• A coercive contraceptive mandate imposes pro-abortion ideology on all with pro-life views.
• The gutting of the only federal conscience regulation in health care opens the door to discrimination.
• The denial of federal funds to a ministry, just for opposing abortions, threatens care for human trafficking victims.
• The administration's court case to restrict faith-based organizations' hiring rights minimizes religious liberty.
• Firings, discrimination and coercion of life-honoring health care professionals imperil health care access.
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"Public officials should not be allowed to run roughshod over the right of the people to decide these types of issues, especially when the citizens of Houston clearly met all the qualifications for having their voice heard," Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley said in a statement. "The scandal began when the city arbitrarily threw out the valid signatures of thousands of voters. The city did this all because it was bent on pushing through its deeply unpopular ordinance at any cost."
Today the Department of Health and Human Services announced that—despite losing repeatedly at the U.S. Supreme Court—it would continue trying to force religious nonprofits like the Little Sisters of the Poor to help distribute contraceptives, including the “week-after pill.” Today’s announcement comes after multiple losses in contraceptive mandate cases at the Supreme Court, including last year’s Hobby Lobby decision and Court decisions regarding the Little Sisters of the Poor and Wheaton College. "The government keeps digging the hole deeper," said Adèle Auxier Keim, Legal Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
"One of the first things that the pro-life movement did after Roe v. Wade was protect the right of conscience for all American citizens to never have to pay for an abortion or perform an abortion if it violated their beliefs," noted Ryan Anderson, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "So in the same way, the pro-marriage movement will need to protect our rights not to be coerced or discriminated against by the government into violating our belief that marriage is between a man and a woman."
"As a legal matter, the Constitution is not where [setting social policy] happens. The Constitution is completely agnostic as to how marriage is defined. The states have traditionally defined marriage law. The way this decision was reached undermines the ability to have that debate in the public sphere."
[Justice Kennedy found] the right of everyone to the “dignity” of marriage. The uncertain implications of that right should be a concern not just for conservatives but also for civil libertarians. [T]he use of a dignity right as a vehicle presents a new, unexpected element, since it may exist in tension with the right to free speech or free exercise of religion. Obergefell would be a tragic irony if it succeeded in finally closing the door on morality and speech codes only to introduce an equally ill-defined dignity code. Both involve majoritarian values, enforced by the government, regarding what is acceptable and protectable. Substituting compulsory morality with compulsory liberalism simply shifts the burden of coercive state power from one group to another.
Notice what Kennedy says and does not say. He says the First Amendment is an excellent predicate for allowing one's beliefs to continue to be taught. Okay. But he gives no deference to that inconvenient clause of the First Amendment that insists upon the free exercise of religion, which signifies a lot more than simply the right to "teach" one's views in the abstract. Religious teaching, contra Kennedy, is doctrinal, of course. But if doctrine is worth anything, it's worth something because Christianity, along with all religions, believes its orthodoxy is personally and socially transformative.
Faith-based adoption and foster care agencies have been forced to close their doors, rather than abandon their commitment to placing children in homes with a married mother and father. Numerous photographers, florists, cake makers, farmers, and many others have been hauled into court or fined for simply declining to help plan or participate in a same-sex wedding ceremony. The First Amendment Defense Act, sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and in the House by Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, would prohibit the federal government from discriminating against any individual, organization, school, or business because they acted in accordance with the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
Judicial activism causes harm. The Obergefell ruling written by Justice Anthony Kennedy will likely cause four distinct types of harm to the body politic. The ruling has already and will continue to cause harm to constitutional democratic self-government. Redefining marriage makes it more about the romantic desires of the consenting adults involved than about the needs or the rights of children involved in a relationship with their mother and father. When fundamental policy changes are made by court rulings that have no basis in the Constitution, it makes change harder to accept-because it casts doubt on the change itself. Most alarmingly, the majority opinion never discusses the free exercise of religion.
We can't allow the judicial usurpation of politics to go uncontested. We have to commit now to bearing witness to the truth about marriage-a permanent and exclusive union of man and woman, husband and wife, father and mother-and work to restore our constitutional authority as citizens to make marriage policy that serves the common good by reflecting this truth. How do we do that? Here are five steps....
The majority of Americans-nearly six in 10-say they are concerned that religious freedom will become more restricted in the next five years (56%). These concerns are heightened among older Americans: 62 percent of adults over age 40, compared to 45 percent of Americans under 40, say they are concerned about the future of religious freedom. Not surprisingly, those who are religious are most concerned: Three-quarters of practicing Christians 40 and older (77%) and nine out of 10 evangelicals (93%) say they are concerned that religious freedom will become more restricted in the next five years.