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New Executive Order Will Keep Key Campaign Promises, and Protect Religion on Many Fronts

Writing at The Daily Signal, our good friend Ryan Anderson comments on a leaked draft of a forthcoming executive order from President Trump's administration that protects religious liberty on several fronts. The leak itself, and the ensuing coverage in the media, may exert pressure on the administration not to issue the order, but Ryan explains why we should all hope that that doesn't happen. This order is "good policy and entirely lawful."

Ryan summarizes the chief tenets of the order as follows:

  • It tells the entire federal government to respect federal statutes and Supreme Court decisions that make clear the free exercise of religion applies to all people, of all faiths, in all places, and at all times—that it is not merely the freedom to worship.
  • It notes that religious organizations include all organizations operated by religious principles, not just houses of worship or charities. And it follows the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in saying that religious exercise “includes all aspects of religious observance and practice,” not just those absolutely required by a faith.
  • It instructs all agencies of the federal government, “to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law,” to reasonably accommodate the religion of federal employees, as required by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
  • It instructs the secretaries of health and human services, labor, and treasury to finally grant relief to the Little Sisters of the Poor and others who weren’t exempted from the Obamacare abortifacient and contraception mandate.
  • It instructs the secretary of health and human services to ensure that all citizens have the ability to purchase health care plans through Obamacare that do not cover abortion or subsidize plans that do.
  • It instructs the secretary of health and human services to ensure that the federal government does not discriminate against child welfare providers, such as foster care and adoption services, based on the organization’s religious beliefs.
  • It adopts the Russell Amendment and instructs all agencies of the federal government to provide protections and exemptions consistent with the Civil Rights Act and Americans with Disabilities Act to all religious organizations that contract with the federal government or receive grants.
  • It instructs the secretary of the treasury to ensure that it does not revoke nonprofit tax status because a religious organization’s ordinary religious speech deals with politics, or because it speaks or acts on the belief that marriage is the union of husband and wife, that a person’s sex is based on immutable biology, or that life begins at conception.
  • It instructs all agencies of the federal government to refuse to recognize any decision by a federally recognized accrediting body that revokes or denies accreditation to an organization because of such beliefs.
  • It instructs all agencies that they may not take adverse action against federal employees, contractors, or grantees because of their speech about marriage outside of their employment, contract, or grant, and that agencies shall reasonably accommodate such beliefs inside of employment, contract, or grant.

Read the whole summary and commentary over at The Daily Signal.

NOM Brief in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G.

CLICK HERE TO READ AT SCRIBD

A British woman says she will be the "greatest dad"

A British woman who "has been living legally as a man for three years" has made news this week as she is set to become "the first man in UK to give birth."

The woman, named Hayden Cross, says she plans to "continue his [sic.] transition process to remove his breasts and ovaries as soon as he has given birth."

NOM for years has warned that changing the definition of marriage is about more than the simple question of who has access to the benefits of the legal contract of marriage: it is about a shift in social values that places the desires and whims of adult ahead of the needs and rights of children.

Nowhere in the story of Cross's pregnancy is there any discussion of the right of the child to have a mom who isn't pretending to be a dad. Nowhere is there any consideration of the child's right to feed at the breast of his or her own loving mother rather than be bottle fed because that mother decided to remove her breasts and masquerade as a man.

The headline reads that Cross will be the "first man in [the] UK to give birth," which of course is nonsense - Cross is a woman, and only women can give birth; but if we were to accept that nonsense as model, we could rewrite the headline to say that Cross's child will be the first child in the UK born without a mother. That the editors didn't write the headline that way only goes to show the extent to which the media continues to be complicit in enabling lies and a denial of reality.

✎Sign the Petition: Stand with Chip and Joanna Gaines

The far-left clickbait site, Buzzfeed, is trying to make an example of Chip and Joanna Gaines, the stars of the HGTV home renovation show Fixer Upper, because their church’s pastor takes a Biblical view on gay “marriage.”

Other news sites are now piling on in a LGBT witch-hunt. They want nothing less than to remove Chrstians from the public square.

Tell HGTV not to cave to the insanity of Buzzfeed's, "Are you now or have you ever been a Christian" line of McCarthyite questioning.

SIGN THE PETITION NOW > > >

We can send a message to HGTV that we will not allow Christians to be bullied by signing the petition. I would also ask you to pray for Chip and Joanna Gaines in this time of attack.

Faithfully,

Brian S Brown

P.S. Please send this petition to your e-mail lists.  We need to flood HGTV with petitions.

NOM Endorses Dr. John Fleming for US Senate in Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 14, 2016
Contact: Joseph Grabowski (202) 457-8060 x-110 | jgrabowski@nationformarriage.org


"John Fleming has been a champion for marriage, religious liberty, life and family values his entire career in Congress. He's a proven leader, a true champion, and an honorable man." - Brian Brown, NOM President

nom_logoWashington, D.C. – The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today announced it has endorsed Dr. John Fleming for US Senate in Louisiana, calling him a "true champion" in support of marriage, life, religious liberty and parental rights.

In an endorsement video released today, NOM's president Brian Brown said, "John Fleming has been a champion for marriage, religious liberty, life and family values his entire career in Congress. He’s fought for a constitutional amendment to protect marriage, and for the sanctity of human life; stood for religious freedom and parental rights; worked to promote fatherhood and encourage fathers to take responsibility for their children; and championed a national day of prayer. He's a proven leader, a true champion, and an honorable man."

 

NOM's endorsement video pointed out that the next Senator from Louisiana could cast the deciding vote on the confirmation of US Supreme Court justices and potentially decide the future direction of the Supreme Court, making it one of the most consequential votes in history.

Brown said, "We can count on Dr. John Fleming to make sure that only conservative justices like Antonin Scalia are confirmed to the Court, people who are committed to upholding the constitution. We cannot allow the policies of Barack Obama to live on for decades through an activist Supreme Court controlled by liberals."

NOM said it would distribute its endorsement video to supporters across the country and encourage them to contribute to support Fleming’s election. Dr. Fleming is seeking the seat of retiring Senator David Vitter. The top two candidates in November will advance to a run-off in December.

# # #

To schedule an interview with Brian Brown, please contact:
Joseph Grabowski, jgrabowski@nationformarriage.org, (202) 457-8060 x-110.

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.

Judge Halts Obama Administration's Transgender Agenda

Breaking news today via Reuters:

A U.S. judge blocked Obama administration guidance that transgender public school students must be allowed to use bathrooms of their choice, granting a nationwide injunction sought by a group of 13 states led by Texas.

Reed O'Connor, a judge for the Northern District of Texas, said in a decision late on Sunday that the Obama administration did not follow proper procedures for notice and comment in issuing the guidelines. He said the guidelines contradict with existing legislative and regulatory texts.

[...]

At a hearing on the injunction in Fort Worth on Aug. 12, lawyers for Texas said the guidelines usurp the authority of school districts nationwide. They said they were at risk of losing billions of dollars in federal funding for education if they did not comply.

U.S. Department of Justice lawyers sought to dismiss the injunction, saying the federal guidelines issued in May were non-binding with no legal consequences.

The guidance issued by the Justice Department and Education Department said public schools must allow transgender students to use bathrooms, locker rooms and other intimate facilities that correspond with their gender identity, as opposed to their birth gender, or face the loss of federal funds.

Under the injunction, the Obama administration is prohibited from enforcing the guidelines on "against plaintiffs and their respective schools, school boards, and other public, educationally based institutions," O'Connor wrote.

Read the whole article here.

Soon, for lawyers, "the only opinions allowed will be liberal opinions"

Disturbing news this week of some changes underway in the American Bar Associations's (ABA) "Model Rules of Professional Conduct." The first report came on Monday from Judson Phillips in The Washington Times:

In its recent meeting, the ABA changed part of the model rules regarding attorney conduct. That kind of minutia is guaranteed to generate yawns from 99 percent of Americans. But every American should be alarmed by this because the purpose of these rules is to do nothing less than drive conservatives from the legal profession and ultimately deny conservatives their day in court by denying them legal representation.

The new rule states in part, “(Paragraph G) engage in conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or socioeconomic status in conduct related to the practice of law. This paragraph does not limit the ability of a lawyer to accept, decline or withdraw from a representation in accordance with Rule 1.16. This paragraph does not preclude legitimate advice or advocacy consistent with these Rules.”

[...]

The important part is where it says discrimination includes harmful verbal or physical that manifests bias or prejudice toward others. In plain, non-lawyer English, if a lawyer happen to not approve of homosexual behavior, homosexual marriage, transgenderism, Islam or any number of other opinions and comments on them, the lawyer can lose their law license.

This rule is not limited to the courtroom. If a lawyer posts something on social media or offers an opinion that is not an approved opinion, they can and will be disciplined.

The purpose of this model rule is simple. It is to silence conservative lawyers.


American_Bar_Association

Writing two days later in a joint opinion piece entitled "How the lawyers plan to stifle speech and faith," notable legal experts Edwin Meese and Kelly Shackleford echoed the same concerns:

Frighteningly, the ABA leaders’ statements verify that they understand — and intend — the ramifications of [the new rules]. President Paulette Brown advocates that the ABA must prevent “bias” in ways that go far beyond current law. Committee member Drucilla Ramey insists bar authorities go “to the top of the legal profession” to “incentivize” attorneys to change their views and speech on these issues, views and speech often informed by attorneys’ religion. All this, despite committee testimony that such a rule has “little relation to concerns” arising in most lawyers’ offices, could be “used tactically against someone inappropriately,” and will “have a chilling effect on something that has always been in the best traditions of the bar: representing minority views and unpopular positions or clients.”

[...]

The ABA’s un-American censorship regime is beyond draconian; it coerces conformity regarding religious and political beliefs on a level unprecedented in American history. It borders on fascism, and must be explicitly repudiated [emphases added].

NOM will keep you apprised of this situation as it develops, and we encourage all our members to remain vigilant about these kinds of encroachments on religious freedom in the name of LGBT "equality."

Target feeling the pressure, but the fight isn't over

NO!Following Target's decision earlier this year to institute a policy whereby biological men could on a whim gain access to bathrooms and changing rooms normally reserved for girls and women, NOM and other conservative groups launched a boycott of the store to let them know that this kind of ideological move was not only dangerous for its customers but also insulting and bad for business.

In the months since, with stories cropping up regularly of how the policy was backfiring, Target has definitely felt the pressure, and this week comes news that the store is at least beginning to see the errors of its ways. From the Chicago Tribune:

Target said Wednesday that it is preparing to spend $20 million in coming months to add single-stall bathrooms along with men's and women's restrooms in its stores, a move meant to accommodate shoppers concerned about the retailers' policy of allowing customers and employees to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender they identify with.

The story goes on to note some of the staggering statistics of Target's reported sales and projections which show that the boycotts have had a serious impact on the store, as much as the corporate execs and the media would like to downplay this.

However, this move by Target is only a beginning of righting the wrong of enforcing a dangerous gender ideology that puts women and girls at least in a very uncomfortable and unseemly - if not dangerous - situation of needing to undress in front of members of the opposite sex. (You'll note that this new "accommodation" of single-occupancy facilities is ironically for those who feel uncomfortable being in such a situation with members of the opposite sex, rather than the small minority of those who don't identify with their own biological sex!)

So, we need to keep up the pressure!

If you still haven't pledge to "Say No To Target," we encourage you to do so today. It's working!

Frank Schubert: "Republican Voters Are Not 'Moving On' From Marriage"

From NOM's political director, Frank Schubert, comes this piece in Public Discourse:

It’s rarely covered by the media, but the political landscape is littered with the wrecked careers of Republicans who abandoned the party’s commitment to marriage as it has always existed, which is a foundational institution of virtually every faith tradition on the planet.

[...]

It should be acknowledged that these races often involve more than the marriage issue. There is usually a range of issues at play in any contested race, whether for the state legislature or Congress. But unquestionably, marriage was a critical issue in all of these contests. Marriage was the issue that drove conservatives to oppose and ultimately defeat incumbents like Anne Zerr in Missouri.

Finally, it is also important to note the importance that support for marriage played most recently in the GOP when grassroots Republican activists made their views clear in crafting the national Republican Party platform last month in Cleveland. Despite an organized and well-funded campaign by Wall Street billionaires and corporate lobbyists to “modernize” the party’s official position on marriage, convention delegates utterly rejected the notion. The 2016 GOP platform is the most pro-traditional marriage platform ever adopted. It specifically calls for reversing the Obergefell ruling redefining marriage. It explicitly condemns as the product of activist judges the rulings on marriage in both Obergefell and the Windsor case that overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and it calls for the appointment of Supreme Court justices who will reject their reasoning. It endorses the First Amendment Defense Act to protect supporters of marriage from governmental persecution. And it calls for a constitutional amendment to return to the states their right to define marriage solely as the union of one man and one woman.

Never fans of social issues to begin with, it’s a safe bet that the consulting class, corporate lobbyists, and wealthy donors will ignore the mountain of evidence all around them that rank and file Republican activists and voters revere marriage and will act to defend it. But Republican candidates should come to understand that succumbing to the pleadings of the elite echo chamber can come at a very high price: their very political careers.

Read the whole thing here.

Evan McMullin: Not a Viable Conservative Alternative

Recently, an independent Presidential candidate touting "conservative" credentials has come onto the political scene posing as an alternative to Donald Trump for those who have not decided to support the Republican nominee.

Recently, though, McMullin gave an interview to Bloomberg Politics where his answers to some questions on same-sex marriage raise concerns about his claims to conservative credibility [emphases added]:

McMullin

INTERVIEWER: Same-sex marriage.

MCMULLIN: Sure.

INTERVIEWER: It's happened very quickly. It's now legal. Are you comfortable with the way it's happened and the current state of the law of the land on same-sex marriage?

MCMULLIN: Well, my position on that is, uh, that as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, I believe in traditional marriage, between a man and a woman, but I respect the decision of the Court and I think it's time to move on.

INTERVIEWER: Along those lines, you said you want to push a lot for the Federal level down to the State level.

MCMULLIN: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Is that something you think should be handled by the States and not the Federal government?

MCMULLIN: Ideally, yes, but it's been handled by the Supreme Court, and that's where it is.

INTERVIEWER: But are you saying your personal preference is that marriage should be only legal between a man and a woman, but not just you accept the Court but that you're fine with the change?

MCMULLIN: This, this is a decision of faith for me, it's something of faith for me, but my faith isn't everybody else's faith and I make my decisions for me on those kinds of things--and...

INTERVIEWER: So--so, you're personally opposed to it, but you're--you're comfortable with the law of the land? In other words, you wouldn't--for instance--try to appoint Justices, nominate Justices, who would overturn--the decision?

MCMULLIN: I--I wouldn't on that.

You can view the entire interview here.

Stunning Statistics on the Impact of Radical Gender Ideology on Children

From the BBC comes a disturbing report of a meteoric rise, over the past six years, on referrals to clinicians of children under the age of 18 for treatment to help them make "gender transitions."

GIDS StatsThe startling figure for the whole age group of one- to eighteen-year-old referrals is the rise from 94 in 2009-2010 to 969 in 2015-2016: an increase of 930%! This includes a stunning rise in referrals for children between the tender ages of five and nine years old: within that age group, the rise in referrals over the period studied has been nearly 600%!

In explaining the phenomenon, the BBC quotes the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), an official specialized service provided under England's National Health Service (NHS):

GIDS, based in north London, is the NHS's dedicated gender identity development service for children and takes referrals from GPs, paediatricians, mental health services and schools across the country.

Its director, Polly Carmichael, said in recent years more younger children were making gender transitions and there was no "right or wrong approach", with many families reporting their child was happier living in another gender.

[...]

In terms of the general increase in referrals, GIDS said there could be a number of reasons, but increased awareness and acceptance of gender issues - particularly via the media and social networks - was a likely factor.

The article also notes that Carmichael acknowledged that, "research published in the Netherlands suggest[s] that 'for some young people who make an early social transition it may be difficult to de-transition if their gender identity develops in another direction'."

We hope that the lesson of that research is taken to heart and that those to whom these poor children are referred do not push them into making a life-changing decision which they are mentally and emotionally too immature to grasp. Indeed, we have already seen in many ways how "gender transition" decisions can be regretting in a very high percentage of cases.

In any case, this article points to a troubling trend of how the permeation throughout our culture of radical LGBT ideology is beginning to have a problematic impact on the youngest and most vulnerable in our society.

NOM’s Promise To Missouri Voters Fulfilled – Turncoat Republican Anne Zerr Defeated in GOP Primary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 3, 2016
Contact: Joseph Grabowski (202) 457-8060 x-110 | jgrabowski@nationformarriage.org


"We did what we promised and went after her, and I couldn’t be happier that she has been defeated." - Brian Brown, NOM President

nom_logo

Washington, D.C. – When Missouri Republican Anne Zerr cast the deciding vote to kill SJR 39, a proposed constitutional amendment to protect the rights of supporters of marriage from governmental persecution, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) vowed to end her political career. NOM delivered last night when Zerr was defeated in the GOP primary for state Senate. NOM mounted an independent expenditure campaign funding mailers and phone calls to oppose Zerr and endorse her opponent, Rep. Bill Eigel. With all precincts reporting, Eigel has defeated Zerr by 385 votes.

"Anne Zerr betrayed her constituents and the people of Missouri when she sided with LGBT extremists to defeat SJR 39, which would have given voters the right to protect supporters of marriage from discrimination by governmental entities," said Brian Brown, NOM president. "We did what we promised and went after her, and I couldn't be happier that she has been defeated. Zerr joins a long list of Republicans who have ended their political careers by voting against the interests of people who support marriage as the union of one man and one woman."

Last April, Zerr joined with two other Republicans, Representatives Jim Hansen and Caleb Rowan, to defeat SJR 39, a proposed constitutional amendment that would have protected people of faith from being forced to participate in same-sex 'weddings' in Missouri. Because of her vote, Zerr subjected Missourians who support traditional marriage to an array of punitive actions by government, usually undertaken at the behest of LGBT extremists. People in numerous other states have been sued, fined, fired and punished, their reputations ruined and their livelihood destroyed. SJR 39 would have given Missouri voters an opportunity to prevent this type of discrimination against people of faith.

"When four Republican Senators in New York voted for gay 'marriage,' we ended their careers," Brown said. "When Republican candidates for US Senate in New Hampshire, California and Oregon came out in favor of redefining marriage, we defeated them and ended their careers. When Supreme Court judges redefined marriage in Iowa, we removed them from office. When GOP candidates for Congress in California and Massachusetts endorsed gay 'marriage' we defeated them. And now we have defeated Anne Zerr over her vote to subject supporters of marriage to punitive governmental actions simply for not wanting to be involved in gay 'marriage.' We urge Republican officials in Missouri and elsewhere to pay attention to this pattern. If you vote with LGBT activists against those who support marriage, you do so at the risk of your political career."

NOM said they are considering what actions to take against Representatives Hansen and Rowan during the general election. "Caleb Rowan has an opponent in his race for state Senate District 19 and we will consider opposing him even though his opponent does not support SJR 39. It would be better for Missouri to have a bad Democrat for one term than to have a bad Republican for a career. Hansen doesn’t have an opponent, but that won’t stop us from letting his constituents know about how bad he is on marriage, religious liberty and giving voters a chance to decide critical issues like this for themselves. Whether it takes a few months or several years, we will not rest until all three Missouri Republicans who betrayed supporters of marriage are out of office. Zerr was first, Hansen and Rowan are next."

# # #

To schedule an interview with Brian Brown, please contact:
Joseph Grabowski, jgrabowski@nationformarriage.org, (202) 457-8060 x-110.

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.

Pope decries gender ideology taught to children

From USA Today:

Pope Francis has lamented that children are being taught at school that gender can be a choice, adding that his predecessor, Benedict XVI has labeled current times "the epoch of sin against God the Creator."

Francis weighed in with his view on gender and what he said was that of the emeritus pontiff while meeting privately last week with bishops from Poland during his pilgrimage there. The Vatican released a transcript Tuesday of those closed-door remarks.

The pope said he wanted to conclude his remarks by reflecting on this: "We are living a moment of annihilation of man as image of God."

Francis said: "Today, in schools they are teaching this to children — to children! — that everyone can choose their gender."

Without specifying, he blamed this on textbooks supplied by "persons and institutions who donate money." The pope blamed what he called "ideological colonizing" backed by "very influential countries" which he didn’t identify.

One such "colonization" he said — "I’ll say it clearly with its first and last name — is gender."

Read more here.

NCAA Puts Politics Before Safety

From Ed Whelen at NRO's "The Corner" blog:

On Friday, the NCAA announced that cities interested in hosting NCAA championships must fill out a questionnaire on whether they have laws (state or local) that govern use of bathrooms and locker rooms. Questions include:

  1. 3. Does your city, county/parish and/or state regulate choice of bathrooms or locker rooms that may affect student-athletes, coaches, administrators, or game officials during the Event?
  2. 4. Does your city, county-parish and/or state regulate choice of bathrooms that may affect fans attending the Event?
  3. 6. If the Event is planned to be held on institutional/campus property, does your institution have provisions that interfere with any person’s choice of bathroom or locker room?

Whelen goes on to point out that not only is the NCAA putting politics before safety with its dangerous new bathroom agenda, but it is also illogically and incoherently departing from the Obama Administration when it comes to the question of sports teams. The moral of the story seems to be that the fabric of untruth and imagination upon which radical gender ideology is trying to construct a coherent legal paradigm is bound to unravel. The only question is how much damage will be done before that finally happens?

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/438294/ncaa-transgender

"I was terminated because of my religion"

Another sad story of the "tolerance" of the LGBT movement comes to us today from Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, writing at CNSNews.com:

In May, Javier Chavez, senior store detective at the Macy's store in Flushing, New York, received a phone call stating that a male had entered the ladies room with a female companion. A female customer, and her daughter, were afraid to enter because of the male's presence. A security employee who reports to Chavez advised the man to leave and use the men's room. He left claiming to be a female. He then complained to store officials that he was asked to leave.

Chavez was subsequently told by an Assistant Store Manager that certain males can use the ladies restroom. This was news to him. A few days later, an assistant security manager told him that transgender persons can use the bathroom of their choice.

He said he had just become aware of this policy, stating that it was contrary to his religion and the Bible. But he hastened to say that he would nonetheless enforce Macy's policy.

That's where one would think the story would end: but it doesn't:

Macy's would not leave this alone, and this is where it crossed the line.

Chavez was then summoned to meet with the Human Resources Manager, who suspended him. He was later terminated.

"After my employer learned that I was a practicing Catholic, with religious concerns about this policy," Chavez says in his formal complaint, "I was terminated because of my religion, in violation of the New York State Human Rights Law."

Read the rest of Donohue's commentary here.

This is just another example of why we need so urgently Congress and state legislatures to enact protections for people of faith who simply want to conduct their lives - at home and at work - in accord with their beliefs about marriage and God's design for men and women. Now would be a good time, if you haven't already done so, to join us in this effort and sign our petition to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform urging them to pass the First Amendment Defense Act!

Without FADA, stories like this will unfortunately only become more and more commonplace.