Prominent Legal Scholars Declare Supreme Court Marriage Ruling "Anti-Constitutional and Illegitimate" and Not Binding Precedent

Dear Marriage Supporter,

Marking the opening of the new US Supreme Court term this week, a group of over 60 prominent legal scholars has issued a major statement declaring that the notorious ruling from the last Court term which purported to redefine marriage in the Obergefell v Hodges case is "anti-constitutional and illegitimate" and should not be treated public officials or citizens as binding precedent or settled law. The scholars, including NOM co-founder Professor Robert George and Chairman Dr. John Eastman, said that the decision is, "lacking anything remotely resembling a warrant in the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the Constitution" and "must be judged anti-constitutional and illegitimate." They called on the other branches of government and American citizens to refuse to treat the decision as binding precedent or consider it to have settled the law of the United States.

"We stand with James Madison and Abraham Lincoln in recognizing that the Constitution is not whatever a majority of Supreme Court justices say it is," said NOM's co-founder Professor Robert P. George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and one of the authors of the statement. "We remind all officeholders in the United States that they are pledged to uphold the Constitution of the United States, not the will of five members of the Supreme Court."

The legal scholars called on all state and federal officeholders:

  • "To refuse to accept Obergefell as binding precedent for all but the specific plaintiffs in that case.
  • To recognize the authority of states to define marriage, and the right of federal and state officeholders to act in accordance with those definitions.
  • To pledge full and mutual legal and political assistance to anyone who refuses to follow Obergefell for constitutionally protected reasons.
  • To open forthwith a broad and honest conversation on the means by which Americans may constitutionally resist and overturn the judicial usurpations evident in Obergefell."

The sixty-four legal scholars who signed the statement when issued (four others have since added their names) emphasized that the course they are advocating is neither extreme nor disrespectful of the rule of law, relating their position to that of President Lincoln who regarded the claim of supremacy for the Supreme Court in matters of constitutional interpretation as incompatible with the republican principles of the Constitution. Quoting from President Lincoln's first inaugural address, the scholars said that if Americans succumb to the idea of judicial supremacy, "the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal."

The statement from the scholars including NOM's Chairman, Dr. John Eastman (the Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service, Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University) said, "To treat as "settled" and "the law of the land" the decision of five Supreme Court justices who, by their own admission, can find no warrant for their ruling in the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the Constitution, would indeed be to resign our government into the hands of that eminent tribunal. That is something that no citizen or statesman who wishes to sustain the great experiment in ordered liberty bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers should be willing to do."

This statement from some of the top legal experts in America is a major development, one that will help focus attention on the utter lack of legal authority the Supreme Court had to redefine marriage. Since the moment the decision was issued last June, NOM has declared it to be illegitimate because it completely lacks any constitutional basis. It simply represents the desire of five justices to cast aside constitutional principles and millennia of understanding about marriage in order to gain favor with popular culture and powerful constituencies.

NOM is working to overturn the Supreme Court's Obergefell ruling, and enact legislative protections for people of faith so that they are not punished by government for living out the truth of marriage in their daily lives. You can read our five-point plan here.

Alabama Judges Refuse To Issue Same-Sex 'Marriage' Licenses

Taking the admonishment of legal scholars to heart that the Supreme Court's marriage ruling in Obergefell is illegitimate, several Alabama probate judges have petitioned the state Supreme Court for a judgement upholding the state constitution and prohibiting the state from issuing same-sex 'marriage' licenses. The judges acknowledge that the state must "recognize" same-sex 'marriage' licenses issued elsewhere that are valid under the laws of other states, but that the federal government is powerless to force the state to itself issue licenses that violate its state constitution. Saying that the Obergefell ruling was "born from a strained interpretation of the US Constitution, the new same-sex marriage license is a child of the federal government, not the State of Alabama...Therefore, the recognition of same-sex marriage as a civil right under the United States Constitution vests the U.S. Congress with the authority and responsibility to enforce the right and to provide the appropriate licensing, the same as it exclusively does in many other areas of federal law."

The actions by these Alabama Probate Judges are welcome, because it puts into focus the constitutional limitations between the three federal branches of government. It's one thing for the US Supreme Court to issue a ruling, but they have no power to force other branches of government, or the states, to enforce it. There is no such thing as "judicial supremacy" under the constitution. The Supreme Court is supreme only as to its position within the federal court system. They are not superior to the legislative or judicial branches of government. These branches of government, and the states as well, have the power to assess the legitimacy of any ruling issued by the Court and determine for themselves how, if at all, to give it force and effect. This was the principle invoked by President Lincoln when he refused to consider the ruling of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case as binding on anyone but the specific parties to the case.

Thus, as the legal scholars pointed out in their statement, the Obergefell ruling should be considered binding only on the plaintiffs in that particular case. It's up to the Congress to determine if it wishes to enact statutes providing for the issuance of federal same-sex 'marriage' licenses. No state can be compelled to issue marriage licenses in violation of the laws or constitution of that state.

Another Kentucky Clerk Joins Kim Davis in Refusing To Issue Same-sex 'Marriage' Licenses

A third elected county clerk in Kentucky has joined Kim Davis in refusing to violate her conscience and the constitution of the state of Kentucky by issuing 'marriage' licenses to same-sex couples. According to media reports, Whitley County Clerk Kay Schwartz will not issue same-sex marriage licenses which are illegal under Kentucky law. The ACLU is considering a lawsuit to attempt to force her to issue the licenses even though doing so violates both her conscience and the state constitution.

Support the First Amendment Defense Act

If you have not done so already, now is a perfect time to contact your members of Congress to urge them to sign on to support the First Amendment Defense Act (HR 2802/S 1598). There are 150 sponsors and co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, and 38 in the US Senate. NOM is working hard with allies to advance this critical legislation to protect individuals, nonprofit groups, ministers and churches from government retaliation simply for standing for the truth of marriage in the public square. We are hoping for hearings in the next few weeks, so it is imperative that you weigh in with your federal representatives to urge their support of this critical legislation.

NOM Needs Your Support

Our plate is full with work that needs to be done to restore marriage to the law, protect the rights of people to continue to support marriage without fear of retaliation, and engage the culture at all levels on the critically important role a thriving marriage cultures contributes to society. We depend on you and other grassroots supporters to continue our work. Please consider making a gift of $15, $25, $50 or $100 or more.

Donate and Have Your Gift Matched Today!

Your contribution of any amount through the end of the year will be matched by a generous supporter, doubling the effectiveness of your gift. This is a great blessing, and will provide much needed financial support. If you can make a generous donation of $25, $50 or even $100, NOM will get double the help, and it will come at a critical time.

Thank you for all your efforts to support marriage.


Brian S Brown

Donate Today

In Good Times and Bad

Dear Marriage Supporter,

Like any relationship, our work in support of marriage occurs through good times and in bad, when the wind is at our back and when it is in our face. Some challenges are harder than others, some circumstances present unexpected opportunities. Because NOM is not funded by Wall Street billionaires and huge corporations (unlike those who oppose traditional marriage) we rely on you and thousands of others to sustain our work.

I am asking you to consider making a sustaining contribution to NOM each month of $25, $35, $50 or even $100 — whatever you can prayerfully afford. Knowing that we will be able to count on your support no matter the current crisis or opportunity will be a great benefit. It will allow us to more effectively plan our work, and stay within budget.

Becoming a Sustaining Member is easy. Each month your credit card will be charged the amount you select — $15, $25, $35, $50, $100 or even more, whatever you decide. When you go to this link, you first select the amount you wish to donate. You can pick from several suggested amounts, or hit "other amount" to enter a different donation. Then, be sure to scroll down and check the box under the words SUSTAINING MEMBERSHIP. This provides us the authorization we need to process your donation each month. Then scroll to where you complete the credit card information, fill it in, and hit "DONATE." That's all there is to it!

Developing a core group of sustaining members is extremely important to us as we embark upon pursuit of our five-point plan to reverse the anti-constitutional and illegitimate decision of the US Supreme Court imposing gay 'marriage' on the nation, while protecting the rights of supporters to live their beliefs about marriage in their daily lives. We're working hard to enact the First Amendment Defense Act at the federal and state level, which is critically important legislation to prevent government from punishing people who do not want to be forced into supporting same-sex 'marriage.' Already we've seen countless bakers, florists, photographers, printers, clerks and others punished simply for refusing to participate in a same-sex 'wedding' that violates their beliefs. We are working to elect a pro-marriage champion as President, because appointing pro-marriage, pro-constitution judges to the US Supreme Court is the quickest way to reverse the Obergefell ruling redefining marriage. We are laboring hard to create new grassroots education and mobilization tools to help Americans gain a more complete understanding of the nature of marriage and how important it is to preserve it in the law. We're working to highlight the many victims of the Supreme Court's lawless decision, such as Kim Davis who was jailed because she did not want to personally issue same-sex 'marriage' licenses which violate her faith. And we are leading the fight in the court of public opinion to show strong resistance to redefining marriage and continuing support to restore it — in the face of unrelenting pressure from gay activists and the elites to accept this illegitimate ruling as "the law of the land."


Like many American families, NOM has been forced to do more with less. Our workload has increased as we seek to reverse what the Supreme Court has done and protect your rights in the meantime, but we can't just snap our fingers like gay 'marriage' groups can do and receive a seemingly unlimited supply of money.

With an increased workload and reduced staff, we're stretched very thin. The last thing I want to do is take more of my time away from pursuing our programs and spend it on fundraising. That is why developing a core group of Sustaining Members is critically important to us.

Please act today to become a Sustaining Member of NOM so that we can count on your support throughout the year:

I’ll make a monthly Sustaining Member donation of $15

I’ll make a monthly Sustaining Member donation of $25

I’ll make a monthly Sustaining Member donation of $50

I’ll make a monthly Sustaining Member donation of $100

Recruiting several thousand Sustaining Members of NOM would be an enormous blessing for us, and richly benefit the cause of marriage. Not only would we benefit from the financial stability that Sustaining Members would provide, but we'd receive a tremendous emotional boost knowing that you and thousands of others are investing in the work we do, which is critical if we are to preserve marriage in America, and throughout the world.

Your monthly gift of $25, $35, $50, $100 or even $250 or more — whatever amount you prayerfully decide is appropriate under your circumstances — will be a great blessing and materially contribute to our ability to restore marriage to our laws, and preserve this immensely important institution in our culture. Please act today to become a Sustaining Member of NOM.

Thank you for your consideration.


Brian S Brown

PS — When you click here to authorize your monthly donation, just pick the amount you wish to give and be sure to check the box below the words SUSTAINING MEMBER. Then fill out the credit card information and hit DONATE — it's that simple!

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To Whom Do Children Belong? How Same-Sex Marriage Threatens Parental Rights

Melissa Moschella has written an insightful, powerful two part piece on how the imposition of same-sex marriage impacts parental rights and results in increased intrusion by the state into family affairs. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here; both were published by Public Discourse. Ms. Moschella explains the basis of her argument thusly:

“Same-sex marriage is often touted as a harmless expansion of individual liberty. Yet the legal redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples has far from innocuous consequences, particularly with regard to children’s well-being and religious liberty. Redefining marriage also strikes at our fundamental liberties in deeper though less obvious ways.

A crucial aspect of liberty is respect for subsidiarity—in particular, recognition that the family, based on marriage, is a pre-political community with natural and original authority over its internal affairs, especially the education and upbringing of children. Redefining marriage in law to include same-sex couples undermines the principled basis for the primacy of parental childrearing authority by obliterating the link between marriage and procreation as well as the norm of conjoined biological parenthood that conjugal marriage laws help to foster. What was once almost unanimously understood to be a normative ideal—the intact biological family composed of married mother and father with their biological children—is now culturally (and to a large extent legally) demoted to being merely one among an increasingly wide variety of family forms.”

Pope Stands Strong For Marriage and Religious Liberty

Dear Marriage Supporter,

Wrapping up our coverage of Pope Francis' historic visit to the United States, it is clear that he delivered a resounding pro-family, pro-marriage message to the American people. While the mainstream media did all they could to portray the Pope in liberal political terms, focusing their reporting on issues like climate change, as the Pope promised when he arrived in Washington the overall theme of his visit was the importance of upholding the family, including supporting men and women as husband and wife, father and mother.

It was recently revealed that Pope Francis met privately in Washington with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who was jailed for refusing to sacrifice her conscience and authorize same-sex 'marriages' that violate her deeply held religious beliefs. As you know, NOM has helped lead efforts to support Kim during this difficult time, generating substantial public support and even raising money to help her family handle any added expenses they may have incurred. Pope Francis thanked Ms. Davis for her courageous stand and encouraged her to continue to "stay strong" in the face of adversity.

Kim Davis has become a symbol for the millions of Americans who refuse to accept the legitimacy of the US Supreme Court's ruling purporting to redefine marriage. Such a ruling has no constitutional basis and NOM has urged that it be ignored by elected officials just as President Lincoln refused to accept the legitimacy of the infamous Dred Scott decision finding that African Americans were not US citizens and could be considered the property of their slave masters.

Pope Francis told the media on his way home to Rome that individuals, including government officials, have a basic human right to object to participation in acts based on religious concerns. The Pope said that is imperative that government respect the "human right" to conscientiously object to things they reject. He told the media, "if someone does not allow others to object on the basis of conscience, he denies a right."

At the United Nations, the Pope called on world leaders for respect of "a moral law written into human nature itself, one which includes the natural difference between man and woman..."

In an address to US Bishops who attended the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, the Pope alluded to the disconnect between the truth of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and attempts to redefine it. He said, "Until recently, we lived in a social context where the similarities between the civil institution of marriage and the Christian sacrament were considerable and shared. The two were interrelated and mutually supportive. This is no longer the case."

And throughout his trip, at virtually every opportunity, the Pope sounded a clarion call for respect for religious liberty, the right not only to believe and worship, but to live out those beliefs in daily life. He said that religious liberty "transcends places of worship and the private sphere of individuals and families" and is "a fundamental right which shapes the way we interact socially and personally with our neighbors whose religious views differ from our own." And to make the point crystal clear, the Pope made a surprise visit to the Little Sisters of the Poor to show his support for their battle against Obamacare which purports to require them to provide coverage for abortion-inducing drugs.

In contrast to the Pope's clear and consistent comments on religious liberty, President Obama performed as he often does, giving speeches designed to appeal to a particular audience even when his actions are completely opposite of his words. For example, the president told Pope Francis that America "stand[s] with you in defense of religious freedom and interfaith dialogue, knowing that people everywhere must be able to live out their faith free from fear and free from intimidation." Meanwhile, according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, his administration is attempting to force 140 religious ministries and institutions to accept regulations that require them to pay for health plans that cover contraception, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs and devices.

And after Pope Francis left America, President Obama cleared up any confusion his supportive comments to the Pope about religious liberty might have engendered, making clear to a far-left LGBT group that "religious freedom doesn't grant us the freedom to deny our fellow Americans their constitutional rights." In other words, Kim Davis has the religious freedom to refuse to issue same-sex 'marriage' licenses provided that she doesn't refuse to issue same-sex 'marriage' licenses.

Pope Francis' host at the World Meeting of Families, Archbishop Charles Chaput, said something quite apt about the disconnect the surrounds us when he commented, "We live at an odd time in history. When the Church defends marriage and the family, the unborn child and the purpose of human sexuality, she's attacked as too harsh. When she defends immigrant workers and families that are broken up by deportation, she's attacked as too soft. And yet she is neither of those things."

I feel a sense of renewal and energy coming out of the Pope's visit to America. I was in Washington, DC when he was there, and my family and I attended many of the events in Philadelphia. There's no question that he has brought a sense of energy and compassion to how people view the Catholic Church, and people across the globe are responding to his message. He is the most popular person in the world today, and he is on our side regarding the debate about marriage and religious liberty.

The challenge for NOM will be to continue to build on the momentum of the Pope's visit to America. For example:

  1. We must make the concept of religious liberty real for supporters of marriage, by convincing the Congress and states to pass the First Amendment Defense Act to prohibit government from discriminating against and punishing people who support traditional marriage.
  2. We must elect a president who will appoint federal judges who will uphold the constitution, refusing to invent "rights" like same-sex marriage while protecting enumerated constitutional rights like the free exercise of religion.
  3. We must reengage the American people in a discussion about the nature of marriage — its roots, its societal benefits and most especially its inherent complementarity between the sexes, bringing the two halves of humanity together for their own benefit, and for that of any children born of their union.
  4. And we must vigilantly and courageously defend victims like Kim Davis whose rights have been violated by the government in an attempt to force acceptance of and compliance with the lie that is 'gay marriage.'

All these things are part of our work plan. We respectfully ask you for your support to turn our plan into reality by making a contribution of whatever you can afford, whether that be $25, or $250 or more. Whatever you can afford to contribute will be gratefully appreciated, and because of the support of a generous donor who is committed to preserving marriage and religious liberty, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar. So there has never been a better time to support NOM than right now.

Defend Marriage — Donate Today

Please help us capitalize on the momentum for marriage and religious liberty generated by Pope Francis' visit by making a donation today.


Brian S Brown

PS — Every donation you make through the end of the year will be matched by a generous supporter who agrees with Pope Francis that it is worthwhile to fight for marriage and religious liberty. This means that if you contribute $25, NOM will receive $50, and if you give $50, we will receive $100. Please make your most generous contribution possible. Thank you.

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Oregon Agency Takes Legal Action to Force Payment of Fine By Christian Bakers

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries is taking legal action to attempt to force Aaron and Melissa Klein, the Oregon bakers who declined to bake a ‘wedding’ cake for a same-sex couple based on their religious views, to pay a $135,000 fine. The Kleins have refused to pay the money because it was levied by a bureaucratic agency and the matter is now on appeal to the courts. In the meantime, they’ve made it clear that they have no animosity toward those who filed the complaint, even going as far as sending them handmade cakes. Their objection is to using their talents to help celebrate something that is contrary to their Christian beliefs.

It’s a tragedy that the bureaucrats who acted as judge and jury in ruling against the Kleins (after engaging in substantial private discussions with the state’s top gay rights group) now think they can bully the young Christian couple into paying before the courts have even examined the case. What this family is experiencing is representative of what will happen to the religious liberty rights of Christians and other people of faith whose personal participation in celebrating a gay ‘wedding’ is being routinely demanded by lesbian and gay activists.

The Daily Signal has the story:

Image via The Daily Signal

Image via The Daily Signal

The agency that ordered Aaron and Melissa Klein to pay $135,000 in damages for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex couple began the legal process last week to seize the money the Oregon bakers are refusing to pay.

“Our agency has docketed the judgment and is exploring collection options,” Charlie Burr, communications director for the agency, told The Daily Signal. “They are entitled to a full and fair review of the case, but do not have the right to disregard a legally binding order.”

Docketing the judgment is a preliminary step the agency must take in order to seize the Kleins’ house, property, or other assets in lieu of payment.

On July 2, Brad Avakian, commissioner of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, ordered the Kleins to pay $135,000 for the emotional, physical, and psychological damages they caused Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer for refusing to make a wedding cake.

Since then, the Kleins have been vocal about their plans to resist the order, and they told The Daily Signal they have no intention of backing down.

“There’s legal reasons and there’s also kind of personal reasons,” Aaron Klein told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “If a civil court or a circuit court judge had made this order, I would consider it legally binding. But when a bureaucracy does it and I didn’t get due process, I don’t call it legally binding.”

Talking about the personal reasons, Aaron cited a July interview in Willamette Week, where the complainants suggested that the case wasn’t about money.

“We didn’t have a choice in how this was prosecuted,” Rachel Bowman-Cryer said. “We didn’t have a choice in the fine. If we had been given the option, we probably would have said: ‘Just apologize. Just say you’re sorry and go away.’”

Her wife, Laurel, added, “[W]e’re not asking for anything. We’ve never asked for a penny from anybody.”

“When you have these girls come out and say we never wanted the money,” Aaron said, “it wasn’t about the money and we don’t need the money … and I say this isn’t right, I shouldn’t have to pay this money, and the only person saying the money should exchange hands seems to be Brad Avakian.”

Image via Focus On The Family

Image via Focus On The Family

In order to pay the $135,000, the Kleins were given two options: obtain a bond or an irrevocable line of credit, which would guarantee their obligations to the Bowman-Cryers unless the Kleins won their case.

“A bond is going to cost roughly $7,000. That’s $7,000 I’m never going to get back, even if I won on appeal,” Aaron said. “Should I have to pay $7,000? I don’t think that’s fair.”

Taking out a line of credit, he said, would be the same as handing over money to the state.

“I couldn’t find a bank that would do it without just depositing the full amount of money, so it’s not a letter of credit at that point. It’s just the same as giving the state money, and having them hold it, which I don’t trust the state to hold my money any more than I trust them to give me the evidence.”

Instead, the Kleins’ attorneys asked the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries to issue a stay, which is a legal process that would have put the damages payment on hold until their appeals ruling comes out.

(The Kleins filed a petition for review with the Washington Court of Appeals in July, after the final order came out.)

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries denied their request for a stay.

. . .

After the order came out, multiple fundraisers were set up to help the Kleins pay the damages.

Although those fundraisers raised thousands of dollars, Aaron claimed the “half million” figure is “bloated” but did not disclose the final tally.

“The number they’ve given out is bloated,” Klein said. “It is not what we have available, it is not what we have on hand, and there are so many variables to where that money has to go, what has to happen with that money, that we’re not touching that money for any purpose because I don’t know what the future holds.”

If the Kleins eventually win their case in the appellate court, Aaron said they’d like to use that money to first pay their own bills, then “bless” others.

“I’d like to say that we’d definitely help some people out. We’ve had a huge financial hardship through this, so it would be nice to catch up on some bills, but we’d definitely love to bless others.”

There Is No Need to Deny Individuals Religious Liberty

As millions of Americans refuse to accept the illegitimate ruling of the US Supreme Court redefining marriage, the issue of how to deal with conscientious objectors has risen to the fore.

Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk jailed for refusing to violate her faith by participating in certifying a same-sex ‘marriage’ is perhaps the best known victim of the Court ruling, but she is only one of many who have been fined, fired, punished or put out of business. Similar punishments are taking place regarding religious groups who are unable to comply with Obamacare regulations because of their faith.

This article from The Federalist, written by our friends at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, may suggest one approach for policymakers to consider when it comes to accommodation. The best solution, of course, if for Congress and the states to pass the First Amendment Defense Act to prohibit government retaliation against supporters of marriage.

From The Federalist:

religious-liberty-can-be-accomodatedThere are hard cases of religious conscience, and then there are easy ones. When the government has lots of ways to govern without trampling religious belief, it should be an easy case. We saw one last week when a federal appeals court ruled in favor of Dordt College and other religious nonprofit organizations trying to follow their faith. These groups can’t participate in a web of government regulations that would provide life-terminating drugs to their employees. So the ministries must choose to violate their faith or violate the law, to the tune of millions in Internal Revenue Service fines.

It’s the same choice faced by the Little Sisters of the Poor. If the Little Sisters don’t comply with this contraceptive mandate, they face millions in IRS fines. This is a group that provides vital care for thousands of elderly poor—exactly the sort of care that should be supported and encouraged by the nation’s health-care laws.

. . .

The sad fact is that the government has a win-win solution at its fingertips. As a federal appeals court said in the Dordt College case last week, the government already operates exchanges where millions of Americans can obtain health coverage. Subsidies are available to those whose employers don’t provide health insurance.

This is how the government provides for those whose employers do not provide the generous health-care benefits many religious ministries already provide. The government could easily open those subsidies to any employees of religious groups who want the coverage not included in their employers’ plan. This would satisfy the government’s concerns, satisfy the ministries’ religious beliefs, and ensure that Americans still receive vital services from groups like the Little Sisters.

For that reason, the Eighth Circuit Court of appeals sided with religious ministries last week. Echoing a unanimous Supreme Court opinion on religious freedom, it said, “[I]f a less restrictive means is available for the Government to achieve its goals, the Government must use it.”

it-doesnt-have-to-be-that-wayAlthough the solution is easy, it will probably take another Supreme Court intervention to make it happen. Last week’s court decision disagrees with rulings from several other appeals courts, creating the circuit split that Supreme Court-watchers have been predicting. When federal appeals courts disagree on an important issue like this one, Supreme Court review is very likely. That court returns from its summer recess next week, and it will have to decide whether to take up the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor, East Texas Baptist University, and other religious ministries.

The Supreme Court has been friendly to religious freedom, with recent rulings in favor of Hobby Lobby on a similar challenge, a unanimous victory for religious prison inmates in Holt v. Hobbs, and several emergency orders protecting religious ministries from fines under the HHS mandate. Let’s hope the Court continues this trend, recognizing that when religious freedom and government regulations conflict, it does not have to be a zero-sum game.

Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis Says Pope Francis Told Her to 'Stay Strong'

As reported by AP, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis says that she had a private meeting with Pope Francis during his visit to the United States. Davis, who was jailed for refusing to issue same-sex "marriage" licenses because of her religious beliefs, says that Pope Francis thanked her for her courage and urged her to “stay strong.” A New York Times article, reported that the exchange was done via an arranged, private meeting, which a Vatican spokesperson has now confirmed.

The AP story via US News is as follows:


Image via ABC News/Getty Images

A Kentucky clerk who went to jail for defying a federal court's orders to issue same-sex marriage licenses says she met briefly with the pope during his historic visit to the United States.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, didn't deny the encounter took place but said Wednesday in Rome that he had no comment on the topic.

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis and her husband met privately with Pope Francis on Thursday afternoon at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., for less than 15 minutes, said her lawyer, Mat Staver.

"It was really very humbling to even think that he would want to meet me or know me," Davis said in an interview with ABC.

Davis, an Apostolic Christian, spent five days in jail earlier this month for defying a federal court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In a telephone interview late Tuesday, Staver would not say who initiated the meeting with the pope or how it came to be, though he did say that Vatican officials had inquired about Davis' situation while she was in jail. He declined to name them.

"He told me before he left, he said 'stay strong.' That was a great encouragement," Davis said of the pope during the ABC interview. "Just knowing that the pope is on track with what we're doing and agreeing, you know, it kind of validates everything."

She didn't say in the interview whether she had a private audience with the pope or she was part of larger crowd.

Davis was in Washington for the Values Voter Summit, where the Family Research Council, which opposes same-sex marriage, presented her with an award for defying the federal judge. While in Washington, the longtime Democrat said she was switching to the Republican party because she felt abandoned by Democrats in her fight against same-sex marriage.

Pope Francis did not focus on the divisive debate over same-sex marriage during his visit last week. As he left the country, he told reporters who inquired that he did not know Davis' case in detail, but he defended conscientious objection as a human right.

"It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right," Francis said.

Justice Scalia Stands Firm in His Views of Same-sex 'Marriage' Decision

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has not backed down in the slightest regarding his views of the Obergefell decision. The plainspoken, conservative justice has unabashedly condemned the Supreme Court’s decision to force same-sex 'marriage' to be permitted nationwide. As was recently evidenced in his speech at Rhodes College, Justice Scalia has no intention of rescinding his views that the current Supreme Court lineup is taking the nation’s highest court in “the wrong direction.” LifeSiteNews has the story:

Antonin_Scalia_Official_SCOTUS_PortraitJustice Scalia spoke Tuesday for Constitution Day at Rhodes College, where his grandson is a student, warning that the Supreme Court has become a "threat to democracy."

The 79-year-old Reagan appointee said he worries about the nation's highest court, because it is "headed in the wrong direction."

"Saying that the Constitution requires [homosexual] practice, which is contrary to the religious beliefs of many of our citizens," Scalia said – "I don't know how you can get more extreme than that."

Scalia described the Obergefell v. Hodges decision as the "furthest imaginable extension of the Supreme Court doing whatever it wants." He rhetorically asked, "Do you really want your judges to rewrite the Constitution?"

Scalia also noted that the make-up of the Supreme Court is "terribly unrepresentative of our country" and pointed out that a law degree does not qualify one to judge transcendent moral issues. "What is it that I learned at Harvard Law School that makes me peculiarly qualified to determine such profound moral and ethical questions as whether there should be a right to abortion, whether there should be same-sex marriage, whether there should be a right to suicide?" Scalia asked. "It has nothing to do with the law."

The conservative justice is well-known for his insistence that the judicial branch of government has the task of interpreting the law in light of the Constitution, not creating law from current cultural trends.

On June 26, the Supreme Court judge wrote his own dissent to the Obergefell decision. In what Church Militant calls "his most sharply worded dissent yet," Scalia called the decision an abuse of the judicial branch, which he said was usurping the authority of the legislative branch, and thus the will of the people.

Scalia's dissent described the Supreme Court's overreach in Obergefell as stepping outside the scope of its authority to dictate radical social policy – which properly is the domain of the democratic process. He wrote that the ruling was a "naked judicial claim to legislative – indeed, super-legislative – power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government."

All four dissenting judges – Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito – felt so strongly that each wrote his own dissent. "Today's decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court," Scalia wrote. He added that the decision lacks "even a thin veneer of law."

"This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine," Scalia dissented, "robs the People of ... the freedom to govern themselves."

Pope Francis Supports ‘Conscientious Objection' to Issuing Marriage Licenses for Same-sex Couples

As reported by Religious News Service, Pope Francis supported allowing government officials to excuse themselves from issuing same-sex ‘marriage’ licenses, if it violates their religious beliefs. The Holy Father even said such officials have a “human right” to refuse to discharge a duty that contradicts their religious conscience. Religious News Service has the story:

(Image via The Catholic Sun/CNS photo/Stefano Spaziani)

(Image via The Catholic Sun/CNS photo/Stefano Spaziani)

Pope Francis said on Monday government officials have a “human right” to refuse to discharge a duty, such as issuing marriage licenses to homosexuals, if they feel it violates their conscience.

. . .

On the flight back to Rome, he was asked if he supported individuals, including government officials, who refuse to abide by some laws, such as issuing marriage licences to gays.

“Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right,” Francis said.

Earlier this month a city official in the U.S. state of Kentucky, Kim Davis, went to jail because she refused to issue a marriage licence to a gay couple following a Supreme Court decision to make homosexual marriage legal.

Davis’s case has taken on national significance in the 2016 presidential campaign, with one Republican contender, Mike Huckabee, holding rallies in favour of Davis, a Apostolic Christian, who has since joined the Republican party.

“I can’t have in mind all cases that can exist about conscientious objection but, yes, I can say that conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right,” he said, speaking in Italian.

“And if someone does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right,” he added.

Francis said conscientious objection had to be respected in legal structures. “Otherwise we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying: ‘This right has merit, this one does not.'”

Pope Affirms the Sanctity of Marriage!

Dear Marriage Supporter,

The Pope made dramatic statements during his visit to Washington, DC. With President Obama only a few feet away the Pope made profound remarks about marriage and religious liberty.

As you know, President Obama has worked tirelessly to redefine marriage and he now wants to redefine religious liberty and turn it into something other than what the Founding Fathers intended. But the constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion not the mere ability to hold a belief — it's the right to live out your beliefs in your daily life the way you want — not the way Obama or the government believes you should.

At the joint session of Congress, the Pope said — "I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life."

And at the United Nations the Pope talked about recognizing the moral law of marriage between one man and one women which is affirmed, in what his own words describe, as "the natural difference between man and woman." What an affirmation to what we have been working so hard to protect!

Defend Marriage — Donate Today

Your gift today to NOM will help us continue to fight for religious freedom so that no one faces persecution for practicing their faith — Your gift of $25, $35, $50, $75 or $100 or more to fight the most critical battle of our lifetime. And thanks to a generous donor your gift will be doubled.

Here's how NOM is investing your generous donations in the battle for Americans Constitutionally guaranteed right to religious freedom:

  1. NOM is on the frontlines of the battle for the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). This Act cannot survive the efforts of those who are opposed to religious freedom unless we stand strong and united. Urged on by NOM, thousands of people have already contacted their federal representatives to urge them to sign onto this critical legislation.
  2. We are leading the effort to reverse the illegitimate Supreme Court decision by electing a pro-marriage champion as our nation's next president. We created the presidential pledge and already, four candidates have emerged as Marriage Champions — Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Rick Santorum, Governor Bobby Jindal and Dr. Ben Carson.

Nothing will change unless you and I speak out and stand firm! Our work depends on you! Join NOM in the fight to ensure FADA becomes the law of the land and to guarantee that religious freedom is preserved in America forever! Please offer you best gift today.

NOM's efforts take money. We are completely dependent on you and others to contribute to this effort. Those opposed to religious freedom are working day and night to make sure FADA fails in Congress and at the state level. Help us to counter their relentless assault.

Why give today? Because every dollar you give will be matched dollar for dollar! Your money will go twice as far in the battle for America's religious freedom. Today is a perfect time to support NOM and watch your investment double!

I'll make a donation of $25 which will double to $50

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There is no time to waste. Those opposed to marriage are not standing back, waiting to see what happens. We must match them dollar for dollar, action for action. Because what is at stake is the very freedom that sets America apart from so many other nations on earth.

Please don't stand on the sidelines and let our government destroy this right. Support NOM today so we can protect your rights and the rights of all Americans.


Brian S Brown

P.S. — Remember! Every dollar you give will immediately be matched! This is a critical time — we cannot stand back and do nothing. We must fight for our religious rights. We can win. We can preserve our first amendment rights. We can turn America back to a nation that respects differences in opinion and the sanctity of traditional marriage. Be part of the solution and support NOM today!

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Congress Hears Pope Francis Defend Marriage and Family

Dear Marriage Supporter,

Pope Francis gave a historic address to Congress and other political leaders in Washington just minutes ago and made it clear in his own words that the overall theme of his visit to America is that he wishes to uphold the family, and support marriage. Here's what he just told our political leaders:

"I will end my visit to your country in Philadelphia, where I will take part in the World Meeting of Families. It is my wish that throughout my visit the family should be a recurrent theme. How essential the family has been to the building of this country! And how worthy it remains of our support and encouragement! Yet I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life."

The crowds that surround Pope Francis wherever he goes — with a multitude of people travelling long distances just for the chance to see him — is a testimony to the truth of his message. In our hearts, each of us knows that the family, one made up of a mother and a father united in marriage, is what holds the fabric of society together.

While we share Pope Francis' deep concerns about efforts to redefine marriage and the family, we also share his joy to proclaim the universal truth that men and women were made by God to complement each other and in their marital union children experience the ideal relationship created for their flourishing.

Please continue to follow Pope Francis' visit to America, especially his comments relating to marriage and the family, by checking our blog frequently. And if you share our optimism in the truth of marriage and family, please consider making a donation to NOM today, which a generous donor has agreed to match dollar for dollar and will immediately put to work in support of preserving marriage, family and religious liberty.


Brian S Brown

Donate Today

Breaking: Pope Francis in First US Speech Gives Ringing Defense of Religious Freedom

Dear Marriage Supporter,

The commentators who tried to tell us that Pope Francis would steer clear of mentioning marriage and religious freedom in his time in the US were dead wrong.

Just minutes ago, in his first speech in the United States Pope Francis spoke of his desire to "celebrate and support the institutions of marriage and the family at this, a critical moment in the history of our civilization."

He then went on to directly address the president on religious liberty. He said religious freedom, "remains one of America's most precious possessions. And, as my brothers, the United States Bishops, have reminded us, all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it."

These are strong words and so encouraging to those of us standing on the front lines of defending marriage and religious liberty. We will keep updating you as I will be traveling between Philadelphia at the World Meeting of Families this week for the Papal Visit.


Brian S Brown

P.S. If you wish to do all you can to protect religious liberty please consider making a donation to our matching grant challenge by clicking here.

P.P.S. Please stop by our booths at the World Meeting of Families or Values Voters Conference. We are at both and would love to see you!

Donate Today

It's Not Only Kim Davis Who Has Been Targeted For Punishment

Dear Marriage Supporter,

It's been a week since Kim Davis went back to work pledging to continue to fight for her religious liberty rights and not be forced to issue 'marriage' licenses to same-sex couples that include her name or are issued under her authority. In fact, she had the license forms issued by her office going forward be reprinted to remove her name and include a reference that they were being issued by deputies by order of the federal court. She firmly believes that the licenses issued to gay couples under order of federal judge David Bunning are invalid because she has specifically refused to grant her authority to deputies for them to be issued.

Meanwhile, liberal politicians like Governor Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway — both of whom so readily abandoned the 75% of Kentucky voters who passed a constitutional amendment reserving marriage solely to one man and one woman — have quickly weighed in that the disputed licenses are valid. Of course their views are transparently political and not based on any serious legal analysis. Meanwhile, gay and lesbian activists are demanding that Kim Davis be hauled back into court for "interfering" with gay couples by altering the license forms.

The bottom line is that Kim Davis remains at risk and could be ordered back to jail any time this rogue federal judge decides to once again appease the LGBT activists.

NOM continues to stand firm fighting for the rights of Kim Davis and others who refuse to personally be complicit in the lie of same-sex 'marriage.' We're asking for your support of $25, $35, $50, $100 or even $250 or more so that we can undertake all the work needed to organize public opinion in defense of religious liberty for marriage supporters, help enact legislation at the federal and state levels to protect your rights, and help shape the electoral environment so that a champion for traditional marriage is elected president. Having a president who will appoint pro-marriage Supreme Court judges is the fastest path to reversing their sham, illegitimate ruling on marriage.

Kim Davis is not the only public official in the crosshairs of gay activists demanding that they personally endorse same-sex 'marriage' or be punished. A fellow clerk in Kentucky, Casey Davis (no relation to Kim), also refuses to issue 'marriage' licenses to gay couples because doing so violates his beliefs. He's facing legal action. In Alabama, Probate Judge Nick Williams has petitioned the state Supreme Court for an order protecting his right not to perform a same-sex 'marriage' in violation of his religious beliefs. And in Oregon, two state judges are under attack for refusing to perform same-sex 'weddings' that violate their religious beliefs.

The case of Marion County Judge Vance Day is particularly troubling. Oregon law allows, but does not require, judges to perform weddings. It is not a required element of their job. In fact, the state's laws are so liberal (like their politics) that just about anyone can pay a small fee and be authorized to perform marriages. Despite the fact that virtually any adult in the state could perform a same-sex 'wedding,' gay activists in the state are determined to force every judge to participate, especially those who object on moral or religious grounds. Thus, activists have filed a professional complaint against Vance Day because he does not want to violate his beliefs and perform a "gay wedding."

And get this: Part of the complaint against Judge Day is that because he doesn't want to personally perform a same-sex ceremony he must be prejudiced against gays and lesbians and they can't trust how he would treat them in court. "It goes beyond marriage and gets to serious questions about judicial integrity," one activist told a reporter.

Judge Vance Day is facing an upcoming state hearing that could lead to his removal from the bench. NOM has sounded the alarm about this case, and we are fighting to make sure that he and countless others are not punished simply for refusing to personally be part of the lie that is same-sex 'marriage.'

Please help us mount the most aggressive defense possible for the rights of all Americans to live their views about marriage in their daily lives and to be free from government persecution because they refuse to abandon the truth of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Your contribution of $15, $35, $50, $100 or $250 is urgently needed, and thanks to a generous donor, will be instantly matched to double its effectiveness. Please act today to help us fight for you and all the others who are under attack.

I'll give a quick donation of $15, which will be matched dollar for dollar, resulting in $30 for NOM to continue the fight for the cause of marriage.

I'll give a quick donation of $35, which will be matched dollar for dollar, resulting in $70 for NOM to continue the fight for the cause of marriage.

I'll give a quick donation of $50, which will be matched dollar for dollar, resulting in $100 for NOM to continue the fight for the cause of marriage.

I'll give a quick donation of $100, which will be matched dollar for dollar, resulting in $200 for NOM to continue the fight for the cause of marriage.

I'll give a quick donation of $250, which will be matched dollar for dollar, resulting in $500 for NOM to continue the fight for the cause of marriage.

When I say that NOM is fighting for marriage and the religious liberty rights of Americans who believe in marriage, I mean we are on the front lines doing the heavy lifting, not just paying lip service to the cause. For example, in Oregon we not only filed legal briefs in support of traditional marriage, we went to court seeking to represent the state's voters when the state Attorney General violated her oath of office and refused to defend the vote of the people to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. When the homosexual judge who invalidated the Oregon marriage amendment denied our motion to defend marriage, we took our fight on behalf of Oregon voters all the way to the US Supreme Court. And even though the Supreme Court did not ultimately grant our request to allow us to defend the Oregon marriage amendment, we've continued to fight for the truth of marriage.

Given the posture of the courts, it's critical that Congress and state legislatures enact legislation like the First Amendment Defense Act. That is why we are working hard in Congress and at the state level to enact this critical legislation. Without it, countless Americans will be at risk of losing their businesses, being fired, having to pay heavy fines to the government and even being jailed — simply because they will not embrace same-sex 'marriage.'

I have to confess that asking you to make a financial contribution to NOM is one of the least desirable parts of my job. I'd much rather be speaking at rallies in Kentucky defending Kim Davis, or meeting with presidential candidates to talk about their views of marriage, or meeting with federal and state officials to explain the importance of the First Amendment Defense Act. But the truth of the matter is that we cannot be successful if we do not have the financial resources to effectively engage the battle.

NOM is the only group in this country that is solely focused on defending the truth of marriage and the faith communities that sustain it. We have many great allies in the battle, and we are extremely grateful and are extraordinarily blessed to have them standing beside us. But when it comes to maintaining a sole, undiluted, laser-focus on marriage as our only issue, NOM is the tip of the spear.

So while I may not always enjoy asking people for money, I am proud to do so because I am incredibly proud of NOM's work and I fundamentally believe that it is making a real difference now, and is essential if we are to protect the religious liberty of people to support marriage and to eventually reverse the illegitimate Supreme Court ruling redefining marriage.

Donate to Defend Marriage Today

The matching gift offer from one of our most generous supporters is a great boost to us, one that I hope you will act upon immediately so that we receive maximum support during this critical period. Every dollar you give will be matched, resulting in us receiving two dollars. Please consider a gift of $15, $25, $35, $50 or even $100 or more, realizing that everything you give will be doubled.

I thank you for all that you've done to support NOM and to defend the wonderful institution of marriage, an institution created by God at the beginning of time, one that provides immense benefits to couples and to children. The truth of marriage can never be "lost" because of an illegitimate court ruling, even one from the US Supreme Court. But millions of people can be misled and have their own lives and that of their children and grandchildren damaged because the universal truth of marriage has been unmoored from the law. We're committed to restoring the truth of marriage to our laws, and to protecting people of faith who believe in traditional marriage from being persecuted in the meantime. We would appreciate your financial support to fulfill this mission.


Brian S Brown

PS — It's so uplifting to know that a generous donor will match any contribution you give, dollar for dollar, through the end of the year (up to a total match of $200,000). Please take advantage of this incredible offer and make a generous contribution to support our work. Thank you.

Donate Today

The Pope Is At Odds With Liberals, Too – Just Don’t Expect The Media To Report It

Pope Francis makes a historic visit to the United States this week, with stops in Washington DC, New York and Philadelphia on the schedule. His whirlwind schedule has him giving a reported 16 public speeches while he’s here. The liberal mainstream media is abuzz at the prospects of him advancing positions embraced by the left – including climate change and how he sees global capitalism negatively impacting the poor.

But Pope Francis also has many positions that will make the left squirm, including his staunch opposition to abortion and same-sex ‘marriage.’ As this article from The Daily Signal makes clear, the difference is the media will heavily report the Pope’s comments on climate change and other leftist perspectives, but are likely not to report his comments about abortion and marriage. NOM will work to make sure the Pope’s pro-family message is heard.

From The Daily Signal:

Image via CTVNews/AP/Andrew Medichini

Image via CTVNews/AP/Andrew Medichini

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., made headlines for his decision to avoid Francis’ address to Congress because, “if the Pope plans to spend the majority of his time advocating for flawed climate change policies, then I will not attend,” as he wrote for Townhall.

But Democrats like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid might also find Francis’ speech uncomfortable.

That’s because even if the focus of Francis’ speech is on climate change, he doesn’t talk about climate change the same way President Barack Obama or other liberal politicians might. In his encyclical on the environment released earlier this year, “Laudato Si,” Francis connected concerns about creation to concerns about the value of human life.

. . .

Francis has also consistently upheld traditional marriage. In a radio address in 2014, Francis said, “[T]he complementarity of man and woman … is at the root of marriage and family.”

“One day after the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges—the outcome of which may dictate the future of same-sex marriage in the United States—Pope Francis on Wednesday publicly affirmed his stance on so-called traditional marriage between men and women,” reported Newsweek in April.

Image via STLToday/Mark Jelavich

Image via STLToday/Mark Jelavich

“Jesus teaches us that the masterpiece of society is the family: a man and a woman who love each other! This is the masterpiece!” Francis said in St. Peter’s Square at the time.

He has since spoken numerous times on the family, regularly preaching on marriage and children, and he has often referred to marriage as being between a man and a woman.

In fact, in a speech last week, Francis, while warning about the temptation to place profits ahead of morality, stressed the fact that marriage was between a man and a woman (emphasis the Vatican’s):

The current transition in civilization seems to be marked by the long-lasting effects of a society governed by economic technocracy. This subordination of ethics to the logic of profit commands substantial resources and the widespread support of the media. In this context, a new covenant between man and woman has become not only necessary, but crucial for emancipating humanity from the colonization of money. This covenant should once again guide politics, the economy and civil coexistence! It decides the habitability of the earth, the transmission of love for life, the bonds of memory and hope.

In this covenant, the familial-conjugal union of man and woman is the generative grammar, the “golden knot,” we might say. The faith draws it from the wisdom of the creation of God, who has entrusted to the family, not the care of intimacy as an end in itself, but rather the exciting project of making the world “domestic.” At the beginning there was the family, at the root of this world culture that saves us … saves us from many, many attacks, from so much destruction, from so many “colonizations,” like that of money or of the ideologies that threaten so much of the world. The family is the basis of our defense!

Despite what the media may report, Pope Francis defends the unborn's right to life, and the true definition of marriage: the exclusive union between one man and one woman.

Obama's Guest List is an Insult to Pope Francis

While the world watches the events of Pope Francis’s visit to the US unfold, many are expressing outrage and disgust at President Obama’s brazen attempts to surround Pope Francis with controversial—frankly anti-catholic—leaders, to include “a pro-abortion nun, an openly homosexual Episcopal bishop, and gay activist Catholics.” The Vatican is among those who have voiced objections to President Obama’s choice of guests, contending that the guest list selection surrounds the Pope with figures who are openly hostile to Catholic Doctrine.

As we might expect, President Obama seems to be manipulating Pope Francis’s visit in an attempt to further erode the judo-christian values upon which America was founded. By placing Pope Francis in the midst of such controversial figures, President Obama is creating opportunities for the media to misrepresent the Pope and his opinions to the mainstream. LifeSiteNews has the story:

Image via Christian Post/Reuters

Image via Christian Post/Reuters

The Wall Street Journal reports that an unnamed senior Vatican official said the Holy See fears that any photos of Pope Francis at next Wednesday’s White House welcoming ceremony with Obama’s guests that openly flout Church teaching could be taken as support for their actions.

Among the Obama administration invites are dissenting, activist Catholic nun Sister Simone Campbell, openly homosexual retired Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson, a transgender woman and a homosexual Catholic blogger.

Sister Campbell is executive director of the social justice group NETWORK and pro-abortion leader of the "Nuns on the Bus" campaign. She is seen as having undermined the U.S. Bishops’ concern over Obamacare’s abortion component when the controversial health care takeover was being debated five-and-a-half years ago.

Her Network organization, widely regarded as having radical feminist leanings, was investigated by the Vatican over the group’s refusal to observe Catholic teaching on abortion, human sexuality and women’s ordination. The investigation concluded earlier this year, resulting in minimal repercussions for the group.

Robinson, who “divorced” his homosexual partner last year, and is a senior fellow for the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, has been invited to religious events in the past by Obama, leading a prayer at the president’s 2009 inauguration and taking part in the 2014 National Prayer Breakfast.

Also invited are Mateo Williamson, a biological woman who identifies as a man and a former co-chair of the Transgender Caucus for the pro-homosexual activist group Dignity USA; and Aaron Ledesma, author of the blog “The Gay Catholic.”

The invitation organizer for the White House papal event is Vivian Taylor, executive director of the national LGBT advocacy arm of the Episcopal Church, and a biological male.

The unease caused by the guest list demonstrates Catholic concerns, including that of many bishops, the WSJ report said, that the Obama administration is using Pope Francis’s visit to underplay its differences with the Church on controversial issues such as homosexual “marriage,” abortion and the Obamacare contraception Mandate.

U.S. Vatican Ambassador Ken Hackett, named by Obama to his post in June 2014, said last month that Pope Francis and Obama are not going to waste time discussing any differences they may have. Rather, they will choose to focus on issues where they see eye-to-eye.

According to Hackett these areas are poverty, religious freedom, concern for persecuted Christians and minorities, and peace.

“Then climate, of course,” Hackett said.

“We agree to differ on things like gay marriage,” he said, “but really there are not a lot of other such issues.”