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U.S. Department of Defense: Noting that democracy, while imperfect, can change and has changed for the better, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today called gay and lesbian service members “integral to America’s armed forces” during a Pentagon Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month event.
The Age: The nomination of Mr Berry, who became the highest ranking openly gay official in US history four years ago, is subject to confirmation by the Senate.
BuzzFeed: Confirmed by the Senate in April as the undersecretary of the Air Force, Eric Fanning became the civilian head of the Air Force on Friday when his boss, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, retired. Fanning, who is gay, is the highest-ranking out LGBT person in the Defense Department. President Obama is yet to nominate Donley’s replacement, so Fanning should be serving in the dual roles for a while.
Washington Blade: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) entertained on Saturday the idea of a discharge petition for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — but was skeptical the bill has the votes for passage in the U.S. House.
ABC: The handling of the event encapsulates the U.S. administration’s cautious promotion of gay rights in Africa, an issue that is likely to come up during President Barack Obama’s visit this week to three African nations — South Africa, Senegal and Tanzania — the last two of which punish homosexuality with jail time. The U.S. has made it a priority to promote gay rights overseas, but officials pick and choose when they talk about it, often citing concerns about igniting a backlash that could endanger local activists.
Christian Science Monitor: The Supreme Court will weigh in on a major flash point between President Obama and Senate Republicans, who challenge his use of recess appointments while their chamber is holding ‘pro forma’ sessions.
AP: The justices said they will review a federal appeals court ruling that found Obama violated the Constitution when he bypassed the Senate last year to appoint three members of the National Labor Relations Board.
Will Obama’s remaining term be “scary in its detachment from reality” | George F. Will at Washington Post
George F. Will at Washington Post: The question of whether Barack Obama’s second term will be a failure was answered in the affirmative before his Berlin debacle, which has recast the question, which now is: Will this term be silly, even scary in its detachment from reality?
AP: “As serious as the IRS scandal is, what we’re dealing with here is larger than the actions of one agency or any group of employees,” McConnell, who is up for re-election next year, said in a speech to the conservative American Enterprise Institute.
Catholics Fire Back At Obama Over School Comments: ‘anti-faith, Secular Agenda Shamelessly On Full Display’
Ben Shapiro at Breitbart: Speaking in Ireland this week, President Obama stated that Catholic schools were divisive: “If towns remain divided—if Catholics have their schools and buildings and Protestants have theirs, if we can’t see ourselves in one another and fear or resentment are allowed to harden—that too encourages division and discourages cooperation.”
Ryan T. Anderson at the Heritage Foundation: Equality demands that we treat in the same ways things that are the same. But a same-sex relationship is fundamentally different from a marriage. No same-sex union can produce a child. And no same-sex relationship can provide a child with a mother and a father.
The Hill: The State Department on Wednesday labeled Russia and China as two of the world’s worst sex-trafficking offenders, putting them in the same category as a rogues’ gallery of 21 nations including Iran, Syria and North Korea.
Speak Up Movement Church (6/18): In the past few weeks, the Obama administration has shown exactly what it believes the First Amendment protects: very little.
Obama: ‘If Catholics Have Their Schools and Buildings and Protestants Have Theirs … That Encourages Division’
CNSNews: Likening religious schools to segregation–a racist system that forced blacks to attend different schools and use different facilities than whites in the American South–President Barack Obama told a town hall meeting for youth in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Monday that there should not be Catholic and Protestant schools because such schools cause division. –
Baltimore Sun: The Social Security Administration was one of the last agencies to hold onto an outdated, one-size-fits-all standard for gender change. Transgender people will now be able to change all their federal documents with a simple letter from their doctor recognizing that they have undergone the appropriate treatment for them.”
CNN: Now the number who say the White House directed that IRS program has increased 10 points, to 47%, virtually the same as the 49% who believe the IRS agents acted on their own.
LifeNews: President Barack Obama has issued a veto threat of a bill the House of Representatives will vote on tomorrow that would ban abortions from after 20-weeks* all the way to birth. The White House this afternoon issued a Statement of Administration Policy indicating President Obama’s advisors would recommend that he veto the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act if it were presented for his signature.
One News Now: The president announced in recent days he is appointing five open homosexuals to ambassador positions around the globe, including an HBO executive and a hedge fund manager. There are already three open homosexuals serving as ambassadors in the Obama administration. – See more at:
White House Announces Strong Opposition to Religious Freedom in Military | David Bohon at the New American
David Bohon at the New American: Several conservative Christian policy groups responded to the White House statement, with Kellie Fiedorek, litigation counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, arguing that the response demonstrates that President Obama clearly “opposes constitutional religious freedom for …
NC Register: Joseph La Rue, an attorney with the public advocacy firm Alliance Defending Freedom, told the Register that ADF is investigating the extent of violations of Christian religious liberty and how far up the chain of command they go. “I think there is definitely a reason to be concerned,” he said. “Are we dealing with isolated incidents that were mistakes or are we dealing with something bigger than that? Right now, frankly, we don’t know.” However, he said a number of incidents involve Christians who have articulated their views on homosexuality. ADF is a consultant on one such case involving a U.S. Army master sergeant who bought Chick-fil-A — the fast-food chain targeted by homosexual-rights supporters after its president expressed support for traditional marriage — to celebrate his promotion and vocalize his support for DOMA. “There’s a tension between religious freedom on one hand and full acceptance of homosexual members of the military on the other hand,” La Rue said. [more]
Washington Post: Gay rights advocates are already pressing Obama to immediately broaden the federal government’s recognition of legally married same-sex couples if the court strikes down a ban on providing federal benefits to them.
Caffeinated Thoughts: Kellie Fiedorek, litigation counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, told Caffeinated Thoughts that “Service members shouldn’t be denied the very constitutional liberties they have volunteered to defend. It is clear that the Obama administration opposes constitutional religious freedom for service men and women, and this is the latest example of this administration’s hostility toward religious service members. Antagonism toward people of faith–namely Christians–in the military is real, and it is disappointing that the president is unwilling to support laws that protect and defend the basic liberty of religious freedom.”
Charisma News: Alliance Defending Freedom Litigation Counsel Kellie Fiedorek says this position is unconstitutional. “Service members shouldn’t be denied the very constitutional liberties they have volunteered to defend,” she comments. “It is clear that the Obama administration opposes constitutional religious freedom for service men and women, and this is the latest example of this administration’s hostility toward religious service members. “Antagonism toward people of faith—namely Christians—in the military is real, and it is disappointing that the president is unwilling to support laws that protect and defend the basic liberty of religious freedom.”
“Service members shouldn’t be denied the very constitutional liberties they have volunteered to defend. It is clear that the Obama administration opposes constitutional religious freedom for service men and women, and this is the latest example of this administration’s hostility toward religious service members. Antagonism toward people of faith–namely Christians–in the military is real, and it is disappointing that the president is unwilling to support laws that protect and defend the basic liberty of religious freedom.”
The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, an organization of chaplain endorsers representing more than 2,000 current chaplains actively serving the armed forces, is calling on the U.S. House of Representatives to firmly reject President Obama’s attempt to minimize the importance of religious conscience.
The Washington Blade: The White House on Monday announced that President Obama has nominated Daniel Baer to become the next ambassador of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE.)
ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM COMMENT June 11, 2013 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT MEDIA AND PUBLIC RELATIONS: (480) 444-0020 or www.adfmedia.org/home/contact The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Litigation Counsel Catherine Glenn Foster regarding the Obama administration’s decision to drop its opposition to …
The Guardian: The Obama administration will stop trying to limit sales of emergency contraception pills, making the morning-after pill available to women of all ages without a prescription.
LifeNews: Alliance Defending Freedom Litigation Counsel Catherine Glenn Foster: “The lives and health of young girls should be more important than the bottom line of those who sell abortion-inducing drugs. President Obama has yet again sided with Planned Parenthood, his favorite political ally and the single largest distributor of Plan B drugs–drugs that can destroy a life. Whatever guides this administration in its decisions, it is apparently not the health and well-being of our daughters and granddaughters. The administration’s decision is nothing short of shameful.”
Washington Examiner: Birk said he’s a pro-life Roman Catholic. “Planned Parenthood performs about 330,000 abortions a year,” he said. “I couldn’t endorse that in any way.”
Mark Rienzi at Becket Fund: A surprising and public rift opened up last week between President Obama and his lawyers over whether profit-making businesses can pursue goals other than making money, including adhering to religious requirements.
The Hill: House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) slammed White House spokesman Jay Carney as a “paid liar” Sunday over the administration’s handling of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal.
World Net Daily: A series of Muslim Outreach Summits are planned coast-to-coast by the Obama administration to get feedback from Muslims on how the government can better serve them and their specific desires.
AP: The White House wouldn’t say what role gay rights would play in Obama’s trip but noted that the administration “unequivocally advocates against violence and discrimination” against gays and lesbians, both in Africa and elsewhere around the world.
Jonathan Turley at Washington Post: The growing dominance of the federal government over the states has obscured more fundamental changes within the federal government itself: It is not just bigger, it is dangerously off kilter. Our carefully constructed system of checks and balances is being negated by the rise of a fourth branch, an administrative state of sprawling departments and agencies that govern with increasing autonomy and decreasing transparency.
The Hill: All 45 GOP senators signed a brief calling Obama’s appointments an unconstitutional abuse of power.
Gay Politics: White House officials including Valerie Jarrett, a top adviser to President Obama, today spoke at an event honoring “Harvey Milk Champions of Change,” a group of 10 openly LGBT elected and appointed officials who were nominated for the honor by the American public.
AP: Choosing future Navy and Marine leaders as his audience, President Barack Obama issued a pointed call Friday for an end to sexual assaults in the military, appealing to graduating midshipmen to display honor and moral courage to contain what has become a growing epidemic.
Washington Post: Jewish leaders in the media are in large part responsible for American acceptance of gay marriage, Vice President Biden said Tuesday night.
The Hill: “I am not interested in debating what is not debatable,” Moniz said in his remarks at the Tuesday ceremony. “There is plenty to debate as we try and move forward on our climate agenda.”
Washington Post: If we give the president the benefit of the doubt and assume he knows the truth is going to come out, the question remains: Does the administration appoint the special prosecutor sooner or later? The calculus inside the White House is how to best protect the president’s political interests. They have two options.
Center for Reproductive Rights: Draw the Line launched in October 2012 with the goal of collecting signatures from men and women around the country for the Bill of Reproductive Rights as a way to demonstrate that the majority of Americans support safe access to healthcare for women.
Jeffrey Lord at the American Spectator: March 31, 2010. According to the White House Visitors Log, provided here in searchable form by U.S. News and World Report, the president of the anti-Tea Party National Treasury Employees Union, Colleen Kelley, visited the White House at 12:30pm that Wednesday noon time of March 31st.
The Hill: Carney said that Mark Childress, the White House deputy chief of staff, twice spoke with Lois Lerner, the IRS official who oversaw the agency’s tax-exempt organization, about the strategy for revealing conservative targeting.
The Hill: “He thought the opposition to it would lessen after the  election. I said, ‘It’s just the beginning.’ I said, ‘It’s going to grow because I can tell you it’s not going to go away and it’s going to get worse,’” Snowe said in a radio interview moderated by Julie Mason, host of SiriusXM’s Press Pool.
The Hill: White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough and other senior officials knew of the general nature of the report but decided to keep the president in the dark about the report’s finding that the IRS had targeted conservative groups for extra tax scrutiny.
World Net Daily: The faux stone columns from his Denver acceptance speech are crumbling, the fireworks have fizzled and the unadulterated adulation of Barack Obama is a sour feeling of disillusion, as a new poll reveals half of Americans wants him impeached, including a stunning one in four Democrats.
Politico: What should Obama do to take advantage of this momentum? It is time for him to focus on a neglected but important part of the nominations process: the problems with how senators supply the president with candidates to be nominated to the federal bench.
Politico: The 2-1 decision Thursday from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (posted here) found that the presidential recess appointment power is limited to breaks between sessions of Congress, not breaks within sessions or other adjournments during which the Senate might meet in pro forma sessions. The reasoning mirrors that in a ruling of the D.C. Circuit Court in January.
Politico: Larry Conners, a veteran local news anchor at KMOV Channel 4 in St. Louis, says that the Internal Revenue Service has been targeting him since an April 2012 interview he conducted with President Obama — a fact that he dismissed as coincidence until the recent reports about the IRS targeting conservative groups.
The Hill: “If you’ve got the IRS operating in anything less than a neutral and nonpartisan way, then that is outrageous. It is contradictory to our traditions, and people have to be held accountable,” Obama said at a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Sally Quinn at the Washington Post: Weinstein told me after the Pentagon meeting that military leaders need to understand that “there is systematic misogyny, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in the military.” He said it is all part of the same culture. “This is a national security threat. What is happening [aside from sexual assault] is spiritual rape. And what the Pentagon needs to understand is that it is sedition and treason. It should be punished.”
Ken Klukowski at Breitbart: The Pentagon has released a statement confirming that soldiers could be prosecuted for promoting their faith: “Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense…Court martials and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis…”.
The Hill: President Obama telephoned professional basketball player Jason Collins on Monday to congratulate him for coming out as the first openly gay player on a major U.S. sports team.
Elise Italiano at Public Discourse: President Obama’s recent address to Planned Parenthood’s National Conference sweepingly mischaracterized abortion restrictions and pro-life views as culturally inaccurate and outdated.
Anglican Ink: The Anglican bishops of the West Indies have urged their governments to hold fast and resist pressure from Britain and the United States to legalize gay rights and gay marriage.
Rush Limbaugh Transcript: He praised their nearly 100 years of service to women. This makes me ill, by the way. That a president of the United States shows up at an abortion factory, essentially, and praises their work. You know what else he said? He said the opponents of abortion want to return to the 1950s.
LifeNews: “As long as we’ve got to fight to make sure women have access to quality, affordable health care, and as long as we’ve got to fight to protect a woman’s right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you’ve also got a president who’s going to be right there with you, fighting every step of the way,” said Obama. “Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you.”
Lyle Denniston reports at SCOTUS Blog: The Obama administration asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to restore the President’s power to fill vacancies in government posts when the Senate is out of town. The petition argued that the D.C. Circuit Court got it wrong in January in sharply curtailing that authority. (The Circuit Court’s ruling — discussed in this earlier post – is attached as an appendix to the petition but also can be read here.)
C-FAM: European leaders pressing President Obama to fund African abortions argue that a novel interpretation of laws governing war should trump US restrictions on abortion funding. To make their case, they are elevating the views of a few experts from a different body of law—human rights.
Executive.gov: Eric Fanning Confirmed As Af Under Secretary LGBTQ Nation: Senate confirms Eric Fanning as Under Secretary of the U.S. Air Force Fanning, who is openly gay, was nominated to the second-highest civilian position in the Air Force by President …
LifeNews: Michigan is in the national news because of a disturbing development in human fetal stem cell experimentation. Neuralstem, Inc. announced that it has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to expand an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) Phase II study to the University of Michigan.
Reuters: President Barack Obama may have made a slow start on gay rights issues, but by the end of his first term his record was such that a news magazine dubbed him the nation’s “first gay president.” Now activists want more.
LifeNews: White House spokesman Jay Carney today said President Barack Obama has no comment on the murder trial involving late-term abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell.
Reuters: Lawmakers held a spirited discussion on the immediate future of the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday, after a recent appeals court ruling that cast doubt on the board’s authority to make decisions.
Religion Clause Blog: Yesterday the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships presented its recommendations on combating human trafficking in a 35-page report titled Building Partnerships to Eradicate Modern-Day Slavery.
Politico: Since 1948, every president except for Obama has had at least one of his nominees confirmed to the court. Obama cannot tolerate a filibuster of Srinivasan. If Republicans filibuster, he should break it. After the hearings, Obama should nominate a judge for each of the court’s remaining three vacancies.
Gateway Pundit: Shouldn’t we be able to see an audit of every taxpayer dollar spent on the Muslim Brotherhood? Between the F-16′s, US millions of dollars wasted on Afghanistan police cars, direct money aid, and now this.
Washington Post: President Obama nominated three candidates for full terms to the National Labor Relations Board on Tuesday, urging the Senate to confirm the nominees quickly.
LifeNews: Planned Parenthood’s recent opposition to Florida legislation seeking to protect abortion survivors sent shock waves around the country. But this wasn’t the first time Planned Parenthood had opposed such legislation.
Washington Times: The CNN/ORC poll released Monday showed that 52 percent of Americans approve of Mr. Obama’s policies toward gays and lesbians, while 42 percent disapprove.
Washington Post: While Obama has also been slow to fill some court vacancies, many nominations have stalled even after making through the Judiciary Committee unanimously. At this moment 15 such nominations are awaiting a Senate floor vote, 13 of which made it out of committee unanimously.