Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
Christian News Network: “No one actually discloses to you that you are paying this separate abortion fee because they just roll it into the general premium, but everyone in Vermont is being required to pay this separate abortion fee in order to enroll in a plan,” Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Casey Mattox told reporters.
One News Now: “It violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment,” Casey Mattox argues. “We’re hopeful that the court will see that this is an unnecessary burden on religious peoples’ right to deal with and enroll in ObamaCare plans and not have to actually violate their conscience to do it.”
Burlington Free Press: Alan Lyle Howe of Guilford is suing the Department of Vermont Health Access, commissioner Steven Constantino and a host of federal officials. Howe’s lawyer, Casey Mattox, has said that Howe is deeply religious and believes the use of his money for abortion is a violation of his religious freedom.
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Casey Mattox will be available for media interviews immediately following his oral argument Thursday before the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont in a legal challenge to an Obamacare surcharge that forces people to pay for elective abortion coverage.
Providence Journal: “That’s just not acceptable,” said Casey Mattox, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal organization based in Arizona. “You have plenty of options on the exchange if you don’t have that conviction. … People should demand more than that.”
Vox: “We were increasingly sensing that really at any time the Supreme Court could dramatically alter the landscape of Roe,” Vermont State Senator Tim Ashe says.
Life News: A bill has been filed in Vermont for presumed consent to organ donation, and it would grant an explicit ownership interest in the organs of all dead Vermonters to the organ transplant system.
True Dignity Vermont: One wonders if any of our legislators are ashamed and embarrassed that a tv plot revolved around the assumption that a sick man who is flying to VT would not be doing so to fulfill his bucket list of beautiful places to visit but to commit assisted suicide.
Burlington Free Press: “When government is imposing burdens like that on people … that’s a violation of free exercise, and that’s essentially what’s happening here,” Mattox said.
Honoring pre-existing convictions: Lawsuits question abortion-only plans in Rhode Island and Vermont
Lozier Institute: Casey Mattox, Senior Counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the group representing Howe and Doe, said, “Paying for elective abortions should never be a prerequisite for access to health care. Neither the Constitution nor federal and state law allow for this type of government coercion.” Yet, there is no viable alternative for these gentlemen, as evinced in Howe v. Burwell and Doe v. Burwell.
WND: “Americans should not have to pay a special fee for other people’s abortions in order to take care of their own family’s health,” said ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox.
Providence Journal: The case was filed by lawyers from Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal organization that filed a similar case in Vermont on the same day. It’s supported by the Rhode Island Right to Life Committee, whose executive director, Barth Bracy, sued Connecticut’s exchange last May. Six months later, that exchange offered health plans that don’t offer enhanced abortion services.
Ledger-Enquirer (AP): The case was filed by Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal organization in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Providence Journal: The man, whose identity is being kept secret because he allegedly is HIV-positive, is being represented by lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom. The case is Doe v. Burwell. He is described as a Christian anti-abortion advocate.
Life News: “Paying for elective abortions should never be a prerequisite for access to health care,” said ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox. “Neither the Constitution nor federal and state law allow for this type of government coercion. The Obama administration may not value constitutionally protected freedoms, but both federal and state law do. We are asking the court to stop Obamacare officials from running roughshod over these individuals’ rights.”
ADF Media: An HIV-positive man in Rhode Island and another pro-life advocate in Vermont have filed suit in federal court because Obamacare forces them to pay for other people’s elective abortions in order to obtain health care through their state exchanges.
The Washington Times (AP): The Supreme Court won’t hear a challenge to part of Vermont’s campaign finance laws that impose contribution limits on political action committees.
Christian News Network: During an event announcing Planned Parenthood’s endorsements for political office in Vermont, Gov. Peter Shumlin asserted that residents should feel “blessed” to have the “extraordinary work” of the abortion provider within its borders.
MyChamplainValley: “The Town of Addison is being accused of discriminating against a lesbian couple. That couple filed a lawsuit Wednesday after what they say was years of problems.”
WPTZ: “The Vermont Senate has voted to repeal a series of anti-abortion laws that courts found unconstitutional decades ago. One of the laws dated from the mid-19th century.”
Brattleboro Reformer: “Abortion has been legal in Vermont for four decades, but the state has a law on the books that makes it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion and subject to jail sentence of 10 years.”
WCAX: “Vermont’s abortion ban technically remains on the books despite state and national Supreme Court cases from the 1970s invalidating it.”
Washington Post: “A federal appeals court is making a rare appearance in Connecticut to hear several cases, including one involving a Virginia pastor convicted of helping a woman and her child flee the country and avoid a custody dispute with her former lesbian partner.”
LifeNews: “A group of Vermont state senators have introduced an unfortunate bill that would affirm a woman’s right to abortion, in an effort to nullify provisions still on the books in the Green Mountain State that criminalize the procedure.”
LifeNews: The Planned Parenthood abortion business in Vermont is having to pay a $30,000 fine because it ran afoul of state laws about how political action committee must register with the state government and report their campaign expenditures.
Townhall: Vermont, the first U.S. state to pass a law to implement single-payer, taxpayer-funded health insurance, has paid $170 million for its healthcare exchange website that does not work—and it only had to enroll 40,000 people.
Burlington Free Press: Vermont’s new insurance marketplace, like its federal counterpart, had a rocky launch Oct. 1 and remains plagued with glitches.
Boston Globe: The state of Vermont is joining Massachusetts and a number of other states and the District of Columbia in urging a federal appeals court to strike down bans on same-sex marriage in Nevada and Hawaii.
Portland Press Herald: An organizer of anti-abortion protests outside of Planned Parenthood in Portland said Wednesday there will be a lawsuit against the city if it enacts the 39-foot buffer zone around the clinic that was endorsed by a Portland City Council subcommittee Tuesday night. . . . Sneddon said the group is working with Connecticut attorney Michael DePrimo, who is affiliated with the religious organization Alliance Defending Freedom. The group has challenged buffer zones enacted in other states, including Massachusetts and Vermont.
One News Now: “The Department of Agriculture’s own rules say that religious education uses are allowed in buildings purchased or renovated using USDA loans or grants,” Aden notes . . . In this settlement,” says Aden, “the USDA has agreed to refrain from using religion to disqualify Care Net from the loan program. That’s not only a victory for Care Net, it’s a victory for others who may seek loans for critical services to the community and don’t want their religious speech held against them.”
LifeNews: While things are heating up in one state (New Jersey), Vermont’s newly enacted law is receiving a great deal of pushback.
LifeNews: The Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare have launched a TV advertising campaign in a first step to repealing the Vermont Assisted Suicide Act that was signed into law on May 20. True Dignity Vermont is also supporting the campaign.
Vermont Christian Business Owners Forced to Pay $30,000 in Fines for Expressing Their Religious Beliefs to Lesbian Couple | Gateway Pundit
Gateway Pundit (includes video): Yesterday, I spoke with Jim Campbell from the ADF about this recent case of Christian persecution. A Bed and Breakfast expressed their religious beliefs to a same-sex couple and ended up paying $30,000 in fines.
Findlaw: No JD required? Apparently, there are some states that have adopted this rule when it comes to admission to the bar. We all are well aware of the general requirements, that it usually takes if we want to be lawyers at this point (let’s hope).
World Magazine: Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) represented the Care Net center. ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden said, “The USDA should have known that disqualifying a faith-based provider from funds needed to help women in need was both unconstitutional and wrongheaded.”
Help for desperate women: The government lifts an obstacle to faith-based assistance | Washington Times Editorial
Washington Times Editorial: Like a blind pig rooting for acorns, every now and then the Obama administration gets something right. The Agriculture Department has reversed a grievous mistake the agency made in refusing government assistance to a crisis-pregnancy center inspired by faith to do good works . . . CareNet’s pro-bono lawyers put the victory in context. “Government loans should not come with an unwritten ‘surrender your faith’ clause,” says Michael Tierney, one of nearly 2,300 allied lawyers with the Alliance Defending Freedom, the nonprofit that helped CareNet in the case. “This was as ridiculous as requiring homeowners to surrender their faith if they wish to apply for FHA or VA loans.”
Despite Bible Studies, Pregnancy Center Wins Reversal of Denied Government Loan | Christianity Today
Christianity Today: The judge remanded the case to the USDA Appeals Division, which found that Care Net “is not seeking government funds to subsidize religious education or instruction; rather, it seeks a government loan for capital improvements to a building,” according to the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Care Net in its suit.
One News Now: “Government loans should not come with an unwritten surrender-your-faith clause,” says Michael Tierney, an allied attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom.
Paul McHugh at Wall Street Journal: (via Google): Nearly 30 years ago, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Terminator” character made famous the phrase “I’ll be back,” the implacable cyborg assassin’s response to a setback. Today, similarly relentless terminators are among us, also with a deadly mission: to move America toward acceptance of physician-assisted suicide.
Daniel Doherty at Townhall: Catherine Glenn Foster, litigation counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom and a Townhall columnist, explained some of the problems with the bill mere hours before the initiative passed the state legislature . . .
LifeNews: With Governor Peter Shumlin’s signature on a bill the state legislature approved, Vermont today becomes the third state after Oregon and Washington to legalize assisted suicide.
LifeNews: The Vermont state legislature approved a measure to make the state the third to legalize assisted suicide, following Oregon and Washington.
Charisma: Suffering patients need understanding and sound medical treatment, not encouragement to kill themselves,” says Litigation Counsel Catherine Glenn Foster. “Even in Oregon, where doctor-prescribed death is already legal, studies show that depressed patients often don’t end up killing themselves when they get counseling and good pain management.”
Vt. legislators encouraged to ‘do no harm,’ reject doctor-prescribed death | Alliance Defending Freedom
Catherine Glenn Foster at Townhall: Some Vermont state lawmakers are pushing to pass S.77, a bill that legalizes “physician-assisted suicide” under the familiar guise of “choice.” Their bill is an attack on human life generally, and especially on elder adults and disabled individuals.
Rutland Herald: Leaders in the medical and LGBT communities are celebrating a new health bulletin they say will require insurance companies to cover “medically necessary services” for transgender Vermonters — a mandate that will include gender-reassignment surgery.
LifeNews: The House Judiciary Committee, after declining to hear from expert witnesses who asked to testify, rubber-stamped the House Human Services language to restore Oregon-Style doctor-prescribed suicide to, and then voted 8-3 to move, S.77 out for a full vote of the House of Representatives.
VPR.net: But the traditional prayer will not be revived, a judge ruled against the town, and the prayer had to be dropped. While prayers may have once been common, many towns left them behind years ago.
AP: A Mennonite pastor who helped a still-missing woman and her daughter flee the country – and a custody fight with the woman’s former lesbian partner – joined his supporters in song Monday after being told his 27-month prison sentenced could be put on hold while he appeals his conviction.
AP: “If it is true that my actions flow out of my faith in Jesus, and from my deeply held moral believes – and I sincerely think they do – then it must follow that whatever judgment is being brought against me by the United States of America, is judgment on my faith and conscience and deeply help moral beliefs,” he wrote.
“In DOMA Supreme Court Case, 15 States Say Not Recognizing Gay Marriage Is Unconstitutional” | Huffington Post
Huffington Post: New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley plan to file a friend-of-the-court brief on Friday, their offices said. Officials in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia, will join the amicus brief.
LifeNews: “The Vermont Senate today voted not to accept the Senate Judiciary Committee’s recommendation that Senate Bill 77 be rejected,” Mary Ann Beerworth of Vermont Right to Life told LifeNews. “Thirteen senators voted to reject the bill, while 17 voted not to reject the bill. As a result of today’s vote, debate on the Bill will continue. S.77 is now scheduled for further debate on Thursday, February 14th, at 1:00 p.m.”
Times Argus: “There are people in the state who are not able to access health coverage simply because their spouse’s employer refuses to recognize their marriage,” says Rep. Paul Poirier, a Barre City independent. “We passed gay marriage, but a lot of people still can’t get the benefits of marriage.”
Religion Clause Blog: AP on Friday reported that Kenneth Miller, a Mennonite pastor from Stuarts Draft, Va., was sent back to jail by a Vermont federal district judge who has ordered him to testify before a grand jury about a man involved in the 2009 flight of Lisa Miller and her daughter to Central America.
Vermont Public Radio (includes audio): The Vermont Senate Health and Welfare and judiciary Committees have been holding hearings this week on whether to allow terminally ill patients to get a prescription to legally end their own lives. Supporters call it Death with Dignity, opponents refer to it as Physician Assisted Suicide.
AP: Forty-seven-year-old Kenneth Miller was convicted last summer of helping Lisa Miller and her daughter leave the country in September 2009 to avoid sharing custody with her former partner.
AP: A Vermont federal judge has ordered a pastor to be held in custody after the man refused to answer grand jury questions about his role in helping a woman and her daughter flee the country in a same-sex custody case.
LifeSiteNews: Despite strong opposition from pro-life forces and a recent high-profile defeat in neighboring Massachusetts, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin said last week he is confident the state legislature will pass a bill legalizing assisted suicide during the next session.
Boston Globe: A Virginia pastor asked a federal appeals court Tuesday to quash a subpoena requiring him to testify as part of an investigation into the flight from the United States of a woman who didn’t want to share custody of her daughter with her former partner in a Vermont civil union.
WSLS.com: A Virginia pastor is scheduled to testify next month before a grand jury investigating the kidnapping of a now-10-year-old girl by her mother, who fled the country rather than share custody of the child with the Vermont woman who was once her civil union partner, the pastor’s attorney said Monday.
Wisconsin Gazette: Vermont woman says the ex-partner who took their daughter and fled to Nicaragua and the Christian-right activists who aided her are guilty of racketeering and kidnapping. Janet Jenkins’ lawsuit, filed in August in the U.S. District Court for Vermont, alleges civil rights abuses, conspiracy, money-laundering, kidnapping, mail fraud and violations under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
LifeSiteNews: Nicaraguan Mennonites say that they have been persecuted by government authorities since they chose to shelter ex-lesbian Lisa Miller and her daughter Isabella following their escape from the United States, but add that they are willing to suffer and even die to protect Isabella from a court-ordered custody transfer to her non-biological lesbian “mother.”
Flirting with totalitarianism in America: Freedom to do business by faith | Jim Campbell on the Drew Mariani Show
Vermont NPR (includes audio): Their attorney, Jim Campbell, works for an Arizona-based religious advocacy group called Alliance Defending Freedom, and he still sees the lawsuit as an attack on their constitutional rights. “Every American should be free to live and do business consistent with their deeply held religious beliefs,” Campbell says. “And legal attacks like this one are not pursuits for justice but attempts to coerce and police a private business’s expressions.” But Campbell also says the innkeepers were eager to move on with their business and lives, without violating state law.
AP: Jim Campbell of the Alliance Defending Freedom says an employee acting without the owners’ OK said Katherine Baker and Ming Linsley couldn’t hold their event at the Lyndonville facility.
ADF: Vt. gov’t ends religious persecution of family business, admits Wildflower Inn acted in good faith
State human rights commission, ACLU finally call off attack on small bed-and-breakfast
AP: Janet Jenkins, of Fair Haven, filed the civil lawsuit Tuesday when a jury was announcing its guilty verdict against Mennonite pastor Kenneth Miller, who helped Lisa Miller and daughter Isabella flee.