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Category Archives: Law

National Organization for Marriage Expresses Concern Over New Executive Order, Calls on Congress to Protect People of Faith Against 'Reverse Discrimination'

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 21, 2014
Contact: Elizabeth Ray or Matille Thebolt (703-683-5004)


"The fact is that non-discrimination rules like the order issued by President Obama can become a weapon used to punish and harass individuals and groups who support marriage as the union of one man and one woman." — Brian Brown, NOM president —

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Washington, D.C. — The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) expressed concern over President Obama's signing today of a new executive order ostensibly aimed at preventing workplace discrimination against LGBT persons but that in reality could target Christians and other people of faith for reverse discrimination and harassing lawsuits. The executive order applies to all groups, including religious employers, who contract with the federal government.

"The fact is that non-discrimination rules like the order issued by President Obama can become a weapon used to punish and harass individuals and groups who support marriage as the union of one man and one woman," said Brian S. Brown, NOM's president. "As with the flawed ENDA (Employee Non-Discrimination Act) legislation that was rejected by Congress, President Obama's order has the great potential of putting employers in the position of standing up for their faith values or violating the new order. This will unnecessarily subject people of faith to harassing complaints and lawsuits."

Brown surmised that this executive order could lead to Christians and others with belief in marriage as the union of a man and a woman facing reprisal and even punishment simply for expressing their views in the workplace.

"All manner of frivolous lawsuits could result from an action like this, and that's a dangerous thing when the courts have already shown such a lack of restraint when it comes to the question of the definition of marriage," Brown maintained. "This is nothing more than an agenda to create a cultural narrative wherein the belief in marriage as the union of one man and one woman becomes the legal and social equivalent of bigotry or hate speech. It is the next step on a path we've already seen this administration proudly pursuing, a path toward a new thought-policing state where those who hold traditional values about marriage and family are to be marginalized."

Brown called on Congress to pass legislation overturning the new executive order and to revisit the issues of conscience protection and religious freedom for believers in traditional marriage. He urged citizens to contact their Senators and Representatives about these concerns.

To schedule an interview with Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, please contact Elizabeth Ray, [email protected], or Matille Thebolt, [email protected], at 703-683-5004

Paid for by The National Organization for Marriage, Brian Brown, president. 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20006, not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. New § 68A.405(1)(f) & (h).

California Senator: 'Husband' and 'Wife' are "Outdated, Biased" Terms

From FoxNews:

Husband-Wife-StrikethroughThe terms “husband” and “wife” have been deleted from California’s marriage law under a bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The terms will be replaced with “spouse” to accommodate same-sex marriage, which became legal in the state last year after the Supreme Court struck down a voter-approved ban on it.

[...]

“I am pleased Governor Brown has recognized the importance of this bill, which makes it explicitly clear in state law that every loving couple has the right to marry in California,” Leno said. “This legislation removes outdated and biased language from state codes and recognizes all married spouses equally, regardless of their gender” [emphasis added].

Further proof that redefining marriage is not simply about "equality" or expanding the institution to include more kinds of relationships; it is about fundamentally altering the meaning of the institution itself, and discarding terms like "husband" and "wife" to "the ash heap of history."

Ryan Anderson on the Right to Be Wrong

In the aftermath of the recent Supreme Court ruling that the owners of Hobby Lobby cannot be forced to violate the tenets of their faith to fund abortifacient drugs, many scholars, professors, and activists are writing about the importance of religious freedom.

Ryan AndersonWriting for The Public Discourse, Ryan Anderson has penned yet another eloquent article.  This article, titled The Right to be Wrong, outlines why everyone has the right to religious freedom, not just those with "right" or politically correct beliefs.

Anderson countered the arguments of Hadley Arkes, who recently wrote a series of articles attempting to recast the argument for religious liberty, "not in terms of the sincerity of the religiously held belief and the competing concerns about public order, but in terms of its content, particularly in terms of its truth."

Anderson wrote:

One of the hallmarks of religious liberty protections is that they protect people of all faiths, even if their beliefs seem unfounded, flawed, implausible, or downright silly.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)...was signed into law by President Clinton. RFRA provides a reasonable balance between religious liberty and the requirements of public order. It says that government can substantially burden a sincere religious belief only when it is pursuing a compelling government interest in the least restrictive means available.

Anderson analyzed practical considerations on religious liberty in court, the foundation and scope of the religious liberty right, and the natural law foundation of a right to religious liberty:

The natural law defense of a right to religious liberty is based on the moral truth that sincere religious activity, freely undertaken, is valuable in itself and deserves the space to flourish.

The full article is here.

Activist Judge Attempts to Redefine Marriage in Kentucky

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn declared Kentucky's law protecting marriage "void and unenforceable" yesterday but stayed the imposition of same-sex "marriages" pending a decision from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

Kentucky-FlagStunningly, a single judge has decided that his opinion can override the votes of 75 percent of Kentuckians, who approved a constitutional amendment protecting marriage in 2004.

According to Heyburn, there is an “utter lack of logical relation between the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriages and any conceivable legitimate state interest.”  Completely ignoring the fact that the state has an interest in protecting children, the wealth of evidence that shows children do best with a married mother and father in a stable relationship, and the basic truth that marriage connects children to their biological parents, Heyburn subverted the will of the people of Kentucky with this decision.

Kentucky Governor Steve Breshear said the state will appeal.

Heyburn's assertion that the Kentucky law excludes some people from “the status and dignity of marriage” begs the question: what is marriage?  Heyburn's decision/ruling implies that same-sex unions are the same as marriages, when by their very nature, they are not.

Heyburn also wrote that marriage denies the "intangible and emotional benefits of civil marriage" to same-sex couples.  But marriage is not purely an emotional union--it is the only union that comprehensibly unites the sexes toward bringing children into the world and ensures children benefit from growing up with both a mother and a father.

Heyburn's ruling is a dangerous example of judicial activism gone wild in the United States.  Renegade judge after renegade judge has worked to throw out the votes of the American people who have voted to protect marriage.  Heyburn's blatant disregard for the will of Kentucky voters and lack of understanding of the intrinsic nature of marriage and what sets it apart from other unions is alarming.

However, there is hope in this case.  Honorably, Gov. Breshear is doing his duty by defending the law and the democratic process.  And, noting Justice Kennedy's opinion in United States v. Windsor, Heyburn also did not claim that same-sex couples have a “fundamental right” to marry.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati is expected to rule on this in early August.  Until then, the redefinition of marriage is on hold in Kentucky.  Let's pray that reason, truth, and justice prevail.

IRS is Lawless, Partisan

It's effective and wise for marriage supporters to boldly and vocally defend marriage in their communities. In light of our recent, hard-fought victory against the IRS, Don Williamson in Arlington, WA wrote a blistering op-ed asking why Eric Holder is refusing to act in light of this scandal.

IRSIt seems that activists for same sex marriage illegally obtained [NOM's] confidential tax return and a donor list from the IRS because they are opposed to gay marriage. They published the records containing the groups donors names and addresses online so that they and others could target them. My question is why has Eric Holder refused to investigate and prosecute this?

This is yet another example of the lawless and hyper-partisan behavior going on at the IRS. This in addition to the Lois Lerner scandal that involves the use of the IRS to help Obama get re-elected by targeting tea party and other conservative organizations for political purposes. All unprecedented in the annals of the IRS to my knowledge.

...these people have been given a free reign by the Obama administration to do as they wish and the intellectually dishonest media refuses to report it. We need a special prosecutor or two to investigate the IRS.

Thank you, Don, for your defense of the truth!  It is outrageous that the IRS released our confidential tax return and that Eric Holder and the Department of Justice refuse to investigate.  It is very inspiring that fellow Americans are standing with NOM and demanding that the Department of Justice get to the bottom of this.

The IRS leaking our confidential tax returns never should have happened in the first place--but it did.  We need to demand answers now so that we can learn the whole truth about Matthew Meisel and the "conduit" inside the IRS and so that we can ensure this kind of horrific abuse never happens again.

Sentiment Trumps Reason as Judges Impose Same-Sex “Marriage”

James Matthew Wilson at Crisis Magazine has penned an excellent piece on the strange phenomenon of sentiment and emotion trumping reason as activist judges impose a redefinition of marriage on millions of people.

The modern division between reason and appetite, knowledge and sentiment, is an inheritance that Americans have accepted to their great cost. We think it beneficial, because it constrains the rational arguments conducted in the public sphere to matters knowable to anyone who can count, and it leaves us a maximal latitude to pursue feelings of happiness without having to demonstrate them as being genuinely good.

BrainThis division is not one we ought to accept. Lin’s article inadvertently suggests as much. Human beings want to be happy; because politics and ethics alike are concerned with human beings, all political and ethical questions, including those concerned with positive law, are intrinsically concerned with our happiness.

[....]

We see this in the decision itself that occasions Lin’s article. At the close of U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III’s opinion, we are instructed with the following august sentiments:

We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.

Jones appeals to our understanding of the finality or purpose, the goodness, of the American people and their laws. What Pennsylvania law “represents,” or did until he ruined it, was a rational definition of marriage. He replaced a definition that could account for itself with rational argument with one rooted entirely in sentiment: because two people of the same sex feel strongly for one another, they must be granted access to the name of marriage, even if in giving them access the word “marriage” loses all meaning except as a union of sentiments.

[...]

No one, having admitted reason’s capacity to answer such questions, could rationally conclude that homosexual acts, much less the denomination of those who engage in them on an ongoing basis as “married,” could be included in that definition. Unless, that is, we commit ourselves to the following premises: 1) We do not think that the differences between men and women have any positive value and they should be concealed or eliminated. 2) We do not think that the differences between men’s and women’s bodies should in any way determine or limit the acts in which they may properly engage. 3) We do not think the conceiving and rearing of children a normal constituent of human happiness. 4) We do not, finally, think that anything other than whatever present feelings we happen to have ought to guide our actions.

Parents Reading with SonWe cannot rationally so commit ourselves. The differences between men and women are vital, rather than incidental, to the life of the family; the specific instances of complementarity between husband and wife begin with how they respond to an infant’s cry and how they play with that same infant, and go on from there pretty much ad infinitum. Those differences are visible in their bodies and in fact their bodily difference is the condition of possibility for their having children; their bodily differences are essential to their constitution as a family. The good of a family—its purpose, whose attainment constitutes its happiness—is just that union of opposites whose goodness is intrinsically self-diffusive, self-giving and, therefore, accidental impediments notwithstanding, leads to the having and rearing of children.

...the inscription in law of homosexual couplings as “marriages” does not make them so and cannot not change in any fundamental way how most persons will pursue the happiness to which they are by nature ordered. Jones’ judgment may however help such persons, and our society as a whole, discover sooner rather than later that one cannot substitute sentiments for reason or redefine reality to conform to our wills’ desires. But, in the short term, both these things constitute obstacles; they obscure reality. They try to make many of us feel what we do not feel, and they attempt to inhibit the capacity of reason to instruct our feelings. We have good reason to feel bad about that.

Wilson hits the nail on the head with his observations about the intrinsic differences between men and women and the mutual complementarity of the sexes, which is naturally ordered toward producing and raising children.

Mere "feelings" about what marriage is do not change the truth about what marriage actually is, the union of one man and one woman; nor about its conjugal purpose, the creating and nurturing of children, who benefit from having both a mother and a father.  Feelings and emotions may be difficult to argue against, especially when they hit close to home, and when they are so powerfully aided by sympathetic forces in the media... but they do not, they cannot, change fundamental truths about this issue.

Push for Racial Equality Different from Marriage Redefinition

Equating redefining marriage to civil rights is a popular tactic of the other side.  Jeff Shafer of Alliance Defending Freedom argues that the principles underlying the push for racial equality are very different from the principles behind the push to redefine marriage:

May 17 marked the sixtieth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, in which the Court ruled that the government-mandated racial segregation of public schools was unconstitutional. The Brown decision is an icon of American jurisprudence and justly holds a towering position in our legal history. Its ruling was a long overdue moral triumph, and a watershed moment in the elimination of state-enforced racial segregation.

Couple with Baby[...]

...though rhetorically strategic, it is deeply cynical for this late stage of the sexual revolution to congratulate itself by assuming the mantle of the black civil rights movement, a movement that drew its moral resources from Christian precept. The orthodox expression of Christian faith is the sworn enemy of the sexual adventurism juggernaut. The containment of sexuality within covenanted procreative marriage is central to the historic order of Christian civilization. Destroying that norm is both the goal of the sexual revolution and a prerequisite to its remaking of social order.

[...]

The ascendant public regime consecrates public chaos in remaking marriage to eliminate from its essence the relation of husband and wife, and in reducing the biological relation of mother and father to child to an incidental manufacturing feature with no necessary relational meaning or responsibility attending it.

Which brings us to the belligerence of United States v. Windsor. There, the Supreme Court invalidated the federal definition of marriage as a union of a man and a woman, discerning the law so stating to be but codified insult and meanness. Well, of course.

[...]

Perhaps predictably, prominent legal scholars have compared Windsor to Brown...But Windsor’s intentional obscurity and departure from governing standards make it notoriously difficult to explain the ruling as anything other than the Court using the occasion to confirm that a reimagined world is upon us, and the standards operable in the old model are no longer cognizable.

Not so Brown. Whatever the weaknesses in the Court’s rationale for the outcome, Brown’s ruling nevertheless was consonant with Fourteenth Amendment text and history, and with the normative implications of creation imago dei that the black civil rights movement pressed in its remonstrances. Windsor is not of that world.

Supreme Court

It is a notable feature of Windsor that the “dignity” the Court attributed to same-sex couples given marital status is a state-conferred dignity, not an inherent one. That’s a curious innovation, but it makes sense in context, for two reasons. First, the Court was aiming, for the moment, to formally restrict its ruling only to federal acknowledgment of a marital status given by state law.

Second, the “state as dignity-source” is probably a design feature of the replacement worldview, bereft as it is of any other source for human dignity. In the aftermath of God’s banishment, our flexibility to remake humanity and its fundamental relations is accompanied by the sort of drawbacks one might expect when the universe is up for grabs—such as the loss of justification for much of our legal tradition. But that may take a while to come into clear view. The transition will proceed acceptably in the short term so long as we remain haunted by the biblical anthropology from which came our treasured concepts of equality and human dignity. For a time, we’ll recite the old principles through habit, if not principle. But that won’t endure, for their public plausibility ultimately depends on a critical mass sharing fidelity to their Source.

Read the rest of Shafer's article at The Public Discourse.

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.