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In a move that follows suit with a federal ruling issued in February, a state district judge has deemed Texas’ restrictions on same-sex marriage unconstitutional — paving the way for a San Antonio couple’s divorce proceedings and subsequent child custody battle to continue.
“A teacher at Hamilton Elementary school in Cypress, Tex. has been accused of telling a second grade student not to read the Bible during a time when students read to themselves. The accusation also states that the teacher barred the student from bringing the Bible to school at all.”
Dallas Morning News: “A Dallas County district judge temporarily reinstated the hospital admitting privileges of two doctors who perform abortions after the hospital revoked them. University General Hospital in Dallas withdrew admitting privileges of Dr. Lamar Robinson and Dr. Jasbir Ahluwalia on March 31, citing in a letter that it was because the doctors perform abortions at separate facilities in Dallas.”
Dallas Morning News: “An Orthodox Jewish synagogue will be allowed to continue to operate out of a home in Dallas, after a district court judge ruled Thursday against a temporary injunction that would have shut it down.” | See Religion Clause for more information.
New York Times: “Health clinics offering abortions in Texas filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday to block a new state rule that could shut down more than half of the state’s remaining providers this fall, forcing women seeking an abortion in southern and western Texas to drive several hundred miles each way or go out of state.”
Kathleen Hunker at The Bell Towers: “Should Texans be forced to choose between providing for their families and practicing their religious faith? What about their right to free speech or their right against unreasonable searches and seizures? Should the government be able to condition our right to earn an honest living on our willingness to surrender our personal liberties? Hint: If you believe in a vibrant and working Constitution, the answer is no.”
Evan Lenow at The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission: “When someone makes the claim that they have a right to produce a birth certificate containing two mothers and no father as the biological record of the child’s birth, they undermine the right of the child to know his genetic history. If marriage includes unions other than those between a man and a woman, it undermines the creation ordinance designed to be the avenue of procreation and perpetuation of the human race. This is not an undue hardship placed on the couple by the state. It is Biology 101.”
LifeNews: ‘”Having a disability shouldn’t be a death sentence,’ said Alliance Defending Freedom Litigation Counsel Catherine Glenn Foster. ‘The court order gives Terry the chance he needs to recover, which is all his parents were asking for.’”
Mailee R. Smith at National Review: “The Fifth Circuit’s decision this week in Planned Parenthood v. Abbott set up a likely Supreme Court showdown on the constitutionality of laws regulating chemical abortions. As such life-ending drugs have become the abortion business’s growth industry, this case has major implications.”
Alliance Defending Freedom allied attorneys with Texas Center for Defense of Life obtained an order from a Texas court Thursday that will prevent a hospitalized man from being starved to death for another 60 days. The order assigns temporary guardianship to his father instead of the man’s estranged wife.
Appeals court upholds Texas pro-life law Wendy Davis opposed that closed abortion clinics | LifeNews
LifeNews: “‘Women deserve real doctors, not transient abortionists who have no connection to their patients or their communities. The health and safety of women is more important than an abortionist’s bottom line–including the bottom line of Planned Parenthood, which is the nation’s largest abortion seller,’ said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden. “Planned Parenthood’s opposition to these basic health requirements is simply additional evidence that they care more about profit than about what’s best for women.’”
In a 3–0 ruling Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld a Texas regulation that protects women against cut-and-run abortionists. The court also upheld a requirement that abortion-inducing drugs be administered according to the protocol authorized by the Food and Drug Administration in most situations.
The Dallas Morning News: “The Senate Judiciary swiftly approved the nomination of Texas Judge Gregg Costa Thursday, sending his fate to the hands of the full Senate. Costa, a federal district judge in Galveston, is up for a seat on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. He passed the committee with a voice vote and no senators voiced opposition.”
Fox News: “A panel of judges at the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court judge who said the rules violate the U.S. Constitution and served no medical purpose. Despite the lower court’s ruling, the appeals court already had allowed some rules to go into effect while it considered the case. The latest decision means more regulations will begin later this year, as scheduled, and sets the case up for a likely appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.” | Opinion is here.
Charisma News: “‘Everyone deserves a chance to recover from an injury,’ says Alliance Defending Freedom allied attorney Greg Terra, president of Texas Center for Defense of Life (TCDL). ‘It has only been 19 days since Terry’s heart attack, and that’s much too soon for life-sustaining treatment to be removed. We will continue to work through the courts to save Terry’s life until he recovers and walks out of the hospital or until we have exhausted our efforts.’”
Alliance Defending Freedom allied attorneys with Texas Center for Defense of Life obtained a temporary restraining order from a Texas court Monday to prevent a hospitalized man from being starved to death until a hearing takes place later this week.
Religion Clause: “Courthouse News Service yesterday reported on a Title VII religious discrimination lawsuit filed in Texas federal district court by the former director of marketing communications for a wireless network services company.”
Religion Clause: “In Reese v. General Assembly of Faith Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America, (TX App., March 14, 2014), a Texas appellate court dismissed on 1st Amendment grounds a lawsuit brought by a pastor who was fired less than two years into his 5-year employment contract with a Presbyterian congregation.”
The Times-Picayune: “The Louisiana Legislature will consider adopting restrictions on abortion providers similar to those that shut down several facilities in Texas and threaten to shutter Mississippi’s one remaining abortion clinic.”
Houston Chronicle: “Attorneys for former television sports analyst Craig James said Thursday that James’ employment discrimination claim against Fox Sports Southwest has been accepted for investigation by the Texas Workforce Commission.”
National Journal: “Two abortion clinics in Texas are closing, bringing the state’s total down to 20 as abortion providers struggle to stay open under new state laws.”
Ilya Somin at The Volokh Conspiracy: “The fact that so many state gay marriage laws have been invalidated since Windsor increases the likelihood that this issue will return to the federal Supreme Court sooner rather than later. It could be that some of these lower court rulings will be reversed by appellate courts. Even so, the pro-gay marriage forces clearly have momentum, and it is likely that at least some federal appellate courts will uphold lower court rulings striking down gay marriage bans. If so, that would put further pressure on the Supreme Court to address the issue that it ducked when it dismissed Hollingsworth v. Perry on standing grounds last year.”
Denver Post: “Greg Scott, spokesman for Alliance Defending Freedom, which is defending Oklahoma’s gay marriage ban, agrees a Supreme Court showdown is inevitable, but he said the outcome is very much in question. He also said judges willing to take either side of the debate can be found in every state. ‘All this shows is we are headed to the Supreme Court to decide the future of marriage in America,’ Scott said Wednesday.”
Houston Chronicle: “A federal judge in San Antonio on Wednesday declared Texas’ ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. The Lone Star state’s refusal to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages is also unconstitutional, he ruled.” The order is here.
The Dallas Morning News (AP): “Former television college football analyst Craig James is complaining to the state that his firing by Fox Sports Southwest was an act of religious discrimination . . . James alleges a national Fox Sports spokesman told The Dallas Morning News that James was terminated from Fox Sports Southwest for religious beliefs against same-sex marriage.”
More information is available from the Liberty Institute here.
Dallas Morning News: “The Department of State Health Services revoked the license of A Affordable Women’s Medical Center in Houston after finding that the clinic’s only provider of abortions, Dr. Theodore M. Herring Jr., did not have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.”
Houston Chronicle: “State officials have temporarily suspended the license of a Houston physician under a new state law requiring doctors who perform abortions to hold admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.”
San Antonio Express-News: “U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia did not immediately rule on a pre-trial request to temporarily bar Texas from enforcing its ban while a lawsuit filed by two gay couples winds its way through the court system.”
Associated Press: “A lawyer representing Texas asked a federal judge Wednesday to reject pleas from two gay couples to suspend the state constitution’s definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, calling the legalization of same-sex marriages ‘a more recent innovation than Facebook.’”
Associated Press: “Two homosexual couples challenging Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage will take their case to federal court on Wednesday in the wake of recent legal victories in two other conservative states. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia is expected to decide whether to temporarily block the law, approved by voters in 2005, until a trial can be held in the couples’ case.”
WORLD: “No one deserves to be silenced simply for having a viewpoint that school officials don’t favor,” said senior legal counsel Jeremy Tedesco in a press release. ‘When a school creates an opportunity for community advertising, it cannot single out religious messages for censorship. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech for all people, regardless of their religious or political beliefs.’”
KDFW FOX 4: “A homeowner is suing his neighbor, a rabbi, claiming the rabbi is violating the homeowner’s association rules and lowering property values. The rabbi says his 3,700 square foot home in a far North Dallas neighborhood near Frankford and Hillcrest roads is a synagogue.”
CBS Houston: “A high school teacher was forced to remove a religious poster after a student took offense and sent a photo of the poster to the Freedom from Religion Foundation.”
Laredo Morning Times (AP): “The Texas Board of Education imposed tighter rules Friday on the citizen review panels that scrutinize proposed textbooks, potentially softening fights over evolution, religion’s role in U.S. history and other ideological matters that have long seeped into what students learn in school.”
WND: “‘No one deserves to be silenced simply for having a viewpoint that school officials don’t favor,’ said Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. ‘When a school creates an opportunity for community advertising, it cannot single out religious messages for censorship. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech for all people, regardless of their religious or political beliefs.’”
Texas man sues school district for refusing to display ad of Jesus covered in tattoos | Christian Post
Christian Post: “‘No one deserves to be silenced simply for having a viewpoint that school officials don’t favor,’ said Jeremy Tedesco, ADF senior legal counsel. ‘When a school creates an opportunity for community advertising, it cannot single out religious messages for censorship. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech for all people, regardless of their religious or political beliefs.’”
KCBD: “‘No one deserves to be silenced simply for having a viewpoint that school officials don’t favor. When a school creates an opportunity for community advertising, it cannot single out religious messages for censorship. The first amendment protects freedom of speech for all people, regardless of their religious or political beliefs,’ said Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco.”
Christian Examiner: “‘Christians should not be prevented from expressing their beliefs in public venues,’ added Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. ‘We hope that Lubbock Independent School District will revise its policy so that everyone can exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms.’”
Lubbok Avalanche-Journal: “Attorneys with a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Christian legal organization, Alliance Defending Freedom, filed the suit, according to a news release posted on the group’s website.”
FOX 34: “Alliance Defending Freedom is suing LISD for its refusal to display its faith based ad on the jumbotron during high school football games at Lowery Field.”
KCBD: A religious group is suing the Lubbock Independent School District over an advertisement.”
ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM NEWS RELEASE January 28, 2014 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT MEDIA AND PUBLIC RELATIONS: (480) 444-0020 or www.adfmedia.org/home/contact ‘Jesus Tattoo’ ad barred from jumbotron Texas school district refuses to display ad at football games, ADF attorneys file …
Live-blog from the Dallas Morning News: “The judge has sided with the family of Marlise Muñoz and ordered JPS Hospital to declare the pregnant woman dead and withdraw life support by 5 p.m. Monday.”
Reuters: “The U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay of execution for Mexican national Edgar Tamayo on Wednesday, allowing Texas to put to death the convicted killer who is also at the center of a diplomatic dispute.”
AP: “Opponents who have chipped away at abortion with state-level restrictions are facing a dilemma in some of the places where they have been most successful: Do they continue with that approach or seek more dramatic policies that risk court rulings that could undo previous gains?”
Associated Press: “The fate of a brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman and her fetus likely will be decided in a courtroom after the woman’s husband sued the hospital keeping her on life support against his wishes.”
Christian Post: “Pro-abortion group NARAL Pro-Choice America is asking its supporters to sign a petition declaring their opposition to a Ft. Worth hospital’s decision to keep a woman on life support as her baby continues to develop inside her body.”
FortBendStar.com: Guest speaker, Ryan Johnson, serves as an ambassador for Alliance Defending Freedom ministry. Alliance Defending Freedom is a servant ministry building an alliance to keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel by transforming the legal system and advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family. Recognizing the need for a strong, coordinated legal defense against growing attacks on religious freedom, more than 30 prominent Christian leaders launched Alliance Defending Freedom in 1994. Over the past 18 years, this unique legal ministry has brought together thousands of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations that work tirelessly to advocate for the right of people to freely live out their faith in America and around the world.
WFAA.com (includes video/poll): The Dallas City Council on Monday was briefed on recent changes at the federal level to gay marriage, the beginning of a process that could end with the city adopting its first resolution in support of the act.
InsuranceNews.net: The Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund) issued the following news release . . .
Texas Homeschool Coalition: On November 21 seven children from a home school family in Duncanville were forcibly removed from their home, in spite of no evidence of abuse or neglect, by order of Judge Graciela Olvera of the 256th District Court of Dallas County. Judge Olvera issued a removal order at an ex-parte hearing in which the parents were not represented nor notified.
One News Now: The cards included the phrases “Merry Christmas” and “God bless you,” which created the opposition. It was a Christmas card project of Grace Academy of North Texas. Liberty Institute sent a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs demanding they rescind the discriminatory policy.
AP: A federal appeals court heard arguments Monday on whether the state of Texas can enforce a law that led to the closing of several abortion clinics, a case that ultimately appears bound for the U.S. Supreme Court.
Charisma News: In October a lower court ruled to strike this requirement. The following month, Alliance Defending Freedom, Bioethics Defense Fund and Family Research Council filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in favor of the requirement. “The health and safety of women is more important than an abortionist’s bottom line—including the bottom line of Planned Parenthood, which is the nation’s biggest abortion seller,” said ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden. “The fact that Planned Parenthood opposes these commonsense health requirements just proves they care more about profiting from cheap chemical abortions than about women’s health and safety.”
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden and Bioethics Defense Fund Chief Counsel Dorinda C. Bordlee will be available for media interviews immediately following the state of Texas’s oral arguments in a federal appeals court Mondayregarding the state’s abortion law.
NBCDFW.com: The mayor of Flower Mound is receiving a lot of attention after declaring 2014 the “Year of the Bible.” Flower Mound Mayor Tom Hayden made a proclamation during a regularly scheduled city council meeting in the Dallas-area suburb last month decreeing that 2014 will be the “Year of the Bible.”
Beaumont Enterprise: The court is reviewing a recent round of briefs filed in the case. Beaumont Attorney David Starnes said the court ruled it didn’t need to hear oral arguments and is instead basing its decision on the briefs.
The Texas Tribune: The Texas Department of State Health Services finalized strict new abortion regulations on Friday, claiming that none of the 19,000 public comments on the rules provided evidence that they are unconstitutional.
Houston Chronicle: Harris County Republicans, led by the county’s GOP chairman, sued the City of Houston Tuesday over Mayor Annise Parker’s extension of health and life insurance benefits to all spouses of legally married employees, including same-sex couples in November.
Washington Blade: A Harris County (Texas) judge on Dec. 18 issued a temporary injunction against Texas’ largest city from extending benefits to same-sex spouses of municipal employees.
Texas Pastor’s Council: In response to a decision several weeks ago by Houston Mayor Annise Parker to recognize same sex “marriages” from other states and extend employee benefits to them, Houston Area Pastor Council has initiated a legal challenge (Pidgeon and Hicks v. Parker) that resulted in a Temporary Restraining Order being placed on her action.
Reuters: A San Antonio federal court will hear arguments in February in the case seeking to nullify a 2005 amendment that defines marriage as solely “the union of one man and one woman.”
Update: Obamacare abortion mandate litigation and Texas abortion litigation | Casey Mattox on FRC Washington Watch
Casey Mattox appeared on FRC Washington Watch to discuss Gilardi v. Sebelius and other challenges to the Obamacare abortion mandate. Planned Parenthood’s pending challenges to Texas abortion regulations are also discussed. | MP3 audio 11:32 mins |
Dallas Morning News: A Dallas City Council committee grappled Monday with whether the full council should vote on a resolution calling for marriage equality for gays, lesbians and the transgendered.
Fox News: “The Choose Life grants will enable recipient organizations to build on the good work they are already doing and help adoption become a reality for even more children and families in the Lone Star State,” Abbott said.
Montgomery Advertiser: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that a new Texas law requiring physicians at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at local hospitals could go into effect, overruling a lower court’s decision. If that law sounds familiar, it’s because the Alabama Legislature approved a bill last spring creating that same requirement for this state’s five abortion clinics.
AP: In a statement late Tuesday, the Texas Military Forces said federal personnel will handle the registrations, removing the legal conflict with state law.
AP: The long-simmering battle over teaching evolution in Texas boiled over at a late-night meeting, as the Board of Education extended preliminary approval of new science books for use in classrooms across the state but held up one biology text because of alleged factual errors.
Houston Pastors’ Coalition Responds to Mayor Parker’s Domestic Partner benefits decision | Houston Pastor’s Coalition
Houston Pastor’s Coalition: A local inter-racial, inter-denominational coalition representing over 300 Houston are pastors has responded to Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s announcement that the city will begin offering “benefits to the same-sex spouses of our employees who are legally married”, based on an opinion by City Attorney David Feldman.
Lyle Denniston at Constitution Daily: The court has never abandoned the constitutional line that a women has a right to end a pregnancy prior to the point at which a doctor finds the fetus to be “viable” – that is, capable of living outside the womb. But if a restriction is seen as a regulation of the abortion right, to fulfill some official policy or interest of the state government other than moral hostility to abortion, then it has a much greater chance of withstanding a constitutional challenge.