Friday, October 24, 2014
October 23, 2014|10:50 am |The Christian Post|
A North Carolina county judge resigned on Monday because he did not want to violate his Christian faith and perform same-sex marriages, which are now permitted under the state's law.
With the news that North Carolina's same-sex marriage ban was struck down by a federal judge on Oct. 10, Judge Gilbert Breedlove, a 57-year-old magistrate in Swain County and also an ordained minister, could not, in good faith, be forced to conduct same-sex courthouse weddings when his Christian belief tells him that a marriage is only between a man and a woman.
"It was my only option," Breedlove told Citizen-Times. "We were directed we had to perform the marriages, and that was just something I couldn't do because of my religious beliefs."
Although Breedlove has been a magistrate for the past 24 years, he said the law, which judges are responsible for interpreting, no longer stands with his beliefs.
"I was Christian when I started," Breedlove said. "Then, the law didn't require me to perform something that was against my religious belief. Now that law has changed it's requirements."
Although Breedlove could claim he had two jobs as a pastor and a magistrate, the majority of his income came from his judgeship. However, he said he is not worried about his financial future because he put his full faith in the Lord.
"That's one of the things about being a Christian," Breedlove said. "You are able to serve the Lord and the Lord will provide."
The Bryson City community in which Breedlove served, is located next to a Cherokee Indian reservation and his wife was even raised a Cherokee. Breedlove's affinity for Jesus and Native Americans led him to help translate the Bible into the Choctaw Indian language. Having been a part of the Bible translation effort and being a part-time pastor, Breedlove said he is confident in the biblical truth about marriage.
"The whole Bible from front to end states that a marriage is between a man and a wife," he said. "Any other type of sexual activity other than that is what is defined as fornication."
With previous reports indicating that other North Carolina magistrates have also stepped down due to their objection to the state's new law permitting same-sex marriages, Breedlove said he believes more magistrates will continue stepping down as more same-sex couples look to wed by Christian magistrates. The state has issued over 600 same-sex wedding licenses in 60 of the state's counties.
Last Thursday, a Rockingham County magistrate named John Kallam Jr. issued his resignation and claimed that allowing gay marriage "would desecrate a Holy Institution established by God Himself."
"When I took my oath of office, I understood I would be required to perform weddings and have done so throughout my tenure," Kallam wrote in his resignation letter. "I did not however take that oath with any understanding that I would be required to marry same-sex couples."
Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality North Carolina, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, group said that although the group doesn't want judges to feel like they have to resign if they disapprove of the law, he said they at least be willing to uphold the duties required by law.
"This is part of an effort to hype up a few small cases," Sgro said. "If you hold a job or position that serves the public or the state, then you have to carry out the duties of that job. Hundreds and hundreds of people are being married by employees of the state across North Carolina with no problem."
Thursday, October 23, 2014
October 22, 2014|1:57 pm | The Christian Post|
Idaho couple Donald and Evelyn Knapp, ordained ministers and owners of the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel of Coeur d'Alene, are facing thousands of dollars in fines and possible jail time for refusing to host gay wedding ceremonies, which the city claims violates its anti-discrimination ordinance. The couple has since filed their business as a religious organization, which means they might be saved by an Idaho law that protects religious freedom.
Jeremy Tedesco, senior legal counsel for the Scottsdale, Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom legal organization, told The Christian Post that while Coeur d'Alene has an ordinance saying that under "public accommodation" businesses cannot discriminate, state law offeres a possible exemption for the Knapps.
"In addition to our federal claims (i.e. First Amendment), our complaint brings a cause of action under the Idaho Free Exercise of Religion Protected Act," Tedesco said. "[Under] Idaho Code § 73–401 et seq., this state law says 'government shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion ...'"
Tedesco recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Knapps in district court, as well as a motion to provide immediate relief.
"We are now waiting for the court to decide whether to grant or deny our request for a temporary restraining order," Tedesco said. "By filing a motion for a temporary restraining order, we are asking the court to act as soon as possible and order the city not to enforce its ordinance against the Knapps while our case proceeds."
City officials, who did not provide comment to CP by press time, have argued that the Hitching Post is in violation of ordinance §9.56, which bars facilities of public accommodation from discrimination.
According to the ordinance, this discrimination can include denying "any person because of sexual orientation and/or gender identity/expression, the full enjoyment of any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges of any place of public resort, accommodation, assemblage, or amusement."
When asked by CP if religious institutions such as churches and church-owned properties are exempt from ordinances like the one in Coeur d'Alene, Tedesco said, "Same-sex marriage advocates have always said that pastors would 'never' be forced to perform same-sex marriages. Well, 'never' came quick as pastors are being threatened with jail and criminal fines for not participating in ceremonies that contradict the definition of marriage."
He continued, "No one is safe — even religious institutions currently exempt under this ordinance and others are on notice. It's foolish to depend on the very same politicians and bureaucrats who have already threatened pastors with six months in jail and $1,000 per day to respect anyone's freedom."
"Under this ordinance, our clients face up to up to 180 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine each day they follow their religious beliefs and ministerial vows and decline to perform a same-sex wedding ceremony."
Speaking about the Knapps decision to file as a religious organization in an effort to gain exemption from performing gay wedding ceremonies at their chapel, Coeur d'Alene Councilman Dan Gookin told Fox News, "I understand that the way the law is currently written right now that the religious freedom has a priority. It trumps that other desire of mine to see more equality in that area."
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
By Leonardo Blair
October 21, 2014|4:20 pm | The Christian Post|
Although President Barack Obama previously said the definition of marriage should be decided locally, he now believes the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to same same-sex marriage in all states.
He also suggested that the Supreme Court's decision earlier this month to not rule on same-sex marriage is the hallmark of his tenure in an interview recently published in the October 27, 2014 issue of The New Yorker.
In the interview, President Obama picked the silence of the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage when writer Jeffrey Toobin asked him to name the best Supreme Court decision of his career.
"In some ways, the decision that was just handed down to not do anything about what states are doing on same-sex marriage may end up being as consequential — from my perspective, a positive sense — as anything that's been done," said Obama.
"Because I think it really signals that although the Court was not quite ready — it didn't have sufficient votes to follow Loving v. Virginia (1967 decision ruling that states could no longer ban racial intermarriage) and go ahead and indicate an equal-protection right across the board — it was a consequential and powerful signal of the changes that have taken place in society and that the law is having to catch up," he said.
Although his administration hasn't yet made the argument before the Supreme Court, Obama told Toobin that he now believes the Constitution requires that all states allow same-sex marriage.
"Ultimately, I think the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states," he said. "But, as you know, courts have always been strategic. There have been times where the stars were aligned and the Court, like a thunderbolt, issues a ruling like Brown v. Board of Education, but that's pretty rare. And, given the direction of society, for the Court to have allowed the process to play out the way it has may make the shift less controversial and more lasting."
This is a change in position from when he first announced he supports gay marriage in a May 2012 interview with ABC News. In that interview he said he is no longer opposed to gay marriage but did not believe that the definition of marriage is a federal issue.
"And what you're seeing is, I think, states working through this issue — in fits and starts, all across the country. Different communities are arriving at different conclusions, at different times. And I think that's a healthy process and a healthy debate. And I continue to believe that this is an issue that is gonna be worked out at the local level, because historically, this has not been a federal issue, what's recognized as a marriage," he said.
In the recent interview he added that his administration has worked hard at diversifying the federal bench to include more minorities and gays.
"I think there are some particular groups that historically have been underrepresented — like Latinos and Asian-Americans — that represent a larger and larger portion of the population. And so for them to be able to see folks in robes that look like them is going to be important. When I came into office, I think there was one openly gay judge who had been appointed. We've appointed ten," bragged Obama.
The added diversity he explained "speaks to the larger shifts in our society, where what's always been this great American strength — this stew that we are — is part and parcel of every institution, both in the public sector as well as in the private sector."
Many conservatives decried the Supreme Court's decision to remain silent on the issue this month.
"Unfortunately, by failing to take up these marriage cases, the High Court will allow rogue lower court judges who have ignored history and true legal precedent to silence the elected representatives of the people and the voice of the people themselves by overturning state provisions on marriage," explained Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.
"Even more alarming, lower court judges are undermining our form of government and the rights and freedoms of citizens to govern themselves. This judicially led effort to force same sex 'marriage' on people will have negative consequences for our Republic, not only as it relates to natural marriage but also undermining the rule of and respect for law," he said.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
By Vincent Funaro |October 20, 2014|4:44 pm | The Christian Post|
The recently launched #HoustonWeHaveAProblem Twitter campaign and petition that supports the Houston pastors who were subpoenaed to turn over their sermons dealing with topics on homosexuality, gender identity and the city's first lesbian mayor, Annise Parker, has reached 10,000 signatures.
The initiative launched by Faith Driven Consumer was initially blocked by the social media platform, but once the block was removed, the campaign was able to flourish tremendously.
"Thousands of concerned citizens are signing up in support of this important cause — harnessing the power of social media and keeping the pressure on Houston's governmental leaders. Faith Driven Consumers and people of conscience across the nation — including leaders at the local, state and national levels — are joining the call for the mayor and city officials to unequivocally reverse course and end their harassment of five respected area pastors and ultimately Christians throughout Houston," said Chris Stone, founder of Faith Driven Consumer. "We will continue to rally greater levels of grassroots support until tolerance and equality for people of faith are restored in the nation's fourth largest city."
The #HoustonWeHaveAProblem tag directs people to HoustonProblem.com where they can sign a petition that urges the city of Houston to "cease and desist all bullying and other offensive actions against them."
Dave Welch, the executive pastor of the Houston area U.S. Pastor Council was one of the five pastors who was subpoenaed last week.
"This was really initiated by Mayor Annise Parker, who is obviously a noted, kind of poster child for the national gay and lesbian movement, proposing ordinance back in April that was really a massive overreach to begin with to basically add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the city's discrimination ordinance and impose those discrimination protections over the private sector in an unprecedented way,"Welch told The Christian Post.
He believes the subpoenas were government retaliation for a lawsuit filed by opponents of this Houston Equal Rights Ordinance that would allow men and women who identify as transgender to use the bathroom of the opposite sex.
A petition was started by those opposed to the ordinance and was able to gain 50,000 signatures. The city attorney claimed half of them were invalid. The opponents of the ordinance then filed a lawsuit against the city.
Since news of the story broke last week, Parker and City Attorney David Feldman have been distancing themselves from the situation. Parker even went as far as calling the subpoena "overly broad" and claims those who were issued are misinterpreting it.
"There's no question the wording was overly broad," Parker said. "But I also think there was some deliberate misinterpretation on the other side."
Feldman agreed on the situation being blown out of proportion.
"It's unfortunate that it has been construed as some effort to infringe upon religious liberty," he told the Houston Chronicle.
Monday, October 20, 2014
By Todd Starnes| Published October 20, 2014| FoxNews.com
Two Christian ministers who own an Idaho wedding chapel were told they had to either perform same-sex weddings or face jail time and up to a $1,000 fine, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court.
Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Donald and Evelyn Knapp, ordained ministers who own the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene.
“Right now they are at risk of being prosecuted,” their ADF attorney, Jeremy Tedesco, told me. “The threat of enforcement is more than just credible.”
According to the lawsuit, the wedding chapel is registered with the state as a “religious corporation” limited to performing “one-man-one-woman marriages as defined by the Holy Bible.”
But the chapel is also registered as a for-profit business – not as a church or place of worship – and city officials said that means the owners must comply with a local nondiscrimination ordinance.
That ordinance, passed last year, prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, and it applies to housing, employment and public accommodation.
City Attorney Warren Wilson told The Spokesman-Review in May that the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel likely would be required to follow the ordinance.
“I would think that the Hitching Post would probably be considered a place of public accommodation that would be subject to the ordinance,” he said.
He also told television station KXLY that any wedding chapel that turns away a gay couple would in theory be violating the law, “and you’re looking at a potential misdemeanor citation.”
Wilson confirmed to Knapp my worst fear -- that even ordained ministers would be required to perform same-sex weddings.
“Wilson also responded that Mr. Knapp was not exempt from the ordinance because the Hitching Post was a business and not a church,” the lawsuit states.
And if he refused to perform the ceremonies, Wilson reportedly told the minister that he could be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to up to 180 days in jail.
Now all of that was a moot point because, until last week, gay marriage was not legal in Idaho.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an order on May 13 allowing same-sex marriages to commence in Idaho on Oct. 15. Two days later, the folks at the Hitching Post received a telephone call.
A man had called to inquire about a same-sex wedding ceremony. The Hitching Post declined, putting it in violation of the law.
City officials did not respond to my requests for an interview, nor did they respond to requests from local news outlets.
“The government should not force ordained ministers to act contrary to their faith under threat of jail time and criminal fines,” Tedesco said.
“The city is on seriously flawed legal ground, and our lawsuit intends to ensure that this couple’s freedom to adhere to their own faith as pastors is protected, just as the First Amendment intended.”
Alliance Defending Freedom also filed a temporary restraining order to stop the city from enforcing the ordinance.
“The Knapps are in fear that if they exercise their First Amendment rights they will be cited, prosecuted and sent to jail,” Tedesco told me.
It’s hard to believe this could happen in the United States. But as the lawsuit states, the Knapps are in a “constant state of fear that they may have to go to jail, pay substantial fines, or both, resulting in them losing the business that God has called them to operate and which they have faithfully operated for 25 years.”
The lawsuit came the same week that the city of Houston issued subpoenas demanding that five Christian pastors turn over sermons dealing with homosexuality and gender identity.
What in heaven’s name is happening to our country, folks? I was under the assumption that churches and pastors would not be impacted by same-sex marriage.
“The other side insisted this would never happen – that pastors would not have to perform same-sex marriages,” Tedesco told me. “The reality is – it’s already happening.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told me it’s “open season on Americans who refuse to bow to the government’s redefinition of marriage.”
“Americans are witnesses to the reality that redefining marriage is less about the marriage altar and more about fundamentally altering the freedoms of the other 98 percent of Americans,” Perkins said.
Why should evangelical Christian ministers be forced to perform and celebrate any marriage that conflicts with their beliefs?
“This is the brave new world of government-sanctioned same-sex unions – where Americans are forced to celebrate these unions regardless of their religious beliefs,” Perkins told me.
As I write in my new book, “God Less America,” we are living in a day when those who support traditional marriage are coming under fierce attack.
The incidents in Houston and now in Coeur d’Alene are the just the latest examples of a disturbing trend in the culture war – direct attacks on clergy.
“Government officials are making clear they will use their government power to punish those who oppose the advances of homosexual activists,” Perkins said.
I’m afraid Mr. Perkins is absolutely right.
No one should be discriminated against but have you noticed that any time a city passes a “nondiscrimination” ordinance, it’s the Christians who wind up being discriminated against?
Monday, October 20, 2014
By Valerie Richardson - The Washington Times - Thursday, October 16, 2014
Critics called Thursday on Houston Mayor Annise Parker to withdraw subpoenas for church sermons issued as part of a lawsuit over a transgender rights ordinance, while city officials attempted to downplay the outcry as overblown.
At a press conference at Houston's First Baptist Church, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz joined a group of local pastors in decrying the city's move to subpoena sermons and other communications related to a court battle over the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), also known as the "bathroom bill."
"This week, the government of Houston, Texas, sent a subpoena to silence prayers. The government of Houston, Texas demanded of the pastors, 'Hand over your sermons to the government,'" Mr. Cruz said. "Caesar has no jurisdiction over the pulpit, and when you subpoena one pastor, you subpoena every pastor."
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said in a statement that more than 25,000 people have signed an online petition in the last 24 hours asking Ms. Parker "to immediately retract these demands and issue a clear statement in support of the free speech of all people."
In a Wednesday interview with KHOU-TV in Houston, however, city attorney David Feldman called the outcry over the subpoenas "ridiculous," adding that, "It's unfortunate that it has been construed as some sort of effort to infringe upon religious liberty."
"All this hysteria about how we're trying to infringe all because of the use of the word 'sermons' is really, really ridiculous," Mr. Feldman said.
Ms. Parker told KHOU-TV she hadn't read the subpoenas before they were issued. "One word in a very long legal document which I know nothing about and would never have read and I'm vilified from coast to coast — it's a normal day at the office," she said.
Ms. Parker's office released a statement Wednesday in response to the uproar saying that the mayor "agrees with those who are concerned about the city legal department's subpoenas for pastor's sermons," and that the city will "move to narrow the scope during an upcoming court hearing."
But Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christiana Holcomb said Thursday city officials have taken "no concrete action to withdraw the subpoenas" and described the city's move as "simply more window-dressing intended to shield them from public scrutiny."
"Furthermore, the subpoenas themselves are the problem — not just their request for pastors' sermons," Ms. Holcomb said in a statement. "The city is not off the hook from its illegitimate request for e-mails, text messages, and other communications in which these pastors, who are not even party to this lawsuit, may have disagreed with the mayor. The way to fix this is to withdraw the subpoenas entirely."
The city issued subpoenas last week to five local pastors opposed to the ordinance, which requires businesses open to the public to permit opposite-sex bathroom use.
A pastor-led coalition had submitted a petition in August to place the ordinance before the voters, but Mr. Feldman ruled the petition inadequate because of irregularities with a number of signatures.
Members of the coalition, which had turned in three times the number of signatures required to put the ordinance on the ballot, filed a lawsuit in August challenging Mr. Feldman's decision. A court date on the petitions is scheduled for Jan. 19.
The subpoenas included requests for sermons, emails, text messages, presentations and other communications related to the ordinance, the petition drive, homosexuality, the mayor, and "gender identity."
The ordinance, passed 11-6 in May by the Houston city council, forbids private businesses open to the public from discriminating based on "gender identity," which is now a "protected characteristic" under Houston law.
Janice Evans, spokeswoman for the mayor, said in an email, "As we noted yesterday, the action will come at an upcoming pretrial court hearing in the case."
But ADF attorney Erik Stanley, who attended the Houston press conference, said the city doesn't need to wait for a court date to address the subpoenas. So far no date has been set in the ADF's lawsuit challenging the subpoenas, saying they are "overly broad, irrelevant, and cause undue burden or harassment."
"There's no court date but they don't need a court date," Mr. Stanley said. "They can take action now to withdraw or narrow the subpoenas, and that's what they ought to do."
Friday, October 17, 2014
October 10, 2014|12:07 pm |The Christian Post |
NEW YORK — The Supreme Court has declined to hear appeals affecting the legalization of gay marriage in five states, effectively doing away with attempts to maintain the traditional definition of marriage in those states. As a result, six other states will likely follow suit as they also fall under the same federal court jurisdiction. This means that same-sex marriage could be legal in 30, or even 35 states, plus Washington, D.C. if the trend continues.
Eric Metaxas, author, television host and outspoken religious freedom advocate, shared his thoughts with The Christian Post about the Supreme Court's latest move, which gay marriage proponents have cast as the "final legal stamp of approval to marriage equality."
Indeed, supporters of same-sex marriage see the Supreme Court's refusal to take up the issue as "a tactic to win gay marriage."
Some concerned conservatives and supporters of traditional marriage, on the other hand, have cast the justices' decision as "judicial tyranny." One group, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, put out astatement calling for "civil disobedience on a massive scale."
Russell Moore, president of the The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and a more moderate voice, suggests Christians should model "the best aspects of the pro-life movement." As Moore sees it, "the primary thrust of the movement wasn't about culture wars but cultural persuasion."
He added, "This is no time for retreat or for resentment."
For Republicans concerned about winning votes in November's midterm elections, there were suggestions that some politicians, though longtime trumpeters of traditional marriage values, would in fact retreat from the issue, in light of the Supreme Court's move.
According to a CBS News report, that was the case, at least for Republican Gov. Scott Walker, whose state of Wisconsin was affected by the Supreme Court's refusal to consider appeals against the legalization of gay marriage. As he told the network, gay marriage essentially was now a dead issue.
"To me, I'd rather be talking in the future now more about our jobs plan and our plan for the future of the state. I think that's what matters to the kids. It's not this issue," said Walker.
Some Republicans fearing such responses have reiterated that conservative stances on marriage and life issues were non-negotiable.
"If the Republicans want to lose guys like me and a whole bunch of still God-fearing and Bible-believing people just go ahead and abdicate on this issue," said former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee during a recent American Family Association radio program.
The potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate and conservative Christian added, "And while you are at it, go ahead and say abortion doesn't matter either because at that point you lose me."
Tony Perkins, for his part, blasted the "rogue lower court judges" who have declared bans on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional despite how residents in affected states have voted.
"Even more alarming, lower court judges are undermining our form of government and the rights and freedoms of citizens to govern themselves," Perkins wrote in a statement on his conservative Family Research Council website. "This judicially led effort to force same sex 'marriage' on people will have negative consequences for our Republic, not only as it relates to natural marriage but also undermining the rule of and respect for law."
Although residents in states affected by the Supreme Court's non-decision have used the democratic process to show their rejection of the redefinition of marriage, national surveys indicate that nearly 50 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage. Among Millennials, those aged 18-33, 68 percent of them were in favor of legalizing gay marriage, according to Pew social trends.
A Pew Research Center survey on religion and public life conducted in early September found that 49 percent of Americans say they are in favor of allowing gay men and lesbians to marry. However, half of respondents consider homosexuality a sin, a view held by 82 percent of white evangelicals and 77 percent of black Protestants. Overall, 35 percent of Protestants are in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, and 52 percent of Roman Catholics.
Among Protestants in favor of gay marriage were the newly-debuted group, Evangelicals for Marriage Equality, which celebrated the Supreme Court's move this past Monday.
Brandan Robertson, spokesperson for Evangelicals for Marriage Equality, insists, however, that "despite this judicial victory for civil marriage equality, the battle for hearts and minds — especially among evangelicals — continues."
For Metaxas, who also co-hosts the "BreakPoint" radio program, popular opinion on same-sex marriage holds very little weight, in comparison to how citizens actually vote.
"Most Americans don't know how America is supposed to work, and I include myself. We haven't had for 40 years ... we haven't had education on this stuff, like it's something we've kind of skipped for the last 40 years. So we think, 'How's America supposed to work?' It's supposed to work that we have a democracy, so people get to vote," he said in a recent "CP Newsroom" discussion.
"It's not about popular opinion. It's not about polls. It's about votes. So if you take a poll and ask people, 'So what do you think? What do you think?' I don't really care what people think. I care if they were motivated to get their rear ends to the voting booth. If they weren't motivated to do that, I couldn't care less what they think," added Metaxas.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
The Rev. Franklin Graham, CEO of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said Monday that "activist judges are overturning the will of the people," when speaking about the 61 percent of North Carolina voters who supported an amendment banning same-sex marriage in their state.
"It's sad when a judge is able to overrule the will of the people. This is a democracy and the people spoke. We're seeing that activist judges across the country are overturning the will of the people," Graham, a native of the state, said in an interview with NBC Charlotte. "We saw that in California. We're now seeing it here in North Carolina now. I don't know what will take place."
Last week a court declared North Carolina's ban, which passed via popular referendum in 2012, unconstitutional. Counties in the state have since been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
In 2012 North Carolina voters approved Amendment 1, a measure that added an amendment to the state constitution that banned gay marriage, with a 61 percent majority.
As of October, it was the last referendum on the marriage definition debate to succeed at the ballot box, with North Carolina voters joining over half the country in passing such an amendment.
A lawsuit was filed not long after the 2012 election, with North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announcing in July that he would no longer defend the ban in court.
"It's time to stop making arguments we will lose and instead move forward, knowing that the ultimate resolution will likely come from the United States Supreme Court," said Cooper. "All federal courts have rejected these arguments each and every time, so it's time for the state of North Carolina to stop making them."
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn Jr. struck down the state amendment defining marriage as being between only one man and one woman.
The decision is scheduled to be appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which will likely affirm the lower court decision, reported the Charlotte Observer.
"The 4th Circuit, which covers the Carolinas, ruled in July that Virginia's gay-marriage ban was unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court announced last week that it would not review similar rulings in five states, including the Virginia case," noted the Observer.
North Carolina was one of several states to see bans passed by a majority of the electorate fall through the courts.
While many believe that the U.S. Supreme Court will have to eventually rule on the matter, the justices recently refused to hear an appeal for multiple rulings, in effect allowing for the legalization of gay marriage in said states.
Friday, October 10, 2014
| OCTOBER 10, 2014 | 5:00 AM | The Washington examiner
The Supreme Court’s announcement this week that it will not review same-sex marriage cases from five states marks a significant shift in the legal battle over gay marriage. But the battle for the hearts and minds of the American people is far from over.
That’s because while most of America’s elite institutions overwhelmingly endorse same-sex marriage, there is one group that refuses to embrace it: the American people. I’m not talking about just older Americans and conservative Christians. I’m talking about a majority of American adults.
Of course, you wouldn’t know it by the triumphalism in the media.
This week’s announcement prompted many liberal journalists to declare the debate over.
The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson said the court’s decision means the country has reached “a tipping point” in which nationwide same-sex marriage is inevitable. An article at the Atlantic declared, “The Same-Sex Marriage Fight Is Over.” An author at Salon wrote that “after this week, even the most ardent opponent of gay marriage would have to concede it’s over.”
First of all, the legal battle is not over. If a Republican president appoints even one conservative to the Supreme Court to replace a liberal, the entire legal dynamic could change.
But the real debate is in the realm of public opinion, where there is a deep disconnect between the views of elites and those of everyday Americans.
According to a September Pew Research poll, support for gay marriage has declined 5 percentage points since February, to 49 percent. The numbers suggest that about 100 million American adults support the traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
The poll also found that half the country believes homosexual conduct is a sin (up from 45 percent a year ago) and 49 percent believes wedding caterers should not be forced to serve gay customers if they have religious objections.
Without a doubt, America has seen a shift toward gay marriage over the past decade or so. But the idea that there is anything close to universal support for it is wrong. In fact, there is evidence that polling underestimates support for traditional marriage by as much as 7 percentage points.
Why are so many Americans afraid to tell pollsters they oppose same-sex marriage? It could be partly because the gay-marriage lobby has bullied advocates of traditional marriage and stigmatized (and even criminalized) opposition to same-sex marriage.
Among many elites, not only should opposition to gay marriage be marginalized, but as New York Times correspondent Josh Barro tweeted regarding what he termed "anti-LGBT" views, "we need tostamp them out, ruthlessly."
Americans take notice when people are punished simply for supporting traditional marriage, as happened when Mozilla Corp. CEO Brendan Eich was forced to resign for supporting Proposition 8, a ballot measure banning same-sex marriage in California.
As Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in a dissent to last year’s Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, “By formally declaring anyone opposed to same-sex marriage an enemy of human decency, the majority arms well every challenger to a state law restricting marriage to its traditional definition.”
Many same-sex marriage advocates will not be satisfied until all Americans are forced to embrace gay marriage and until those persons and institutions (including churches) that do not are punished.
The silent majority of Americans who believe marriage should remain the exclusive domain of one man and one woman have a duty to speak up. They should bear witness in their churches and broader civil society to the truth about marriage, religious liberty and the rights of conscience.
The only way for the silent majority to be heard is not to remain silent.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
The seemingly unstoppable juggernaut toward same-sex marriage rights across the country was halted briefly Wednesday after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy blocked a federal appeals court ruling that voided same-sex marriage bans in Nevada and Idaho.
However, hours later, Kennedy narrowed the stay to the Idaho cases, effectively allowing same-sex marriages to go forward in Nevada.
Acting on an emergency application from Idaho officials, Kennedy issued a one-page orderWednesday morning staying the ruling the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals released Tuesday.
Kennedy's order offered no rationale for the stay but instructed those challenging the gay-marriage bans to file a response by Thursday afternoon to Idaho's request.
Kennedy is likely to refer Idaho's application to the other justices, so the ultimate resolution could provide another clue about the justices' willingness to wade into the same-sex marriage issue. On Monday, the high court dismissed petitions challenging rulings voiding same-sex marriage bans in Virginia, suggesting a lack of interest in delving back into the question.
Before Kennedy acted, it appeared the new 9th Circuit decision would bring the number of states recognizing same-sex marriage to 32 in short order and to 35 if the courts applied the ruling in three other 9th Circuit states that have not permitted gay marriage: Arizona, Alaska and Montana.
However, in the wake of the second order from Kennedy Wednesday, it appeared that the tally of states allowing same-sex marriage would instead rise to 31.
The second order (posted here) also gave no rationale for the change, but a court spokesman said that as of that time no one had actually filed anything with the high court to asking it to block the 9th Circuit's ruling on the Nevada case.
Later Wednesday afternoon, a Supreme Court spokesman said a Nevada group involved in the legal battle there, the Coalition for Protection of Marriage, filed an application (posted here) asking to have the effect of the 9th Circuit's ruling in Nevada halted (or re-halted). There was no immediate action on that request.