March 2, 2017
Today, the Oregon Court of Appeals heard the case of Aaron and Melissa Klein, a couple who lost their bakery for running their business according to their religious beliefs. During the oral arguments, the Kleins' attorneys argued that the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) violated the Kleins' constitutional rights to religious freedom, free speech, and due process. "The government should never force someone to violate their conscience or their beliefs," Kelly Shackelford, President and CEO of First Liberty Institute, says. "In a diverse and pluralistic society, people of good will should be able to peacefully coexist with different beliefs. We hope the court will uphold the Kleins' rights to free speech and religious liberty."
Trump's draft executive order on religious freedom would free people of faith to serve those in need
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.
February 19, 2017
Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, called on Mr. Trump to "get moving on religious liberty. The issue of religious liberty is one of the most important for people of faith, who happen to be the key voting [bloc] most responsible for electing Donald Trump as president," Mr. Brown wrote in a letter to supporters last week. "Evangelicals voted over 80 percent for Mr. Trump, and Catholics went for him by 52 percent. Now it's time for the administration to act to protect people of faith from being discriminated against because of their faith." The primary source of frustration for the religious right is Mr. Trump's inaction on former President Obama's executive order requiring some religious groups, including charities and relief organizations, not to discriminate against employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity in order to receive federal contracts. A draft of an executive order repealing that mandate circulated in the media and immediately drew the ire of the LGBT movement. Politico reported the repeal effort was squashed by the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner.
January 30, 2017
"This past year has been tough. In my lifetime, I can't recall humanity being more divided. Plenty of folks are sad and scared and angry and there are sound bites being fed to us that seem fueled by judgment, fear, and even hatred. Jo and I refuse to be baited into using our influence in a way that will further harm an already hurting world, this is our home. A house divided cannot stand. If there is any hope for all of us to move forward, to heal and to grow - we have got to learn to engage people who are different from us with dignity and with love. One of them is this: we care about you for the simple fact that you are a person, our neighbor on planet earth."
November 3, 2016
Our First Amendment freedom is functionally meaningless when it is reduced to the "right" to express government-approved views. Throw in a simultaneous prohibition on all expression that hasn't received the government's stamp of approval, and you have the makings of George Orwell's "1984," where even beliefs are controlled. Indeed, to forbid people from articulating beliefs and peacefully acting consistently with those beliefs is, at its core, an attempt to forbid the beliefs themselves. As the Supreme Court has held, "First Amendment freedoms are most in danger when the government seeks to control thought...The right to think is the beginning of freedom, and speech must be protected from the government because speech is the beginning of thought."
July 22, 2016
Unfortunately, the latest revisions to FADA have forced FRC to withdraw its support of the bill. The new FADA language says: (a) IN GENERAL.-Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes, speaks, or acts in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction that-(1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of- (A) two individuals of the opposite sex; or (B) two individuals of the same sex; or (2) extramarital relations are improper. Principled Objections to the new language: The new language of FADA would force Congress to affirm, for the first time, the construct that marriage can be between two people of the same sex. A vast majority of conscience bills based on the life issue, including the recently-passed Conscience Protection Act, protect against government discrimination for one view of abortion-the pro-life view. There is not a constitutional problem with these pro-life laws, and there should be no problem with a pro-marriage law that does not also provide protections for same-sex marriage views.
July 12, 2016
Several Democratic House members and their invited witnesses made some stunning claims about the bill both orally and in written remarks that merit serious fact-checking. Here are six of them. Myth 1: The bill is cover for discrimination against LGBT people. Reality: This claim is rebutted by simply stating what the bill actually does-it prevents the federal government from discriminating against individuals and institutions that follow their beliefs about marriage and what it entails. It protects supporters of both sides of the same-sex marriage debate from being stripped of nonprofit tax-exempt status, licenses, grants, contracts, or accreditation. Just as Congress protected people from being punished for declining to participate in abortions after Roe v. Wade, the First Amendment Defense Act protects people from being punished for their beliefs about marriage after the Obergefell decision, without taking anything away from anyone.
March 4, 2016
Right-leaning advocates of gay marriage called for acceptance at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference, urging liberals to display more tolerance when addressing the issues of gay marriage and religious liberty. "This conversation that we are having right now literally couldn't happen at a left-wing conference, because we'd all be hounded off the stage and booed," Guy Benson, Fox News contributor and TownHall.com editor, said during a religious liberty panel. Benson, who came out as gay last year, told his three fellow panelists that he was "personally gratified" by the the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decision but that he disagrees with the "mandatory celebration" of gay marriage. By "mandatory celebration," Benson was referring to the small businesses owners who he believes have been forced by the government to provide wedding-related services to same-sex couples against their religious convictions.
November 9, 2015
I knew he was in a relationship with a man and he knew I was a Christian. But that never clouded the friendship for either of us or threatened our shared creativity - until he asked me to design something special to celebrate his upcoming wedding. If all he'd asked for were prearranged flowers, I'd gladly have provided them. If the celebration were for his partner's birthday, I'd have been delighted to pour my best into the challenge. But as a Christian, weddings have a particular significance.
October 20, 2015
Could we invoke a plea for religious tolerance? Chai Feldblum, a gay activist, descended from a line of rabbis, brushes away with a breezy contempt the claim for religious tolerance here, for it would stand in opposition to things she regards as commandingly rightful. This argument can be met then only by an argument showing why it cannot be wrongful to confine marriage to a man and a woman. It can be met, that is, only by an argument that takes up precisely the question of "What is Marriage?," the question that Anderson has pursued in this book, and in his book of that title with Robert George and Sherif Girgis.
September 2, 2015
The citizens of Rowan County have a right to receive in a timely and efficient manner the various government provisions-including licenses-to which they are entitled. At the same time, the employees of Rowan County (including civil servants) have rights, including religious liberty rights, and they are entitled to religious accommodations. But a religious accommodation, like religious liberty in general, is not absolute.
September 2, 2015
Gov. Mike Huckabee:"She's a Democrat, and I salute her today. I stand with her."
Carly Fiorina: "When you are a government employee...you are agreeing to act as an arm of the government."
Sen. Marco Rubio (Fl): "While the clerk's office has a governmental duty to carry out the law, there should be a way to protect the religious freedom and conscience rights of individuals working in the office."
Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.): "As a public official, comply with the law or resign."
Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.): "I think one way to get around the whole idea of what the Supreme Court is forcing on the states is for the states to just get out of the business of giving out licenses."
Gov. Chris Christie (N.J.): "Someone who works in the government has a bit of a different obligation than someone who's in the private sector."
September 1, 2015
Davis - who stopped issuing licenses to all couples, gay and straight - had not indicated late Monday how she would respond to the court's decision. Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal group that is representing Davis, demurred earlier Monday when asked how she would respond if she lost. "She's not going to resign, but to issue a marriage license is a direct conflict with her religious convictions," he said. "So it would put her in a real Catch-22 over having to make a decision about her convictions."
August 24, 2015
Craig James, a former professional football player, ran into trouble when he started working at Fox Sports Southwest. Network executives fired him when they discovered statements he made while running for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate in Texas. He said he believed marriage was between a man and a woman. He ended up losing the nomination to Ted Cruz. Earlier this month, James filed a lawsuit against Fox Sports. "He understands that this is going to touch every single employee across this country. Are you going to be allowed to talk about your faith at work?" said attorney Jeremy Dys of the Liberty Institute.
August 13, 2015
If there is one thing that I thought I'd learned over the past few weeks, it's that history has a "side," and I don't happen to be on it. Imagine my confusion when I discovered that since the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision, three separate polls showed that support for same-sex marriage had declined. Not only that, but almost six in ten Americans now support the right of religious business owners to decline to participate in same-sex weddings - a sharp increase.
August 6, 2015
Religious freedom isn't just for non-profits. Again, the pro-life movement's example is instructive. It protected pro-life conscience across the board, not just for non-profits, because opening a business (even as an ob-gyn doctor) shouldn't require leaving your principles behind. Thanks to its efforts, people of deep religious or secular conviction concerning the moral worth of unborn children can serve as doctors, nurses and medical workers without being forced to perform abortions.
August 1, 2015
The Supreme Court's ruling in favor of same-sex marriage at the end of June has set the country up for two new waves of discrimination claims: those made by same-sex couples and LGBT workers, and those made by religious Americans who oppose same-sex marriage. The two may seem distinct or even opposed, but they're actually intertwined: In certain cases, extending new rights to LBGT workers will necessarily lead to religious-freedom objections, and vice versa. One arena to keep an eye on is that of religious colleges and universities. Some leaders at Christian schools, including many that identify as evangelical, fear they may be stripped of their tax-exempt status, lose their access to federal funding, or face other problems because of their policies on homosexuality. (orig. pub. 7/27/15)
July 29, 2015
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, under questioning by Sen. Mike Lee: "We would issue a regulation...for public comment. There would be no surprises. In other words, we're not sneaking up on anybody. Down the road, if the IRS ever moves in that direction...it would first issue a draft regulation. And that's not going to happen in the next two-and-a-half years."
July 28, 2015
As recently as 1993, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed by a nearly unanimous Congress and signed by a Democratic president. Today, the same value is a political liability. Bakers, photographers, and florists are being ruined, adoption agencies shuttered, schools threatened with loss of accreditation and nonprofit status. So what happened? Why is religious liberty now losing so much ground? As I explain in my just-released book, Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, three historical developments explain our current predicament: a change in the scope of our government, a change in our sexual values, and a change in our political leaders’ vision of religious liberty. An adequate response will need to address each of these changes.
July 2, 2015
"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."
July 1, 2015
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.
July 1, 2015
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.
July 1, 2015
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.
July 1, 2015
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....
July 1, 2015
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.
June 29, 2015
Penny Nance, the CEO and president of Concerned Women for America, is praising Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's push for a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage in the wake of the Supreme Court rulings that same-sex marriage is constitutional. "Scott Walker said it right in underscoring two points: 1) the only hope the states have of reversing this ruling is a Constitutional Amendment 2) increased conscience protections are all that stands between people of faith and job loss and discrimination," Nance said in a statement provided exclusively to Breitbart News. Walker, in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling released on Friday, called for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
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."
June 27, 2015
First, we must call the court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges what it is: judicial activism. Just as the pro-life movement successfully rejected Roe v. Wade and exposed its lies about unborn life and about the Constitution, we must make it clear to our fellow citizens that Obergefell v. Hodges does not tell the truth about marriage or about our Constitution. Second, we must protect our freedom to speak and live according to our beliefs. The pro-life movement accomplished this by ensuring that pro-life doctors and nurses would never have to perform abortions. And it made sure that pro-lifers and pro-life organizations could not be discriminated against by the government. We must ensure that the government does not discriminate against citizens or organizations because of their belief that marriage is the union of husband and wife.
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."
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."
June 26, 2015
The American College of Pediatricians, in an amici brief in Obergefell v. Hodges, stated what is often the case when sound research is ignored by the left when it fails to support their causes: "Despite being certified by almost all major social science scholarly associations-indeed, in part because of this-the alleged scientific consensus that having two parents of the same sex is innocuous for child well-being is almost wholly without basis. All but a handful of the studies cited in support draw on small, non-random samples which cannot be extrapolated to the same-sex population at large. This limitation is repeatedly acknowledged in scientific meetings and journals, but ignored when asserted as settled findings in public or judicial advocacy."
June 26, 2015
First, in reading this right into the Constitution, the Court played social policy maker instead of judge. This issue should have been left to the states, but the Court chose instead to make extensive pronouncements of social policy and create a right to same sex marriage under the Constitution. Second, the Court overlooks huge logical gaps throughout its use of precedent and case law. All of the marriage decisions the majority relies on pertained to marriage between a man and a woman. None of them dealt with a marriage between two people of the same sex. To claim all those decisions contemplated such relationships as constitutionally protected marriages is an incredible leap in legal reasoning.
CMA Physicians: Marriage Mandate Requires Congress to Pass Legislation Protecting Conscientious Dissenters
June 26, 2015
"This administration and others may well use the Court's ruling as an occasion to ramp up its drive to enforce ideological conformity, as it is requiring already in federal grants programs. Discrimination against dissenters could easily include physicians who, on the basis of professional expertise or ethical convictions, counsel their patients to save sex for natural marriage, or teach about the health risks of same-sex activity, or decline to recommend a same-sex couple for adopting children. Congress once again needs to protect our First Amendment freedoms of thought and belief, by quickly passing legislation to protect conscientious dissenters from discrimination regarding marriage. We urgently need to pass the federal First Amendment Defense Act."
June 17, 2015
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID), today reintroduced legislation to clarify and strengthen religious liberty protections in federal law, by safeguarding those individuals and institutions who promote traditional marriage from government retaliation. The First Amendment Defense Act (S. 1598, H.R. 2802) would prevent any federal agency from denying a tax exemption, grant, contract, license, or certification to an individual, association, or business based on their belief that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. For example, the bill would prohibit the IRS from stripping a church of its tax exemption for refusing to officiate same-sex weddings. "There’s a reason the right to religious liberty appears first in our nation’s Bill of Rights,” said Senator Lee.
June 4, 2015
To address the concern that religious institutions may lose their tax-exempt status if the Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage later this month, the Utah Republican plans to introduce legislation next week that would ban that from happening. "Discrimination by private parties against private parties-that's one issue," Lee told a small group of reporters today in a phone conference. "There is a different issue when the government is itself the discriminator ... that's a problem and that's what we're trying to protect here."
June 1, 2015
"If you think about it, we are at the water's edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech," Rubio told CBN News. "Because today we've reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage you are labeled a homophobe and a hater. So what's the next step after that?" he asked. "After they are done going after individuals, the next step is to argue that the teachings of mainstream Christianity, the catechism of the Catholic Church is hate speech and there's a real and present danger," he warned.
May 29, 2015
"The law will either teach that marriage is about consenting adult romance and caregiving ... or the law will teach that marriage is about a permanent, exclusive, monogamous union between a man and a woman, husband and wife, mother and father. Because children deserve both a mother and a father. The law can't teach both at the same time." (video orig. published 4/24/15)
May 6, 2015
Why must we, therefore, reject our faith's millennia-old, traditional-natural-biblical teaching on marriage as between one man and one woman? For Catholics faithful to their Church's teachings, the Justice Kennedy scenario is increasingly maddening, if not dismaying. They're not optimistic, especially given Kennedy's shockingly relativistic views expressed in previous major court decisions. The most notorious was Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), which enshrined Roe v. Wade as the law of the land. There, Kennedy led the majority with this breathtaking proclamation: "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."
May 1, 2015
On the rights of conscience, by unilaterally creating a "right" to abortion, the Court created a situation where for the past 40 years abortion funding has been a constant source of religious liberty concerns-most recently with the coercive Department of Health and Human Services mandate. Why would the Court want to repeat these mistakes now on marriage? After all, there simply is nothing in the Constitution that requires all 50 states to redefine marriage. Whatever people may think about marriage as a policy matter, everyone should be able to recognize the Constitution does not settle this question. Unelected judges should not insert their own policy preferences about marriage and then say the Constitution requires them everywhere.
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."
April 29, 2015
Nowhere are the consequences of redefining marriage clearer than with religious liberty. And yet the Obama administration's Solicitor General Donald Verrilli admitted that religious schools that affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman may lose their non-profit tax-exempt status if marriage is redefined. Alito asked Verrilli whether a religious school that believed marriage was the union of husband and wife would lose their non-profit tax status. The solicitor general answered: "It's certainly going to be an issue. I don't deny that. I don't deny that, Justice Alito. It is it is going to be an issue."
April 13, 2015
Nevertheless, such people are increasingly being ostracized, fired and facing death threats simply because of such beliefs. All of this makes protection of their individual rights and civil liberties even more crucial. Protecting their rights is what Louisiana's Marriage and Conscience Act (H.B. 707) would do. This bill would prohibit the government from taking "any adverse action against a person" due to that person's "religious belief[s] or moral convictions[s] about the institution of marriage."
April 11, 2015
Ryan T. Anderson, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation who opposes same-sex marriage, said the episode was a turning point. "When the former solicitor general and superstar Supreme Court litigator is forced to resign from his partnership," Mr. Anderson said, "that shows a lot." The current climate, Professor McConnell of Stanford said, means that important distinctions are being lost. One is that it is possible to favor same-sex marriage as a policy matter without believing that the Constitution requires it. But this is, he said, a topic he has learned to avoid. "You're going to shut up, particularly if you don't care that much," he said. "I usually just keep it to myself."
April 1, 2015
The United States is in a time of transition. Courts have redefined marriage, and beliefs about human sexuality are changing. Will the right to dissent be protected? Will the right of Americans to speak and act in accord with what the United States had always believed about marriage - that it's a union of husband and wife - be tolerated?
March 14, 2015
A Chicago resident complains in a letter to the editor that Tennessee does not recognize in law the fact that Illinois considers him married to another man; he labels Tennessee's legal definition of marriage a matter of discrimination and inequality. The state of Tennessee retains a constitutional right, highlighted in the Supreme Court's recent Windsor decision, which deemed a federal definition of marriage as usurping states' rights, to determine by objective qualifications and definitions who qualifies for a marriage license. Tennessee also uses objective qualifications to determine which of its citizens can vote, practice medicine, own a gun or teach in public schools.
March 10, 2015
To strike down marriage laws, the Court would need to say that the vision of marriage that our law has long applied equally is just wrong: that the Constitution requires a different vision entirely. The U.S. Constitution, however, is silent on what marriage is and what policy goals the states should design it to serve, and there are good policy arguments on both sides. Judges should not insert their own policy preferences about marriage and declare them to be required by the U.S. Constitution any more than the Justices in Dred Scott should have written into the Constitution their own policy preferences in support of slavery.
February 24, 2015
Today, Family Research Council (FRC) and a coalition of pro-family organizations released the results of a commissioned national survey conducted by WPA Opinion Research showing that 61 percent of Americans agree that "states and citizens should remain free to uphold marriage as the union of a man and a woman and the Supreme Court should not force all 50 states to redefine marriage." The survey also found that 53 percent of Americans agree that marriage should be defined only as a union between one man and one woman. An overwhelming majority (81 percent) of Americans agree that government should "leave people free to follow their beliefs about marriage as they live their daily lives at work and in the way they run their businesses."
February 19, 2015
Former Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran filed today a federal lawsuit against the city of Atlanta and its Mayor Kasim Reed alleging they terminated his employment because of his belief in traditional marriage. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, states Cochran's was fired "solely" because "...[Cochran] holds religious beliefs concerning same-sex marriage and homosexual conduct that are contrary to the mayor's and the city's views on these subjects, and because he expressed those beliefs in the non-work-related, religious book he self-published."
February 12, 2015
Chief Justice Moore is now proving true to his word. Under his leadership, the Alabama judiciary is refusing to surrender the power of his state and its people over matters the Constitution's 10th Amendment clearly reserves "to the States respectively, or to the people." Since the U.S. was founded, the Congress and the federal courts respected the constitutionally reserved power of the people, in their respective states, conscientiously to establish and maintain civil respect for the exercise of individual right that, by reproducing and preserving human offspring, directly serves the common good of their society, and indeed of humanity itself.
January 14, 2015
Ryan Anderson, who researches and writes about marriage and religious liberty at The Heritage Foundation, argued that the answer may not be known for a number of years, as same-sex marriage becomes more prevalent in the United States. According to Pew Research, 67 percent of those ages 18 to 33 favor same-sex marriage. "My generation is more pro-life than my parents' generation, and there's no reason why the same thing can't happen on the question about marriage," Anderson said.
January 6, 2015
Christians must defend marriage by facing opponents winsomely and demonstrating that God's plan of one man and one woman for life promotes human flourishing, Rick Warren told international religious leaders at the Vatican Nov. 18. To stem the cultural tide in favor of gay marriage, Christians should promote "tasteful" movies and television shows that celebrate marriage, Warren said. Media produced by marriage proponents should portray "the joys and benefits of healthy marriages and the hard work it takes to maintain a great marriage." Social media should be used "to mentor the next generation" regarding marriage, he said.
November 12, 2014
More than 100 legal cases against the HHS mandate are currently open, the archbishop said. "That's keeping us all pretty busy," he admitted. An update to the mandate was recently released and is being studied by the bishops' religious freedom committee. In addition, Archbishop William E. Lori noted the growing threat to religious liberty being posed by "laws redefining marriage." Such laws have led to businesses and religious entities being threatened with fines or closure for seeking to maintain their longstanding beliefs on marriage. Despite the ongoing challenges in the realm of religious freedom, the archbishop called for hope.
November 6, 2014
Earlier today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit overruled lower court decisions that had struck down state laws defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The 6th Circuit Court ruled that constitutional amendments passed by popular vote in Michigan (2.7 million votes), Kentucky (1.2 million), Ohio (3.3 million) and Tennessee (1.4 million) do not violate the U.S. Constitution. Citizens remain free to define marriage as a male-female institution. Today's decision helpfully explained why these laws are constitutional, why it is reasonable for citizens to support such laws, and why arguments for court-imposed redefinition of marriage do not succeed. It also sets the stage for marriage to return to the U.S. Supreme Court.
October 7, 2014
Marriage is too important to allow unelected judges to redefine it without a fight. Even if the umpires are colluding with the other team, that's no reason to allow them an unopposed victory. Even if many of the courts of law are biased, we can still win in some of them-indeed many who favor redefining marriage think the 6th Circuit Court will uphold Ohio and Michigan's marriage laws, and the battle continues in other circuits, including the 5th Circuit which will review Texas and Louisiana's law (a federal judge recently upheld Louisiana's law). And the composition of the Supreme Court might well change for the better before the Court ends up actually deciding the marriage question.
September 26, 2014
Feldman notes the two central issues in this debate: the policy question - what is marriage? - and the legal question - who gets to define marriage? On the policy question, Niemeyer explains that there are indeed rational reasons for people to think that marriage is a union of husband and wife: "Only the union of a man and a woman has the capacity to produce children and thus to carry on the species. And more importantly, only such a union creates a biological family unit that also gives rise to a traditionally stable political unit." Indeed, "when the Supreme Court has recognized, through the years, that the right to marry is a fundamental right, it has emphasized the procreative and social ordering aspects of traditional marriage."
August 19, 2014
But the New York State Division of Human Rights doesn't see things this way. On August 8, it fined Cynthia and Robert Gifford $13,000 for acting on their belief that marriage is the union of a man and woman and thus declining to rent out their family farm for a same-sex wedding celebration. The Human Rights Commission ruled that "the nature and circumstances of the [Giffords's] violation of the Human Rights Law also warrants a penalty." This is coercive big government run amok.
August 12, 2014
The fundamental legal question is who gets to define marriage. Simmons ruled it "should be the prerogative of each State." The judge continued: "neither the Federal Government nor another state should be allowed to dictate to Tennessee what has traditionally been a state's responsibility, which is to provide a framework of laws to govern the safety and wellbeing of its citizens."
August 6, 2014
What's at stake in this debate-and what needs to be answered-is whether marriage is malleable or fixed; whether marriage is something subject to electoral opinion, or whether-like water-marriage has a definite composition. Or, to use Anderson, Gergis and George's terminology, whether marriage is conjugal or subject to revision. For if marriage is something; that is, whether it is intelligible and has a definite shape to it, then the question of whether same-sex attracted persons can enter into something that they're not apt to enter, becomes irrelevant.
July 22, 2014
The Equal Protection Clause does not authorize the judiciary to substitute its own value judgments for those of Congress and the People of the states unless the Constitution itself confers the contested status. This Article concludes by arguing that the federal government has no authority to deconstruct the moral culture of any community. The Constitution expressly prohibits any attempt to require an individual or institutional dissenter to affirm, expressly or implicitly, abhorrent moral or religious views or behaviors.
June 6, 2014
Religious freedom is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution, RFRA, and other laws. However, religious freedom rights should not protect the practice of polygamy, which has such widespread and destructive consequences that it threatens the very foundation of the governmental order which allows our constitutional freedoms to exist. For this reason, and the many compelling government interests outlined above, the government should be able to prohibit polygamy-even in the face of religious liberty laws like RFRA which apply strict scrutiny to any government regulation substantially burdening religious exercise.
May 22, 2014
Some people would like me and the millions of Americans who continue to believe that marriage is what societies have believed it to be throughout human history - a male-female union - to get with the program and accept the inevitable. We're clearly, they tell us, on the Wrong Side of History. But we should avoid the temptation to prognosticate about the future in lieu of working to shape that future. We are citizens in a self-governing society, not pundits watching a spectator sport, not subjects of rulers. We are participants in one of the most significant debates our society - any society - has ever faced.
May 13, 2014
To unashamedly proclaim the Gospel in its fullness is to place in jeopardy one’s security, one’s personal aspirations and ambitions, the peace and tranquility one enjoys, one’s standing in polite society. One may in consequence of one’s public witness be discriminated against and denied educational opportunities and the prestigious credentials they may offer; one may lose valuable opportunities for employment and professional advancement; one may be excluded from worldly recognition and honors of various sorts; one’s witness may even cost one treasured friendships.
May 12, 2014
If judges decide the topic of marriage is off-limits to the political process, it follows that many other issues would be decided by judicial fiat instead of the democratic will of the people. "Tax policy, housing subsidies, wage regulations, and even the naming of public schools, highways, and monuments," wrote Justice Kennedy, "are just a few examples of what could become a list of subjects that some organizations could insist should be beyond the power of voters to decide, or beyond the power of a legislature to decide when enacting limits on the power of local authorities or other governmental entities to address certain subjects."
April 24, 2014
Kennedy's language in today's opinion is very encouraging for those who defend the states' constitutional authority to resist federal pressure to redefine marriage. He describes the statewide initiative allowing Michigan voters to amend the Michigan Constitution as "a basic exercise of their democratic power" and lauds the initiative system as a means "to bypass public officials who were deemed not responsive to the concerns of a majority of the voters with respect to a policy of granting race-based preferences that raises difficult and delicate issues."
April 11, 2014
He was the co-founder of Mozilla, a non-profit whose Web browser, Firefox, broke Microsoft's stranglehold on the browser market. Yet, none of this mattered to the folks at Mozilla, who recently forced him to resign two weeks after he became its CEO. His offense? Supporting traditional marriage.
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.
March 20, 2014
Ryan T. Anderson talks a lot about marriage. Heritage's William E. Simon fellow has even been on CNN talking about marriage. But apparently safe enough for a CNN studio and dozens of other college campuses isn't safe enough for Stanford University, because the Stanford University Graduate Student Council (GSC) has denied funding for the Stanford Anscombe Society (SAS) to have Anderson and other advocates for traditional marriage come speak at Stanford, and is attempting to charge the SAS $5000 in unnecessary security costs.
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.
March 1, 2014
Meanwhile, pressure would be brought to bear wherever the religious subculture brushed up against state power. Religious-affiliated adoption agencies would be closed if they declined to place children with same-sex couples. (This has happened in Massachusetts and Illinois.) Organizations and businesses that promoted the older definition of marriage would face constant procedural harassment, along the lines suggested by the mayors who battled with Chick-fil-A. And, eventually, religious schools and colleges would receive the same treatment as racist holdouts like Bob Jones University, losing access to public funds and seeing their tax-exempt status revoked.
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.
February 26, 2014
The ruling was yet another setback for same-sex marriage opponents, who hope the Supreme Court will ultimately reverse what they call the work of a group of activist judges. "What we're in is essentially a state of lawlessness that I do believe will eventually get corrected at the United States Supreme Court," said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, a group that has campaigned for gay marriage bans across the country.
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.
February 26, 2014
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 government isn't in the business of affirming our loves. Rather, it leaves consenting adults free to live and love as they choose.
February 25, 2014
Holder has it exactly backwards. The AG's proper role is to defend the laws of the state because he is a lawyer representing the state. It is for courts to subject the law to scrutiny, reserving the "highest level of scrutiny" for those that implicate core constitutional rights.
February 18, 2014
A growing number of incidents show that the redefinition of marriage and state policies on sexual orientation have created a climate of intolerance and intimidation for citizens who believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman and that sexual relations are properly reserved for marriage. Now comes government coercion and discrimination. Laws that create special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity are being used to trump fundamental civil liberties such as freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion.
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.
February 1, 2014
"Overall, we're very optimistic with caution," said Elaine Donnelly, who heads the Center for Military Readiness. "If you really look at it, the accommodation is there to protect religious liberty. Religious expression, counseling and ministry are very, very important, and can and should be accommodated in the armed forces." The issue received an airing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday when members of a House Armed Services subcommittee on military personnel issues closely questioned Pentagon officials over reports that military chaplains were facing bias and restrictions for their beliefs on issues such as same-sex marriage.
November 6, 2013
David Christensen, vice president for government affairs at the Family Research Council, said the amendment does not go far enough to protect the religious freedom of nonprofit groups and business owners. "Senators may be looking for political cover from this amendment, but ENDA removes the ability of non-profits, para-church ministries, and individual business owners to make their own decisions about appropriate conduct in the workplace," he said Wednesday in a statement. "People's religious freedom rights do not stop at their front door on their way to work, whether they are a business owner or employee."
September 19, 2013
Bipartisan legislation was introduced today in the House of Representatives that would prevent the federal government from discriminating against citizens and organizations who believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.
The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (H.R. 3133) was introduced by Representative Raul Labrador (R-ID) and over 60 other original co-sponsors from both political parties.
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.
August 25, 2013
Matthew Franck, of the Witherspoon Institute, a conservative think tank in Princeton, N.J., argued the only real protection for religious freedom is maintaining the traditional definition of marriage. He said same-sex marriage advocates are unlikely to tolerate for long any "deviations from the ‘new normal' they wish to create," so he predicted religious exemptions granted now will eventually be repealed. "We have not lost the fight for the truth about marriage, and surrendering the field is premature," Franck said. "I continue to hope that it will never finally be necessary, and I work to make that hope a reality."
August 23, 2013
The Supreme Court of New Mexico yesterday ruled that the First Amendment does not protect a photographer's right to decline to take pictures of a same-sex commitment ceremony - even though doing so would violate the photographer's deeply held religious beliefs. As Elaine Huguenin, owner of Elane Photography, explained: "The message a same-sex commitment ceremony communicates is not one I believe."
March 26, 2013
How do you throw Piers Morgan off his game? Stick to the facts, remain civil and win the argument. Heritage's Ryan Anderson did exactly that Tuesday night in a showdown with the liberal CNN host of "Piers Morgan Live" and guest Suze Orman. The show came on the day the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case involving California's Proposition 8, which defined marriage as the union of a man and woman. The court will hear arguments Wednesday on the federal Defense of Marriage Act.