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Category Archives: Texas

Texas Reaffirms Support for Marriage

200445153-001The Texas Senate reaffirmed Christian principles when passing a resolution to “affirm the preservation of the present definition of marriage as being a legal union of one man and one woman…” Although the resolution is not binding, it does make a statement to Texas and the country that they will be upholding the true definition of marriage, no matter what it might cost. It is a worthy stand for them to make, and one they know must be done:

Same-sex marriages already are prohibited by the Texas Constitution. But senators who supported the resolution 21-10 said they wanted to make a point, and take a stand on principle.

In their late-night vote, 10 years after Texans voted to ban gay marriage in the state, every Senate Republican effectively said they still support that decision - with a resolution reaffirming the state's 2005 voter-approved ban.

The proposal touched off passionate speeches for and against the measure.

We affirm the preservation of the present definition of marriage as being a legal union of one man and one woman as a husband and wife, and pledge to uphold and defend this principle that is so dearly held by Texans far and wide," the resolution read.

As the day comes closer to the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage, stands such as the Texas Senate’s will become more important. Important to show the Supreme Court that the states can decide on the definition of marriage for themselves, and that is not the right of SCOTUS to decide the beliefs of the American people.

Source and quotes via SF Gate.

All States Should Take Texas’ Lead

Texas is taking a strong stance to protect their State’s right to define marriage, regardless of what ruling the Supreme Court issues:

State lawmakers are considering at least five bills designed to block same-sex marriages, which are currently illegal in the state, and some state leaders say they’ll battle to bar the unions regardless of any Supreme Court decision.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement reaffirming his opposition to same-sex marriage. He said, “Texans — not unelected federal judges — should decide this important issue for their state.”

A Texas state representative backs this judicial move with several historical precedences. In addition to Texas, Alabama, Michigan, and Louisiana are also taking a stance:

ThinkstockPhotos-126425189In Louisiana, lawmakers are studying the “Marriage and Conscience Act,” which, if passed, would allow employers to deny same-sex spouses marriage benefits and give state contractors the right to refuse to hire gays and lesbians who marry.

“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,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, wrote in The New York Times.

These states are holding up the right of not only their citizens, but also the right of the State to not be dismissed by unelected officials in the federal government.

In 2005, Texas voters passed a referendum banning same-sex marriages. A federal judge last year ruled the ban unconstitutional but issued a stay on his ruling as the issue moved through higher courts.

The fact that the Supreme Court is considering cases from Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan and Kentucky but not Texas should preclude state officials here from automatically following any decision from the highest court, said Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values, which opposes same-sex marriages.

The people’s will, proved through the 2005 referendum, outweighs any decisions by a federal court, he said. One of his bills would bar public funding to license or recognize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples, regardless of any Supreme Court ruling. As of late Monday (May 11), the bill appeared to have a majority of support in the state House.

Leading by example is one of the highest and effective forms of leadership, and Texas is proving that their ideals and their government truly are led by the people. All states and all citizens should take up the American cause to give the power back to the people, and let the states decide their own fates.

“The sovereignty of states is not something to be taken lightly,” Bell said. “It’s something intended by the framers of our Constitution.”

Source and quotes via Religion News.

Texas Bill Would Protect Local Officials From Issuing Same-sex Marriage Licenses

From The Washington Post:

ThinkstockPhotos-496264349Texas Republicans are pushing legislation to bar local officials from granting same-sex couples licenses to marry, launching a preemptive strike against a possible U.S. Supreme Court ruling next month that could declare gay marriage legal.

Supporters of the measure, which is scheduled for a vote as soon as Tuesday in the Texas House, said it would send a powerful message to the court. Taking a cue from the anti-abortion movement, they said they also hoped to keep any judicially sanctioned right to same-sex marriage tied up in legal battles for years to come.

The measure, by Rep. Cecil Bell, a Republican from the outskirts of Houston, would prohibit state and local officials from using taxpayer dollars “to issue, enforce, or recognize a marriage license . . . for a union other than a union between one man and one woman.”

Bell said the bill “simply preserves state sovereignty over marriage.”

You can read the full article here.

Marriage Defenders Gather in Texas

ThinkstockPhotos-163659274On Monday afternoon, a crowd of 250 gathered at the Texas Capitol to defend marriage as the union between one man and one woman. The rally was headlined by Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, a prominent champion for marriage. During his speech, Moore encouraged other lawmakers to stand up to defend the biblical definition of marriage:

“No court has any authority to redefine what God proposed in Genesis,” Moore said. “The definition of marriage, you want it by man, it doesn’t come by man, it comes from God.”

But Moore was not speaking merely to those in attendance:

Moore also called for Supreme Court of the United States Justices Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse themselves from this summer’s arguments on same-sex marriage because they’ve officiated gay weddings.

Because he’d advised probate courts not to recognize gay marriage licenses, he said he abstained from an Alabama Supreme Court vote ordering judges to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

“I didn’t vote in my case, because I had expressed my opinion,” Moore said. “They should do the same thing.”

In addition to Moore, several other prominent political leaders spoke, including GOP Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. The Texas Observer reports:

ThinkstockPhotos-144336507Patrick said the rally, organized by the Conservative Republicans of Texas, was about two issues: supporting “traditional marriage” and defending states’ rights.

“It’s not about being anti-anyone,” Patrick said. “It’s about being for marriage between a man and a woman.”

Secondly, Patrick said, “It’s not the federal government’s business to tell Texans what to do in Texas on any issue.”

And don't forget to sign up for the 2015 March for Marriage to join us on April 25th!

Ted Cruz Takes Steps to Protect Religious Liberty in D.C.

This week, Sen. Ted Cruz introduced two joint resolutions to overturn recently enacted D.C. Council legislation that undermines religious liberty.

via Sen. Ted Cruz's website:

"The D.C. Council is attempting to force religious institutions to provide services, make employment decisions, or participate in activities that directly violate their faith," said Sen. Cruz. "No government entity should be able to coerce organizations - whether they be non-profits or religious schools - into funding abortion services or promoting gender policy that is contrary to the organization's fundamental mission.

"D.C.'s legislation would require pro-life organizations to fund abortions. It would require Catholic schools to pay for abortions, in direct contravention of their faith. That is wrong, and unconstitutional. Despite pending legislation that might provide a temporary exemption limited to insurance coverage, the D.C. Council is ultimately telling institutions within the District that a day will come when they must make the intolerable choice between complying with the law and abiding by their religious convictions. Rather than discriminating against pro-life and religious organizations, D.C. should welcome diversity of thought and protect the freedom of conscience. We must stop this assault on the Catholic Church, and we must act to protect religious liberty. Congress has a constitutional responsibility to oversee the nation's capital, and I urge my colleagues in both houses to pass this resolution and affirm the First Amendment rights of all citizens."

Conservative Panel Appointed to Hear Gay Marriage Cases in 5th Circuit

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals today announced on their website the justices selected to hear the appeals of lower court rulings on gay marriage cases from Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana. The panel consists of Judges Patrick Higginbotham of Dallas, Jerry Smith of Houston and James Graves Jr. of Jackson, Miss. Higginbotham and Smith are conservative judges appointed to the bench by President Reagan, while Graves is an Obama appointee. Marriage supporters tell NOM they are encouraged by the panel.

GavelThe panel will hear an appeal next week from state officials in Texas and Mississippi where lower federal court judges overturned state marriage amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The same panel will hear an appeal from gay couples in Louisiana who were rebuffed by a federal judge in their attempt to redefine marriage in that state.

The 5th Circuit is one of the most conservative in the country. If they vote to uphold traditional marriage laws, as many observers expect, they will join the 6th Circuit which issued a similar ruling this past October. The US Supreme Court is now considering taking the 6th Circuit case, something that NOM has called upon them to do. The first opportunity for the SCOTUS justices to take the case will be in their conference scheduled for January 9th.

I Stand Sunday

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Christians across America are joining I Stand Sunday this weekend, November 2, 2014, as speakers from across the nation gather at Grace Community Church in Houston, Texas to focus on the freedom to live out our faith free of government intrusion or monitoring.

We will stand with pastors and churches in Houston, Texas who have been unduly intimidated by the city's Mayor in demanding they hand over private church communication.

Watch the free, live simulcast above beginning at 6:00 p.m. CT/7:00 p.m. ET on Sunday (program duration is approx. 90 minutes), or the rebroadcast at 8:10PM CT/9:10 p.m. ET.

Remember to stand for religious freedom online as well by using the hashtag #IStandSunday.

National Organization for Marriage Laments Today's Ruling in Texas, Says Citizens' Values Are Being "Trampled"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 26, 2014
Contact: Elizabeth Ray or Matille Thebolt (703-683-5004)


"Ordinary citizens' voices and values are being trampled in a headlong rush by activist federal judges to redefine marriage in defiance of thousands of years of human experience. The American people, and our leaders in Congress, need to step up and restore the powers of government to their proper balance." — Brian Brown, NOM president —

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Washington, D.C. — The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) expressed deep disappointment and anger today at news of a ruling by Texas federal court judge Orlando Garcia that Texas's amendment in defense of marriage is somehow unconstitutional. While the judge immediately stayed his ruling pending appeals, NOM's President said that this ruling evinces a profoundly disturbing trend of judicial activism.

"We've seen a rash of these rulings in recent weeks, all making the same errors about binding Supreme Court precedents relevant to marriage and all issued by activist judges bound and determined to redefine marriage in defiance of thousands of years of human experience," said Brian Brown, NOM President. "These egregious decisions by unelected judges throwing out the votes of millions of Americans have been shamefully encouraged, aided, and abetted by the lawless actions of President Obama and his administration, especially the Attorney General. It simply has to stop. Critical issues like marriage that are foundational to civilization cannot be permitted to be taken over by activist judges and out of control political appointees. The voices and values of ordinary citizens are being trampled by judges determined to impose profound social change that affects citizens in the deepest and most fundamental ways. The American people, and our leaders in Congress, need to step up and restore the powers of government to their proper balance."

Brown said that this decision was a further signal of the near certainty that the question of marriage would return before the bench of the U.S. Supreme Court before long. He expressed hope that the Court, in that event, would hold to its own logic in the 2013 Windsor decision and affirm states' rights to determine marriage for themselves. However, Brown stressed the need for Congress to act decisively with respect to marriage by passing an amendment to the Federal Constitution.

"Congress needs to send a federal marriage amendment to the states for ratification and put an end to this mockery of government," said Brown. "From the President to the Attorney General, to activist federal judges around the nation and even to some state attorneys general and governors in the various states, we're seeing a shameful lack of integrity and an utter rebellion against the rule of law and the sovereign rights of the American people. Power needs to be returned to the American people to uphold the right of the people to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman."

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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).

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.

What Can One Person Do?

One of the questions NOM always gets is, “What can one person do to make a difference?”  Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert got the same question at last weekend’s Values Voter Summit hosted by the Family Research Council.  Watch and listen to his simple 90-second response:

"Following State Law"

When officers and enlisted swear their oath in joining the Army or Air National Guard, they vow to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States and of the State/Commonwealth/District/Territory" where they are serving.

National GuardToday, Talking Points Memo reports on three State National Guards that are doing just that by refusing to break the laws of their States in order to provide same-sex 'marriage' benefits:

The Obama administration determined this month that married same-sex couples are entitled to spousal military benefits, but three GOP-controlled states - Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi - have refused to grant them to members of their National Guards. Now advocates are urging the federal government to push back. [...]

A Mississippi National Guard spokesman told the news outlet that the unit was "following state law," which, like laws in 30-plus other states, bans same-sex marriage.

You can read more here from the Associated Press.

"Family Friendly" Apparently Offends Some

Many in the gay marriage movement claim that they have no desire to force their lifestyle on anyone else, they only want the freedom to love and marry whomever they wish. But sometimes this carefully-crafted claim is undermined by the real-world actions of the homosexual community itself.

PrideParadeAn example of this was seen last week, as controversy erupted in the media about the Dallas Pride Parade. MyFoxDetroit reported that organizers had stated ahead of this year's event- which took place on Sunday- that "rules related to nudity and sexual behavior would be enforced more strictly than in past years. Police said anyone violating indecency laws in front of children could be charged with a felony."

But many in the gay community were unhappy about the stricter enforcement of the rules, not only in Dallas but across the country:

The warnings outraged some local activists, whose reactions swiftly echoed through gay-oriented social media nationwide.

"To make the parade more 'family friendly' and to accommodate comfort for the increasing number of attending heterosexuals and corporate sponsorship, participants are being asked to cover up!" activist Daniel Scott Cates wrote on his Facebook page. "The 'queer' is effectively being erased from our pride celebration."

Another activist, Hardy Haderman, wrote an aggrieved column for the Dallas Voice, a weekly serving the gay community.

"The assimilationists insist we tone down and throw away all our joyous sexiness," he wrote. "Why? To do that turns the Pride Parade into a We-Are-Ashamed parade, and I refuse to be part of that."

The rules are hardly extreme, however: the article explains that they "were drafted to conform with the city's public nudity ordinance and the state's anti-obscenity law, which bars the parade from featuring sexual paraphernalia and 'real or simulated sex acts.'"

This leaves us wondering how public displays of nudity in front of children and sexual acts on public streets doesn’t equate to forcing others to be exposed to elements of a lifestyle that is understandably objectionable to many.

Texas National Guard Will Not Recognize Same-Sex 'Marriages' for Military Benefits

One of the obvious results of the US Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling this summer is confusion. Confusion with the tax code, confusion with how states, who have the sovereign right to define marriage for themselves, balance their positions on marriage with the new federal definition of marriage. Texas, as well as Mississippi, is at the forefront of these questions.

CNN reports:

"As a state agency, Texas Military Forces must adhere with Texas law, and the Texas Constitution, which clearly defines marriage as between one man and one woman," said Josh Havens, a spokesman for Gov. Rick Perry's office.

Texas Military Forces LogoTexas, like some other states, expressly prohibits same-sex marriage under its law. That state law trumps federal law, argues Perry and others.

"(Texas Military Forces) is a state agency under the authority and direction of the Texas state government," wrote the forces' adjutant general, Maj. Gen. John Nichols, in a memo dated August 30. "... Due to the potential conflict (between state and federal law), we are unable to enroll same-sex families ... at our state-supported facilities until we receive legal clarification."

In a statement Tuesday, the Texas Military Forces insisted that while Nichols is asking the state's attorney general for an advisory opinion, "the state is not denying any federal benefits to military personnel or same-sex spouses of military personnel."

"This is a processing issue, not a denial of benefits issue," the agency says. "As such, we fully encourage eligible members to enroll for their federal benefits at one of the 20 nearest federal installations, which are dispersed throughout the state of Texas."

Some things You Just Don't Want to Miss

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

It has been an incredible week for marriage and I want to make sure you've heard all the news.

This week was the launch of our $1 million dollar match campaign. A faithful and generous donor, who believes we can win the marriage battle, has stepped up and promised to match every dollar we raise between now and the end of the year. Up to $1 million dollars!

Donate Today

If you haven't taken the opportunity to have your donation doubled by this incredible donor, please do so right now. Help us defend marriage in the legislatures of Hawaii, Illinois, and New Jersey. Help us prepare for ballot fights in at least three and maybe eight states. Help us defend your religious liberties from coast to coast. Your sacrificial donation today will be doubled dollar for dollar.

After you've made your contribution there is still plenty of work to be done. NOM has several action items that you can take to protect marriage, defend our religious liberties, and urge a return to the rule of law in our land:

First is calling and sending an email to Chairman Camp of the Ways and Means Committee. In investigating the IRS scandal and the felony committed against NOM, the Ways and Means Committee has not conducted an in-depth investigation or questioned under oath anyone from the Human Rights Campaign, nor gotten full answers from anyone at the IRS including the former Acting Director. Please use this link to get Chairman Camp's phone number; then, after you’ve called his office, send him an email demanding he use the subpoena power of his committee to get to the bottom of the scandal.

Next, is the state of Hawaii. In Hawaii, the Governor has presented the legislature with a draft bill to legalize same-sex 'marriage' and he may call a special session of the legislature to force this through. If you're in Hawaii, or know family and friends there, please take action to send the State Representatives and Senators an urgent message urging them to reject the redefinition of marriage.

Moving east from Hawaii, the California Legislature is at it again, this time considering legislation that would strip groups of their tax exemption if their beliefs and practices don't affirm concepts like "gender identity" and gay "marriage" and other ideas that fly in the face of the teachings of virtually every faith tradition. SB 323 was originally aimed at the Boy Scouts, falsely claiming that they engaged in discriminatory practices by supposedly not accepting homosexual members. But the fact is that the bill would punish any type of group with traditional values, and allow only liberal groups that affirm the homosexual agenda to enjoy a tax exemption. If you are in California or have friends and family there, please use this link to send a message to the CA Assembly asking them to reject this discriminatory law.

Continuing our journey east, New Mexico and Texas continue to be in the news. In New Mexico, county clerks across the state are deciding for themselves to issue same-sex 'marriage' licenses, against the June written opinion of the Attorney General. Thousands of you have already sent emails to Governor Martinez asking her to intervene to restore the rule of law and defend marriage as one man and one woman. If you haven't yet, use this link to send her a message then forward it to any friends and family you have in New Mexico.

Finally in Texas of all places, religious liberties and the freedom to speak and live our faith in the public square is under attack by a proposed San Antonio city ordinance that would bar anyone who has ever allegedly "discriminated" in word or deed from working from the city. This includes organizations that have contracts with the city to provide essential services. Churches and other faith groups are understandably up in arms, knowing that this ordinance would impact them and anyone who has ever voiced support for traditional marriage. Homosexual activists consider the mere act of supporting marriage as the union of one man and one woman to be discrimination per se. The City Council vote is September 5th. Faith groups have begun having rallies and will continue to work to stop this unconstitutional proposal. Please take the time to make your voice heard by sending Governor Perry and the Attorney General of Texas a message urging them to do what they can to stop this proposal.

And don't forget the $1 million match. Please make sure you donate today to have your generous gift doubled in the fight to defend true marriage and our first amendment right of freedom of religion.

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown

Christians Need Not Apply

Joseph Backholm, executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, writes on the growing bias against people of faith in the public square:

If you don’t actually remember it, you’re certainly aware of the Cold War the United States was involved in with the USSR for forty-four years.  We were fighting, but everyone was being passive aggressive about it.

Cross NecklaceSomething similar has been happening culturally in the war on religious freedom.  For years the war has been undeclared and the damage to religious freedom has generally been classified as friendly fire. “I wasn’t shooting at you, I was trying to shoot hate and intolerance; so sorry about that.”

The victims have been numerous. ...around the country bakeries, doctors, counselors, court clerks, and wedding photographers have been victims of the war on intolerance; specifically because of their beliefs about sexuality and marriage.

All along the way, those tightening the noose around the neck of religious freedom have claimed to be allies all along.

That’s changing.  Now that they feel they have the upper hand, they no longer feel the need to be tolerant.

The City of San Antonio is making a move that would allow the city council to exclude from public office anyone who has “bias” that they don’t like. Here is the resolution:

“No person shall be appointed to a position if the city council finds that such person has, prior to such proposed appointment, engaged in discrimination or demonstrated a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group or organization on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age, or disability.” 

That’s right, folks.  If you are a person who has “demonstrated a bias, by word or deed” against people based on things such as religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, you are unfit for public office.

Finish reading this article by FPIW director  here.