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Category Archives: States

Louisiana Governor Stands Strong Against Same-Sex Marriage

“Hollywood and the media elite are hostile to our values and they tip the scales to our liberal opponents at every opportunity,” wrote Jindal. “Liberals have decided that if they can’t win at the ballot box, they will win in the boardroom. It’s a deliberate strategy. And it’s time for corporate America to make a decision.” - Gov. Bobby Jindal

J000287As Americans across our nation prepare for the March for Marriage this Saturday, April 25th, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has bravely defended his stance on marriage in one of the most high-profile media publications out there: The New York Times’ Opinion Pages.

Politico covers Gov. Jindal’s piece:

The Republican 2016 hopeful penned an op-ed with the headline “I’m holding firm against gay marriage.” It accused “radical liberals” of teaming up with businesses to push same-sex marriage and other LGBT protections that he believes threaten religious liberty. As evidence, the Louisiana Republican pointed to the widespread public outcry that earlier this year pushed both Arkansas and Indiana to insert anti-discrimination protections into their religious freedom laws.

Jindal expressed support for a new bill in Louisiana called the “Marriage and Conscience Act” that would allow private businesses and institutions to refuse service based on their own definitions of marriage without the threat of government action. He called on conservatives to harness their traditional alliance with corporate interests to halt progressives’ momentum on pushing LGBT protections.

“This strategy requires populist social conservatives to ally with the business community on economic matters and corporate titans to side with social conservatives on cultural matters,” Jindal wrote, calling for a new “grand bargain.”

You can read Jindal’s original piece here. And in case there was any doubt, Jindal makes his intention transparently clear:

As the fight for religious liberty moves to Louisiana, I have a clear message for any corporation that contemplates bullying our state: Save your breath.

Well said, Gov. Jindal. We couldn't agree more.

Differing Opinions Are Not Welcome at John Hopkins University

Andrew Guernsey, a political science and classics major at John Hopkins University, reports via National Review that John Hopkins has launched another attack on individuals who hold conservative beliefs. This week, JHU’s student government voted to ban any hypothetical future Chick-fil-A outlet from their campus.

The student government allegedly disagrees with the personal opinions of the fast food chain’s owner on the topic of marriage. Guernsey, president of the student group Johns Hopkins University Voice for Life, explains why the student government’s decision is so dangerous:

ThinkstockPhotos-187643976The student government’s vote went beyond merely expressing support for same-sex marriage. The Chick-fil-A ban seeks to introduce unprecedented discrimination against companies owned by religious conservatives into the university’s contracting policies, even though only a few years ago, prominent liberals like Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama had held the same views on marriage. In banning Chick-fil-A from campus for “homophobia,” the JHU student government is only a short step from similarly giving the boot to socially conservative Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Orthodox, and Jewish student groups from campus, as we have seen happen at Vanderbilt University, the 23 campuses of California State University, and others throughout the country.

In a free-market economy, the company that makes the best food at the lowest price usually wins more business. At a university, the robust free market of thought similarly should allow the best ideas to win out in an unfettered debate. The Chick-fil-A ban hurts both types of free market on campus. If the argument for redefining marriage into a genderless contract for any two consenting adults is so strong, then advocates for it should not need the student government’s version of the thought police to silence dissenting voices.

Guernsey is absolutely correct: silencing dissenting voices is an affront to the American university system. JHU’s message is crystal clear: any students who disagree with their opinion are not welcome on Johns Hopkins' campus. It is no shock, but it is a shame. There are many brilliant students at JHU who should be given the opportunity to hear both sides of an argument and make the decision for themselves. While Johns Hopkins may have seemingly “silenced” potential dissenting voices, it won’t last.

Truth can never be fully silenced nor destroyed. The student government at Hopkins can spin their decisions any way they want, but sharp students like Guernsey can see exactly what their real intention is: discrimination, all in the name of “tolerance.”

What Opposing Religious Freedom Really Means

In The Federalist op-ed, Iowa pastor Christopher Neuendorf asserts: “Disagreements are a part of life. As we constantly hear, diversity is built into American culture, and that includes diversity of opinion. I can deal with that. I don’t need everyone to agree with me in order to be a functional member of society.”

With the recent outrage over state laws protecting religious freedom, Rev. Neuendorf identifies a grave concern: in denouncing RFRAs, the rights of any religious individual to exist in our society are being denounced.

ThinkstockPhotos-77872409I’m not exaggerating. I’m not indulging in hyperbole. This is what you’re saying when you post on social media that you are outraged with Indiana’s efforts to protect religious freedom: that I, your family member, friend, neighbor, coworker, fellow citizen, am no longer allowed to exist in your world. I must conform myself to your way of thinking, or face financial ruin and ostracism.

Consider what Indiana’s RFRA offered before Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and his fellow lawmakers neutered it: if sued by a same-sex couple for refusing to provide goods and services that constitute helping celebrate a same-sex wedding, business owners might find protection from devastating lawsuits. Or they might not. It’s up to a judge, and of course we’ve learned not to hope for too much sympathy from our courts these days. But even the potential that a business owner might get away with such stand without facing total annihilation is intolerable to our passionate defenders of non-discrimination.

It doesn’t matter how much we protest that we’re not talking about denying goods and services to our homosexual neighbors as homosexuals. It doesn’t matter that any Christian business would graciously serve food, baked goods, flowers, or any other commodity to any homosexual person who might enter that establishment. It doesn’t matter that we’re talking only about those limited circumstances in which we are expected to become actively involved in the celebration of behavior that our conscience insists is sinful. Such protestations consistently fall on deaf ears.

Rev. Neuendorf has struck on the heart of the “new intolerance”: no one who disagrees is allowed to continue living and working in our society. This is a blatant attempt to justify silencing any opposition. But the “new intolerance” will never be able to change the truth, no matter how aggressively they attack. No matter what, the voices of the American people will still ring loud and clear, for marriage, for truth, and for freedom.

Defending the Sanctity of Marriage

In a guest editorial piece in the Auburn Villager, Auburn residentDennis Shannon explains the logical reasoning that compels him to oppose sanctioning same-sex “marriage”:

Opposition to same sex marriage is about protecting the rights of children to a father and a mother. The primary reason that the state has a vested interest in marriage, as I understand it, is that marriage is the social institution that provides the best environment to nourish, protect, socialize and educate children. Social scientists indicate that children who are raised by a father and mother that are married to each other have the best chance of success in life. This is not to impugn single parents who do their best for their children.

ThinkstockPhotos-57442653 (1)I oppose same sex marriage because I am for the First Amendment of the Constitution, which gives me the right to practice my faith without interference from the state. Anywhere same sex marriage is the law of the land, the first amendment right to freedom of religion becomes null and void. The perceived rights of homosexuals always seem to trump the rights of people of faith to carry out their lives in accordance with their beliefs. Parents lose their rights to the moral education of their children, bakers must participate in same sex marriage by baking cakes for the “marriage” or be forced out of business (which recently happened in Washington State), professional photographers must film a ceremony that they do not approve of or face severe fines … it goes on and on. Religious speech is being restricted in the military and officers have been punished for not endorsing homosexuality. In Canada and in Europe, pastors have been threatened with jail for “hate speech” for preaching on the Biblical view of sexuality and marriage. That can happen here as well if things continue on their current trend.

Many of the forefathers of this nation – Puritans, Quakers, Baptists, Congregationalists, Catholics, Mennonites and Jews - came to this nation to escape persecution in Europe so that they could practice their faith as they saw fit. If the Supreme Court makes same sex marriage the law of the land, we will have lost much of the freedom for which this country was founded.

Although there are many things that could be improved in Alabama, I was never more proud of my adopted state than when we voted to protect the welfare of children, parental rights and our religious liberties by voting for the Sanctity of Marriage law.

You can read his full Auburn Villager editorial here. Bravo to Mr. Shannon for speaking out in defense of marriage as between a man and a woman. Our founding fathers would applaud you!

Even From Thousands of Miles Away, Marriage Supporters Are Marching

When we talk about the effects of same-sex marriage, we always come back to our two highest values–faith and family. It seems so obvious that the destruction of traditional marriage is yet another blow to the black family, with untold harm for our children. And yet, there are some who still don’t understand the importance of this issue. ~CAAP

ThinkstockPhotos-122412432Even those who can't make it to Washington D.C. on April 25th will be supporting the March for Marriage from thousands of miles away!

ARV Tea Party is sponsoring a March for Marriage set in Russellville, Arkansas. Beginning at 3 pm, the group will march to the Pope Country Courthouse to show their support for traditional marriage. Once everyone arrives at the courthouse, Diane Owens, from the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP) will be the featured speaker.

For those in Arkansas who can’t make it to the DC March, you can visit the event’s Facebook page here and check out out CAAP’s website for more information on their work. As demonstrated in the video below, CAAP shows their amazing support for the true definition of marriage every day!

Philadelphia Marriage Champions: Don't Miss Your Ride to the March for Marriage

Marriage supporters from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia have generously provided many bus options for this year’s March for Marriage on April 25th in Washington, D.C.

Below you can find bus info, which is also available via PhillyCatholicLife.org:

Archdiocesan Buses

ThinkstockPhotos-178793092The Archdiocese of Philadelphia Office for Life and Family is sending a bus from the counties of the Archdiocese to attend the Marriage March in Washington, D.C.

The day begins at 11:30 am and concludes at 2:00 pm. Archdiocesan buses will aim to arrive at 11 :00 am for the rally. Please see the list of bus locations below.

A seat on a bus costs $15 per person.  To reserve seats on a bus, please contact the bus captain directly.  Mail your payment to the parish in an envelope marked “Attn:  March for Marriage”.  Checks should be made out to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  Seating is limited, reserve your seats soon!  

Not able to attend?  Please consider making a donation to help pay for the buses.  

Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Marriage March Bus Locations

Philadelphia

Cathedral Basilica SS. Peter & Paul
18th St. and Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Bus Captain: Arleen, [email protected]

Bucks County
St. Andrew Parish
81 Swamp Road
Newtown, PA 18940

Bus Captain: Peggy, [email protected]

Chester County
SS Simon and Jude Parish
8 Cavanaugh Court
West Chester, PA 19382

Bus Captain: Marty, [email protected]

Delaware County
St. Pius X Parish
220 Lawrence Road
Broomall, PA 19008

Bus Captain: John, [email protected]

Sincerest thanks to our fellow marriage defenders in PA. We look forward to marching with you in defense of freedom, truth, and marriage on April 25th in Washington, D.C.

See you at the March for Marriage!

USCCB Promotes the March for Marriage

Bishop Richard Malone, Archbishop of San Francisco, is encouraging all bishops and the faithful to attend the March for Marriage on April 25, 2015!

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A Voice for Marriage in Alabama

In Alabama, fellow marriage defenders are working hard to protect marriage as the unique bond between one man and one woman. In the upcoming months, they are offering some wonderful opportunities for all to let their state leaders know what they, the people of Alabama, are fighting for the biblical, natural, and traditional definition of marriage. 

Read on to learn more about the events in Alabama, and be sure to check out their website: AlabamaforMarriage.com

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Alabama! Be a voice for truth: Marriage = One Man + One Woman
During the month of May, join thousands of believers at events across Alabama,
and in Montgomery on June 6th, to send a united message to elected officials,
the Supreme Court and to the world: Alabama is for Marriage.

National Organization for Marriage Calls on Indiana Legislature to Defeat Legislation That Guts Religious Liberty Law and Will Result in People of Faith Being Forced To Participate In Activities That Violate Their Beliefs or Risk Severe Punishment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 2, 2015
Contact: Elizabeth Ray or Matille Thebolt (703-683-5004)


"This supposed 'fix' is a complete abandonment of principle that rewards the radical left and celebrities like Miley Cyrus who grossly mischaracterized the Religious Liberty Restoration Act passed last week." — Brian Brown, NOM president —

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Washington, D.C. — The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today announced its strong opposition to new legislation designed to "fix" legislation passed last week to protect the right of people of faith to defend against governmental actions seeking to force them to participate in activities like same-sex 'marriage' ceremonies that violate their religious beliefs.

"This supposed 'fix' is a complete abandonment of principle that rewards the radical left and celebrities like Miley Cyrus who grossly mischaracterized the Religious Liberty Restoration Act passed last week," said Brian Brown, NOM's president. "It's like paying ransom to a captor, and will put people of faith in the crosshairs of gay activists who will use this new legislation as a weapon to force people of faith to participate in same-sex 'marriage' ceremonies and other activities that violate their deeply held religious beliefs. Refusing to be part of a same-sex 'wedding' is not discrimination but this new legislation treats it as such."

Across the country, people of faith have been targeted by gay marriage activists seeking to force them to participate in same-sex 'wedding' ceremonies. Photographers, inn keepers, bakers, florists, venue operators, and many others have been threatened with lawsuits, fines and even the threat of losing their livelihood if they don't agree to violate their beliefs and celebrate a gay 'wedding.' The state Attorney General of Washington has targeted a 70-year old grandmother who operates a small florist company with a lawsuit where he says he may seek to take her business and all her assets unless she drops her religious objections to same-sex 'marriage.' The Indiana Religious Liberty Restoration Act was written to give such people the ability to raise a defense in court, which the government would then have to show that it has a compelling interest in forcing the person into such activities.

"People should not be forced to engage in activity that violates their deeply held religious beliefs unless there is an overriding, compelling government interest to do so, such as maintenance of public safety," Brown said. "Just yesterday, Rasmussen Reports released the results of a survey showing that 70% of Americans believe that Christian business owners like wedding photographers should be able to turn down working at a gay 'wedding.' Other polls have shown over 80% support for this freedom. Yet some Indiana legislators are prepared to sacrifice people of faith on the altar of political correctness in order to reward the radical left for a misleading PR campaign that misrepresents the real issues. We call on this legislation to be defeated, and for Governor Pence to veto it if it is passed."

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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).

For the Sake of Tolerance, Protect Religious Liberty

“Religious-liberty protections are one way of achieving civil peace even amid disagreement. The United States is a pluralistic society. To protect that pluralism and the rights of all Americans, of whatever faith they may practice, religious-liberty laws are good policy. Liberals committed to tolerance should embrace them.” 

ThinkstockPhotos-478624257In a Washington Post op-ed, The Heritage Foundation’s Ryan T. Anderson and Edwin Meese III, U.S. attorney general from 1985 to 1988, defend the Religious Freedom Restoration Acts that have so viciously come under attack:

Who favors coercion in this debate? Who opposes tolerance and pluralism? The answer to both questions: activists on the left.

The laws under attack — Religious Freedom Restoration Acts — are designed to shield all faiths from government coercion. These acts have, for example, protected a Sikh woman’s freedom to carry religious articles at her workplace. They have allowed a Native American boy to wear his hair long, according to his religious beliefs, at his school.

They also might protect those who hold the belief — attested to from the beginning of the Hebrew Bible to the end of the Christian Bible and throughout the Koran — that marriage is the union of man and woman.

And that’s the belief that the left cannot abide. Well-funded special-interest groups refuse to respect the liberty of people of faith who simply ask to be left alone by government to run their charities, schools and businesses in accordance with their beliefs about marriage.

You can read the full article here.

Answers to Your Honest Questions about Indiana's RFRA Legislation

Have questions about the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act? The Heritage Foundation's Ryan T. Anderson and Sarah Torre have answers.

Won’t the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act allow business owners to refuse service to LGBT people?

Religious Liberty CensoredNo, and no one is interested in refusing to serve gays and lesbians simply because of their sexual orientation. And no one has ever successfully used Religious Freedom Restoration Act to defend such actions. As law professor and religious liberty expert Douglas Laycock—a same-sex marriage supporter—notes:

I know of no American religious group that teaches discrimination against gays as such, and few judges would be persuaded of the sincerity of such a claim. The religious liberty issue with respect to gays and lesbians is about directly facilitating the marriage, as with wedding services and marital counseling.

Religious liberty concerns typically stem from those involved in the wedding industry being penalized by the government because they declined to participate in a same-sex wedding ceremony.

There are now numerous cases of photographers, florists, cake makers and farmers being forced to participate in celebrating same-sex weddings in violation of their belief that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. These are citizens who have no problem serving gays and lesbians but do object to celebrating same-sex weddings.

Religious liberty isn’t an absolute right. Religious liberty doesn’t always trump other values or rights. Religious liberty is balanced with concerns for a compelling state interest that’s being pursued in the least-restrictive means possible. The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, like all similar laws, doesn’t determine the outcome of a particular case. It simply provides a way for citizens to go into court to have their individual case reviewed by a court.

Visit the Daily Signal for more.

Must Watch: Brian Brown's Lively Debate on Indiana Religious Liberty Restoration Act

News Channel 8 featured NOM's own Brian Brown today, debating Rev. Graylan Hagler of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, on the hot topic of Indiana’s religious freedom bill. You won't want to miss this one:

National Organization for Marriage Defends Indiana Legislature and Governor Mike Pence Against 'Hysteria on Hoosierland' Over Religious Liberty Legislation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 31, 2015
Contact: Elizabeth Ray or Matille Thebolt (703-683-5004)


"Contrary to the claims of opponents of this legislation, it is people of faith who are being discriminated against by powerful groups intent on forcing them to support controversial issues such as same-sex 'marriage,' or risk losing their livelihood and personal assets." — Brian Brown, NOM president —

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Washington, D.C. — Dubbing the reaction to passage of Senate Bill 101, the Religious Liberty Restoration Act, "hysteria on Hoosierland," the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today defended the Indiana Legislature and Governor Mike Pence for supporting the effort to provide needed legal protections against governmental action aimed at people of faith who exercise their religious beliefs about marriage and other important social issues.

"It's outrageous how the gay rights lobby and their allies in Hollywood and the media are drumming up hysteria on Hoosierland, by grossly misrepresenting the Religious Liberty Restoration Act, falsely describing it as a 'license to discriminate'," said Brian Brown, NOM's president. "I am certain that noted legal 'experts' like Miley Cyrus have not even read a single word of the legislation, taking their cue from pro-gay marriage groups who trot out tired talking points to claim 'discrimination' when the real victims of discrimination are the individuals and small businesses who have been punished for living their faith in the workplace and compelled against their will to participate in same-sex weddings. This legislation does not exempt any person from any claim of discrimination, all it does is give someone a defense they can raise in court if they are the target of governmental action seeking to compel them to participate in something that violates their sincerely held religious beliefs."

Senate Bill 101 does not apply to actions by individuals nor does it exempt anyone from claims of discrimination. The legislation applies to actions by governmental entities. The legislation simply allows someone whom the government seeks to compel to participate in an action that violates their deeply-held religious views the ability to raise a religious liberty defense for consideration in court. Such a defense, however, may be countered by a showing of the government that the compulsory action fulfills a compelling government interest and is the least restrictive means of achieving that result. This type of law has existed at the federal level for over twenty years, and is the law in many other states. There is no evidence that such a law has ever resulted in discrimination against same-sex couples.

"Contrary to the claims of opponents of this legislation, it is people of faith who are being discriminated against by powerful groups intent on forcing them to support controversial issues such as same-sex 'marriage,' or risk losing their livelihood and personal assets," said Brian Brown, NOM's president. "Across the country whenever same-sex 'marriage' is imposed by courts, lawsuits and punishment soon follow for people of faith who cannot compromise their beliefs about the truth of marriage and do not wish to participate in a same-sex ceremony. Now state officials including Attorneys General are using the power of the state to shut down businesses and threaten their owners that they will take all their personal assets as punishment for refusing to go along with same-sex marriage. SB 101 in Indiana will at least give Hoosiers the opportunity to raise a defense in court to combat this kind of harassment and discrimination by governmental entities. We commend Governor Mike Pence and the lawmakers of Indiana who have acted to move this common-sense legislation," Brown said.

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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).

Why the Indiana Law that Protects Religious Liberty is Good Policy

ThinkstockPhotos-99338324In an article from The Daily Signal, The Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson and Sarah Torre explain why Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act is not controversial, does not promote nor permit discrimination, and above all, why it is good policy to protect citizens from unnecessary and unreasonable government coercion:

These protections for religious freedom, like the one passed in Indiana, provide a commonsense way to balance the fundamental right to religious liberty with compelling government interests.

There are now numerous cases of photographers, florists, cake makers and farmers being forced to participate in celebrating same-sex weddings in violation of their belief that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. These are citizens who have no problem serving gays and lesbians but do object to celebrating same-sex weddings.

Religious liberty isn’t an absolute right. Religious liberty doesn’t always trump. Religious liberty is balanced with concerns for a compelling state interest that’s being pursued in the least-restrictive means possible.

But it isn’t clear that forcing every photographer and every baker and every florist to help celebrate same-sex weddings is advancing a compelling state interest in the least-restrictive way possible. Protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience doesn’t infringe on anyone’s sexual freedoms.

...Again, Religious Freedom Restoration Acts don’t allow individuals to do whatever they wish in the name of religion. There will be times when the government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression—to ensure public safety, for instance.

But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.

You can read the full article at The Daily Signal.

Video: Indiana Law: Bad for Business or Just Misunderstood?

Watch as Ryan Anderson from the Heritage Foundation explains to Out Leadership's Todd Sears and reporters at CNBC that it is not the “controversial” Indiana Law that is pro-discrimination, but it is in fact the law’s opponents who are pro-discrimination.