Dear Marriage Supporter,
Happy Pi Day!
CNN reports, "Across the country, math geeks in museums, schools, private groups and elsewhere gather to celebrate the number pi, approximately 3.14. That's why March 14 — 3-14 — is Pi Day."
The article adds the interesting factoid that today is also, coincidentally, the anniversary of the birth of the great scientist Albert Einstein.
You probably remember from school that Pi is an "irrational" number. Reflecting on the meaning of Pi Day reminds me of other dates fast approaching, days which also mark anniversaries of things irrational. But unlike in mathematics, when it comes to philosophy and politics, irrationality is not a trait to be celebrated or enjoyed.
I'm referring to March 26 and 27, which will respectively mark the one-year anniversaries of the hearings of oral arguments by the Supreme Court in the Perry v. Hollingsworth and Windsor v. US cases, better known as the Prop 8 and DOMA cases.
On those days, irrationality prevailed over everyday common sense and ancient wisdom. The Justices decided in those two cases first that the voters of California did not have standing to defend their interests in court, and second that the federal government did not have a reasonable interest in protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
An Important Case to Watch
This year, within days of the fateful anniversaries of those two Supreme Court cases which implicated matters of religious liberties and other essential first amendment rights, the very same topics will once again be under consideration by our high court.
On Friday, March 21st, the Supreme Court will meet in conference to consider whether they will hear the case of Elane Photography, LLC v. Willock. This is an important case to watch. SCOTUSblog.com made it yesterday's "Petition of the Day."
The "issue" in the case, as reported by SCOTUSblog, is "Whether applying a state public-accommodations statute to require a photographer to create expressive images and picture-books conveying messages that conflict with her religious beliefs violates the First Amendment's ban on compelled speech."
Our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom, who are representing Elane Photography, provide this essential and more complete background:
The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled on August 22, 2013 against our clients, Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin of Elane Photography, stating that there is a "price" to pay for their faith — and it involves "compromising" their beliefs. Our legal opponents have effectively argued that if you want to do business in this country — keep your faith out of it. Now, the New Mexico Supreme Court has further illustrated the continuing clash between religious freedom and an ongoing effort to force political correctness on American citizens.
In 2006, Elaine declined to use her artistic expression to communicate the story of a same-sex ceremony for Vanessa Willock. Willock found another photographer, but nevertheless filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission, which issued an order for Elaine and Jonathan to pay $6,637 to the two women who filed the complaint.
You'll recall that I've discussed the chilling decision by the New Mexico Supreme Court with you before. We will watch closely to see whether the Supreme Court decides to take up this pivotal case; and thereafter, whether they will decide similarly that violating one's conscience and turning one's back on deeply held religious beliefs is simply "the price of citizenship." Let us hope not!
A Coincidence of Dates
A few days after meeting in Conference, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two consolidated cases focusing on the issue of religious liberty: Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius.
These cases will be heard on March 25th — almost a year to the day after the Supreme Court took up the question of Proposition 8 in California. Lower courts had decided, in the case of Prop 8, that the voters who had taken action to protect marriage were motivated by animus and bigotry. In effect, the lower courts had maintained that people's right to express and stand up for their deeply held beliefs — a right protected by the constitution — was the legal equivalent of racism and bigotry!
Both of the Sebelius cases this year involve Christian business owners who claim that the HHS's so-called "contraception mandate" runs afoul of their protected First Amendment rights, and impinges on their liberty to conduct business as people of faith in accord with deeply held beliefs.
The theme may sound familiar — or at least it should. Recently Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal spoke at a Reagan Foundation Forum event about the "Silent War on Religious Freedom" waging in our country. He cited cases like these going before the Supreme Court as well as cases like Elane Photography as examples of one-and-the-same trend.
We have known and warned for years that the aggressive same-sex 'marriage' lobby was intent on driving people of faith out of the public square altogether. NOM's very mission statement expresses this understanding — our mission is "to protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it."
The odd coincidental near-anniversary of the question of religious liberty returning to the Supreme Court demonstrates in an emphatic way that the issue hasn't gone away — which serves to remind us that we need more than ever to stand up and demand that our rights be respected!
And that brings to mind another anniversary that will be marked this month…
Marching for Marriage
It was a year ago this month that thousands of pro-marriage supporters from every walk of life gathered on the National Mall for the first annual March for Marriage.
Well, as I've mentioned before, we're marching again this year — on June 19th, 2014!
Mark your calendars and plan to join us in Washington, DC on June 19th for this exciting event. Begin planning now so that you can come out and be part of what we hope will be an even bigger March for Marriage. Bookmark www.MarriageMarch.org and check back for updates on this summer's event, and be sure to mark your calendar today.
But I also want to invite you to take part in a social media event in just a few days. On the anniversary of last year's March — that is, on the 26th of this month — we're going to take social media by storm and let people know why we're #Marching4Marriage again this year!
Here's some ways you can participate:
Make a meme or graphic for Facebook explaining why you're #Marching4Marriage this June.
Tweet about why you'll be #Marching4Marriage.
Record a 7-second Vine video and tell the world why #Marching4Marriage is so important.
Follow the #Marching4Marriage hashtag on Facebook and Twitter, and retweet and share the posts so that we can get it trending and expand our outreach.
Be sure to share:
The date of the March — June 19, 2014;
The location — our nation's capital, Washington, DC; and,
The website — www.MarriageMarch.org.
The debate over marriage is still a very live and very important topic in our country, a year after the Supreme Court first took up the issue.
Concern over religious liberty and the rights of people of faith to live lives in accord with their conscience is, if anything, even more significant now in 2014.
So that's why NOM and our allies from around the country will be #Marching4Marriage this summer — and I hope sincerely that you will make plans to join us!
Brian S. Brown