Protecting our first freedoms:
Faith, conscience and speech

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Alliance Defending Freedom

 

Freedom Denied in Minnesota: Court Upholds Law That Forces Filmmakers to Violate Their Faith

Alliance Defending Freedom

September 22, 2017

"Yesterday, a district court in Minnesota ruled against our clients Carl and Angel Larsen, dismissing their lawsuit challenging a state law that would force them to create films that portray a message that contradicts their faith. While this ruling is disappointing, it is not the end. We will appeal. Carl and Angel Larsen own Telescope Media Group, a film production company that seeks to “magnify Christ like a telescope.” While they have done many films for Christian organizations, they are looking to expand the type of work they do. Because Carl and Angel are passionate about marriage, they feel called to film stories that show the beauty and meaning behind marriage as God designed it – a lifelong union between one man and one woman. However, a Minnesota law requires that, if the Larsens film these types of wedding stories, they must also film same-sex weddings." " 'Tolerance is a two-way street. Creative professionals who engage in the expression of ideas shouldn’t be threatened with fines and jail simply for having a particular point of view about marriage that the government may not favor,' said ADF Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. 'Public officials can’t censor filmmakers or demand that they tell stories in film that violate their deepest convictions.' "

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Cider and Religious Freedom

National Review commentary by Margot Cleveland

September 19, 2017

"Can a Catholic couple live their faith and still sell apples at a farmer’s market? On Friday, the Tennes family of Charlotte, Mich., and their family-run orchard won a temporary reprieve. The city of East Lansing, Mich., had banned them from the city’s farmer’s market because they refuse to host same-sex marriage ceremonies at their farm. In a decision granting the Tenneses’ motion for a preliminary injunction, federal district-court judge Paul Maloney ordered East Lansing to 'allow the Plaintiffs to participate in the East Lansing Farmer’s Market for the remainder of the 2017 season.' "

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Judge Suspends City's Ban of Farmers Over Their Marriage Views

The Daily Signal

September 18, 2017

"A federal judge ruled Friday that the Michigan farmers who were banned from selling their produce at a farmers market on public property because of their religious beliefs about marriage may resume selling their goods there as early as Sunday while their case proceeds. The decision provides much-needed relief to Steve and Bridget Tennes, owners of Country Mill Farms in Charlotte, Michigan. East Lansing city officials had banned the Tennes family from selling at the East Lansing Farmer’s Market over a Facebook post addressing the farm’s policy on hosting same-sex weddings. 'As the court found, East Lansing officials changed their market policy to shut out Steve because they don’t like his Catholic beliefs regarding marriage,' Kate Anderson, a lawyer for Alliance Defending Freedom who is representing the Tenneses, told The Daily Signal in an email. 'The court was right to issue this order, which will allow Steve to return to the 2017 farmers market while his case moves forward,' Anderson wrote."

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The Latest 'Hate' Smear Target Is a Civil Rights Group

Wall Street Journal commentary by Edwin Meese III

July 19, 2017

The headlines were both inflammatory and untrue: "Attorney General Jeff Sessions Criticized for Speaking to ‘Hate Group,' " reported NBC. Reports from ABC and other major news outlets used similar language. Readers might be surprised to learn that the group in question is the Alliance Defending Freedom, a respected civil-rights law firm. So where did this scurrilous charge originate? With the Southern Poverty Law Center, which labels the ADF a "hate group." The designation had nothing to do with the law firm's policies or behavior. It's just that the SPLC objects to its traditional views on the Constitution, the First Amendment and the meaning of marriage. No responsible media outlet should parrot the SPLC's hate list without seeking to understand not only its motives but also the consequences of spreading false charges.

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Here's The Speech Jeff Sessions Delivered To Christian First Amendment Lawyers

Jeff Sessions

July 14, 2017

Thank you for that introduction. And thank you for the important work that you do every day to uphold and protect the right to religious liberty in this country. This is especially needed today.  While your clients vary from pastors to nuns to geologists, all of us benefit from your good work—because religious liberty and respect for religion have strengthened this country from the beginning. In fact, it was largely in order to enjoy and protect these rights that this country was settled and founded in the first place, as those in this room especially know.

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ABC News: Christians Who Believe In The First Amendment Are A 'Hate Group'

Federalist commentary by Mollie Hemingway

July 14, 2017

"ABC News’ Pete Madden and Erin Galloway smeared Christians who believe the Bill of Rights secures religious liberty as a “hate group,” in an article this week headlined, “Jeff Sessions addresses ‘anti-LGBT hate group,’ but DOJ won’t release his remarks.” The lede of the story made it clear this was not just the work of a rogue headline writer but the failure of the reporters themselves ... "

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Scientist Finally Gets Permit to Study Grand Canyon after Being Denied for His Beliefs

Alliance Defending Freedom

June 30, 2017

As dry government language goes, it is about as bland as it comes: “Dr. Snelling’s proposal is well-stated with methods that are similar or equal to standard scientific practices to test the hypothesis provided.”  Such words likely appear year in and year out as government officials interact with scientists for any number of reasons. So, you wouldn’t suspect that it took over three years, several lawyers, and an inquiring congressman to pry those words out of the National Park Service.  But it did. Thankfully, the National Park Service has finally agreed to issue a permit for Dr. Andrew Snelling to study the Grand Canyon.

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Huge religious freedom victory at US Supreme Court

ADF news release

June 26, 2017

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel David Cortman regarding the U.S. Supreme Court's decision Monday in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer: "The government should treat children's safety at religious schools the same as it does at nonreligious schools. The Supreme Court's decision today affirms that commonsense principle and the larger truth that government isn't being neutral when it treats religious organizations worse than everyone else. Equal treatment of a religious organization in a program that provides only secular benefits, like a partial reimbursement grant for playground surfacing, isn't a government endorsement of religion. As the Supreme Court rightly found, unequal treatment that singles out a preschool for exclusion from such a program simply because a church runs the school is clearly unconstitutional."

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Pope Honors Religious Freedom Champion

Cardinal Newman Society

June 16, 2017

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) founder Alan Sears and his wife, Paula, have been chosen by Pope Francis for the highest possible honor the Catholic Church bestows on laypeople. The couple will be knighted into the Order of St. Gregory the Great. "ADF has been an extraordinary help to Catholic educators and The Cardinal Newman Society over the past decade, as Catholic schools and colleges faced serious threats to their mission and religious freedom," said Newman Society President Patrick Reilly. "What the Sears' have accomplished by their hard work, generosity and deep faith in Christ is a testament to God's grace and mercy. The honor is much-deserved."

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Victory for Vermont health professionals after pro-suicide group drops appeal

Alliance Defending Freedom

May 23, 2017

A pro-suicide group has dropped its appeal of a federal court's decision which affirmed that a Vermont law can't be interpreted to require pro-life health professionals to counsel or refer patients for assisted suicide. As a result, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit officially dismissed the appeal Monday, thus ending the case. The withdrawal of the appeal by Compassion & Choices leaves in place a consent agreement between physician groups and the Vermont Attorney General's office, which agreed that the court was correct in deciding that the state's Act 39 does not force conscientious professionals to ensure all "terminal" patients are informed about the availability of doctor-prescribed death. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and ADF-allied attorney Michael Tierney represent the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare and the Christian Medical Association, groups of medical professionals who wish to abide by their oath to "do no harm." “Vermont health care workers just want to act consistently with their reasonable and time-honored convictions without fear of government punishment,” said ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden.

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What the playground can teach the government about fair play

USA Today commentary by David Cortman

April 19, 2017

Now that raises an important constitutional question: May the government - having chosen to offer neutrally available, secular benefits to the public - withhold those benefits from faith-based groups simply because they're religious? Allowing the government to discriminate against religious groups when it provides nonreligious benefits raises some very concerning questions. For example, if a little girl is hurt on Trinity's playground, can the county hospital send an ambulance? Or if the city provides fire extinguishers to all preschools, can it give some to Trinity? How about if the state begins a program to remove asbestos from all public and private school buildings, can the government ensure that Trinity's students are safe from that dangerous substance? The late Justice Antonin Scalia already recognized that "when the State withholds [a neutrally available] benefit from some individuals solely on the basis of religion, it violates the [Constitution's] Free Exercise Clause."

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Trinity Lutheran Child Learning Center - video

ADF video

April 18, 2017

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent a church that runs a preschool and daycare center, which was excluded from a Missouri program that provides grants to purchase rubberized surface material (made of recycled tires) for children's playgrounds. Although the state highly ranked the center as qualified for the program, it denied the center's application solely because a church runs the daycare.

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Should the Supreme Court Prioritize the Safety of Non-Religious Preschoolers?

Alliance Defending Freedom

March 1, 2017

Saying everyone but churches can participate in a state program is blatant religious discrimination. The Constitution protects the rights of religious people to exercise their religion and not be punished for it. Just because these kids attend a preschool run by a church doesn't mean their safety on the playground is less important than that of students who do not attend religious schools. "As far as I know...the Lutheran kids and the neighbors around there, their kids, bruise just as easily as kids going to secular daycare centers. The lower courts basically said, under current Supreme Court precedent, the State of Missouri is allowed to say everybody gets the eligibility for these rubber grants except the churches." said ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence. Thankfully, the United States Supreme Court will hear the case.

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Trump's draft executive order on religious freedom would free people of faith to serve those in need

Washington Examiner commentary by Jim Campbell

February 23, 2017

Notably, the order makes clear that the executive branch is to uphold religious freedom for "persons of all faiths." While it expressly protects (in limited situations) people that speak or act consistently with specific beliefs about marriage and humanity, that is neither surprising nor troublesome. Those particular beliefs (like the conviction that marriage is the union of one man and one woman) were demonstrably targeted and disfavored by the prior administration. The Constitution allows the government to alleviate the most pressing and palpable burdens on religion, which is precisely what this order would do. Trump should sign it, the first of many steps to fulfill his promise to protect religious freedom. If he does that, it would welcome people of faith back into public life and free them to serve their neighbors, especially the most vulnerable, with love and compassion.

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The State of Religious Liberty in America

House Judiciary Committee hearing - video

February 16, 2017

Witnesses: 

  • Kim Colby, Director Chrisitan Legal Society's Center for Law and Religious Freedom 
  • Hannah Smith, Senior Counsel, Becket Law
  • Rabbi David Saperstein 
  • Casey Mattox, Senior Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom's Center for Academic Freedom

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Religious intolerance at USDA latest example of need for religious freedom order

Alliance Defending Freedom news release

February 16, 2017

Under a policy issued by the Obama administration's agriculture secretary, a USDA official threatened to remove all USDA inspectors if West Michigan Beef Company owner Donald Vander Boon didn't permanently refrain from placing in the company's breakroom religious literature supporting marriage between one man and one woman that the department deemed "offensive." After Vander Boon placed a faith-based article concerning marriage on his facility's breakroom table in 2015, Dr. Ryan Lundquist, USDA's public health veterinarian and the inspector in charge on-site at West Michigan Beef, read the article, removed it, and reported it to USDA Frontline Supervisor Robert Becker. They held a meeting with Vander Boon, at which Becker threatened three times to remove USDA inspectors if Vander Boon didn't agree to refrain from placing the article in the breakroom. Becker explained that the ultimatum was based on expanded agency rules against offensive and harassing speech.

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Religious groups challenge Vt. end-of-life law

Barre Montpelier Times-Argus

December 10, 2016

In July, a lawsuit challenging the Patient Choice and Control at End of Life Act from 2013 was filed by the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare and the Christian Medical Association, which is based in Tennessee. The suit said that Vermont joined Oregon, Washington and California in allowing doctors to prescribe a medication that would allow a terminally ill patient to end their life. But Vermont is the first state that requires all health care professionals to discuss all the patient's options, including the life-ending medication. in a press release sent after the lawsuit was filed, the Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based advocacy group, described the issue as urging the federal court, "Don't allow Vermont to force us to help kill patients."

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ACLU wants to force Catholic health care system to sterilize women

Alliance Defending Freedom news release

November 21, 2016

ADF explains in the letter that federal law protects Ascension Health, the nation's largest nonprofit health system and the world's largest Catholic health system, from being forced to perform sterilization procedures in contradiction to its religious convictions. As the letter explains, not only does the federal Church Amendment offer such protections, but the Affordable Care Act on which the ACLU relies also protects Ascension by stating explicitly that nothing in the ACA "shall be construed to have any effect on Federal laws regarding...conscience protection." "No one should be forced to perform or participate in a procedure when doing so would violate their conscience. This is especially true of medical workers and health care systems who are in the profession largely because of-and as an extension of-their faith," said ADF Legal Counsel Ken Connelly.

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Federal Court: Christian Pregnancy Centers Must Tell Patients Where They Can Get Abortions

The Federalist

October 14, 2016

A federal court just ruled that pregnancy centers have to tell their patients where they can get publicly-funded contraception and an abortion-even if it violates their religious beliefs. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that California law AB 775, which compels Christian, pro-life pregnancy centers to advocate for abortion, doesn't impede their First Amendment right to exercise their religious beliefs. “Forcing these centers to promote abortion and recite the government’s preferred views is a clear violation of their constitutionally protected First Amendment freedoms,” said Matt Bowman of Alliance for Defending Freedom, which was representing the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, a faith-based pro-life group with 111 clinics in California.

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Supreme Court to hear Christian school religious liberty case

Alliance Defending Freedom

October 5, 2016

Trinity Lutheran submitted its grant application, and the DNR ranked it fifth out of 44 applicants due to numerous factors, including the poverty level of the surrounding area. But, instead of awarding the grant, the DNR pointed to a section of the state constitution that prohibits government aid to religion and promptly disqualified the learning center solely because it was operated by a church. Committed to preserving the rights of the church, ADF petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court in November 2015 to take the case. "Seeking to protect children from harm while they play tag and go down the slide is about as far from an ‘essentially religious endeavor' as one can get," explains the ADF petition. "The DNR's religious exclusion sends a message that Trinity's children are less worthy of protection simply because they play on a playground owned by a church. This is not a mild disapproval of religion." The high court accepted the petition to hear the case, and oral arguments are set for fall 2016. SCOTUS blog coverage 

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Vermont law blasted for pushing doctors to discuss 'benefits' of suicide

Catholic News Service

October 3, 2016

A medical ethics group and a Christian doctors’ group have challenged Vermont regulators who say that doctors must tell patients about assisted suicide or refer them to someone who will. “The government shouldn’t be telling health care professionals that they must violate their medical ethics in order to practice medicine,” said Steven H. Aden, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom. The lawsuit’s plaintiffs, the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare and the Christian Medical and Dental Association, object to state officials’ requirements that could force physicians to refer for assisted suicide under the 2013 assisted suicide law known passed as Act 39, the Patient Control at End of Life Act.

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Illinois crisis pregnancy centers sue over requirement to give abortion information

Chicago Tribune - pub. 9/30

October 1, 2016

Crisis pregnancy centers in northern Illinois have filed a federal lawsuit alleging their employees' freedom of speech and religious rights will be violated if the state forces them to give patients information about abortion services. "The government shouldn't be putting messages in people's mouths," said Noel Sterett, an attorney for the centers. The centers hope to have the Illinois Healthcare Right of Conscience Act amendment, which goes into effect Jan. 1, abolished as unconstitutional. The suit also seeks to have the state permanently barred from enforcing the amendment and from penalizing those who don't comply.

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ADF files lawsuit against Iowa Civil Rights Commission over church teaching on sex

ADF video

September 2, 2016

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing an Iowa church filed a federal lawsuit against members of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, among others, to stop the government from censoring the church's teaching on biblical sexuality and from forcing the church to open its restrooms and showers to members of the opposite sex.

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Anti-abortion centers, doctor sue Rauner over 'conscience' law

Chicago Sun-Times

August 5, 2016

The bill requires that doctors who are unwilling to perform or participate in abortions, or other procedures, such as sterilization, provide a referral for another doctor or another medical center in a timely manner. The Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the plaintiffs, including Dr. Anthony Caruso, who practices medicine in Downers Grove at the Bella Baby OBGYN center, as well as the Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford and Aid for Women, a Chicago non-profit that runs six pregnancy help centers and two residential programs. The suit claims the bill violates the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1998, and violates Free Speech Protections of the Illinois Constitution by being "forced to speak" about services that are against their own beliefs. It also claims the bill violates the Freedom of Religion, and the Equal Protection Clause in the U.S. Constitution.

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Medical Groups Sue Over Vermont Requirement to Counsel Patients on Assisted Suicide

Christian News

July 23, 2016

wo medical groups have filed a federal lawsuit to challenge language in the Vermont's assisted suicide law that they believe requires physicians to counsel patients about ending their lives. The Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare and Tennessee-based Christian Medical Association were represented in the suit on Tuesday, along with several doctors in the state who are concerned about how the government interprets the "Patient Choice and Control at End of Life Act," also known as Act 39. "The government shouldn't be telling health care professionals that they must violate their medical ethics in order to practice medicine," Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Steven Aden said in a statement announcing the suit. "These doctors and other health care workers deeply believe that suffering patients need understanding and sound medical treatment, not encouragement to kill themselves. The state has no authority to order them to act contrary to that sincere and time-honored conviction."

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Five Things You Need to Know About DoD's New Gender Identity Polic

Daily Signal commentary by Daniel Briggs

July 6, 2016

Last week, the Department of Defense ended its recognition of service members' biology and supplanted it with a radical ideology pushed by the Obama administration. As other commentators pointed out recently (here and here), there is no military justification for this move. 1. Military medical providers' religious freedom, freedom of conscience, and professional discretion are threatened. 2. According to the new policy, discrimination based on gender identity is a form of sex discrimination. 3. The accommodation language means...what, exactly? 4. Standards are now anything but standard. 5. The Department of Defense looked beyond our borders for justification.

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Obama Administration Refuses to Enforce 'Right of Conscience,' Legal Group Says

Daily Signal commentary by Leah Jessen

July 1, 2016

Jocelyn Samuels, director of the federal agency's Office for Civil Rights, wrote in the response letter: "A finding that [California Department of Managed Health Care] has violated the Weldon Amendment might require the government to rescind all funds appropriated under the Appropriations Act to the state of California." Rescinding the taxpayer money, Samuels added, "would raise substantial questions about the constitutionality of the Weldon Amendment." Addressing that position, Alliance Defending Freedom's Casey Mattox said, "The Obama administration says enforcing the Weldon Amendment against California would violate the Constitution because you would be withholding all of these funds from the state. Which is very interesting because at the exact same time, you have the administration telling North Carolina that it's going to withhold funds under the exact same appropriations bill."

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Obama Admin Rejects Conscience Objections to Mandatory Abortion Funding in California Health Plans

CNS News

June 22, 2016

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rejected complaints Tuesday from California churches and religious groups against a state regulation that mandates abortion coverage in all state health care plans with no religious exemptions. The California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) stated in an August 2014 letter to seven insurance companies that they were required to include elective abortions in their health plans with no exceptions. The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a complaint with HHS in September 2014 on behalf of seven employees and health care plan participants with Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. “The Obama administration is once again making a mockery of the law, and this time in the most unimaginable way,” Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Casey Mattox responded to the decision Tuesday.

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Former nurse sues Winnebago County Health Department

WIFR

June 9, 2016

A former Rockford nurse files a lawsuit with the Winnebago County Health Department after she says she was fired because of her religious beliefs. According to the filed complaint, Public Health Administrator Sandra Martell merged pediatrics with women's health services and mandated that all nurses train to provide abortion referrals. Mendoza says when she informed her boss that she would not be participating because that would interfere with her religious beliefs, she says Martell gave her the ultimatum to either quit or take a job as a food inspector. Mendoza's attorney, Noel Sterett, says state law protects her and her beliefs. Mendoza is seeking damages under the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act. There is a bill that would force doctors and nurses to promote and perform abortions despite their personal beliefs. That is currently awaiting the approval of Governor Bruce Rauner.

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Our Constitutional Right to Privacy Is Missing From Bathroom Debate

Daily Signal commentary by Matt Sharp

May 26, 2016

Stephanie has several children that came to her through a foster program. If you met them on the street, you would never suspect that two of her daughters had suffered severe molestation and rape by men that they trusted. For these girls, feeling safe and secure in private settings-such as bedrooms, bathrooms, and locker rooms-is necessary to heal. And to feel safe, these girls need to know that their private spaces will not be invaded by a male. You would think that the school these girls attend would be especially protective of them. You would be wrong. The school voluntarily adopted a policy that would allow boys into the girls' restrooms, locker rooms, and even hotel rooms on school trips. The school callously ignored Stephanie's explanation that the presence of a boy in these private settings would be a trigger event for her daughters, causing severe psychological harm and setting back the progress they had made.

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Illinois Passes Bill Forcing Every Doctor, Pharmacist and Pregnancy Center to Promote Abortion

LifeNews

May 26, 2016

Illinois came one step closer to forcing its pro-life medical community to choose between violating state law and violating deeply held religious conscience Wednesday, as the state's House approved Senate Bill 1564 and set the legislation on the governor's desk. Originally put forward in the summer of 2015, the legislation would require pro-life medical providers, including 51 Illinois nonprofit pregnancy centers offering free services including ultrasound and STI testing, to take action the bill's opponents say amounts to participating in an abortion. Matt Bowman, senior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), said, "This Amendment takes away the rights of Illinois women to be treated by a pro-life doctor, because it would force medical facilities and physicians who conscientiously object to performing abortions (and other procedures) to refer for, make arrangements for someone else to perform, or arrange referral information that lists willing providers, for abortions,"

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US Supreme Court Vacates Ruling Against Christian Colleges

Alliance Defending Freedom

May 16, 2016

Alliance Defending Freedom represents five Christian universities whose cases were consolidated with those brought by 32 other plaintiffs, all objecting on religious grounds to providing abortion-inducing or contraceptive drugs through their healthcare plans.Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel David Cortman had this to say about today's decision: "Religious organizations have the freedom to peacefully operate according to their beliefs without fear of severe penalties by the government. The Supreme Court was right to protect the Christian colleges and other groups from having to pay fines or fill out forms authorizing the objectionable coverage. The government has many other ways to ensure women are able to obtain these drugs without forcing people of faith to participate in acts that violate their deepest convictions. We look forward to addressing the remaining details as we advance these cases in the lower courts."

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United Healthcare's Obamacare Drop Erodes The Conscience Safety Net

The Federalist commentary by Casey Mattox and Chuck Donovan

May 10, 2016

Today people disagree on a profound range of ethically grounded decisions about practices, from abortion to in vitro fertilization to assisted suicide, that go to the heart of what citizens believe properly constitutes health care. Combine these deepening differences with a tendency to bureaucratize and centralize health-care financing and administration, and profound clashes are sure to follow. It is nearly impossible for average citizens to discern whether their plans cover elective abortion before enrolling, much less the import of that fact—that they are paying a hidden abortion surcharge. UH’s exit is not just a sign of the economic problems facing Obamacare; it may also expose more Americans to the “choice” to pay for elective abortions or be fined. 

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Resist or Accommodate Evil: There is No "Third Way"

Witherspoon Institute commentary by Jeffery J. Ventrella

May 1, 2016

[orig. pub. 1/27/15] The simple truth is this: one need not be required to take innocent life before one ought to be able to stand firm in one’s conscience against an unjust law. As the tradition teaches, even the tiniest pinch of incense to Caesar is too much compromise for a well-formed conscience. Indeed, stopping an unjust law before it leads to innocent bloodshed is morally preferable, is it not? Ask King—or, if you prefer, St. Thomas More, Maximilian Kolbe, or Dietrich Bonhoeffer. When conscience flirts with the idea of accommodating an unjust law, it must politely, yet firmly, reject the sirens of seduction. Any other result would be—in a word—compromise.

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US Commission on Civil Rights Fails to Understand Religious Liberty Laws

Daily Signal commentary by Jane Clark Scharl

April 27, 2016

The commission says Tennessee's H.B. 1840, which was passed by the legislature and is awaiting the governor's decision, "will permit mental health professionals to deny counseling services to LGBT people based upon ‘sincerely held religious beliefs."' The dissent more accurately describes the bill, which allows counselors or therapists whose beliefs "conflict with a potential client's ‘goals, outcomes or behaviors' to decline to offer counseling/therapy to that potential client, provided that he or she refers the potential client to someone who will." Far from denying service, the bill actually "decreases the likelihood" that someone seeking counseling or therapy will be "saddled with a counselor or therapist" whose beliefs don't align with the potential client's counseling goals.

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Christian baker loses appeal in same-sex wedding cake case

World magazine

April 26, 2016

"We asked the Colorado Supreme Court to take this case to ensure that government understands that its duty is to protect the people's freedom to follow their beliefs personally and professionally, not force them to violate those beliefs as the price of earning a living," Jeremy Tedesco, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the legal group representing Philips, said in a statement released Monday. In 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins requested Philips bake them a custom wedding cake to celebrate their Massachusetts marriage. Philips declined, citing his religious convictions, but recommended another bakery nearby. Craig and Mullins filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which eventually ruled against Philips in 2014.

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ADF intervenors on victory over ACLU:"No American should be forced to commit an abortion"

Freedom2Care blog / ADF news release

April 12, 2016

The Alliance Defending Freedom news release below highlights an important case that illustrates just how far some will go to force abortion ideology on those who would protect the unborn. Thanks to colleagues Matt Bowman and Kevin Theriot for their typically excellent work in this case. "Those who doubt that anyone would ever try to force someone to commit an abortion need only look at this case," explained ADF Senior Counsel Matt Bowman. "This is precisely what the ACLU sought to do. The court came to the right conclusion in putting an end to their quest. The ruling relies on important case law that our pro-life medical group clients cited showing that the ACLU's case was based on pure speculation."

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ACLU Attempt to Force Catholic Hospital to Perform Abortions Hits Roadblock

Christian Post

April 12, 2016

Last December a group of pro-life organizations represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a motion to intervene on the case. These groups included the Catholic Medical Association, Christian Medical Association, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Concerned Women for America. In a statement released following news of the dismissal, ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot said, "No American should be forced to commit an abortion - least of all faith-based medical workers who went into the profession to follow their faith and save lives, not take them."

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Setting the Record Straight: North Carolina Law Protects Everyone's Bodily Privacy

Daily Signal commentary by Kelly Fiedorek

April 1, 2016

Public restrooms are places where women and girls may shower, change their clothes, handle personal grooming issues, and take care of many other private matters unique to females. Many people are uncomfortable merely discussing these topics, so imagine the discomfort when women have to do such activities with males present. Women and girls shouldn’t be forced to conduct these private activities in a confined space with male strangers present. Consider especially that girls and women who have been sexually abused will suffer the additional trauma of being compelled to engage in their most intimate activities in the immediate company of male strangers. 

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ACLU Attempting to Force Catholic Hospital to Kill Babies in Abortions

LifeNews

March 14, 2016

Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the Catholic health group. On Thursday, the pro-life legal firm said a federal court agreed to allow several pro-life doctor groups to intervene in defense of the Catholic hospital system. These groups are the Catholic Medical Association, the Christian Medical Association and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot spoke in defense of Trinity Health: "No American should be forced to commit an abortion. No law requires faith-based hospitals and medical personnel to commit abortions against their faith and conscience, and, in fact, federal law directly prohibits the government from engaging in any such coercion. In addition, the government can't tie any funding to a requirement that hospitals and health care workers give up their constitutionally protected freedoms."

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Washington Supreme Court will hear case over floral artist's freedom

Alliance Defending Freedom

March 3, 2016

A lower court ruled that Stutzman, owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, must pay penalties and attorneys' fees for declining to use her artistic abilities to design custom floral arrangements for a long-time customer's same-sex ceremony. Rather than participate in the ceremony, Stutzman referred Rob Ingersoll, whom she considers a friend and had served for nearly 10 years, to several other florists in the area who would provide high-quality arrangements and wedding support. "Barronelle and many others like her around the country have been willing to serve any and all customers, but they are understandably not willing to promote any and all messages," said ADF Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner.

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Pregnancy Clinics Fight for "Right to Deny Abortion Information"

New York Times

February 10, 2016

On Jan. 28, in the third such effort in a federal court, a lawyer from Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group that is representing the El Cajon clinic and others, argued in San Diego for a preliminary injunction. In the 90-minute hearing, Matt Bowman, a lawyer for the conservative group, argued that the law imposed an onerous and unconstitutional burden. "You've got to give women information about abortion even though the reason you exist is to give them alternatives to abortion," he said, arguing against the mandate.

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Broad support for pharmacists' freedom, near-unanimous opposition to Wash. state policy

Alliance Defending Freedom

February 8, 2016

Fourteen briefs have been filed with the U.S. Supreme Court that encourage it to weigh in on Washington state rules that force pharmacy owners and pharmacists to stock and dispense drugs contrary to their religious beliefs instead of allowing them to refer customers to other pharmacies and pharmacists as they are allowed to do in all 49 other states. The state allows referrals for a variety of reasons but singles out religiously motivated referrals as prohibited. "No one should be forced to choose between following their deepest religious beliefs and following an unjust, unneeded government mandate that targets only people of faith. The briefs filed with the Supreme Court agree that this kind of hostility to religion isn't constitutional or the least bit necessary," said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Vice President of Legal Services Kristen Waggoner.

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Should You Get An Obamacare Conscience Tax Exemption?

The Federalist commentary by Casey Mattox

January 20, 2016

The Obama administration has been trying to force private organizations into paying for abortion and abortifacients while backing off from forcing individuals to do the same. This spring, the Obama administration will again ask the Supreme Court to allow it to force Catholic nuns, Christian universities, and other nonprofits to help deliver abortion-inducing drugs to their employees in violation of their religious beliefs. While the administration continues to defend that mandate, however, it has largely-but quietly-relented on another Obamacare requirement that forced citizens of some states pay a surcharge for others' elective abortions.

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US Supreme Court agrees to tackle religious hostility by states

Alliance Defending Freedom

January 15, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to take up a case that addresses the question of whether states can exhibit hostility to religion by prohibiting churches and church-run organizations from participating in state programs solely because the groups are religious. ADF attorneys represent a church-run pre-school and daycare center which the state of Missouri excluded from a program that provides recycled tire products to surface children's playgrounds. "No state can define religious neutrality as treating religious organizations worse than everyone else," said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman.

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VA out of touch to forbid Christmas expression in public areas

Alliance Defending Freedom

November 24, 2015

Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter Tuesday to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Salem, Va., medical center after it issued a Christmas memo to its employees that explained they are only "permitted to engage in private religious expression in their personal work areas that are not regularly open to the public" in an effort to extend "a happy holiday season in a manner that is welcoming to all." The wording of the memo leaves open the possibility that employees could be punished for Christmas decorations or "merry Christmas" greetings to veterans except in personal workstations that are out of public view. "It's ridiculous that people have to think twice about whether it's okay to celebrate Christmas as Christmas rather than some watered-down winter holiday," said ADF Senior Counsel Erik Stanley.

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How Churches in Public Schools Benefit Our Cities

ADF On the Square

November 17, 2015

With the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear the case of Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education of the City of New York, the for-now final outcome of this 20-year-old case-centered on the public's right to meet for worship in rented public school facilities-is now in the hands of the city's mayor, Bill de Blasio. While he has assured Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and their allies (including many New York civic and religious leaders) that, under his administration, churches like Bronx Household will be allowed to hold worship services in public buildings, the only permanent hope for that freedom now lies with the state legislature.

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Antiabortion group beats Obamacare contraception rule in court

Washington Post

September 1, 2015

We are delighted that the court has ruled in our favor on this crucially important case," March for Life President Jeanne Mancini said in a statement. "The government should not be allowed to force organizations like the March for Life to have health insurance with drugs and devices that can cause an abortion."
"Pro-life organizations should not be forced into betraying the very values they were established to advance," enior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom Matt Bowman said in a statement. "This is especially true of March for Life, which was founded to uphold life, not to assist in taking it."

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Texas Supreme Court Addresses Major LGBT Ordinance

Daily Caller

July 24, 2015

"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."

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Gay Marriage Ruling Fallout: Christian Leaders React

CBN interview with Austin Nimmocks

June 28, 2015

"People of faith and people who believe that marriage is one man and one woman are going to continue to be heckled, harassed or even persecuted legally under the law as they have been in the past. We need strong public officials to stand up [and pass] laws protecting them. The Alliance Defending Freedom and other groups like ours will continue to defend people of faith and the rights of conscience that are cornerstones of our constitution."

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Why Supreme Court got it wrong

CNN commentary by Ken Connelly

June 27, 2015

The court in Obergefell v. Hodges ignored history, the text and meaning of the Constitution, and prior Supreme Court jurisprudence to justify its holding that the 14th Amendment mandates the recognition of same-sex marriage. The decision becomes all the more difficult to explain when one considers that exactly two years ago, to the day, Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the same court, assured us in United States v. Windsor that states rightly possess the "historic and essential authority to define the marital relation."

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Examining the Supreme Court Decision Regarding Gay Marriage

transcript of CNN interview with Kerri Kupec

June 26, 2015

"What today's decision did was strip that flat freedom to do so. Not just from them but the entire democratic process that we so near and dear to America. I think we're headed into some unchartered territories, affects towards religious freedom. And it remains to be seen, will people in this country still remain protected under the first amendment to live according to their faith with respect to marriage."

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Justices rule against sign code

Washington Times

June 23, 2015

In separate free-speech rulings Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled against an Arizona town's sign code, which was used to punish a small, local church. In the eight-year-long Arizona church sign case, Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Justice Clarence Thomas concluded that the town's signage code was "content based," which meant the code had to meet the highest constitutional test. Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel David Cortman, who represented Pastor Clyde Reed and Good News Community Church, said the unanimous ruling was a "victory for everyone's freedom of speech."

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Is your nonprofit ready?

World magazine

June 3, 2015

Attorney Jim Campbell, who handles various constitutional cases for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), has a working list written down at his office in Scottsdale, Ariz. The list details benefits religious nonprofits could lose if the Supreme Court makes gay marriage a constitutional right. When he arrived at work recently, he read it off: 501(c)3 status, tax benefits, government licensing, accreditation, and government contracts or grants, among others.

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Is religious freedom desirable?

Alliance Defending Freedom commentary by Matt Sharp

May 12, 2015

These individuals, and their bold ideas (whether in art, literature, music, science, or civil rights), were made possible because they lived in societies where religion thrived. Their religious beliefs were allowed to inform and guide their actions. Their faith inspired their contributions in their given fields-contributions that left indelible marks on Western Civilization. When religious freedom is extinguished, when individuals are told to separate their faith from their work-to confine it to their home or church-our society loses something of great worth. We lose beauty, inspiration, and innovation born out of service to a higher calling.

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The many voices before the Supreme Court on marriage

Washington Examiner commentary by Kerri Kupec

April 30, 2015

That question of knowing one's parent plays a significant, yet under-the-radar, role in the marriage cases before the Supreme Court. Among others, two women, Heather Barwick and Katy Faust, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in which they discuss their experiences as children raised by women in same-sex relationships who felt deprived of their fathers. Katy expanded on this theme in a recent piece she penned titled, "Dear Justice Kennedy: An Open Letter from the Child of a Loving Gay Parent."

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Lethal injections: a prescription for state religious freedom laws

The Hill commentary by Jordan Lorence

April 22, 2015

The issue pertinent here is not whether the death penalty for convicted murderers is moral or not. The issue is whether the state should be able to force people to help facilitate an execution against their will. And it raises the greater question of when the government, in general, can compel people to act against their beliefs. That is why we need state laws like the religious freedom law that the federal government and 20 other states have approved, and that the North Carolina Legislature is currently considering. Government exercises its actions through coercion, and sometimes, the government can achieve its end without compelling those with a moral objection to participate in something that violates their conscience.

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Five actions churches should take in a changing legal culture

Alliance Defending Freedom

April 9, 2015

These new political, cultural, and legal realities directly affect the church's freedom to live out its faith. While most church decisions about internal governance or doctrine currently enjoy constitutional protection, churches cannot assume that these protections will stand indefinitely. Maintaining a gospel-centered witness in today's culture requires not only standing firm on the truths of Scripture, but also taking affirmative steps to protect the church's freedom to continue peacefully teach and live out its faith. Here are five ways churches can protect their freedom to maintain fidelity to the faith.

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You Will Be Made To Worship Their god

Red State commentary by Casey Mattox

April 8, 2015

Of all of the principles that the left is suddenly willing to sacrifice on the altar of same-sex marriage - free speech, free exercise of religion, the rule of law, the right to vote, etc. - the most surprising to me is that it is now demanding compulsory participation and support of religious services. The opponents of RFRA are still quick to deploy their "separation of church and state" cliché, but one side is demanding that the state fine people for declining to participate in a religious service. It isn't mine. It's the ACLU and its allies who are ready to use the power of the state to compel unwilling people to participate in religious services.

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Religious Freedom Acts Have Never Harmed A Gay Person

The Federalist

April 2, 2015

It has been 22 years since President Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. In two decades of RFRAs, the world has not ended. In fact, not a single person who identifies as homosexual has been harmed by these RFRAs. None. This may come as a surprise to you if you have watched any of the media coverage or been on social media for the last several days. The unhinged claims from the Left have been entirely detached from the reality that these laws have actually existed for decades and have never resulted in any of the things they worry will happen. This is not new. Dire warnings that are unsurprisingly not confirmed by future events have been a common theme in arguments from the Left in recent years.

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Washington floral artist's home, savings at risk of state seizure

Alliance Defending Freedom

February 18, 2015

A state judge ruled Wednesday that Washington floral artist and grandmother Barronelle Stutzman must provide full support for wedding ceremonies that are contrary to her faith. The court claims that Stutzman's referral of a long-time customer to another business for floral design and support for a same-sex ceremony violated Washington law. The court also ruled recently that both the state and the same-sex couple, who each filed lawsuits against her, may collect damages and attorneys' fees not only from her business, but from Stutzman personally. "The message of these rulings is unmistakable: the government will bring about your personal and professional ruin if you don't help celebrate same-sex marriage," said ADF Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner, who argued before the court in December.

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Court ponders sign law's effect on church

Baptist Press

January 13, 2015

David Cortman, who represented Reed before the justices, warned afterward, "No one's speech is safe if the government is allowed to pick free-speech winners and losers based on the types of speech government officials prefer." In addition to the ERLC, among others signing onto the CLS brief were the Anglican Church in North America, Association of Christian Schools International, Christian Medical Association, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

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Will court force March for Life to pay for abortion pill coverage?

Alliance Defending Freedom

November 5, 2014

March for Life, the pro-life organization that holds its well-known annual march in Washington, D.C., is challenging the Obama administration's abortion-pill mandate, which forces employers, regardless of their moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy financial penalties through the IRS. "Pro-life organizations must be free to operate according to the beliefs they espouse," said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. "March for Life was founded to oppose the tragedy of abortion - the very thing the government is forcing the organization to provide through its health insurance plan. The government cannot selectively punish organizations that wish to abide by their beliefs."

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Pulpit Freedom participation exceeds 1,800 pastors, continues through Election Day

Alliance Defending Freedom

October 15, 2014

More than 1,800 pastors in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico have participated so far in the Alliance Defending Freedom seventh annual Pulpit Freedom Sunday event, which began this year on Oct. 5. Of those participating, 1,517 preached sermons presenting biblical perspectives on the positions of electoral candidates and signed a statement agreeing that the IRS should not control the content of a pastor’s sermon. “The tax-collecting IRS shouldn’t be playing speech cop and threatening a church’s tax-exempt status simply because its pastor exercises his constitutionally protected freedom of speech,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley, who heads the Pulpit Freedom Sunday event.

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Churches forced to cover abortion file federal complaint against Calif. agency

Alliance Defending Freedom

October 9, 2014

Life Legal Defense Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom filed a formal complaint Thursday with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over the California Department of Managed Health Care's decision to force all employers, including churches, to pay for elective abortions in their health insurance plans. LLDF and ADF represent seven California churches that object to offering their employees insurance plans covering elective abortions and allege that DMHC's coercion of abortion coverage violates federal law. LLDF Legal Director Catherine Short noted,"DMHC would have us believe that, while the Legislature exempted these churches from the state's contraceptive coverage mandate, it nonetheless intended to force them to cover all abortions under the rubric of 'basic health care.'"

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Christian univ. employees file complaint against Calif. agency over mandatory abortion coverage

Alliance Defending Freedom

September 12, 2014

Life Legal Defense Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom have filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over the California Department of Managed Health Care's decision to force Loyola Marymount University and its employees to pay for elective abortions in their health insurance plans. "Under federal law, pro-life employers have the freedom to choose health insurance plans that do not conflict with their beliefs on the dignity of human life," said LLDF Legal Director Catherine Short.

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California's Abortion Insurance Mandate Spotlights the Left's 40-year Devolution on Conscience

Townhall.com commentary by Casey Mattox

September 9, 2014

The California decision to compel Catholic institutions to facilitate abortions in violation of their conscience would have been unthinkable in 1975 when the state law now cited as the basis for this new mandate was enacted. After four decades of relentless effort by the ACLU, it has now found government support for its illiberal agenda to not just secure an unenumerated abortion right but to also subjugate any individual religious liberty objections to this abortion right. It is time for the Healthcare Conscience Rights Act. Introduced by Rep. Diane Black and Sen. Tom Coburn, this bill would provide a permanent home in the U.S. Code for the Weldon Amendment, ensuring that critical protections for conscience rights are not subject to the political winds in any given budget cycle. It would also provide a clear right for anyone whose conscience protections are violated to seek to stop the violation in court.

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Federal Judge Strikes Down HHS Mandate for Baptist College

Citizen Link

August 14, 2014

"All Americans should oppose unjust laws that force people - under threat of punishment - to give up their freedom to live and work according to their beliefs," said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. "Louisiana College is a Christian college that simply wants to continue to operate as a Christian college as it has since its founding in 1906. The court - in the first final ruling finding against the mandate that we are aware of - did the right thing in striking down the Obamacare abortion-pill mandate as it applies to Louisiana College's health insurance coverage."

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Legal Group Asks IRS to Release Docs in Atheist Settlement to Investigate Churches

Christian News

August 3, 2014

But the Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) says that the public deserves to know what procedures the IRS has set in place as to who will be investigated and how. "Secrecy breeds mistrust, and the IRS should know this in light of its recent scandals involving the investigation of conservative groups," said ADF Litigation Counsel Christiana Holcomb. "We are asking the IRS to disclose the new protocols and procedures it apparently adopted for determining whether to investigate churches. What it intends to do to churches must be brought into the light of day."

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Massachusetts lawmakers OK new abortion clinic buffer law

Washington Times

July 31, 2014

"The new law is unconstitutional not only because it is vague and overbroad, but also because it purports to grant law enforcement the power to issue a temporary restraining order - a power that may only be exercised by courts," attorney Michael DePrimo said, according to a report by Kathryn Jean Lopez on National Review Online. Mr. DePrimo helped represent Supreme Court petitioner Eleanor McCullen, 77, who argued that Massachusetts' old buffer zone law was so extensive that it violated her rights to freedom of speech.

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Casey Mattox reviews Supreme Court decision

Alliance Defending Freedom video

June 30, 2014

"I'm here at the Supreme Court today, where we have just had a tremendous victory for religious liberty...to protect family-owned businesses from being forced to do things that violate their faith--particularly providing abortifacients that would violate their conscience." [click image or link to view video]

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Court protects free speech of pro-lifers

Townhall.com

June 27, 2014

Mark Rienzi -- who argued in January before the justices on behalf of Eleanor McCullen, a grandmother who does sidewalk counseling in Boston -- said the court's opinion "has affirmed a critical freedom that has been an essential part of American life since the nation's founding. Americans have the freedom to talk to whomever they please on public sidewalks," Rienzi, who is allied with the Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a written release. "That includes peaceful pro-lifers like Eleanor McCullen, who just wants to offer information and help to women who would like it." Christian Legal Society filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of a coalition of religious organizations in support of citizens' religious speech and assembly rights. 

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Christian Student's Lawsuit Causes School System to Reverse Speech Policy

Citizen Link

June 6, 2014

Christian Parks, a student at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, was preaching in the campus courtyard last year. A school police officer told him to stop because his words "might offend someone." Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed suit this March. "We commend the Virginia Community College System for revising its speech policy to align with what a marketplace of ideas should be," said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorney Travis Barham.

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Pro-life Catholics sue over "abortion fee mandate"

Washington Times

May 4, 2014

"With Obamacare, if you like your current plan, you can't always keep it, and you may have to pay for other people's abortions in your new plan," said Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Casey Mattox in a statement. "Neither the Constitution nor federal and state law allow for this type of government coercion."
The lawsuit also challenges the so-called "secrecy clauses" that prohibit insurers on the exchange from divulging whether their policies cover abortion and what portion of the premiums collected from enrollees go toward paying for elective abortions.

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Supreme Court Turns Down Elane Photography Case

National Review Online commentary by Jordan Lorence

April 7, 2014

Today's actions by the Supreme Court may unfortunately embolden some to expand their efforts to punish and humiliate publicly those who believe marriage is defined only as one man and one woman. The zealous followers of this ascendant orthodoxy supporting same-sex marriage are falling into the same error that many have stumbled into before them-when you gain power somewhere, punish the "heretics" and hound them to the outskirts of society. As a First Amendment attorney, I am concerned that this dark time of viewpoint suppression will get darker before it gets better.

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In Arizona, gays show Intolerance of expressions of faith

Washington Times editorial

March 4, 2014

The Arizona Legislature sent Mrs. Brewer an amendment to the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act that would have given business owners a defense against local and state action that would "burden the person's exercise of religion." Homosexual activists made the defeat of this measure their top priority, even though the words "gay" or "homosexual" do not appear anywhere in the legislation.The governor's veto "enables the foes of faith to more easily suppress the freedom of the people of Arizona," argued Doug Napier, a lawyer with the Alliance Defending Freedom, based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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Case weighing religious freedom against rights of others is headed to Supreme Court

Washington Post

March 2, 2014

In their petition, the Huguenins and lawyer Jordan W. Lorence of the Alliance Defending Freedom mention religion frequently. But their plea does not cite constitutional protection of their right to freely exercise their religion. Instead, they rely on another part of the First Amendment: their right to free speech.

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Setting the Record Straight on Arizona's Religious Liberty Bill, SB 1062

Christian Post commentary by Kellie Fiedorek

February 27, 2014

Distortion has been out in full force regarding the bill, a simple adjustment the Arizona Legislature made to the state's existing religious freedom law to make clear what it has always protected and to bring it into conformity with federal law. From what you see on TV, however, you might think every person in Arizona wants to stop serving sandwiches to those who aren't heterosexual.

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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoes controversial religious freedom bill

Washington Times

February 26, 2014

Doug Napier, senior counsel for the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom in Scottsdale, said the veto represented a defeat for freedom and victory for fear and a national campaign that the bill's proponents said had wildly distorted the bill. "Freedom loses when fear overwhelms facts and a good bill is vetoed. Today's veto enables the foes of faith to more easily suppress the freedom of the people of Arizona," Mr. Napier said in a statement.

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Race on same-sex marriage cases runs through Virginia

Washington Post

February 3, 2014

Ken Connelly, whose organization Alliance Defending Freedom has intervened in the Norfolk case to defend Virginia's law, said the handful of cases decided in the aftermath of Windsor are simply wrong. "There are plenty of rational reasons for states to adopt the time-tested definition of marriage" as that between a man and a woman, Connelly said. The importance of Windsor was the court's recognition of a state's role in making that definition, he said.

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Lederman on 'Substantial Burden'

NRO commentary by Matt Bowman

January 13, 2014

I don't know how much more emphatically the Supreme Court could make this point. Even if an activity is a mere "gratuitous" privilege or benefit, the government's placement of a condition on that activity inconsistent with someone's religious beliefs constitutes a substantial burden. This is because in America, pursuing free activities consistent with one's beliefs is at the heart of the meaning of our "liberties of religion." It is "too late in the day" to even propose otherwise.

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Contraceptive cases raise religious liberty issues

Politico

December 2, 2013

Nearly 100 companies, nonprofits and religious groups, including several Catholic dioceses, have challenged the birth control rule. The two cases the Supreme Court took involve commercial interests. "What it shows in taking on both cases is that the court is interested in hearing the full array of issues that were present in both petitions and the diversity in which Americans practice their faith in all types of business," said David Cortman of Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents Conestoga.

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Defending religious freedom from Obamacare

Matt Bowman in Washington Times

December 1, 2013

The last time the Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to cut religion from the First Amendment it lost 9-0 in Hosanna Tabor. Time and again, the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations, such as churches and universities, can exercise religion.

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Hercules One Step Closer to Religious Freedom

Kathryn Jean Lopez in National Review Online

October 3, 2013

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a district court order holding off enforcement of the Department of Health and Human Services abortion-drug, contraception, sterilization mandate, against Hercules, Inc., a family-owned HVAC business, which the Obama administration challenged. The Department of Justice has argued that the Newland family of Denver doesn't have religious liberty in "the marketplace of commerce."

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DOJ: Defending Birth-Control Mandate Not Essential in Shutdown

Matt Bowman in National Review Online

October 2, 2013

The Obama administration has never been able to prove that merely having the freedom to decide whether to cover other people's abortion pills and birth control would cause some kind of catastrophe. But now the Obama administration is backhandedly admitting that the abortion-pill mandate is not the highest priority of government in the first place. If it were, defending it would not stop during a shutdown.

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With Obamacare, business doesn't have a prayer

Matt Bowman in Washington Times

September 5, 2013

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), once claiming to support religious freedom, recently praised a Mennonite family's loss in court, opining with regard to the family's small woodworking business that "corporations don't pray and have values." Really? What about churches? They are corporations, too. Don't they pray? The New York Times and the ACLU themselves are both corporations. They have no values?

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Remember When Conscience Was Cool?

Kellie Fiedorek in National Review Online

August 29, 2013

Just as the Panera Bread or Whole Foods business approach is integral to their larger mission, many other businesses believe their unique values are fundamental to the business models they have built. Increasingly, however, when businesses' values are at odds with the prevailing opinion of government officials and leftist activist groups, they suffer persecution.

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Are Churches at Risk from Redefined Marriage?

Erik Stanley in National Review Online

August 27, 2013

The Associated Press reports that some churches are taking steps to change their bylaws after the Supreme Court's recent ruling on the federal Defense of Marriage Act out of a desire to protect themselves from potential claims by same-sex couples.

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Critics of contraception mandate vow Supreme Court appeal

The Hill

August 14, 2013

Critics of the contraception mandate in President Obama's healthcare law said they will appeal to the Supreme Court after a federal appeals court declined to re-hear their case Wednesday. Alliance Defending Freedom, one of the organizations challenging the contraception mandate in the courts, said it will ask the Supreme Court to consider whether the mandate is unconstitutional.

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Alliance Defending Freedom represents Trijicon in new lawsuit against Obama administration

Firearms sight manufacturer targets abortion pill mandate

August 9, 2013

A family business that manufactures sights and scopes for the military, law enforcement, and hunters has filed suit through its Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys against the Obama administration's abortion pill mandate. The suit joins an ever-growing number of legal challenges to the mandate, a component of Obamacare that forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and devices, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties. "All Americans, including job creators, should be free to honor God and live according to their consciences wherever they are," said Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman.

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Obamacare ruling violates religious liberty

Video - Alliance Defending Freedom

July 26, 2013

The Obama Administration is using healthcare law to become a dictator of conscience. ObamaCare is holding your healthcare hostage and offering no real choice. It requires you to either comply and abandon your religious freedom and conscience, or resist and be fined for your faith. By upholding the individual mandate, the greater of either the cost of the ObamaCare plan or up to 2.5% of your salary can now be taken straight from your tax returns. But by God's grace, there is still hope for the future of religious freedom.

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Christian College Is Granted Temporary Injunction Over HHS Mandate

National Catholic Register

June 21, 2013

Geneva College in Pennsylvania has been given temporary relief from having to provide emergency contraceptives in its health-insurance plans, as required by the federal contraception mandate. "The court has done the right thing in allowing Geneva College to suspend the enforcement of the Obama administration's abortion-pill mandate for the student health plan while the case moves forward," said Gregory Baylor, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents the college.

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Keepin' the Faith, Behind Closed Doors Only

Kathryn Jean Lopez in National Review Online

June 11, 2013

Keep your faith to yourself. That was the message Ania Joseph, executive director of Pro-Life Revolution, and her lawyer at Alliance Defending Freedom took away from conversations with an IRS agent during a two-and-a-half-year application process for tax-exempt status that ended just last week.

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Top court may hear N.Y. lawsuit over prayers

USA Today

May 6, 2013

David Cortman, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, said using prayer to open public meetings is a long-standing American tradition that has been upheld by the Supreme Court. "Nonetheless, new legal attacks by people and activist groups claiming to be 'offended' by the way private citizens voluntarily pray have created significant confusion in the lower courts," he said.

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IRS not enforcing rules on churches and politics

New York Times

November 3, 2012

Last month, more than 1,500 pastors, organized by the Alliance Defending Freedom, endorsed a candidate from the pulpit and then sent a record of their statement to the IRS, hoping their challenge would eventually end up in court. The Alliance has organized the event, called "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," since 2008. The IRS has never contacted a pastor involved in the protest.

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Obama administration: Bible publisher isn’t religious enough

Alliance Defending Freedom

October 2, 2012

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing Tyndale House Publishers filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate. Tyndale House is one of the world’s largest privately held Christian publishers of books, Bibles, and digital media. The publisher is subject to the mandate because Obama administration rules say for-profit corporations are categorically non-religious, even though Tyndale House is strictly a publisher of Bibles and other Christian materials.

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HHS mandate allows minors free contraception, sterilization

CNA

September 25, 2012

Minor children on their parents' health care plans will have free coverage of sterilization and contraception, including abortion-causing drugs, under the controversial HHS mandate - and depending on the state, they can obtain access without parental consent. Matt Bowman, senior counsel for the religious liberty legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, said the mandate "tramples parental rights" because it requires them to "pay for and sponsor coverage of abortifacients, sterilization, contraception and education in favor of the same for their own children."

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The HHS Mandate’s Other Victims – The Needy

The Bell Towers commentary by C. Mattox

September 20, 2012

The Obama Administration's mandate that religious employers provide contraception, abortifacients and sterilization for their employees is a monumental attack on religious liberty: never before has our government chosen to force American citizens to violate their consciences so directly. Yet while Alliance Defending Freedom successfully makes the case that this law violates employers' religious freedom, the potentially devastating impacts of this mandate on others should not be ignored.

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Congressmen to Obama: See you in court

WorldNet Daily

August 25, 2012

David Stevens, MD and CEO of the Christian Medical Association: “What will stop this administration, with its radical pro-abortion agenda, from further undermining conscience rights and pursuing policies that effectively force out of medicine physicians with life-honoring convictions? Who will keep government panels from effectively denying physicians and patients choice about what are the most effective and appropriate medicines, surgeries and treatments? We call on Congress to turn back this law’s assault on our freedoms and restore American values and constitutional principles in health care.”

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An Open Letter to President Obama

TownHall.com commentary by Casey Mattox

August 18, 2012

What is the breadth and scope of the religious liberty you believe ought to be respected? Do you believe religious liberty stops where Planned Parenthood's financial needs begin? Should Americans be forced to pay for that which violates their conscience and the tenets of their faith?

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Catholic business owners score win against ObamaCare mandate

FOX News

July 27, 2012

“Every American, including family business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith. For the time being, Hercules Industries will be able to do just that,” said Matt Bowman, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, the Arizona-based organization representing the Newlands. “The bottom line is that Congress and the Constitution explicitly protect all religious freedom. They don’t exclude family businesses.”

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HVAC and the HHS Mandate

NRO interview with Matt Bowman

July 26, 2012

The basic principle in this case is the same as in other cases: that Congress does not let federal agencies punish people of faith for abiding by their faith, without passing the most demanding test known to federal law. We believe that in this case the government does not even come close to justifying its refusal to exempt religious objectors. This is because Congress provided secular exemptions for millions of employees, and it could easily give out more free contraception itself if the political will existed.

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ObamaCare decision does not stop fight against abortion pill mandate

Townhall commentary by Steve Aden

July 10, 2012

The fight against the abortion pill mandate is a fight for religious freedom, whereas the ObamaCare case revolved primarily around the constitutionality of the health care legislation as a whole. Freedom of conscience itself is at stake with the abortion pill mandate.

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Friends, foes of health care ruling react

Town Hall

June 29, 2012

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List: "From the outset, Obamacare is fundamentally flawed legislation because it makes American taxpayers complicit in the deaths of countless unborn children. Today's decision to uphold the individual mandate to force individuals to purchase health care plans that offend their conscience is incredibly disappointing."

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The fight against Obamacare isn't over yet

Washington Examiner commentary by Casey Mattox - ADF

June 29, 2012

The first of Obamacare's hammers has already fallen, targeting religious freedom. And attention must now turn to the dozens of cases around the country aimed at stopping what is known as the Health and Human Services, or HHS, mandate -- the requirement that qualifying insurers and self-ensuring employers pay for sterilizations, abortifacient drugs and contraception, or else pay a fine.

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ObamaCare Mandate Is Worse Than You Think

Alliance Defense Fund video

June 21, 2012

"You knew it was bad, but it's worse than you think. ObamaCare includes plans that fund elective abortions, charges people for life-saving drugs while making life-ending drugs free, and seriously fines those who do not comply..."

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ObamaCare Automatic Enrollment of Minors

Alliance Defense Fund blog entry by Matt Bowman

June 6, 2012

ObamaCare is not content with forcing coverage of abortion-inducing drugs against people's consciences. Now the administration has made its attack on conscience even worse: by forcing abortion-drug coverage onto children against their parents' objection.

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Lawsuits swarming over healthcare, religious conscience

OneNewsNow

May 23, 2012

Greg Baylor, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, says the outcry against the mandate is justifiable and understandable. "They're basically saying, Hey, if you're a religious organization that's out there in the world, serving the world, hiring people who don't necessarily share your religious commitments, you're not entitled to freedom of conscience."

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Hercules v. Obama

Alliance Defense Fund video on lawsuit

May 21, 2012

ADF attorneys file suit against administration's 'abortion pill' mandate on behalf of Denver's Hercules Industries.

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