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Public Discourse: Sexual orientation and gender identity are conceptually different from race, and beliefs about marriage as the union of man and woman are conceptually and historically different from opposition to interracial marriage. Adapted from testimony delivered on Monday March 16 before the United States Commission on Civil Rights.
Speaker at L.A. archdiocese conference says Catholic teaching on homosexuality is ‘abusive’ and ‘gravely evil’
Life Site News: A speaker at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles annual conference for religious educators on the weekend denounced the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, saying the Catechism’s language on the issue is “abusive” and “gravely evil.”
Religion News Service: To hear some commentators talk, debates on these matters are over and conservatives have lost. But such predictions are premature.
byFaith: The Office of the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) has received numerous emails regarding the recent action of the mainline Presbyterian Church (USA) in redefining marriage. On March 17, 2015 the Presbyterian Church (USA) approved language that allows its ministers to officiate at same-sex marriages in its churches. The change comes after the General Assembly and a majority of that denomination’s 171 presbyteries approved an amendment to their Book of Order that describes marriage as “a unique relationship between two people, traditionally a man and a woman.”
The New York Times: After three decades of debate over its stance on homosexuality, members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted on Tuesday to change the definition of marriage in the church’s constitution to include same-sex marriage.
First Things: On one side we have Stefano Gabbana, who with his famous business partner Domenico Dolce has decided to express his commitment to an Italian vision of family through his art—fashion. Judging from the footage of his most recent men’s fashion show, nobody can deny that Dolce and Gabbana’s current vision of family is heartfelt, profound, and essential.
Kevin Theriot and former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran discuss his case with Warren Smith (audio)
The World and Everything In It: Warren Smith interviews former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran and ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot in this segment.
First Things: The senior pastor and elders of City Church, identified as the largest evangelical church in San Francisco, will no longer require members to abstain from homosexual practice, so long as the homosexual activity occurs in the context of marriage.
The Federalist: I’m writing to you because I’m letting myself out of the closet: I don’t support gay marriage. But it might not be for the reasons that you think.
Huffington Post (Reuters): U.S. District Judge Callie Granade said in a five-page order that Mobile County Probate Court Judge Don Davis must comply with her previous ruling, which found the state’s marriage law to be unconstitutional.
Christianity Today: Blogger and writer Dianna E. Anderson would like to give your sex life a makeover. But Anderson’s idea of a godly yes is very different from what the Christian church, through the ages, has generally understood it to mean.
The New York Times: As promised in my last entry, this will be the first of two posts on the theme of whether economic trends largely explain post-1960s family breakdown (my answer: no), addressing counterarguments that I didn’t have room to discuss in Sunday’s column.
SCOTUS Blog: If the Supreme Court agrees to plans made by lawyers involved in the same-sex marriage cases, seven attorneys will take turns at the lectern for the two-and-a-half-hour hearing on April 28. Both sides in the four cases sent in their proposals on Tuesday, responding to the Court’s request for them to coordinate.
Public Discourse: Catholic sexual ethics are as fully reasonable today as they were in the time of St Paul. In fact, the natural law understanding of human fulfillment is inherently intelligible even without a theistic framework.
Public Discourse: The US Supreme Court has set a precedent upholding the right of states to define marriage as the union of husband and wife. All federal and state judges—including those in Alabama—are bound by that precedent.
The Gospel Coalition: In a statement issued today, Gordon College reaffirms commitment to biblical sexual ethics and launches campus taskforce on human sexuality.
The Journal Friendswood (FRC): Recently Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg intoned that it “would not take a large adjustment” for Americans readily to accept a Court decision to affirm the “right” to same-sex marriage.
First comes love, then comes marriage… tying the knot before first baby is a key ingredient for marriage success
Marriage Foundation: In the first ever UK study of its kind, new research from Marriage Foundation, a think tank dedicated to building stronger families, has found that the recipe for relationship success lies in making the decision to commit before starting a family.
The Christian Institute: A columnist at The Herald newspaper has praised the institution of marriage following a study by pro-family group the Marriage Foundation.
Christian News Network: The Supreme Court of Alabama has ordered a judge who was at the center of a same-sex “marriage” lawsuit not to issue any such licenses, advising that a recent federal court ruling surrounding the matter does not apply to anyone outside of the two women involved in the legal challenge.
Family Studies: What can couples do to avoid divorce? Hundreds of books, articles, workshops, and lectures have tackled that question. If there were a surefire way to “divorce-proof” a marriage, we would have found it by now. It doesn’t exist.
Savannah Now: The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act was introduced in the last Congress. This legislation will soon be re-introduced and should be given priority by Senate and House leadership and passed.
Tulsa World: Preventive efforts matter — and can save money. An Institute for American Values study shows that even a 1 percent increase in family stability saves the state $43 million.
BuzzFeed News: The United States government on Friday urged the Supreme Court to strike down state bans on same-sex couples’ marriages across the country, concluding, “There is no adequate justification for such a discriminatory and injurious exercise of state power.”
Christian print shop refuses to make same-sex wedding invites; ‘God is our defense,’ says Irish firm
The Christian Post: A printing company based in Ireland has refused to print out invitations for a same-sex couple’s wedding.
NPR: The Nashville-based Southern Baptist Convention and its nearly 16 million members continue to resist societal trends like same-sex marriage and cohabitation. They also want to go against the grain on the rising marital age.
Washington Square News: “If marriage is to be an egalitarian institution, then that necessitates a redefinition of parenthood,” Shafer said. “If the law ratifies as normative both adoption and the use of surrogate mothers, by saying they are equal to traditional procreative development, there might come a time when it’s normal for a child to have only a transactional relationship with their biological parents.”
The Oklahoman: Sparked by controversy over same-sex marriages, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that would abolish government-issued Oklahoma marriage licenses.
Law and Religion UK: The ever-helpful Religion Clause blog reports a recent decision of the High Court of Madras that the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 takes precedence over the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act 1937.
Detroit Free Press: With the U.S. Supreme Court set to decide the legality of same-sex marriage in Michigan and elsewhere this year, dozens of legal briefs representing hundreds of thousands of parties calling for the laws to be overturned flowed into the court ahead of a filing deadline today.
SCOTUS Blog: The Obama administration, urging the Supreme Court to adopt for the first time a more rigorous test of laws that discriminate against gays and lesbians, on Friday joined in the plea to give same-sex couples equal access to marriage. In a thirty-six-page brief, the government argued that state bans on such marriages cannot survive the new test it proposed.
Christian Concern: A petition urging Scottish ministers to change the definition of adultery following the introduction of same-sex ‘marriage’ has been rejected by MSPs, because there is insufficient time to consider it in this parliamentary term.
Public Discourse: However, once I did begin to think about what I was doing and where my life was headed, I eventually came to the conclusion that I had committed a grave injustice against my kids by divorcing my wife and attempting to create a family with another man. They deserved to be raised by both their mom and dad under the same roof. Who was I to deny them this most basic of children’s rights? I became determined to find a way to bring our family back together for the sake of our kids as they finished out their high school years.
Public Discourse: While religion and tradition have led many to their positions on same-sex marriage, it’s also possible to oppose same-sex marriage based on reason and experience.
WND: “The government can’t tell ministers they must perform same-sex marriages under threat of jail time and crippling fines,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco.
The Christian Post: “Consistent with the Supreme Court’s 2013 Windsor decision, which said that ‘states have the essential authority to define the marital relation,’ the 6th Circuit rightly concluded that the Constitution does not demand that a new view of marriage be judicially imposed on everyone,” ADF Senior Counsel Austin R. Nimocks said in a statement at the time. “We are hopeful the Supreme Court will uphold the freedom of the people to affirm marriage.”
National Law Journal: “We’ve heard, as people have debated same-sex marriage, that it should be a live-and-let-live situation,” said the florist’s attorney, Kristen Waggoner, senior counsel in the Scottsdale, Ariz., headquarters of Alliance Defending Freedom. “What we’re seeing, as these laws are being passed, is that it’s about more than that — it’s about marginalizing, shunning and destroying people who have a different belief about marriage and want to live consistent with that belief.”
Religion Clause: In Waters v. Ricketts, (D NE, March 2, 2015), a Nebraska federal district court issued a preliminary injunction, effective March 9, prohibiting enforcement of the state’s laws that bar same-sex marriage and recognition of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.
Christian Today: The South Korean Constitutional Court decriminalised adultery last week after 62 years of the act being punishable by two years in prison.
USA Today (The Indianapolis Star): In March the McGaths faced a firestorm of protest after declining a request to bake a cake for a commitment ceremony for two men. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Indiana since Oct. 7.
RAAN Network: Fast forward two years later to Tuesday, January 6, 2015 and the dismissal of Atlanta Fire Chief, Kelvin Cochran. Cochran, a 30-year firefighting veteran, was discharged by Mayor Kasim Reed for sharing a book with three city workers. The book, “Who Told You That You Were Naked?”, was written by Cochran and shared with men he considered fellow Christians. The issue? The book calls homosexual behavior—along with all sexual activity outside of traditional marriage—vile and inappropriate.
Religion News Service (Reuters): Big business rallied behind the same-sex marriage cause on Thursday as the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled oral arguments for April 28 on the contentious social issue that promises to yield one of the justices’ most important rulings of 2015.
The Washington Times: By an almost 2-1 margin, Americans in a recent poll declared they agree that “States and citizens should remain free to uphold marriage as the union of a man and a woman and the Supreme Court shouldn’t force all 50 states to redefine marriage.”
Breitbart: Austin Nimocks of Alliance Defending Freedom said: “The free market works. With so many corporations free to make this choice, and so doing, why do we need SCOTUS to impose it on everyone? The states, like these corporations, should remain free to choose.”
Do You Believe: Our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom are stepping up and helping Chief Cochran fight for his rights—and his job. In a great piece on FoxNews.com, Todd Starnes shares his thoughts on this strange new reality in our country.
The Wanderer: Waggoner, senior vice president of legal services with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), said Washington’s attorney general, Bob Ferguson, put pressure on Stutzman, while a judge ruled that she not only provide flowers to celebrate a “same-sex” wedding but also attend the ceremony to furnish “full wedding support,” such as touching up the same-sex couple’s corsages.
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jim Campbell: “The people of Nebraska, Alabama, and every state should remain free to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman in their laws. The courts should respect the freedom of the people to debate this important issue and decide it as a community. The Constitution does not demand that one irreversible view of marriage be forced on all the states.”
Public Discourse: A shopkeeper who objects to sex-same weddings but who nevertheless provides services at such weddings generally acts in a morally permissible way if he acts to comply with a validly-enacted law, to preserve the goodwill of his business, and to make a just profit. Nevertheless, a law that in this way coerces a shopkeeper to cooperate with actions he reasonably believes immoral is gravely unjust.
Aleteia: Eighty-one percent of Alabamans voted to affirm in the state’s constitution that marriage consists of one man and one woman. A federal judge decided they were wrong, and she sought to enforce her ruling by ordering probate judges in the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She was backed by the US Supreme Court. The highest judge in the state’s judicial system ordered probate judges to ignore her order.
SCOTUS Blog: The Supreme Court on Thursday released the calendar of oral arguments for the final sitting of the Term, beginning April 20, and listing the four cases on same-sex marriage for hearing on Tuesday, April 28.
Alabama Supreme Court affirms natural marriage, orders probate judges to cease issuing illegal licenses
Liberty Counsel: “The ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court is historic, and is one of the most researched and well reasoned opinions on marriage to be issued by any court in the country,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.
SCOTUS Blog: Sharply criticizing the Supreme Court for its recent actions on same-sex marriage, the Alabama Supreme Court on Tuesday evening ordered all state judges who have the duty to issue licenses to wed to stop doing so immediately for same-sex couples.
The New York Times: The Alabama Supreme Court on Tuesday night ordered probate judges around the state to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, ruling in direct opposition to a federal judge that the state’s ban on same sex marriage did not violate the United States Constitution.
Jurist: The Slovenian Parliament [official website] passed legislation granting same-sex marriage and adoption rights Tuesday amid public opposition from conservative and religious groups.
Yahoo News (AP): U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Bataillon struck down Nebraska’s constitutional amendment, triggering an appeal less than an hour later by the state attorney general’s office.
Law and Religion Australia: For many people in Australia the “battle” over recognition of same sex marriage seems, in popular opinion at least, completely over. Tim Dick in the Sydney Morning Herald on 1 March tells us that the “public argument is won” and we are now just up to the stage of deciding whether or not to allow “latecomers” to join the party. We are often told that those who do not support extending the legal status of “marriage” to unions involving same sex couples are on the “wrong side of history”. Their stance is often characterised as “homophobia”, a word which has in common parlance (despite its etymology) nothing to do with “fear” and everything to do with an irrational hatred of, and desire to harm, homosexual persons.
NOM Blog: The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today commended the Alabama Supreme Court for ordering state officials to cease issuing marriage licenses that are illegal under state law, and thus defied a federal judge who is attempting to impermissibly impose her views of marriage on the people of Alabama.
Family Studies: When popular car service company Uber announced that it was launching a fleet of cars equipped with car seats, they reached an under-tapped demographic of American consumers: families.
Idaho Press: Most people know about the lawsuit against the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, for refusing to make a cake celebrating a same-sex marriage. Now the tables have turned.
BR Now (Baptist Press): Stutzman was found guilty Feb. 18 in Benton County Superior Court of violating the couple’s U.S. and state civil rights, and was held personally liable for the couple’s damages and attorney fees, putting her at risk of losing her business and personal holdings. Backed by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Stutzman is appealing the case, and is prepared to take it to the nation’s highest court.
Charisma News: A Christian florist who refused to provide flowers for a gay wedding has declined a settlement offer that would have saved her home and business.
Alliance Defending Freedom: Disgraced Yankee superstar Alex Rodriguez recently made headlines with a hand-written apology addressed “(to) the (f)ans” over his drug violation suspension. Predictable debate followed the apology; some thought it sincere, while others suspected he was hoping for kinder fan treatment – especially if he failed to live up to his very sizeable contract. Whatever the case, A-Rod took “full responsibility” for his suspension from baseball for substance abuse, and hoped the apology would allow him to get on with playing baseball.
The Washington Post: In the brief, the signatories argue that they “have concluded that marriage is strengthened, and its value to society and to individual families and couples is promoted, by providing access to civil marriage for all American couples—heterosexual or gay or lesbian alike. In particular, civil marriage provides stability for the children of same-sex couples, the value of which cannot be overestimated. In light of these conclusions, amici believe that the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits States from denying same-sex couples the legal rights and responsibilities that flow from the institution of civil marriage.”
Religion Clause: The U.S. Supreme Court today denied certiorari in ProtectMarriage.com v. Padilla, (Docket No. 14-434, cert. denied 3/2/2015) (Order List). In the case, the 9th Circuit in a 2-1 decision (full text) rejected a challenge by backers of California’s Proposition 8 to the state’s campaign contribution disclosure requirements. Challengers had argued that contributors to the campaign against same-sex marriage had been harassed.
Barronelle Stutzman and Kristen Waggoner discuss the Arlene’s Flowers case with Janet Mefferd (audio)
Baptist Press: Backed by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Stutzman is appealing the case, and is prepared to take it to the nation’s highest court.
Military: The military’s divorce rate dropped again last year reaching its lowest point since 2005, according to statistics released today by the Defense Department.