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National Right to Life: The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act has now been officially introduced in the Wisconsin State Legislature.
Wisconsin Family Action: The House voted to PASS HR 36, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act 36 242-184. The bill will now go to the Senate and, if passed, on to President Obama who has stated he will veto such a bill.
Al Jazeera: A federal judge in Wisconsin ruled as unconstitutional on Friday a state law requiring any doctor performing an abortion to have privileges to admit patients to a nearby hospital.
Judge strikes down Wisconsin law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospital
National Right to Life: In U .S. District Judge William Conley’s decision last Friday to overturn Wisconsin’s law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, there were two non-surprises.
Wisconsin Family Action thanks and congratulates state legislature on passing “Freedom of Conscience in the Workplace” bill
Wisconsin Family Action: “It’s a very good day in Wisconsin!” said Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action. “We congratulate and thank the Republican leadership and majority party members in both the Senate and Assembly who voted in support of Senate Bill 44, a bill that will guarantee the conscience rights of Wisconsin workers are respected in the workplace.”
The Fire: In two previous Torch entries on Professor John McAdams’s fight to keep his tenure at Marquette University, I’ve focused on Marquette’s abuses of McAdams’s due process rightsand the subversions of basic free speech principles it has used first to justify his suspension, and then to justify its aim of revoking his tenure.
The Christian Institute: A political science professor in the United States has been suspended for supporting a student’s right to free speech.
Wisconsin Right to Life: “Recently introduced legislation to legalize doctor-prescribed suicide presents a devastating threat to those who are older or living with disabilities,” stated Chelsea Shields, Legislative Director of Wisconsin Right to Life. “This legislation is dangerous for the most vulnerable in our society, and must not be allowed to overturn Wisconsin’s longstanding and protective law prohibiting assisting a suicide.”
Campus Reform: Marquette University has moved to fire a tenured conservative professor after he published a blog post about a graduate student instructor’s remarks to a student about same-sex marriage.
Life News: “Having a disability shouldn’t be a death sentence,” said ADF Litigation Counsel Catherine Glenn Foster. “Neither patient was in an end-of-life situation. Allowing the hospital to get away with withholding treatment in this way endangers vulnerable patients and puts all patients’ lives – particularly those of patients with disabilities – at grave risk.”
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Wisconsin Supreme Court that supports a lawsuit against University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics after it denied treatment to two developmentally disabled patients even though they were not in a persistent vegetative state and were not terminally ill. One of the patients, a 13-year-old boy, died; the other, a 79-year-old woman, survived.
Life News: In partnership with Alliance Defending Freedom, Pro-Life Wisconsin recently coordinated a massive open records request on PPWI through Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services (DHS).
Greenbay Press Gazette (AP): Civil rights advocates asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to reverse a decision upholding Wisconsin’s voter photo identification law, arguing the case raises questions of national importance about limits on a state’s ability to restrict voting.
Planned Parenthood: We’ll have to close our clinics if Gov. Walker investigates us for Medicaid fraud
Life Site News: He said his organization “conducted a massive open records search through the Department of Health Services and in partnership with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). In that open records request, there were 26 audits of PPWI between 2006 and 2012.” All but one of them was conducted by the administration of Gov. Jim Doyle, a pro-abortion Democrat, yet they “uncovered $43,272.80 in overbilling” by Planned Parenthood.
Deseret News: Attorney Erik Stanley of the Alliance Defending Freedom said of the housing grant, “The allowance many churches provide to pastors is church money, not government money. It is constitutional and should continue to be respected and protected.”
Alliance Defending Freedom: These are the stories that caught our attention last week.
Christianity Today: Churches can stop worrying that their pastors’ best benefit will be taken away by an atheist lawsuit—for now.
Religion News Service: “This is a great victory for fair treatment of churches,” said Luke Goodrich, deputy general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which filed an amicus brief on behalf of pastors from several major denominations.
One News Now: “Several months ago the district court in Wisconsin had struck down the ministers housing allowance as violating the Constitution of the United States,” Stanley explains.
CBN News: Erik Stanley, the attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian advocacy group, praised the ruling. “The allowance many churches provide to pastors is church money, not government money,” Stanley said in a statement. “It is constitutional and should continue to be respected and protected.”
ABC News (AP): “The allowance many churches provide to pastors is church money, not government money,” the group’s attorney Erik Stanley said in a statement. “It is constitutional and should continue to be respected and protected.”
Christian News Network: “The atheists who filed this suit may have an axe to grind against religion, but as the 7th Circuit found, that doesn’t give them sufficient standing to challenge a tax benefit for which it has never applied and that has been provided to pastors for decades,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. “The allowance many churches provide to pastors is church money, not government money. It is constitutional and should continue to be respected and protected.”
ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley: “The government isn’t subsidizing something when its money is not even involved. That’s what the U.S. Supreme Court has determined in previous cases as recently as 2011. The atheists who filed this suit may have an axe to grind against religion, but as the 7th Circuit found, that doesn’t give them sufficient standing to challenge a tax benefit for which it has never applied and that has been provided to pastors for decades. The allowance many churches provide to pastors is church money, not government money. It is constitutional and should continue to be respected and protected.”
The Daily Signal: Unfortunately for Hendricks, Wisconsin Family Action and Alliance Defending Freedom are being loud and clear in their message that such gender identity policies violate students’ right to bodily privacy and could cost taxpayers by opening up school districts to legal liabilities.
One News Now: ADF legal counsel Matt Sharp says it’s unfortunate that such incidents are happening nationwide.
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom issued legal memos Tuesday and Wednesday that advise Wisconsin, Indiana, and Utah clerks responsible for issuing marriage licenses that they do not have to issue certain licenses where doing so conflicts with their religious or moral beliefs.
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom has delivered letters to the Minnesota State High School League, Wisconsin’s Sparta Area School District, and Rhode Island’s Westerly Public Schools that ask them to reject new rules that would require schools to allow children to use bathrooms and changing areas reserved for the opposite sex. ADF offers a suggested policy for school districts that addresses the concerns which prompted the problematic policies but do not require the sharing of bathrooms and locker rooms.
Religion Clause: The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday heard oral arguments (audio of full arguments) in Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Lew. In the case, a Wisconsin federal district court held that the tax code provision that excludes a minister’s parsonage allowance from gross income violates the Establishment Clause. Courthouse News Service reports on the oral arguments which focused both on standing and Establishment Clause issues.
The Patriot Post: As Alliance Defending Freedom has said countless times, “Federal cases have consistently affirmed private citizens’ rights to share religious literature at public schools.”
The Christian Post: Penn State University says it has not removed Gideon Bibles from two hotels that it runs despite a complaint the school received from a Wisconsin-based atheist group.
The Washington Times (AP): Wisconsin medical facilities performed nearly 7 percent fewer abortions last year, continuing a five-year decline, according to a state report released Wednesday.
Sun-Times (AP): Federal appeals judges bristled Tuesday at arguments defending marriage laws in Indiana and Wisconsin, with one Republican appointee comparing them to now-defunct laws that once outlawed weddings between blacks and whites.
The Washington Times (AP): U.S. Attorney James Santelle says the federal government is behind same-sex couples who are suing to have the right to marry.
Alliance Defending Freedom: The city of Madison voted Tuesday to rescind its law that created hundreds of censorship zones throughout the city in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in McCullen v. Coakley, a case Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allied attorneys filed in 2008. ADF filed suit against the Madison law in February.
The Washington Times: Wisconsin’s domestic partner registry does not violate the state’s ban on gay marriage, the state Supreme Court said Thursday in a unanimous decision.
Alliance Defending Freedom: The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Thursday that state law, while affirming marriage as the union of one man and one woman, also permits separate domestic partnerships for same-sex couples even though a voter-approved constitutional amendment prohibits any “legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals.” The high court’s decision upholds a 2012 decision from the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.
WEAU: Wisconsin Democrats are asking Gov. Scott Walker and fellow Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to drop their defense of the state’s marriage law, arguing it’s a waste of money.
Journal Sentinel: A federal judge denied a request Wednesday to speed up briefing in Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage case after the plaintiffs said the Department of Justice was capitalizing on a stay.
Wisconsin Public Radio: Kellie Fiedorek discusses the Wisconsin marriage challenge with Cynthia Schuster.
The Washington Times: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says his personal opposition to same-sex marriage doesn’t matter because the ban on gay marriages was put into the state constitution by a vote of the people.
WISN: The American Civil Liberties Union said it has filed its proposal for a court order allowing same-sex couples to marry in Wisconsin.
The Chippewa Herald: Judge Barbara Crabb on Monday declined the state’s request for a stay of her ruling tossing out Wisconsin’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage pending an appeal. But in her first public remarks since her Friday ruling, Crabb said she did not explicitly tell county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The Washington Times: Same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses were turned away in some Wisconsin counties on Monday, with clerks waiting for guidance from the courts or state government before accepting applications.
Western Journalism: The Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal organization that represents Christian interests, issued a statement about the school district’s apology. “Student indoctrination is inappropriate, especially on an issue as important as marriage. Students and parents deserve better. The district recognized its mistake and deserves to be commended.”
Christian News Network: A federal judge nominated to the bench by Barack Obama inferred during an open trial on Thursday that the pro-life doctor who took the stand was lying when he testified about complications during abortion procedures.
Life News: A federal judge in Wisconsin has a message for an abortion practitioner who is trying to overturn a pro-life law requiring abortion clinics to ensure their abrotionists have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The law is meant to protect women’s health in cases when botched abortions put their lives at risk.
Christian News Network: Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a national Christian legal organization, applauded the apology in a written letter to the school district. “Student indoctrination is inappropriate, especially on an issue as important as marriage. Students and parents deserve better,” stated ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “The district recognized its mistake and deserves to be commended.”
WBAY: A federal trial starts Tuesday over a new abortion provision in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin school district apologizes for showing students one-sided video that promotes same-sex marriage
The Christian Post: The letter from ADF explains that Janesville School District “rightly determined that showing the video contravened its Academic Freedom and Controversial Issues in the Classroom policies,” and that the video’s “disparagement of religious beliefs opposing same-sex marriage likely violated the Establishment Clause.”
Alliance Defending Freedom: Alliance Defending Freedom sent Janesville School District a letter Wednesday applauding its apology for showing students a one-sided video that promotes same-sex marriage and attacks religious views to the contrary.
The Washington Times: The Janesville School District superintendent apologized this week after high school students were shown a video in which children react to same-sex marriage proposals, saying the video was biased in favor of gay marriage.
WTMJ: “An Appleton man is on a mission to bring “In God We Trust” license plates to Wisconsin. Just this month, the state legislature passed a bill authorizing the specialty plate, but not everyone is in favor of it.”
Journal Sentinel: “Bypassing lower courts, a Milwaukee lesbian couple filed a lawsuit Wednesday directly with the Wisconsin Supreme Court in an effort to invalidate the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Katherine Halopka-Ivery and Linda Halopka-Ivery named state and Milwaukee county officials as defendants in the 35-page lawsuit. They are represented by Milwaukee attorney Paul Ksicinski.”
Reuters: “Wisconsin has adopted a law to limit private custody transfers of children, the first law of its kind in the United States, responding to a Reuters investigation that exposed the dangers of the unregulated practice.”
The Blaze: “‘Governor Walker will not remove the post on his social media,’ Walker spokeswoman press secretary Laurel Patrick said in an email. ‘The verse was part of a devotional he read that morning, which inspired him, and he chose to share it.’”
Journal Sentinel: “Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the state law — currently blocked by injunction — that would require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.” | Petition for a Writ of Certiorari
Washington Times: “The Madison law illegally suppresses all kinds of free speech, said Matthew S. Bowman, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom who represents Madison Vigil for Life, Students for Life Madison and Badger Catholics in a lawsuit against the ordinance.”
Freedom From Religion Foundation: “The Freedom from Religion Foundation is calling on Wisconsin governor Scott Walker to delete a Sunday-afternoon tweet of a Bible verse, calling it an improper promotion of religion by a government official.”
Religion Clause: “Earlier this week a petition for certiorari was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in Eagle Cove Camp & Conference Center, Inc. v. Town of Woodboro, Wisconsin, (cert. filed 3/10/2014).”
Fox 11: “A Madison-based religious freedom group has sent letters to the city of Green Bay, taking issue with the mayor’s recent letter to Pope Francis. . . . Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of Freedom From Religion Foundation, says it is not the business of government officials to invite a religious leader to the city they are elected to represent.”
OneNewsNow: “Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorney Travis Barham tells OneNewsNow his firm sent a letter to the Universities of Wisconsin and Iowa State, telling them they needlessly removed the Bibles in response to the threat of a lawsuit from the Freedom from Religion Foundation.”
Shorewood Now: “Under the guidelines, drafted by the Wisconsin Association of School Boards and tweaked by the district’s policy committee, Shorewood formalizes definitions of transgender students and students who don’t conform to gender stereotypes. Complaints of discrimination, harassment, or bullying of those students will now be handled in the same way as other complaints.”
Wisconsin State Journal: “Citing rulings in a spate of similar lawsuits across the country, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb on Tuesday declined to issue a preliminary injunction halting enforcement of Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriage.”
LifeSiteNews: “Senior Legal Counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom and attorney for the plaintiffs, Matt Bowman, says the law is massively overbroad under the First Amendment. ‘The right to leaflet on the public sidewalk is the crown jewel of the freedom of speech, but the City washed that right away with its gag-rule ordinance that creates hundreds of bubble zones banning leafleting around Madison.’”
LifeNews: “Senior Legal Counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom and attorney for the plaintiffs, Matt Bowman, says the law is massively overbroad under the First Amendment. ‘The right to leaflet on the public sidewalk is the crown jewel of the freedom of speech, but the City washed that right away with its gag-rule ordinance that creates hundreds of bubble zones banning leafleting around Madison.’”
Channel 3000: “Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday against the city to seek an emergency injunction. Senior Legal Counsel Matthew Bowman said the ordinance violates the First Amendment, and unfairly targets pro-life supporters who try to approach women outside abortion clinics.”
Christian legal group encourages universities to reinstate Bibles following atheist complaint | Christian Post
Christian Post: “But ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Travis Barham contended in a statement that public universities must accommodate religious freedom, rather than purge their campus of all religious expression.”
The Blaze: “The Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal firm based in Arizona, is urging both the University of Wisconsin and Iowa State University to continue allowing Gideon Bibles in night stands. The organization is claiming that the First Amendment does not preclude their presence in public accommodations, Christian News Network reported.”
Iowa State Daily: “The Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal group, recently wrote letters to both Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin, claiming that the argument by the foundation was in conflict with legal precedent.”
Des Moines Register Editorial: “Since the Bibles’ removal made news, Iowa State officials have been hammered by critics who believe they are wrongly complicit in removing religion from the public sphere. Fox News jumped on the story. Then a Georgia-based organization called Alliance Defending Freedom countered with a demand of its own that the university keep the Gideon Bibles because otherwise it would violate the First Amendment with an act of ‘hostility to religion.’”