Wednesday, April 2, 2014
April 1, 2014|8:31 am
Last week began with World Vision's stunning announcement that it would be open to hiring homosexuals in legal same-sex marriages.
But within two days, World Vision reversed course. In a letter to supporters, the Board acknowledged that it had made a mistake, reaffirmed the organization's commitment to the biblical norm of marriage between one man and one woman, and asked for forgiveness.
I say Praise God! And, we should not only forgive but also offer our support and encouragement. Let's not be the prodigal son's older brother. And let's learn from this episode.
As World Vision president Rich Stearns told reporters, "Christian organizations will continue to deal with this sensitive issue." That, my friends, is an understatement. Anyone currently trying to sit this one out, will soon realize how little neutral ground there actually is.
And that will reveal how many Christians and Christian organizations just don't "get" marriage. If our argument is selectively pointing out certain condemnations from Leviticus while ignoring others, we don't get it. Or, if we think God's morality gets in the way of God's Gospel, we also just don't get it. Without a strong understanding of what marriage itself is, and why it's important, we'll either be unwilling or unable to defend it. Before there were any political institutions or governments, God established the institution of marriage as a universal human institution.
Look at Matthew 19. The Pharisees ask Jesus if divorce is permissible according to Mosaic law. He pointed them to something more important than that law: what God intended from the beginning.
Jesus replied, "Haven't you read . . . that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? … Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."
Folks, churches must make discipleship and instruction on marriage a priority. Enough of the therapeutic "four steps to a great marriage" and "five steps to a happy and godly sex life." We need a robust, theological vision of God's intent for marriage that people can actually live from.
And, we need humility. When gay activists say, "You guys have been inconsistent on other marriage issues, like divorce," We should say "You're right, we have been." But by His grace, we'll do better.
And once we get down what marriage is, we need to think through the specific "what ifs" about same-sex marriage. What should Christians do if invited to attend, or officiate, a same-sex wedding? What if a gay couple asks to enroll their child at our Christian school or even Sunday school? What if our employer asks us to participate in gay awareness events?
The time to struggle with these, and the many other questions, is now.
Sean McDowell and I are writing a book on all of this. There's been plenty written warning of same-sex marriage, and plenty written predicting it brings the end of the world. Our book, due out in July, offers guidance for the "what do we do now" questions that are coming, and in many ways, already here.
Here's a preview: First, we must know what the scriptures teach on marriage so we can know what must not be compromised. Second and third: Pray and pray again. Fourth, seek the counsel of other believers.
Fifth, in every situation, respond in grace and love. What God thinks of marriage is clear. How we ought respond in specific situations, will be at times a matter of conscience – like whether to eat food sacrificed to idols in 1 Corinthians.
And remember, as difficult as it will be, we have an enormous opportunity before us to hold out and live out God's vision for marriage. Please come to BreakPoint.org and click on this commentary. We'll point you to some vital resources on understanding and defending marriage.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
March 31, 2014|1:25 pm
Virginia's Democratic Party has elected a new chairman despite initial opposition from gay rights activists over his lack of support for state recognition of same-sex marriages.
Dwight Jones, mayor of Richmond and a Baptist preacher, was recently elected to the position of party chair by a majority of the DPVA's State Central Committee, which has 300 members.
In a statement released after the results, Mayor Jones said that he looked forward to the position, as he has been a "Democrat my whole life."
"I have seen the party grow to what it is today, a party that fights for issues important to all Virginians, issues like access to affordable health care, making sure women receive equal pay for equal work, and fighting to ensure all Virginians are treated equally across the Commonwealth," said Jones.
"I look forward to the next chapter at the Democratic Party of Virginia and I'm excited to work together with Democrats across the Commonwealth to continue building a strong, sustainable party that will keep Virginia blue for years to come."
Jones faced opposition from groups like the LGBT Democrats of Virginia over his lack of support for same sex marriage. However LGBT Democrats eventually dropped their opposition to Jones' nomination due to him not being avidly opposed to gay marriage, reported the Washington Blade.
"He's just not in a place where he feels he can support it," said McDonald to the Blade, adding that "As chair, [he said] I want to help you achieve your goals."
Earlier this year, DPVA chair Charniele Herring stepped down in order to run for a vacated U.S. House of Representatives seat.
While Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe and other Democrats supported Jones for the position, others, including the LGBT Caucus of the state Democratic Party, initially opposed Jones.
In an earlier interview with The Christian Post, Joel McDonald, vice chair for Technology & Communications with LGBT Democrats of Virginia, explained that they opposed Jones' nomination due to his "opposition to marriage equality."
"Our position always has been, and continues to be, that Governor McAuliffe pick a pro-marriage equality candidate to support as the next chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia," said McDonald.
McDonald also told CP that while his organization does "applaud Mayor Jones for progress Richmond has made during his tenure" they nevertheless believe "selective equality is still discrimination."
The LGBT Democrats of Virginia circulated a petition in opposition to Jones' nomination, which had the backing of many Democratic politicians in Northern Virginia, a stronghold for the party in the Commonwealth.
Gov. McAuliffe's spokesman Brian Coy came to the defense of Jones,stating that McAuliffe "fully supports his good friend Mayor Dwight Jones."
"Mayor Jones has spent his life fighting for civil rights and for equal treatment for all Virginians under the law," stated Coy.
Monday, March 31, 2014
March 29, 2014|10:40 am
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced Friday that the federal government will recognize the 300 same-sex marriages performed in Michigan following the recent ruling that struck down the state ban on gay marriage. The announcement comes shortly after state Gov. Rick Snyder said the same-sex nuptials would not be recognized at a state level.
Holder said in a statement posted on the Department of Justice website that he will be recognizing the marriages performed last weekend in the state, adding that these married same-sex couples will be eligible for federal benefits.
The move follows a similar decision made in January, when the Obama administration said it would recognize same-sex marriages performed in Utah from Dec. 20 to Jan. 6, before a stay was granted in a court ruling that struck down the state's gay marriage ban.
In his announcement, Holder referenced the June 2013 Supreme Court ruling that struck down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, thus awarding federal benefits to same-sex couples. "Last June's decision by the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor was a victory for equal protection under the law and a historic step toward equality for all American families."
"The Department of Justice continues to work with its federal partners to implement this decision across the government. And we will remain steadfast in our commitment to realizing our country's founding ideals of equality, opportunity, and justice for all."
U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman had ruled last weekend that Michigan's ban on gay marriage – which was approved by 59 percent of voters in 2004 – was unconstitutional. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit granted a temporary stay a day later. But in that short period of time, 300 marriage licenses were granted to same-sex couples.
Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, told reporters on Wednesday that the gay marriages performed would not be recognized by the state, saying that although they were "legal" when they were performed, the state must still respect the stay granted against Friedman's ruling.
"What we have here is a situation where legal marriages took place Saturday," Snyder said, "but because of the stay, the operation of law is such that we won't recognize the benefits of those marriages until there is a removal of the stay or there is an upholding of the judge's opinion by the Court of Appeals or a higher court."
Brian Brown, president for the National Organization for Marriage, has spoken out against Friedman's ruling ,calling it "an all-out assault on marriage, issuing rulings to redefine this foundational institution in violation of U.S. Supreme Court precedent and the rule of law."
Catholic bishops from seven dioceses in the state also issued a collective statement on the Michigan Catholic Conference website, calling Friedman's ruling "most regrettable."
Friedman's ruling "strikes at the very essence of family, community and human nature. In effect, this decision advances a misunderstanding of marriage, and mistakenly proposes that marriage is an emotional arrangement that can simply be redefined to accommodate the dictates of culture and the wants of adults," the conference argued.
Michigan will now go through the appeals process in the Sixth Circuit in an attempt to overturn Friedman's ruling and keep its ban on gay marriage. Several other states are going through similar appeals processes.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
March 30, 2014|10:06 am
The findings of a poll commissioned by an LGBT activist group suggest that Americans view Evangelicals less favorably than gay and lesbians.
The results of a Human Rights Commission poll, released this week, show that 28 percent of Americans see Evangelicals unfavorably, compared with the 18 percent who feel similarly about the LGBT community.
Protestors opposed to same-sex marriage carry signs outside the Federal Court House in Michigan where plaintiffs April Deboer and her same-sex partner Jayne Rowse managed to overturn Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage in Detroit, Michigan in a ruling on Friday March 21, 2014. A temporary stay was granted on Saturday.
Just over 50 percent of those surveyed hold positive views of gay and lesbians, while 42 percent of Americans see Evangelicals favorably.
The poll results also suggested a correlation between same-sex marriage support and church attendance.
Pollsters found that the majority of those who attended church infrequently — monthly or yearly — supported same-sex marriage at 64 percent and 68 percent respectively, whereas 63 percent of weekly church attenders opposed same-sex marriage.
The poll also asked respondents to agree or disagree with the statement: "While some people object to gay marriage, it is not for me to judge." Church attendance once again appeared to be a leading factor as 68 percent of monthly worshipers and 72 percent of yearly worshipers agreed with the statement, while the number dropped to 42 percent when asked of weekly worshipers.
Just over half of respondents agreed that "allowing gay marriage helps children by giving the couples of same-sex marriage the same legal rights and sense of family as other families in their community. Forty-one percent stated that they believe it "hurts children" and "boys need fathers and girls need mothers."
Nearly 60 percent believed that "children raised in same-sex couples do as well in terms of education, emotional stability and long term outcomes as children raised by a mother and a father," while 27 percent said that it negatively affected children.
Of those who opposed gay marriage, 42 percent said they believed it was "inevitable" that the Supreme Court would one day recognize it; 51 percent disagreed.
Conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, the poll surveyed 1,000 likely 2016 voters from March 9 through March 16 with a margin of error of 3.1 percent. Voters 30 and under were over sampled.
Friday, March 28, 2014
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
March 25, 2014|9:53 am
Christian leaders such as evangelist Franklin Graham and Russell D. Moore, who is president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, expressed outrage that Christian relief organization World Vision announced it would hire employees in same-sex marriages on Monday.
"I was shocked today to hear of World Vision's decision to hire employees in same-sex marriages," Graham, the son of renowned evangelist Billy Graham, said in his statement. "The Bible is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman.
"My dear friend, Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision and Samaritan's Purse, would be heartbroken. He was an evangelist who believed in the inspired Word of God. World Vision maintains that their decision is based on unifying the church – which I find offensive – as if supporting sin and sinful behavior can unite the church. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, the Scriptures consistently teach that marriage is between a man and woman and any other marriage relationship is sin," Graham, who is the president and CEO of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Moore also released a statement on Monday in which he pointed out that World Vision, one of the largest Christian relief organizations in the world, said its move was no capitulation, just a recognition that some groups supporting World Vision have differing views on sex and marriage.
"This is no surprise, on one level," Moore explained. "The constellation of parachurch evangelical ministries founded after World War II have been running headlong, with some notable exceptions, toward the very mainline liberalism to which they were founded as alternatives. Some think if we can just barter away Christian orthodoxy fast enough we can catch the wave of that Presbyterian Church (USA) church growth boom.
"But here's what's at stake. This isn't, as the World Vision statement (incredibly!) puts it, the equivalent of a big tent on baptism, church polity, and so forth," he writes. "At stake is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If sexual activity outside of a biblical definition of marriage is morally neutral, then, yes, we should avoid making an issue of it. If, though, what the Bible clearly teaches and what the church has held for 2000 years is true, then refusing to call for repentance is unspeakably cruel and, in fact, devilish."
World Vision announced that its "American branch will no longer require its more than 1,100 employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman," as reported by Christianity Today. The organization states that abstinence outside of marriage remains a rule. Christians in legal same-sex marriages are permitted be employed, according to the policy change.
Moore's statement includes his belief that the world has entered an era "where we will see who the Evangelicals really are, and by that I mean those who believe in the Gospel itself, in all of its truth and all of its grace." He continues, "And many will shrink back."
He writes that there's "an entire corps of people out there who make their living off of evangelicals but who are wanting to 'evolve' on the sexuality issue without alienating their base."
"I don't mind people switching sides and standing up for things that they believe in," Moore states. "But just be honest about what you want to do. Don't say, 'Hath God said?' and then tell us you're doing it to advance the gospel and the unity of the church."
He concludes, "Donor bases come and go. But the Gospel of Jesus Christ stands forever. World Vision is a good thing to have, unless the world is all you can see."
Trevin Wax, managing editor of The Gospel Project at LifeWay Christian Resources, said the decision by World Vision brings on a time to grieve for children everywhere.
"No matter what you think about this decision, I hope you feel a sense of grief…for the children," Wax wrote on The Gospel Coalition's blog. "This is a story of deep and lasting significance, because there are children's lives at stake in how we respond.
"Children will suffer as Evangelicals lose trust in and withdraw support from World Vision in the future. It will take time for evangelicals to start new organizations that maintain historic Christian concepts of sin, faith and repentance."
After listing reasons children suffer in so many ways, not just in decisions such as the one that World Vision made, and how Evangelicals will respond with grief, he writes. "But we also grieve for children here at home who are growing up in a culture in which sexual idolatry distorts the meaning of marriage and the beauty of God's original design."
Monday, March 24, 2014
March 23, 2014|9:49 am
A U.S. appeals court on Saturday temporarily put on hold a federal judge's ruling Friday to strike down Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage, a move that followed issuance of more than 300 marriage licenses to gays and lesbians by state officials.
Protestors opposed to same-sex marriage carry signs outside the Federal Court House in Michigan where plaintiffs April Deboer and her same-sex partner Jayne Rowse managed to overturn Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage in Detroit, Michigan in a ruling on Friday March 21, 2014. A temporary stay was granted on Saturday.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit granted a temporary stay until Wednesday, directing those who challenged the state's gay marriage ban to respond to Michigan attorney general's plea to place the lower court's decision on hold pending an appeal.
"To allow a more reasoned consideration of the motion to stay, it is ordered that the district court's judgment is temporarily stayed until Wednesday," the Saturday's ruling said.
State Attorney General Bill Schuette's spokeswoman Joy Yearout said Saturday the stay was intended to preserve the state Constitution pending the appeal's outcome, according to The Associated Press. She didn't comment on whether the state will recognize the new marriages. "The courts will have to sort it out," she was quoted as saying.
Officials in four counties issued 323 marriage licenses Saturday, according to Detroit News.
Michigan's 2004 constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, which was approved by 59 percent of voters, was challenged by a Detroit suburb lesbian couple, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, who wanted to jointly adopt each other's children but could not.
Anna Kirkland, a University of Michigan professor who submitted an expert report in the Michigan case, told the AP that those issued licenses will be considered "legally married" regardless of what state officials do. "A ruling from a federal judge on the meaning of the Equal Protection Clause ... is binding on the state government," she was quoted as saying. "It's the law of the land until or unless the Supreme Court says otherwise."
In a 31-page ruling, Judge Bernard A. Friedman of Federal District Court Friday stated, "The Court finds that the (ban) impermissibly discriminates against same-sex couples in violation of the Equal Protection Clause because the provision does not advance any conceivable legitimate state interest."
The judge also said that religious views of some people cannot come in the way of equal protection. "Many Michigan residents have religious convictions whose principles govern the conduct of their daily lives and inform their own viewpoints about marriage," Friedman said. "Nonetheless, these views cannot strip other citizens of the guarantees of equal protection under the law."
Federal judges in Texas, Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Utah have also struck down state amendments and laws banning gay marriage as unconstitutional ever since the U.S. Supreme Court last June squashed a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia now issue licenses for same-sex marriage.
After Friday's ruling, Brian S. Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, said it reflects "an all-out assault on marriage, issuing rulings to redefine this foundational institution in violation of US Supreme Court precedent and the rule of law."
Friday, March 21, 2014
March 20, 2014|3:53 pm
A national gay rights organization has taken issue with a Roman Catholic Archdiocese's recently implemented "morals clause" added to their private school teacher contracts.
"As support for LGBT equality continues to grow, particularly among Catholics, the Cincinnati Archdiocese is enacting draconian restrictions on Catholic school employees," Paul Guequierre of the Human Rights Campaign wrote in an entry on the group's website Tuesday that calls for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to reconsider its new rule. "HRC is calling on Diocese leaders to model Christian values and not discriminate against LGBT teachers or straight allies in their employment practices."
Guequierre argued that the new measure for Catholic school teachers in the Archdiocese is discriminatory and will remove employment protections for teachers.
"The new contract also prohibits membership in an LGBT equality organization, such as the Human Rights Campaign," stated Guequierre. "Creating a safe space for LGBT young people, by placing a friendly sticker on your door for example, could be grounds for dismissal."
Earlier this month, local media reported that the Archdiocese had expanded the so-called "morals clause" in the contracts for teachers at its parochial schools. Originally only a line or two long, the new clause lays out in greater detail the dis-qualifiers for employment with the Archdiocese, reported WLWT.com.
"Such conduct or lifestyle that is in contradiction to Catholic doctrine or morals includes, but is not limited to, improper use of social media/communication, public support of or publicly living together outside marriage, public support of or sexual activity out of wedlock, public support of or homosexual lifestyle, public support of or use of abortion, public support of or use of a surrogate mother, public support of or use of in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination, public membership in organizations whose mission and message are incompatible with Catholic doctrine or morals, and/or flagrant deceit or dishonesty," reads the clause.
Dan Andriacco, spokesman for the Archdiocese, told The Christian Post that the contract will take effect in the fall.
"Our experience has been that some teachers who violated the moral conduct clause in the past said they didn't understand that they were doing so," said Andriacco. "So we think that the examples will help the teachers. The new wording doesn't impose any new requirement or expectation on our teachers; it just makes the long-standing expectations more explicit."
When asked by CP about the allegation of being discriminatory, Andriacco said the new morals clause is not so.
"When you read the contract you will see that it doesn't keep anyone from teaching in our schools on the basis of age, race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation," said Andriacco. "Our Catholic schools are a ministry of the Catholic Church. It shouldn't surprise anyone that we ask our teachers who serve in them not to contradict the teachings of the Church by their public actions or pronouncements."
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
March 15, 2014|12:42 pm
Supporters of same-sex marriage appear to increasingly hold the view that for gay rights to expand, religious freedom must shrink. Some same-sex marriage supporters, though, are pushing back against that trend.
Before states began recognizing some same-sex unions as a marriage, proponents of same-sex marriage made a "live and let live argument:" opponents of same-sex marriage will not be harmed, let same-sex marriages be recognized by the government and it will have no impact on anyone else, the argument went.
In a short period of time, that argument has been replaced with an effort to use the power of the state to punish some who believe that marriage can only be between one man and one woman. In the words of author Heather Wilhelm, "live and let live" has become "you will be assimilated" and all must become part of the Borg collective.
Some same-sex marriage supporters, though, are pushing back against the Borg mindset. Here are six of them.
Same-sex marriage should be legal in all 50 states, Friedersdorf believes. But he does not want to coerce those who disagree with him, and own wedding-related businesses, to do something they do not want to do.
Writing for The Atlantic, Friedersdorf said that he personally knows Catholics who would not only decline a same-sex wedding invitation, but they would decline invites for second marriages and weddings that do not take place as part of a Mass as well.
While he does not share those opinions, Friedersdorf said he "can respect their right to think differently," and he does not believe they would decline a same-sex wedding invitation "because they have anything against gays, but because they're committed to participating only in sacramental marriage as their church defines it, ...."
"I certainly don't think they should be coerced into doing otherwise if they own a wedding-related business," he added. "Is it really worth depriving a tiny religious minority of following their conscience or their livelihood to make a point that has little bearing on gay equality?"
Koppelman, professor of law and political science at Northwestern University School of Law, is a long-time supporter of gay rights and gay marriage. He also believes that those who disagree with him should have the freedom to live according to their beliefs.
"I've worked very hard to create a regime in which it is safe to be gay. I would also like that regime to be one in which it is safe to be a religious dissenter," Koppelman said in November at a Federalist Society conference.
"The strongest argument for accommodation (of wedding photographers who object to photographing a same-sex wedding) here is a pretty simple one: there are lots of other wedding photographers," he explained.
During the debate over passage of Arizona's S.B. 1062, a bill that would have clarified the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, critics claimed the bill would allow business owners to ban gays from public accommodations. A group of 11 law professors sent Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer (R) a letter explaining that the bill would not do that and those critics are "trying to deceive you."
One of the signers of that letter was Douglas Laycock, Robert E. Scott Distinguished Professor of Law at University of Virginia School of Law, who supports same-sex marriage and religious freedom. He explained his position on the Arizona bill for The Volokh Conspiracy, a Washington Post blog.
The bill, he wrote, "was egregiously misrepresented both before and after the veto. ... These laws enact a uniform standard – substantial burden and compelling interest – to be interpreted and applied to individual cases by courts. They rest on the sound premise that we should not punish people for practicing their religion unless we have a very good reason."
Linker, senior correspondent at TheWeek.com, supports gay marriage and is "cheered" by all the recent gains by those who agree with him. At the same time, he is "troubled by the equally stunning lack of charity, magnanimity, and tolerance displayed by many gay marriage advocates."
Same-sex marriage supporters, he said, "don't just want to win the legal right to marry. They don't just want most Americans to recognize and affirm the equal dignity of their relationships. They appear to want and expect all Americans to recognize and affirm that equal dignity, under penalty of ostracism from civilized life.
"That is an unacceptable, illiberal demand."
In a liberal democracy, Linker concluded, "traditionalist religious believers are our fellow citizens and neighbors, and the United States is as much their country as it is ours."
Saletan, a writer for the liberal website Slate, says that he has long been a "fan of gay marriage" and was the best man in a same-sex wedding 23 years ago. Looking at how his fellow same-sex marriage supporters treat those who disagree with them, however, he is "disturbed by what I see today."
"We're stereotyping and vilifying opponents of gay marriage the way we've seen gay people stereotyped and vilified. This is a deeply personal moral issue. To get it right, we need more than justice. We need humanity," he wrote.
Sullivan, founding editor for The Dish, is a gay, married man who describes himself as a conservative and an Obama supporter. To supporters of traditional marriage, whom he refers to as "fundamentalists" and "bigots," Sullivan says, "live and let live."
"My view is that in a free and live-and-let-live society, we should give them space," he wrote. "As long as our government is not discriminating against us, we should be tolerant of prejudice as long as it does not truly hurt us. And finding another florist may be a bother, and even upsetting, .... But we can surely handle it. And should."
Friday, March 14, 2014
March 13, 2014|8:31 am
A graduate of a Southern Baptist seminary and former campus Baptist minister is suing to overturn an Alabama law that does not recognize gay marriages performed outside of the state.
Paul Hard, 55, an alumnus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, filed his lawsuit after his husband, David Fancher, died in a car accident in 2011, less than two months after they had married in Massachusetts.
Paul Hard, a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, speaks about his lawsuit to overturn an Alabama law that does not recognize same-sex marriages performed outside the state, Feb. 13, 2014.
Hard was named as his spouse's sole beneficiary, but current Alabama law forbids him from receiving benefits from a wrongful-death lawsuit that has been filed by his estate against the trucking company where Fancher worked.
In the immediate aftermath of the accident, hospital staff did not recognize Hard as Fancher's next of kin, despite him bringing Fancher's power of attorney, living will and their marriage certificate." Hard said the hospital staff's insistence that they would only speak with a family member made him "angry" and then "frantic."
"After what seemed to be about 30 minutes, finally the hospital administration called the desk and said, 'You can take him on back.' At that point, I assumed that David was simply badly injured and asked the orderly who was escorting me back, 'Is he badly hurt?' The orderly simply said, 'He's dead,'" Hard said, as reported to AL.COM.
Hard, an Auburn University Montgomery professor who is now Episcopalian, said that he is filing the lawsuit to keep others from experiencing a situation similar to the one he suffered while at the hospital in the aftermath of Fancher's injuries.
"It's important, because nobody should ever have to go through this at the worst extreme of our lives; we should be able to expect the compassion and support of our fellow citizens," Hard said. "Southerners have tremendous heart. They are known for their kindness. They are known for their courtesy. They are known for their ethics. And they're known for their humanity. I don't believe that anybody that could witness what I went through could simply step back to a political or a legal position."
The prosecution will go after a 1998 state law, the Marriage Protection Act, and the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment. The latter piece of legislation was approved by more than 80 percent of voters statewide in 2006.
Hard will be represented by the Southern Poverty Law Institute, a left-of-center organization that has previously designated the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian advocacy organization, as a "hate group."