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Category Archives: Law

Alabama Legislators Call for U.S. Constitution to Be Amended to Define and Protect Marriage

The Montgomery Advertiser reported recently that a resolution sponsored by Alabama State Representative Richard Laird passed the Alabama House, calling for an Article V convention to amend the Constitution of the United States:

Alabama FlagThe resolution, sponsored by Rep. Richard Laird, I-Roanoke, quotes a 2006 amendment to the state constitution that bans same-sex unions, and calls marriage “a sacred covenant, solemnized between a man and a woman.” The resolution also cites several court cases, including five from the 19th century. It goes on to say that the U.S. Supreme Court “officially severed its respect for marriage” last year, when it struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented the recognition of same-sex spouses under federal laws.

Laird’s resolution calls for an Article V convention, which would require 34 states to ask Congress to call a convention to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. According to the resolution, the convention would specifically propose an amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman, and bar legal recognition of any other form of marriage.

Read more here.

Just the Facts: What Arizona's Religious Liberty Bill Actually Says

With the media buzz surrounding Arizona's SB1062, it's no wonder there is so much confusion and misinformation about the contents of the bill. Time for a quick fact check...

SB 1062As Ed Whelen points out today in the National Review Online, SB1062 does NOT mention, much less single out, gays or same-sex ceremonies. Rather, the bill would simply amend Arizona’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act "to address two ambiguities that have been the subject of litigation under other RFRAs."

Douglas Laycock, along with nearly a dozen law professors from Harvard, Stanford, Notre Dame and other top institutions, writes in a letter to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer:

It would provide that people are covered when state or local government requires them to violate their religion in the conduct of their business, and it would provide that people are covered when sued by a private citizen invoking state or local law to demand that they violate their religion.

But nothing in the amendment would say who wins in either of these cases. The person invoking RFRA would still have to prove that he had a sincere religious belief and that state or local government was imposing a substantial burden on his exercise of that religious belief.

...to be clear: SB1062 does not say that businesses can discriminate for religious reasons. It says that business people can assert a claim or defense under RFRA, in any kind of case (discrimination cases are not even mentioned, although they would be included), that they have the burden of proving a substantial burden on a sincere religious practice, that the government or the person suing them has the burden of proof on compelling government interest, and that the state courts in Arizona make the final decision.

Read more.

Washington Attorney Cleta Mitchell: "Who's Going to Jail Over the IRS Scandal?"

You're correct Mr. President; there's not a 'smidgeon' of corruption in the IRS abuse case - there's a mountain of it

You may have heard or read of President Obama's interview with Bill O'Reilly this past week where the President claimed that there wasn't a "smidgeon of corruption" in the IRS abuse scandal. Well yesterday at a House hearing on the IRS targeting scandal, Cleta Mitchell put the lie to that claim when she rattled off a litany of felony crimes committed by the IRS, including the felonious release of NOM's confidential tax filings.

"The lying has not stopped. There are lies upon lies in this ugly episode. The Commissioner of the IRS lied to Congress in March 2012 when he said there was absolutely no targeting," Mitchell declared, making sure to note that, "lying to Congress is a crime."

Watch her explosive testimony.

NOM and CitizenLink's New Radio Ad in Indiana

The new radio ad is currently running in the Ft. Wayne and Muncie radio markets, but NOM and CitizenLink are both prepared to expand into other markets and cut new ads to cover other legislators who fail to support marriage in the present deliberations over Indiana's proposed marriage amendment, HJR3.

Take a listen to the new ad here:

 

Please share this with everyone you know in Indiana! All Hoosiers should be calling their legislators on HJR3 and demanding their right to vote on marriage this November. You can bet the legislators in Indianapolis are hearing from the noisy marriage redefinition lobby today - so let's make sure they hear from our side as well!

Governor Pence expresses support for restoring the original version of HJR3

From the IndyStar:

Mike-PenceGov. Mike Pence prefers the original version of the same-sex marriage ban, the one that included a second sentence prohibiting civil unions, his office said Friday.

The House removed the civil union ban this week before sending the controversial measure to the Senate for consideration. If the proposal is approved as altered, it would delay a voter referendum on the issue until at least 2016, when the governor's race is on the ballot.

News of Pence's view on the deleted second sentence was first reported Friday by WISH-TV (Channel 8).

When asked by WISH whether he wanted the second sentence restored, Pence said: "Let me say I support traditional marriage, and I expressed support for the resolution that the legislature passed during the (2011) session and considered at the outset of this session. But I want to be very respectful of the legislative process."

Read more here.

State's Rights and the Defense of Marriage

The battle to defend marriage, and the faith communities that sustain it, is increasingly coming down to one’s view of the Constitution and particularly what the Founding Fathers intended as the balance between state’s rights and the powers of the federal government.  Activist judges and an overreaching Obama administration continue to attempt to curtail the right of states to define marriage as they see fit.

Judicial ActivismHowever, Jennifer Hickey of Newsmax wrote yesterday reminding each of us that protection of state’s rights continues to gain supporters in the US House of Representatives.  She reports on Congressman Weber’s (R-TX) “State Marriage Defense Act” and the growing number of co-sponsors the bill has.

Congressman Weber introduced the bill so that,

If state law recognizes two people as married, federal law will recognize them as married; if state law does not recognize them as married, federal law will not recognize them as married.

"We do not want to apply Massachusetts law in Texas, any more than Massachusetts wants Texas law applied there," U.S. Rep. Randy Weber, who in January introduced the State Marriage Defense Act of 2014, told Newsmax.

The Texas Republican's legislation currently has 38 co-sponsors and is supported by the Family Research Council, National Organization for Marriage, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Concerned Women for America, and Heritage Action.

The congressman acted in the wake of widespread confusion among states on how to react to the Supreme Court's decision last year to strike down parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Weber said his bill would "provide clarity to federal agencies seeking to determine who qualifies as a spouse for the purpose of federal law.

Congressman Randy Weber (R-TX)

"This legislation is not about denying anyone the right to marry, but it is a states' rights issue with the goal of helping to clarify the confusion among federal and state agencies."

Ryan Anderson of The Heritage Foundation told Newsmax, “[T]hat Weber's bill protects ‘the sovereign authority of states to recognize marriage as they see fit. It does not say what marriage has to be defined as in any particular state. I do think the Justice Department's decision to ignore the Utah law highlights the need for this law.’”

The State Marriage Defense Act will "restore proper legal order to the scene and correct the administration's unlawful practice," Notre Dame law professor Gerald Bradleywrote, saying that federal agencies "have no inherent legal authority to define marriage. Neither does the president or his attorney general, so long as Congress has exercised its paramount authority to do so."

To urge your Congressman to support the State Marriage Defense Act, follow this link and send her or him an email.

Former U.S. Attorney: Herring's Announcement "Impeachment Material"

Citing VA Attorney General Mark Herring's recent abandonment of his oath of office and reversal of a campaign promise to uphold Virginia's laws, a former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia caleld Herring's recent reversal "impeachment material" in a radio interview yesterday.

VA Attorney General HerringFrom The Blaze [emphasis added]:

Joe diGenova, a former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said Herring’s announcement highlights a politicized selective enforcement of the law taking place at the federal level....

[...]

“What he has done, he has lied...,” diGenova said. “This is a big legal issue. This isn’t some piece of legislation. This is a constitutional amendment to the Virginia commonwealth constitution. He has now said that the will of the people, which he said he would make every good faith effort to defend, he is now going to ignore. This is impeachment material. It is also recall material.

Read the rest of the article and listen to the radio interview here.

Of course, we here at NOM also find Herring's actions a complete disgrace to his office, and yesterday issued our own call for him to be impeached.

Virginia's Catholic Bishops Say Herring Should "Do the Job He Was Elected to Perform"

In a joint statement issued by the two Catholic dioceses of Virginia, the Bishops of Arlington and Richmond "expressed extreme disappointment" with Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring's decision to abandon the defense of Virginia's marriage law in court and instead join the radical attack against it.

The statement read:

VAbishopsVirginia voters put this provision in the Constitution, and no politician should be able to reverse the people's decision. We call on the Attorney General to do the job he was elected to perform, which is to defend the state laws he agrees with, as well as those state laws with which he personally disagrees. We will continue to defend marriage between a man and a woman, an institution whose original design predates all governments and religions. The Government of the Commonwealth of Virginia should preserve and defend this original design because the constituent majority that supported the constitutional amendment understands the unique benefit that marriage between a man and a woman provides to individual families and society at large.

Click here to view the release from the Diocese of Arlington or to see media contact information.

Pro-Marriage Rally Planned at Utah State Capitol

Check it out!

Stand for Marriage Flyer


Click here to read a news piece on the planned rally.

If you live in Utah, I hope to see you there! If not, please share this with your pro-marriage family and friends in Utah so that we can have a strong showing and demonstrate in a resounding way that Utah stands for marriage!

 

"Doctors Can't Be Essential, Because Some Doctors Are Bad"

... said no sick person, ever.

And yet this seems to have been the model of an implied argument from a pro-same-sex 'marriage' legislator in Indiana during an exchange that occurred earlier this week in the House Judiciary Committee's hearing on HJR3, the proposed Indiana marriage amendment.

Father and DaughterDuring testimony from Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Kellie Fiedorek (and she did a wonderful job, by the way!), there occurred the following exchange (as reported by in a stilted article by The Raw Story). The emphasis is ours editorially:

“The only relationship that can naturally produce children is that between a man and a woman,” Fiedorek noted. “There are situations where they may not want to have children, maybe they cannot have children. But the union of one man and one woman still furthers the ideal that children, when that happens, will be born into homes with a mom and a dad.”

“You know, I had a mom and a dad and I wish my dad wasn’t there, the way he acted in my household,” [Democratic State Rep. Vernon Smith] pointed out.

This is unfortunately a frequent error in logic that arises in the marriage debate. When marriage advocates point out the unique contributions and value that men and women bring to the enterprise of marriage - and particularly the irreplaceable role of fathers (a fact observed by, among others, President Obama himself) - proponents of redefining marriage will often fall back on the failures of some fathers to try to call into question the ideal.

But reasoning from the failure of an ideal that the ideal is somehow less important is a flawed line of reasoning in any case:

  • Do occasional bad doctors mean we should get rid of doctors?
  • Does a failed inner-city charity mean we should abolish all inner-city charities?
  • Does the existence of asthma mean breathing is bad?

It is important, therefore, to note that a legislator who would deprive Indiana voters of their right to vote to protect marriage and to reaffirm the crucial role fathers play in children's lives is employing such a logical fallacy as this one.

There will always be exceptions to the general rule. Some children seemingly do fine even in extremely unstable family environments with only one parent, or even no parents involved in their lives. But as a rule, the evidence is overwhelming that children thrive best when raised in a stable, intact family with a mother and a father. That is what we should encourage and promote.

And this is why Indiana voters must redouble their efforts to contact their legislators and urge them to put this issue to the test of the common sense and wisdom Indiana's ordinary citizens who know better than to abandon the only institution that binds men and women to each other for the benefit of the couple, any children born of their union, and society as a whole.

Given the opportunity to vote, we are confident that the people of Indiana will preserve marriage, not abandon it!

"A Thumb on the Scales"

Salvatore J. CordileoneCatholic Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, the Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, has written a piece responding to Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement that the federal government will recognize the illegal same-sex "marriages" that took place in Utah around the turn of the year.

Archbishop Cordileone's article is posted at the USCCB blog. Here's a glimpse of what he has to say [emphasis added]:

Attorney General Holder is ignoring Utah law and imposing a contrary federal definition of marriage in that state. In this, General Holder’s decision is actually contrary to the Supreme Court's decision last year in United States v. Windsor. Windsor unfortunately struck down a uniform federal definition of marriage, but it made clear that the federal government is to respect a state's definition of marriage. In particular, the Court said that the federal government is to defer to “state sovereign choices about who may be married” and furthermore criticized federal actions – like General Holder’s – that “put a thumb on the scales and influence a state’s decision as to how to shape its own marriage laws.” 

Read the rest here.

Challenge to West Virginia's Marriage Law Fought by State, County Officials

From the Huntington Herald-Dispatch:

West Virginia WeddingThe lawsuit, filed Oct. 1, was brought by three couples -- William Glavaris with fiancé Justin Murdock and Casie McGee with fiancée Sarah Adkins, all of Huntington, along with lesbian couple Nancy Michael and Jane Fenton of St. Albans. Each argue their 14th Amendment rights to due process and equal protection were violated when they were denied marriage licenses by county clerks in Kanawha and Cabell counties.

The clerks contend they simply carried out state law. Both clerks have pending motions to dismiss suggesting a judicial ruling would interfere with the legislative process. Likewise, Morrisey sought dismissal arguing the couples lack legal standing to challenge at least a portion of the law.

The state Attorney General, Patrick Morrisey, is also set to defend West Virginia's marriage law against this legal challenge.

Will the American People Make 2014 the Turning Point for Marriage

The Daily Caller published NOM president Brian Brown’s end-of-the-year Op-ed, where he discusses how pivotal 2014 will be for marriage.  Brown writes:

Marriage in 2014The American people know how important marriage is to the country, and to families. We’re fed up with the elite telling us marriage must be abandoned in the name of “equality.” America needs men and women to come together, produce children, and raise those children with the love and support of both a mother and a father. That’s what marriage does, and that is profoundly good for the country.

Looking back at what the courts did in 2013, and could do again in 2014 to undermine marriage, Brian makes it clear that the only way to protect marriage from activist justices is to amend the U.S. Constitution.  He continues:

Regardless of what the Court does, the survival of marriage as the nation has always known it may well depend on whether the American people can again be roused to take action. They’d need to do more than sign a petition — they’d need to demand that their political leaders amend the US constitution to preserve marriage.

There is, of course, already a federal Marriage Protection Amendment, authored by Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, working its way through Congress. If you haven't taken action to urge your legislators to enact this important law, please do so right away!

G.K. Chesterton wrote, “The greatest political storm flutters only a fringe of humanity. But an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children literally alter the destiny of nations.”

In 2014, ordinary men and women across this country will need to step up and demand that their political leaders amend the Constitution to preserve marriage.  And when they do, they will alter the destiny of this nation.

 

"Just as Justice Scalia predicted..."

From Sunday, a piece by Robert Barnes at The Washington Post's Politics page is worth noting.

Barnes explains how "Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s DOMA decision practically provided a blueprint for how [recent legal challenged to state marriage laws] might be successful," and he observes that Justice Antonin Scalia predicted this fact with stunning accuracy:

Justice ScaliaWhen the court last June struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act [sic] and said the federal government must recognize same-sex marriages performed in those states where it was legal, Scalia sounded a loud warning.

[...]

Scalia’s words have been highlighted in the two recent decisions about same-sex marriage that will return the issue to the Supreme Court.

Barnes himself seems a more intelligent reader of Scalia's remarkable dissent in the Windsor case than the judges in the recent Utah and Ohio cases. While these judges actually cite Scalia and claim that they are simply "applying" the DOMA decision at the state level, Barnes points out that the full logic of Scalia's written opinion from June is much more complex and nuanced [emphasis added]:

Of course, Scalia did not say in his Windsor dissent that lower courts must adopt such an interpretation.

“Lower federal courts and state courts can distinguish today’s case when the issue before them is state denial of marital status to same-sex couples,” [Scalia] wrote, adding: “Lord, an opinion with such scatter-shot rationales as this one . . . can be distinguished in many ways.”

Still, as Scalia pointed out, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s DOMA decision practically provided a blueprint for how such challenges might be successful.

Read the entire article here.

Voters and Executives Must Prepare for More Illegitimate Rulings

The fallout from Judge Shelby’s ‘ruling’ overturning Utah’s Marriage Amendment is only just beginning.

Yesterday, Bruce Parker of The Daily Caller penned an important piece, “Utah’s lesson for the other 33 pro-marriage states.”  In it he wrote:

Gavel

In a 53-page ruling, which could best be described as a work of judicial fiction, District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby began by conceding that marriage law is “the province of the states,” but he proceeded to void Utah’s marriage law in a naked power grab that he admitted was not within his purview to do.

By the end of the ruling, Judge Shelby had overturned Utah’s definition of marriage by judicial fiat and replaced it with the one provided by LGBT activists.

The event was not an isolated incident. Within days, a federal district court judge in Ohio issued a similarly contrived judgment against that state’s constitutional marriage amendment. Moreover, according to the ACLU’s web site, copycat acts of judicial legislating are underway in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, and a dozen other red states, as part of the group’s national “Out for Freedom” campaign against state sovereignty [emphasis added].

What does this brazen usurpation of power and rejection of the democratic process mean for the other 30-plus states with amendments or laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman?

UtahFirst and foremost, state Governors and Attorneys General must reject these illegitimate rulings, and the people of these states must hold their elected officials accountable to do so.  Parker writes, “Indeed, when the two-thirds of Utahns who supported the state’s marriage law awaken from their holiday festivities and realize their constitutional sovereignty has been stolen, the phones at the offices of the governor and attorney general should ring off the hook” [emphasis added].

Parker concludes by quoting NOM president Brian Brown saying, “Our country has seen illegitimate decisions before, going back to Dred Scott. And in the past, when a court has fallen so far afoul of the Constitution itself, executives have had to stand up and say no.”

The people of Utah are up-in-arms and demanding action, to their credit. The sad reality is that, if the ACLU is to be taken at their word, it looks like the voters in 30 other states should start preparing their own plans to fight back in the near future as well.