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The Daily Signal: In April, members of the Supreme Court asked Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, the federal government’s top lawyer, if the administration could strip religious schools that believe marriage is the union of husband and wife of their tax-exempt status should the Court redefine marriage. Verrilli responded by saying “[i]t’s certainly going to be an issue.”
Aleteia: The Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice says it strives to “eliminate bias, bigotry and racism in our state by promoting respect and understanding among all races, religions and cultures.”
The Weekly Standard: June, for conservatives, has been of late the “cruelest month” at the Supreme Court, as the decisions finally roll forth. Many expect—with a combination of apprehension and resignation—that in the critical case of Obergefell v. Hodges, Justice Anthony Kennedy will furnish the fifth vote for installing same-sex marriage as a constitutional right. But already, during the oral argument in the case in April, the solicitor general, Donald Verrilli, set off tremors in the land when Justice Samuel Alito raised the question of the precedent in the 1983 case of Bob Jones University.
MLive: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday quickly signed controversial legislation allowing adoption agencies that contract with the state to decline service to prospective parents on religious grounds.
Hey New York Times: Is North Carolina law really about ‘curtailing same-sex unions,’ or is religious freedom the issue?
Get Religion: The New York Times reports that North Carolina lawmakers passed a measure Thursday “aimed at curtailing same-sex unions.” Here’s my pesky question for the Times: Can you provide any facts — any facts at all — to back up that claim?
BR Now: Christiana Holcomb, litigation counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), said churches that do not have specific and clear policies leave “gray areas that can be exploited.”
National Catholic Register: Austin Nimocks, senior counsel with the public interest firm Alliance Defending Freedom, believes that this legislation will continue to be pursued regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision on state marriage amendments in late June.
The Washington Post: The North Carolina legislature on Wednesday overrode a veto by Gov. Pat McCrory to enact a new law that will allow court officials to be excused from performing weddings if they oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds.
The Daily Signal: Earlier today, the North Carolina House voted to override the veto of S.B. 2, a bill that protects the religious liberty of civil servants in that state. Because the Senate had already voted to override the veto as well, the bill is now law. This is good public policy, and it is a shame that it was vetoed in the first place.
The Detroit News: Lawmakers continued a Michigan battle over religious and civil rights Wednesday with the passage of legislation allowing faith-based agencies to turn away gay and lesbian couples seeking state-supported adoptions.
Christian News Network: Administrators from Christian and Catholic schools nationwide have signed on to a letter urging Congress to pass a law that would protect religious schools from punishment over their biblical beliefs on marriage.
Aleteia: Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard was known throughout the galaxy for his level head, fair mind, and diplomatic skill. Last week, it became apparent he may have borrowed those traits from the actor who portrayed him, as Sir Patrick Stewart took on an issue far stickier than any interstellar debate Picard had to face.
Alliance Defending Freedom: Opponents of traditional marriage have reassured us that redefining marriage to include same-sex couples won’t impact traditional marriage views or those who hold those beliefs. They propose that redefining marriage is simply about love, dignity, and equality.
Los Angeles Times: A Supreme Court decision most likely would render the issue moot as a topic for electoral debate, although questions such as whether business owners who oppose same-sex marriages can refuse to serve gay couples could still arise.
The Daily Signal: Later this month The Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling on state marriage laws. Here are the three most important things you need to know about the case, and what to do after the Court rules.
World Magazine (Subscription Required): Faith-based organizations worry dire consequences could follow the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling.
The Weekly Standard: Well, if a decade ago America lacked “serious debate” on how to reconcile faith with democracy (or, one might add, on how to reconcile democracy with faith), then Obama surely has spent the intervening years doing everything possible to force what he might call a “national conversation.” That conversation is not just about faith and democracy, but also about the non-democratic parts of our government, the administrative agencies promulgating new laws and the courts creating new civil rights, which in turn collide with religious freedom, raising questions our country is only beginning to grapple with.
Christian News Network: The North Carolina Senate has voted to override the governor’s veto of a bill that would allow some judges to opt out of participating in same-sex ceremonies.
Acton Institute: What is the best test of the common good? How do you know if you have a society characterized by the flourishing of persons in community? Andy Crouch argues that we should look at the flourishing of the most vulnerable.
The Christian Institute: The renowned actor and human rights campaigner Sir Patrick Stewart has said that he backs the stand being made by Ashers Baking Company.
The Independent: Patrick Stewart has weighed into the ‘gay cake’ debate, saying that he supports the right of the Christian bakers to refuse to ice messages they find offensive.
Legatus Magazine: The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments inObergefell v. Hodges on April 28. As the arguments progressed, countless court watchers, politicos, lawyers, and others (myself included) were glued to their computer screens, eagerly awaiting live-blogged updates on the proceedings from inside the courtroom.
Alliance Defending Freedom: In the United States, the word “discrimination” comes with a lot of baggage – evoking images of slavery, white-only drinking fountains, and segregated schools.
The Daily Signal: Yesterday, the North Carolina House passed a bill that would protect magistrates who object to performing solemnizing ceremonies for same-sex marriages and clerks who object to issuing same-sex marriage licenses.
The Daily Signal: The Daily Signal has exclusively learned that the government agency responsible for enforcing Oregon’s anti-discrimination law appears to be working closely with a powerful gay rights advocacy group in its case against Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa.
Commentary Magazine: As far as the many on the left are concerned, Senator Marco Rubio’s comments about the possible implications of the acceptance of gay marriage makes more opposition research about the 2016 Republican presidential contender unnecessary.
Yahoo News (Reuters): North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory said on Thursday he would veto legislation allowing government officials to refuse to perform marriages by citing religious objections.
WRAL: Within hours of the House giving final approval to a bill that would allow magistrates and other public officials to refuse to perform marriages for religious reasons, Gov. Pat McCrory vetoed the measure.
The New York Sun: Within hours of the United States Supreme Court declining on March 30 to review the Bronx Household of Faith case, a lawsuit challenging New York City’s ban on private worship services in empty school buildings, Mayor Bill de Blasio responded with what appears to be a decisive move of reconciliation.
Reuters: Earlier this month the company, RG & GR Harris Funeral Homes Inc, retained the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian group that calls itself a “legal ministry” and has been involved in dozens of high-profile cases involving religious liberty, in a 2014 suit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
WND: The Alliance Defending Freedom has cited the Obama administration’s use, since Cairo, of “freedom of worship” to undermine “freedom of religion,” as one of the “direct attacks on religious freedom” by Obama.
ERLC: In 1776, long-persecuted Baptists hoped that the American Revolution would not only secure America’s liberty, but bring about full religious freedom.
Citizen Times: Opponents of laws like North Carolina’s proposed Religious Freedom Restoration Act, currently being considered by the state Senate, often declare that business owners have no place incorporating their values into their businesses. Instead, they must leave their religious beliefs and their consciences at home.
ADF International Executive Director Benjamin Bull “We commend Sen. James Lankford for leading a successful and historic effort to promote international religious freedom with the unanimous passage of his amendment to the Trade Promotion Authority bill. Should the House follow suit, the U.S., for the first time, will be required to evaluate religious freedom conditions in countries before entering into trade agreements with them. As Sen. Lankford said, ‘our greatest export is our American values,’ the bedrock principle that all people should be free to live and act according to their faith without being persecuted. When nations protect and cherish religious liberty, economies flourish and innovation increases. We applaud Sen. Lankford’s affirmation of the dignity of people of faith both here and around the world.”
The Hill: On Monday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) quietly issued “guidance” to health insurance companies which were in violation of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraceptive mandate.
Religion Clause: Deciding the case on remand from the Supreme Court (see prior posting), the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision in University of Notre Dame v. Burwell, (7th Cir., May 19, 2015), refused to grant a preliminary injunction to Notre Dame University in its challenge to the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate as applied to religious non-profits.
UK Human Rights Blog: In contrast, the judge’s findings in relation to discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation do not make much sense. One key misstep appears to be that she conflates support for same-sex marriage with a homosexual orientation, when they are clearly different things. Many people who are not gay (including the Prime Minister) support same-sex marriage. Some people who are gay (including Rupert Everett and Dolce and Gabbana) oppose same-sex marriage.
The Shreveport Times: Now that the Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act (HB 707) has been stalled in the Legislature, and then converted by Governor Bobby Jindal into the form an Executive Order (EO), it is useful to summarize why the bill was so urgently needed, and why the EO is so important.
Associated Press: A federal appeals court has rejected the University of Notre Dame’s request to temporarily be exempt from a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires the Catholic school’s insurance providers to cover the costs of contraceptives for students and staff.
The Washington Times: A federal appeals court said Wednesday it will not reconsider a pro-life ministry’s plea for relief from Obamacare’s birth control mandate, dealing a second blow in as many days to religious nonprofits who say the administration is ignoring its strongly held beliefs and signals from the Supreme Court.
Religion News Service: Evangelist Franklin Graham has taken to Facebook to plead for prayers on behalf of each U.S. Supreme Court justices as they prepare to rule on gay marriage.
The American Conservative: Let’s understand what happened here. This Christian jeweler agreed to custom-make engagement rings for a lesbian couple, knowing that they were a couple, and treated them politely. But when they found out what he really believed about same-sex marriage, even though the man gave them polite service, and agreed to sell them what they asked for, the lesbian couple balked, and demanded their money back — and the mob threatened the business if they didn’t yield. Which, of course, he did.
The Federalist: The Supreme Court is soon to decide a case that could potentially impose same-sex marriage as a nationwide civil “right.” During one exchange in oral arguments in the case, Obama administration Solicitor General Donald Verrilli was asked by Justice Alito whether a religious school could lose its nonprofit status if it held that marriage is between one man and one woman. Here is the solicitor general’s response: “It’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is it is going to be an issue.”
The Christian Institute: The owners of Ashers Baking Company have told of their deep disappointment after losing their high-profile court case and are considering an appeal.
The Christian Institute: The owners of the family-run bakery at the centre of the ‘gay cake’ case have expressed their disappointment following the conclusion of the controversial court case.
The Christian Institute: National newspapers have raised concerns about the ruling against the Christian-run bakery that declined to produce a pro-gay marriage campaign cake.
Texas Values Action: Today, the Texas House passed the Pastor Protection Bill, SB 2065, with bipartisan support, 141-2, with two Democrats voting against the bill. The bill protects pastors, ministers, clergy and churches from being forced to perform marriage ceremonies that violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.
The Daily Signal: Defying state legislators who rejected a measure that sought to protect “the right of conscience as it relates to marriage,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal acted on his own Tuesday.
WND: In a state where the law already deprives minors of counseling for unwanted sexual attractions, a trial is scheduled to get under way in a case that could be a bellwether for what is often called “conversion therapy.”
National Review: Yesterday the D.C. Circuit denied en banc review of a panel decision that rejected a challenge to the HHS mandate accommodation brought by the Catholic archbishop of Washington, D.C., and nonprofit organizations affiliated with the Catholic church (including the lead named plaintiff, Priests for Life).
Religion Clause: After a committee of the Louisiana House of Representatives effectively killed the proposed Marriage and Conscience Act yesterday (New Orleans Times Picayune), Governor Bobby Jindahl issued Executive Order BJ 15-8 (May 19, 2015) designed to accomplish the same thing. Its key provision prohibits government departments, commissions, boards, agencies and local governments from denying various benefits because a person acts in accordance with his religious belief that marriage should be only between one man and one woman.
The Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required): A federal court again denied the University of Notre Dame’s challenge to the health law’s contraception provision, saying a compromise arrangement offered by the Obama administration appears adequate to meet the Catholic institution’s religious objections to covering birth control for students and staff.
KNOE (AP): A contentious bill that thrusts Louisiana into a national debate over religious objections laws will finally get a hearing.
Scottish Legal News: The Christian directors of a bakery “unlawfully discriminated” against a gay man in refusing to accept his order for a “Bert and Ernie” cake bearing a caption supporting same-sex marriage.
Law and Religion UK: Regular readers will no doubt recall that the proprietors of Ashers Bakery refused to bake a cake for Gareth Lee bearing the slogan “Support Gay Marriage” with the Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie.
Erasmus: Across the island of Ireland, long regarded as western Europe’s last bastion of traditional religous power, a huge change is underway in the way issues of personal and sexual behaviour are handled by society and the state.
Caffeinated Thoughts: Alliance Defending Freedom senior council Austin Nimocks affirmed that the law protects religious liberty in a released statement yesterday before the vote. “Nobody should be punished by the government for believing that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. The Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act forbids the government from revoking the tax-exempt status or professional license of any person or organization that affirms marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The government should not be empowered to force anyone to choose between embracing same-sex marriage and losing their livelihood or their ability to carry out their organization’s mission. The bill secures freedom by limiting government intrusions into the lives and minds of all Louisianans,” Nimocks stated.
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Austin R. Nimocks : “Nobody should be punished by the government for believing that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. The Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act forbids the government from revoking the tax-exempt status or professional license of any person or organization that affirms marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The government should not be empowered to force anyone to choose between embracing same-sex marriage and losing their livelihood or their ability to carry out their organization’s mission. The bill secures freedom by limiting government intrusions into the lives and minds of all Louisianans.”
Christian Concern: A judge sitting at Belfast County Court has ruled today (19th May) that a Christian-run bakery that refused to bake a cake backing same-sex ‘marriage’ was guilty of ‘discrimination’ on the grounds of sexual orientation.
The New York Times: Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida hardened his position against same-sex marriage in an interview that aired on Sunday, making clear he did not believe in constitutional protection for gay marriages — an issue now before the United States Supreme Court — and leaving out his past call for “respect” for gay couples.
The New York Times: No one was sure if she was emphasizing her own beliefs or giving a hint to the outcome of the case the Supreme Court is considering whether to decide if same-sex marriage is constitutional.
Daily Caller: North Carolina would do well to pass a religious freedom law similar to laws in numerous other states and the federal government.
NOLA: Johnson practices privately with Kitchens Law Firm but in recent years did work for the Alliance Defending Freedom — previously called the Alliance Defense Fund — which represented a photographer in New Mexico court after she declined to work for a same-sex couple two years ago.
Evangelical Focus: One week ago, David Cameron won UK’s election after securing a majority in Parliament. The unexpected result, has led to different types of reactions. Evangelical Christians, which were very active in the campaign, also analysed the outcome.
Peach Pundit: We told you last week about the likelihood of dueling religious liberty resolutions that are expected to be proposed at the Georgia GOP convention that begins on Friday.
News OK (AP): The Oklahoma House has passed a resolution calling on President Barack Obama and Congress to reaffirm the nation’s commitments to protecting religious freedom and condemning the deaths of Christians around the world.
Religion Clause: Religion News Service reported yesterday that as the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage nears, legislation has been introduced in several states to block the effect of a ruling in favor of marriage equality.
Christianity Today: The drive from Liberty University to Lynchburg Regional Airport takes less than 8 minutes, even amid heavy traffic from the influx of visitors in town to celebrate the university’s graduation ceremonies on Saturday. These few minutes are all I have to chat with former Florida governor Jeb Bush, leaving campus in an SUV with tinted windows after delivering the commencement address to more than 34,000 people in a packed-out football stadium.
First Things: Recent arguments at the Supreme Court revealed deep confusion about the nature of dignity. Arguing that “the marriage institution did not develop to deny dignity or to give second class status to anyone,” but rather “to serve purposes that, by their nature, arise from biology,” attorney James J. Bursch described the push to legalize same-sex marriage as the desire to “take an institution that was never intended to be dignity-bestowing, and make it dignity-bestowing.”
The Christian Institute: Spokesman for ADF Casey Mattox said: “Churches and other religious employers should not be coerced by the government into violating their fundamental beliefs by being party to elective abortion”.
89.3 KPCC: The California Senate Thursday approved a controversial bill that would abolish the personal belief exemption and require almost all children enrolling in daycare or school to be vaccinated.
Religion News Service: The U.S. Supreme Court is now weighing arguments in the same-sex marriage case it heard on April 28 that could lead to a landmark decision requiring all states to acknowledge the unions.
Denny Burk: It’s about the baker/florist/photographer who is being mistreated for bearing faithful witness to Christ. It’s about disciples of Jesus having their heads cut off by Islamic radicals. In other words, it’s about any disciple of Jesus who was ever mistreated in the name of Jesus. This text shows us that Jesus will judge those who show contempt for the gospel by mistreating gospel-bearers.