potential wedding site because they are gay have filed a discrimination complaint, setting up a possible precedent-setting fight involving the state’s new same-sex marriage law.
AP: Lap dances are taxable because they don’t promote culture in a community the way ballet or other artistic endeavors do, New York’s highest court concluded Tuesday in a sharply divided ruling. | In the Matter of 677 New Loudon Corporation v. State of New York Tax Appeals Tribunal
Religion Clause Blog: In Caviezel v. Great Neck Public Schools, (2d Cir., Oct. 12, 2012), the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court and rejected parents’ constitutional challenges to New York’s denial to them of a religious exemption from the requirement their children be vaccinated in order to attend public schools.
Religion Clause Blog: In Matter of Nawadiuko, (City of NY Civil Ct., Oct. 1, 2012), a New York trial court denied an application by a family to change their name from Nwadiuko to “ChristIsKing”. The court identified two concerns . . .
Religion Clause Blog: A widely anticipated lawsuit was filed in federal district court in New York yesterday challenging a recently adopted New York City Board of Health regulation requiring informed consent from parents before a controversial method is used in the Jewish religious circumcision of their infant sons.
Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy: An interesting case, S.B. v. W.A. (N.Y. trial court Sept. 26, 2012). A quick and oversimplified summary . . .
The New York Marriage Equality Act and the Strength of Its Religious Exceptions | Andrew R. Hamilton at St. John’s L.R.
Hamilton, Andrew R., The New York Marriage Equality Act and the Strength of Its Religious Exceptions (2012). St. John’s Law Review, Journal of Catholic Legal Studies, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2156988
Religion Clause Blog: The New York Daily News today reports on a federal religious discrimination lawsuit filed by Larry Jackson, a Jehovah’s Witness who says he was denied a unit in the low income Glass Factory housing complex in New York City because an employee of the housing project was concerned that he would proselytize door to door in the 45-unit building.
NY Organ Donor Network pressured hospital staffers to declare patients brain dead to harvest body parts
NY Post: The New York Organ Donor Network pressured hospital staffers to declare patients brain dead so their body parts could be harvested — and even hired “coaches” to train staffers how to be more persuasive, a bombshell lawsuit charged yesterday.
NY Times: One of the four Republican state senators who voted for same-sex marriage claimed victory Monday in a close primary against an opponent critical of his vote, while another of the four appeared increasingly certain to lose his party’s nomination over the issue.
Religion Clause Blog: In Fortress Bible Church v. Feiner, (2d Cir., Sept 23, 2011), the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a New York federal district court’s decision that the Town of Greenburgh, New York violated RLUIPA’s “substantial burden” provisions, as well as the free exercise and equal protection provisions of the U.S. and New York constitutions, in denying an application by Fortress Bible Church to build a new facility to house the church and its school.
Christian Post: several key speakers, including ADF President Alan Sears, who addressed the crowd about what the organizations view as the “assault on marriage and the family” currently taking place in society. “Today’s religious freedom forum, a call for all people of faith to join and stand on the Manhattan Declaration, is a cry, ‘to let us be free.’ To preserve, protect, and defend the liberty and Constitution that millions have crossed oceans and deserts to obtain, and countless numbers have shed blood and given even their lives to preserve,” Sears said.
The Georgia Bulletin: “Our religious liberty is under assault like never before in America, in ways that are chilling, that are alien and unimagined on these shores,” said Alan Sears, president of the Alliance Defending Freedom in Scottsdale, Ariz. “If we fail to stand, if we fail to fight, if we fail to refuse to comply, our God-given liberty … will be but a distant memory.” The forum was based on the Manhattan Declaration, a 4,700-word joint statement signed in November 2009 by more than 140 Christian leaders, many evangelical and Catholic, pledging renewed zeal in defending the unborn, defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and protecting religious freedom.
Business Week: New York will require lawyers to perform 50 hours of pro bono work as a condition for getting a license under a rule that will take full effect in 2015, judicial officials said Wednesday.
New York CBS Local: On the region’s subways and buses, most ads we see don’t get much attention. But that may change with a pro-Israel ad that will soon grace MTA property which reads: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.”
One News Now: Attorney Matt Bowman of Alliance Defending Freedom tells OneNewsNow the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals paid close attention to arguments concerning the ordinance. “I think the court had a lot of good questions,” he says. “The judges disagreed with each other about some of the questions but they all had read the issues, and I think they were really confronted with the fact that to uphold this law you would have to allow the government to force people to say things because the government disagrees with them politically.”
Wall Street Journal: Two of the four veteran — and long-secure — Republican senators in New York who voted for same-sex marriage a year ago await counts of absentee ballots as they sweat out the political fight of their lives. A third announced his retirement this year in the face of strong opposition to his gay marriage vote. A fourth won his primary Thursday but only after a fierce and nasty campaign that included homophobic images and phrases.
Nathan Cherry at the Engage Family Blog: The silent battle taking place that you have probably not heard much about is in the area of zoning and equal access for public facilities. Churches are systematically being forced out of public spaces and told “no” by local zoning offices for permits to expand, or buy property . . . Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence has been working on the Bronx Household of Faith case in New York City for over 17 years. He spoke with FPCWV president Jeremy Dys in this issue of Engaging the Issues. Lorence explains that the fate of every church that meets in a public school hangs in the balance pending the outcome of this case. You can rest assured that if this case is not resolved in favor of the churches, and the school system is allowed to evict the churches, that and ripple will be felt from coast to coast as other school systems follow suit.
Examiner.com: David Pierce, who has been a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives since 2006, was victorious in his Democratic primary for state senate on Sept. 11th and became the first openly gay candidate to be elected to the state senate as a freshman . . . The Victory Fund also celebrated the victory of out gay Rep. David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, who sealed the nomination for another term for reelection to Congress and two LGBT candidates in Delaware. Andrew Staton and Marie Mayor both took steps in becoming Deleware’s first out LGBT legislators . . .
NY Times: Two Republican state senators who provided pivotal votes to legalize same-sex marriage last year fought opponents to a standstill on Thursday in primary races so close that they will be decided only after absentee ballots are counted.
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman will be available for media interviews immediately following oral arguments Friday before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in Pregnancy Care Center of New York v. City of New York.
NY Times: The New York City Board of Health unanimously passed a regulation on Thursday that will require consent from parents before an infant can have a form of Jewish ritual circumcision, prevalent in parts of the ultra-Orthodox community, in which the circumciser uses his mouth to remove blood from the incision.
New Times: Before State Senator Roy J. McDonald, a Republican, voted last year to legalize same-sex marriage, he told reporters that anyone unhappy with his position could “take the job and shove it.”
CNYCentral.com: Amid the tears and solemn remembrances, a national group called American Atheists is sparking controversy by trying to block a museum exhibit. The group wants to prevent a large cross made of one of the Twin Tower’s T-beams from being displayed at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum
AP: They may never be confused with “Swan Lake,” but an upstate New York strip club says its nude lap dances are every bit as much an art form and should be exempt from state taxes.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State: A New York middle school student does not have a constitutional right to recite a prayer from the Bible during a graduation ceremony, Americans United told a federal appeals court recently. The case, A.M. ex rel. McKay v. Taconic Hills Central School Distric
Ultra-Orthodox Rabbis Say They Will Not Comply With NYC Circumcision Informed Consent Rule If It Is Adopted
Religion Clause Blog: As previously reported, the New York City Health Department will vote on Sept. 13 on proposed rules to require written informed consent by parents to a controversial Jewish ritual circumcision method that health authorities say can spread herpes.
Huffington Post: A gay man and his longtime partner decide to become parents using a surrogate mother. Shortly after their son is born, the couple gets married. But there’s a catch for this modern family: A will left by the man’s wealthy father decrees that he must marry the mother for the child to collect an inheritance . . .
Washington Post: A long list of top-flight celebrities are headlining a fundraiser planned in New York next month to benefit the campaign for same-sex marriage in Maryland.
National Catholic Reporter: A lawsuit that was filed by the group American Atheists to keep a revered cross out of the National September 11 Museum is being challenged by a conservative law firm that defends the public display of religious symbols. The American Center for Law and Justice filed a friend-of-the-court brief Monday on behalf of the suit’s two defendants, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum Foundation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site.
Religion Clause Blog: In Lord-N-Fields Voice of Freedom Bible Church Community Workers Intl., Inc. v Kwan, (Sup. Ct. Suffolk County NY, Aug. 2, 2012), a New York state trial court voided the transfer of a 5.5 acre parcel of land that plaintiff church had made to a private corporation ostensibly to facilitate financing for a senior citizens’ housing project the church wished to construct on the land . . . NY Religious Corporation Law Sec. 12(1) . . .
CBS New York: Muslims who gathered for prayer to celebrate the end of Ramadan in a city park found bacon scattered on the ground, CBS 2’s John Slattery reported Monday.
Religion Clause Blog: The Forward reports today on the growing opposition in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community to a proposed rule (full text) published last month by the New York City Health Department that would require written informed consent by parents to a controversial ritual circumcision method.
Albany Times Union: A national atheist organization is threatening to sue the Shenendehowa school district over two songs taught to elementary school children that mention God in the lyrics.
One News Now: InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has announced its chapter at the University of New York-Buffalo is being reinstated following last year’s controversy involving a member who admitted he was homosexual.
Jordan Lorence at the NY Post: The New York City ban is emblematic of the much-too-widespread habit of public officials considering private religious expression to be dangerous and threatening, like asbestos that must be expunged from the ceiling tiles of the public square.
Religion Clause Blog: In Maetreum of Cybele, Magna Mater, Inc. v. McCoy, (S. Ct. NY Albany Co., Aug. 2, 2012), a New York state trial court concluded that property owned by the Cybeline Revival, a religious pagan faith, was not entitled to a tax exemption because the organization failed to show that the property was used primarily in furtherance of the organization’s religious purposes. Instead the primary use was to provide cooperative housing for the priestesses and their guests . . .
Religion Clause Blog: Last week, a group opposed to the creation of an eruv by Orthodox Jewish residents of the Village of Westhampton, New York filed suit in federal district court seeking a declaratory judgment that use of public property, including utility poles, to create a symbolic religious boundary violates the Establishment Clause . . . The complaint (full text) in Jewish People for the Betterment of Westhampton Beach v. Village of Westhampton Beach, (ED NY, filed 7/30/2012) . . .
FFRF press release: The Freedom From Religion Foundation has sent multiple letters to Shenendehowa Central Schools (Clifton Park, N.Y.) urging it to follow court precedent and personal conscience by removing prayerful songs from its music classes . . . A concerned parent told FFRF that the complainant’s child came home singing the prayer, “Thank You For the World So Sweet,” which includes the line, “I pray the Lord my soul to keep,” and ends with “Thank you God for everything.” The class was taught to sing “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep,” and other devotional Christian songs.