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CrossMap: I recently wrote to invite you to enlist your pastor to participate in our seventh annual Pulpit Freedom Sunday, October 5, and your response has been phenomenal. More than 1,800 pastors from all 50 states plus Puerto Rico have participated so far.(Registration and participation are open through Election Day, November 4 – so if your pastor has not yet joined in, please encourage him to do so.)
Barbwire: There’s a lot more separating the U.S. and Puerto Rico than the Atlantic. Based on Tuesday’s news, the two regions are also oceans apart on judicial activism.
Alliance Defending Freedom: The great majority of those participating preached sermons relating biblical perspectives on the positions of electoral candidates. They also signed a statement agreeing that the IRS should not control the content of a pastor’s sermon. Hundreds more who didn’t speak from the pulpit on these issues still opted to sign the statement – bringing the total number of pastors in support of pulpit freedom to more than 3,800 since 2008.
The Daily Signal: On Tuesday, United States District Judge Juan Pérez-Giménez upheld Puerto Rico’s law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. He concluded that the U.S. Constitution does not require the redefinition of marriage.
The Washington Post: United States District Judge Juan Perez-Gimenez has dismissed a challenge to Puerto Rico’s law limiting marriage to one man and one woman.
ADF Media: “The people of Puerto Rico – and the people of every U.S. state and territory – should be free to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The district court in this case was right to conclude, as the U.S. Supreme Court recognized in its Windsor decision last year and in its previous Baker decision, that marriage law is the business of the states. Echoing last month’s decision from a Louisiana federal district court that affirmed the states’ authority over the definition of marriage, the court said that ‘[i]t takes inexplicable contortions of the mind or perhaps even willful ignorance…to interpret Windsor’s endorsement of the state control of marriage as eliminating the state control of marriage.’” -Alliance Defending Freedom Litigation Counsel Caleb Dalton
Associated Press: “A Puerto Rico attorney who married her longtime partner on the U.S. mainland has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to have their marriage recognized in her home territory.”
AP: Religious groups gathered Wednesday in front of Puerto Rico’s seaside capitol to protest proposed laws that would allow same-sex couples to adopt children and would establish a public school curriculum examining gender issues including sexual discrimination.
The Province: Puerto Rico’s governor has signed a bill that prohibits employment discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation.
Washington Blade: The Puerto Rican Senate on Thursday approved a sweeping bill that would ban anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and government services in the U.S. territory. The 15-11 vote took place after lawmakers for several hours debated Senate Bill 238 that Sen. Ramón Nieves Pérez introduced in January.
Puerto Rico Federal Court Issues Opinion Explaining Its Prior Order On Proselytizers’ Access To Gated Communities
Religion Clause Blog: In a long-running free-exercise/ free-speech case, in March a the federal district court in Puerto Rico, on remand from the 1st Circuit, ordered neighborhood homeowners’ associations (urbanizations) that allow entry into the neighborhood only through an unmanned locked gate operated by a key, access code or beeper to provide Jehovah’s Witnesses who wish to proselytize in the neighborhood access equal to that of residents.
ACLU MD: Enidris Siurano-Rodriguez, a 10th grader, is an honor roll student and talented violinist. Since she was in the seventh grade, she has chosen to sit quietly during the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, as a way of showing her disagreement with United States government policies towards Puerto Rico. She did so, without incident, until this year.
Religioun Clause Blog: In Watchtower Bible Tract Society of New York, Inc.v. Rodriguez, (D PR, March 21, 2013), the court said that this remedy prevents Jehovah’s Witnesses’ free exercise and expression rights from being limited by any time, place or manner restrictions.
ABC: Puerto Rico’s government is supporting an effort to overturn a ban on gay adoption in the U.S. island territory.
Religion Clause Blog: The ACLU of Puerto Rico announced Friday that it has filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of a police officer who is an atheist who was harassed and demoted to handling menial tasks after he refused to participate in Christian prayer made a part of a workplace meeting by a police commander.
Washington Post: A lesbian whose adoption request was recently denied by Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court is appealing the ruling.
Washington Post: Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court narrowly voted Wednesday to uphold a law banning gay couples from adopting children. The 5-4 vote came . . .
LifeSiteNews: Between 120,000 and 200,000 people blanketed the Capitol Building in San Juan, Puerto Rico, today to encourage the island’s lawmakers to defend marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
AP: A slim majority of Puerto Ricans sought to change their ties with the United States and become the 51st U.S. state in a non-binding referendum that would require final approval from Congress.
Religion Clause Blog: Santiago-Ramos v. Autoridad De Energia Electrica, (D PR, Sept. 18, 2012), is a lawsuit by an economic development corporation and one of its members against the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority alleging broadly that the public electric power company is used by the political party in power to favor various interests at the expense of ordinary consumers of electricity.
The Hill: The 51-year old Georgetown University and University of Virginia Law School grad and father of triplets, who got his start in politics folding envelopes for Ronald Reagan’s campaign in 1980, is solidly conservative on social issues. He is against same sex marriage and abortion rights.
ThinkProgress: The Puerto Rican Senate recently approved a bill that “could eliminate LGBT-specific categories from the island’s hate crimes law” and now the House is expected to take up the measure, the blog Boy In Bushwick is reporting . . .
Catholic News Agency (CNA): The Puerto Rico Senate passed a new penal code on Oct. 24 that keeps in place the territory’s prohibition against abortion.
Anthony Stevens-Arroyo at the Washington Post: The lesson to the bishops in Catholic America today is clear: Take care that preaching against the liberal idea of “reproductive rights” does not wind up promoting worse moral consequences. With huge imbalances in the current budget where the poor and declining middle-class face cutbacks in jobs and services, population control is likely to make a comeback. I’m not saying that mass sterilization of women will necessarily become an acceptable option in the USA, but we would be foolish to think it impossible.
To abate crime, Puerto Rico adopted a Controlled Access Law, P.R. Laws Ann. tit. 23, §§ 64-64h (2008), allowing local entities (called “urbanizations”), organized by the community but approved by the municipality, to control street access to areas within towns that have voted in favor of such plans.
Latin American Herald Tribune: “Puerto Rico’s gay community blames island authorities for tolerating an atmosphere of homophobia that might have encouraged the slaying of 10 of their number over the past year.”
Brown v. Colegio, No. 08-2432 (1st Cir. July 23, 2010)
“This court held that the First Amendment allowed Colegio to compel its members to purchase life insurance only if this was germane to the purposes that justify compelling membership in an integrated bar association … the district court then held that the life insurance program was not germane and was therefore unconstitutional, awarded Romero damages–the amount of his dues attributable to the life insurance program since he had initially objected–and entered an injunction “prohibit[ing] [Colegio] from collecting . . . that portion of his future annual dues attributable to the Colegio’s mandatory group life insurance program. … After Romero, Colegio did not fully advise its members that they no longer had to buy insurance, threw obstacles in front of those trying to opt out, and delayed refunds. In fact it moved to disbar one member who refused to pay the portion of his dues attributable to the program. … We affirm the district court’s declaration of liability and its grant of injunctive relief but vacate its judgment insofar as it determines the amount of damages, and remand to allow notice to be given to class members including their right to opt out of the class.”
Fox News: “The House of Representatives voted Thursday to allow Puerto Ricans to decide their own political future and relationship with the United States. The vote was 223 to 169. Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., voted present. The bill introduced a two-step ballot measure for Puerto Rico to decide if its residents want to change their current relationship with the United States.”
AP: “Martin was visiting his native island to present a study conducted by the nonprofit Ricky Martin Foundation, a group advocating children’s rights globally. The 91-page report concludes that sex tourism and human trafficking are serious problems in Puerto Rico . . . ”
ACLU: “The American Civil Liberties Union, its national chapter in Puerto Rico and its affiliates in New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island filed a friend-of-the-court brief late Wednesday opposing unconstitutional laws that effectively ban Jehovah’s Witnesses from freely expressing their faith in the streets of Puerto Rico.”
Legal Blog Watch: “The U.S. attorney’s office in Puerto Rico was a ‘girls club’ in which male attorneys were the victims of discrimination and a hostile work environment. That, at least, is the allegation of Juan E. Milanes, a former assistant U.S. attorney there. He has filed a lawsuit alleging that he was discriminated against based on his gender and constructively discharged.”
NewsMax: “A Puerto Rican civil rights organization advised by Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor campaigned against seating conservative Robert Bork on the high court in the late 1980s, according to new documents that shed light on the group that’s become a key focus of Republicans questioning Sotomayor’s fitness to be a justice.”
The president of the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico, Marcelina Velez de Santiago, together with other academic scholars, is supporting a request from various organizations that the government revoke a memo that obliges public schools to include the controversial gender ideology in their curricula.