Trditional Marriage News

Date:
Friday, October 25, 2013


FoxNews.com
 
AP

Soldiers attending a pre-deployment briefing at Fort Hood say they were told that evangelical Christians and members of the Tea Party were a threat to the nation and that any soldier donating to those groups would be subjected to punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

A soldier who attended the Oct. 17th briefing told me the counter-intelligence agent in charge of the meeting spent nearly a half hour discussing how evangelical Christians and groups like the American Family Association were “tearing the country apart.”

Michael Berry, an attorney with the Liberty Institute, is advising the soldier and has launched an investigation into the incident.

 

“On the very base that was the site of mass murder carried out by a radicalized Muslim soldier, it is astonishing that it is evangelical groups that are being identified as a ‘threat.’”

- Tony Perkins, Family Research Council president

 

“The American public should be outraged that the U.S. Army is teaching our troops that evangelical Christians and Tea Party members are enemies of America, and that they can be punished for supporting or participating in those groups,” said Berry, a former Marine Corps JAG officer. 

“These statements about evangelicals being domestic enemies are a serious charge.”

The soldier told me he fears reprisals and asked not to be identified. He said there was a blanket statement that donating to any groups that were considered a threat to the military and government was punishable under military regulations.

“My first concern was if I was going to be in trouble going to church,” the evangelical Christian soldier told me. “Can I tithe? Can I donate to Christian charities? What if I donate to a politician who is a part of the Tea Party movement?”

Another soldier who attended the briefing alerted the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. That individual’s recollections of the briefing matched the soldier who reached out to me.

“I was very shocked and couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” the soldier said. “I felt like my religious liberties, that I risk my life and sacrifice time away from family to fight for, were being taken away.”

And while a large portion of the briefing dealt with the threat evangelicals and the Tea Party pose to the nation, barely a word was said about Islamic extremism, the soldier said.

“Our community is still healing from the act of terrorism brought on by Nidal Hasan – who really is a terrorist,” the soldier said. “This is a slap in the face. “The military is supposed to defend freedom and to classify the vast majority of the military that claim to be Christian as terrorists is sick.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, tells me the Pentagon is pushing anti-Christian propaganda.

“On the very base that was the site of mass murder carried out by a radicalized Muslim soldier, it is astonishing that it is evangelical groups that are being identified as a ‘threat,’” he said. “Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel must immediately intervene to stop this march against the rights and freedom of our soldiers.”

The soldier said they were also told that the pro-life movement is another example of “radicalization.”

“They said that evangelical Christians protesting abortions are the mobilization stage and that leads to the bombing of abortion clinics,” he said, recalling the discussion.

An Army spokesman at the Pentagon tells me they do not maintain or publish a list of organizations considered extremist.

“None of these slides [shown at the briefing] were produced by the Army, but by soldiers who included information found during an Internet search,” the spokesman said.

He said commanders and other leaders were cautioned that they should not use “lists of extremists, hate groups, radical factions or the like compiled by any outside non-governmental groups or organizations for briefings, command presentations, or as a short cut to determining if a group or activity is considered to be extremist.”

Meanwhile, the public affairs office at Fort Hood is denying the soldiers' allegations.

“The allegations you are asking about were brought to the attention of the Fort Hood leadership immediately and a (sic) inquiry is occurring,” read a statement from Tom Rheinlander, the public affairs director at Fort Hood. “At this time, initial information gathered about the training and what you claim occurred is not substantiated by unit leadership and soldiers present at this training venue.”

I sent the public affairs officer additional questions about the specific content of the briefing but he declined to respond.

But this is not the first time an Army briefing has labeled evangelicals as extremists. Last April an Army Reserve briefing classified Evangelical Christianity and Catholicism as “religious extremism.”

In a letter to Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Secretary of the Army John McHugh said the briefing in April was an isolated incident and the material used was not sanctioned by the Army.
McHugh said it was a “misguided attempt to explain that extremism is not limited to a single religion.”

Two weeks ago, several dozen active duty troops at Camp Shelby in Mississippi, were told the American Family Association, a well-respected Christian ministry, should be classified as a domestic hate group because it advocates for traditional family values.

Again, the military called it an isolated incident with a trainer using material that was not sanctioned by the military. 

That explanation is wearing thin with American Christians.

“How much longer can the Army claim no knowledge or responsibility for these things?” Berry asked. 

“These repeated incidents show either that this training was directed from Army leadership at the Pentagon, or else the Army has a real discipline and leadership problem on its hands because a bunch of rogue soldiers are teaching this nonsense.”

The most recent allegations at Fort Hood have drawn sharp rebuke from religious liberty groups around the nation.

“Why is the Army engaged in these anti-Christian training propaganda briefings?” asked Perkins, himself a veteran of the Marine Corps. “The only explanation is that this is a deliberate effort of the Obama administration to intimidate and separate soldiers from Christian groups that they support and that support them.”

Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance, called the military’s behavior dishonorable.

“Far from mere ‘isolated incidents,’ as the Army has dismissed previous occurrences, this latest incident demonstrates a pattern and practice of Army briefings identifying mainstream religions, such as Evangelical Christianity, Judaism, and Catholicism, as examples of ‘religious extremism’ similar to Al Qaeda, Hamas and the Ku Klux Klan,” he told me.

Perkins said it’s time for the Pentagon to “ensure that instructors carry out their role to train our troops to defend our freedom, and not push anti-Christian propaganda.”

 

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. Sign up for his American Dispatch newsletter, be sure to join his Facebook page, and follow him onTwitter.

 

Date:
Tuesday, October 22, 2013

FoxNews.com
 

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday withdrew his challenge to legalized same-sex marriage in the state, after a court determined that the appeal is not likely to prevail. 

The decision by Christie came as, in response to the court move, the state on Monday began to recognize same-sex marriages. Christie's administration formally withdrew the appeal in a letter to the state Supreme Court. 

"Although the Governor strongly disagrees with the Court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, the Court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey Constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law," the governor's office said in a statement. "The Governor will do his constitutional duty and ensure his Administration enforces the law as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court."

Earlier in the day, gay couples exchanged vows in early morning ceremonies in several New Jersey communities as the state became the 14th state to recognize them.

The hastily planned first weddings to legally unite long-time couples were planned for a state Senator's grand home in Elizabeth, the boardwalk in Asbury Park and government buildings in small towns and big cities.

In the arts community of Lambertville, Mayor David DelVecchio led the ceremony to marry Beth Asaro and Joanne Schailey. He also presided when they joined in a civil union the minute they became recognized in the state in February 2007.

Soon after they cut the cake, DelVecchio handed Asaro a pink marriage license. "We're floating on air," she said. Added Schailey, "It's like winning the Super Bowl."

The couple, both wearing suits, hosted a reception attended by friends, family and several politicians. The song "In the Mood" played.

Asaro, a member of the city council in Lambertville, said they wanted to get married at the first moment, in part, to promote the gay-friendliness of their community north of Trenton.

"This shows to the world that Lambertville is open for business,"  DelVecchio said.

In Newark, Mayor Cory Booker was marrying the first of several couples when someone attempted to disrupt the ceremony.

Booker had asked if anyone had reason to object to the marriage and a protester screamed "This is unlawful in the eyes of God and Jesus Christ."

Booker, who was elected to the U.S. Senate last week, called for the person to be removed and police dragged him out.

As Booker continued speaking, "...not hearing any substantive and worthy objections," thunderous applause erupted.

The weddings came amid a flurry of legal activity after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that the federal government should recognize gay marriages and confer couples with the same benefits that it does for heterosexual married couples, including joint tax filings, the right to live together in government-funded nursing homes and Social Security survivor benefits.

A state judge last month agreed with advocates who said that by allowing civil unions but not marriage, New Jersey was keeping gay couples in the state from legal equality.

The administration of Christie, a Republican and possible 2016 presidential candidate, had appealed both the ruling and Monday's implementation date to the state Supreme Court.

And on Friday, less than 60 hours before the weddings were to begin, the state's top court refused to delay them while it sorts out the overall case. The court said the state is not likely to prevail.

Many of the people who have long fought for the right for gay couples to marry had been bracing for a delay, even while they were optimistic the state's top court would ultimately force New Jersey to recognize same-sex marriage.

For the first couples to tie the knot legally, it's been a weekend of fast wedding planning and confusion.

Some towns began taking applications for same-sex marriage licenses on Thursday and continued even after the state government told them not to until there was clarity from the courts.

Other towns refused to grant licenses even after the state Health Department said Friday evening that towns should accept the applications.

It's expected that a rush of weddings will continue in coming days as couples are able to get licenses. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

 

Date:
Friday, October 18, 2013

Detroit— Legal and legislative battle lines are being drawn in the wake of a judge’s decision to put the Michigan Marriage Amendment on trial in February.

Supporters of same-sex marriage are preparing for a $20 million campaign to repeal Michigan’s ban on gay marriage and replace it with a law legalizing it. Meanwhile, opponents say they’ll do all they can to convince voters to oppose such an initiative.

Emily Dievendorf, the managing director of Equality Michigan, said her group will be part of a coalition to get a measure before voters in 2016.

“Now Michigan is on everyone’s Top 10 list for the next place to look for marriage equality,” she said Thursday. “A repeal (of the marriage ban) would put into place full marriage equality.”

To put an initiative guaranteeing marriage rights to gays on the ballot, supporters will need more than 322,609 signatures or about 10 percent of the votes expected to be cast in the November 2014 gubernatorial race.

The deadline to submit the signatures is early July 2016 for the November election.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman heard arguments Wednesday on both sides of the issue and set a Feb. 25 trial date. Some same-sex couples had expected a possible ruling against the ban and had gathered Wednesday at county clerk offices around the state to apply for a marriage license.

State Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, said Thursday he thinks if voters today were given the same choice they were given in 2004 when they approved the state ban on gay marriage, the outcome might be different.

“Public opinion has changed and more people realize love is love,” said Irwin, a co-sponsor of a bill introduced in June to legalize same-sex marriage. “The public knows this is an issue of equal protection.”

State Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, who campaigned for Proposal 2, also known as the Michigan Marriage Amendment, said he plans to campaign against a repeal.

“We’ll vigorously oppose it,” he said Thursday. “We will aggressively defend what we have in our constitution and any attempts to change it.”

Other gay marriage opponents such as Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan and a co-author of the marriage amendment, said he doesn’t believe they will be successful in repealing it.

“The American Family Association of Michigan will encourage Michigan voters to vote ‘no’ on any such measure on a Michigan ballot,” Glenn said Thursday.

But Grace Wojcik, who was planning to legally marry her partner, Jessica Wojcik, on Wednesday if Friedman overturned the ban, says she will be part of the campaign to put a measure supporting gay marriage on the ballot in two years.

Grace Wojcik, a Farmington Hills resident, said while she was disappointed Friedman did not strike down the ban, she remains hopeful the February trial will bring more positive results.

“It helps build a stronger case,” she said. “A stronger decision by Friedman will be harder to overturn. Michigan is one of the worst states in terms of civil rights and equality for the LGBT community.”

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20131018/POLITICS02/310170146#ixzz2i5F3NVVe

Date:
Tuesday, October 15, 2013

BY JOHN-HENRY WESTEN

Tue Oct 15, 2013 09:17 EST

 

ANN ARBOR, MI, October 15, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Catholic priest in Georgia has filed a lawsuit after he was barred from even volunteering to offer Mass at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base.

Father Ray Leonard, who is contracted to serve as base chaplain, and Fred Naylor, one of Father Leonard’s parishioners and a retired veteran with over 22 years of service, launched the suit Monday in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Priests have been prohibited from offering Mass at military bases in the wake of the government shutdown, despite provisions in the Pay Our Military Act.

According to the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, MI, only Catholic Masses have been banned at the Georgia Naval Base. Protestant services have continued. They say Father Leonard was told if he said Mass in violation of the order he could be subject to arrest.

Fr. Leonard is a civilian Catholic Pastor contracted by the Department of Defense (DoD) to serve as a military chaplain at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia.

The priest, who served Tibetan populations in China for 10 years, told the court in an affidavit, “In China, I was disallowed from performing public religious services due to the lack of religious freedom in China. I never imagined that when I returned home to the United States, that I would be forbidden from practicing my religious beliefs as I am called to do, and would be forbidden from helping and serving my faith community.”

On October 4, 2013, Fr. Leonard was ordered to stop performing all of his duties as the base’s Catholic Chaplain, even on a voluntary basis. He was also told that he could be arrested if he violated that order. The approximately 300 Catholic families, including Fred Naylor’s, served by Fr. Leonard at Kings Bay have been unable to attend Mass on base since the beginning of the shutdown.

Additionally, Fr. Leonard was locked out of his on-base office and the chapel and denied access to the Holy Eucharist and other articles of his Catholic faith. The order has caused the cancellation of daily and weekend mass, confession, marriage preparation classes and baptisms as well as prevented Fr. Leonard from providing the spiritual guidance he was called by his faith to provide.

The submarine base is remotely located.  It consists of roughly 16,000 acres, with 4,000 acres comprised of protected wetlands.  There are approximately 10,000 total people on the base.

A Catholic Church is located off base in the town of St. Mary’s.  However, many of the parishioners both live and work on base and do not own a car and cannot otherwise access transportation.  Therefore a sixteen (16) mile journey to and from the off-base church is simply not possible.  Moreover, many of the sailors have an extremely limited amount of time off.  With their time highly regimented, they are not given a long enough break time for this exceptionally long walk and the Mass service.

Defendants in the lawsuit are the Department of Defense (DoD), Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the Department of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Department of the Navy, Ray Mabus. 

Currently, about 25% of the US Armed Forces is Catholic and due to a shortage of active duty Catholic Priests, the DoD contracts Catholic Priests to provide religious services, sacraments and support for other religious practices for military base communities. Catholic Priests serve the Military Archdiocese.

For active duty service members, on base religious services are crucial given issues associated with off base transportation, extremely limited time off and the highly scheduled lifestyle of active military duty. Additionally, as service members tend to have high rates of divorce, depression and suicide, the need for readily available spiritual encouragement and guidance is critical.

The Pay Our Military Act, which was enacted before the beginning of the government shutdown, provides provisions for the funding of employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale and well-being of the military.

To express concerns to the President, the contact form is here.

 

Date:
Monday, October 7, 2013

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act said that the federal government must recognize same-sex marriages from states that allow them. Since the decision, couples in states which do not recognize same-sex marriages have filed a flurry of lawsuits.

Conditions are ripe for litigation in those states, like Pennsylvania. In July, a rogue county clerk outside Philadelphia started granting marriage licenses to gays and lesbians, defying the state's ban.

Pennsylvania filed suit against D. Bruce Hanes, but he had already issued more than 100 licenses before the court told him to stop.

Under a Jewish wedding canopy, two brides signed the very first marriage certificate issued to a same-sex couple in the state of Pennsylvania. Dee Spagnuolo and Sasha Ballen were married, surrounded by their three young children, friends and family.

Hanes argued that after the Supreme Court's decision, denying couples like Spagnuolo and Ballen marriage licenses would violate the Constitution. Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, spokesman for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, said that wasn't Hanes' call to make.

"We are a government of laws, and the process is there to change laws or challenge laws. And that issue, these issues, are not solved by individual public officials deciding based on their own personal opinions what to do or what not to do," Frederiksen says.

Wanting The Same Benefits Other People Get

Spagnuolo and Ballen are now among two dozen couples who have asked the state to recognize their marriage licenses from Montgomery County.

They want the full spectrum of federal benefits now provided to same-sex couples in other states following the Supreme Court's decision. There's been a lot of legal activity regarding gay marriage in Pennsylvania's state and federal courts since the ruling.

"You have a lot of people living here, seeing that their neighbors are getting something that they aren't," says the couple's lawyer, David Cohen.

Pennsylvania remains the only state in the Northeast which does not yet allow same-sex partnerships. A judge in New Jersey ruled last week that New Jersey, which has civil unions, must begin recognizing marriages. Gov. Chris Christie has appealed.

Pressure From Inside And Out

Since the Supreme Court's decision, couples have filed dozens of constitutional challenges to state laws around the country, says Brian Moulton, legal director of Human Rights Campaign.

 

"It's less about identifying a particular state where it's the right argument, but a state where there's perhaps the greatest likelihood of success before the courts," he says.

The American Civil Liberties Union has thrown its weight behind suits in Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina in efforts to set precedents that would legalize same-sex marriage throughout the country. It expects federal judges in these regions will be receptive.

Opponents of same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania say they would rather work this out legislatively.

"We should debate it as a society. And ultimately the best place in a democracy to deal with difficult issues is in our Legislature," says Randall Wenger, counsel for the Pennsylvania Family Institute.

On Thursday, Rep. Brian Sims, the state's first openly gay man elected to the Pennsylvania Legislature, introduced a same-sex marriage bill in the state House of Representatives.

Date:
Friday, October 4, 2013
By Ryan Hutchins/The Star-Ledger 

October 03, 2013 at 3:36 PM

TRENTON — A new coalition opposed to same-sex marriage said today its members will aggressively fight legislative efforts to override Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of gay marriage, calling instead for a voter referendum.

“We believe strongly, with Gov. Christie, that this issue should be decided by the people,” Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council, said at a Statehouse press conference today. “Same-sex marriage is not about civil rights. It’s about special rights for people who do not want to marry someone of the opposite sex.”

The New Jersey Coalition to Preserve and Protect Marriage includes numerous organizations that support traditional marriage, among them the Family Policy Council, the state Catholic Conference, New Jersey Family First and the state council of the Knights of Columbus.

Members of the groups admitted they were out-funded by organizations supporting gay marriage, but said they believe a majority of New Jerseyans agree with them. They said they were confident Democratic leaders in the Legislature would fail to find enough votes to override the governor. And they also rejected claims that they had “Neanderthal” mentalities or are stuck in the “dark ages.”

The renewed push comes less than a week after a state Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson ruled that same-sex couples in New Jersey were being denied their equal rights and must be allowed to marry, setting an Oct. 21 starting date.

The Christie administration said on Monday it would appeal the ruling directly to the state Supreme Court to prevent the marriages, bypassing the appellate courts, which is the normal procedure. It has asked Jacbobson to put same-sex marriages on hold while it appeals.

Representatives from the groups said the court should not decide on an issue that, in their view, “redefines” marriage and threatens religion.

Activist John Tomicki called Jacobson’s decision “56 pages of moral relativism which now is going to supposedly set the policy for the state of New Jersey.”

“It would completely strike at the heart of religion and religious freedom,” Tomicki said of allowing same-sex marriage.

Jim White, who was representing the state council of the Knights of Columbus, said same-sex marriage would open the gates to arguments for polygamy, polyandry, group marriage and marriage between siblings.

“Marriage under the present definition has served humanity well for millennia, and we change the definition at our own peril,” White said. “Finally, keep in mind that defending marriage is not bigotry, and change is not necessarily progress.”

Gay rights groups have argued that civil unions, currently allowed in New Jersey, do not provide same-sex couples rights equal to those afforded married couples. Many do not want a voter referendum because they say it not an issue of public opinion but rather civil rights.

 

Date:
Wednesday, October 2, 2013

September 30, 2013, 1:17 p.m.

 

SAN FRANCISCO -- A Los Angeles-based gay rights group that launched the federal challenge of Proposition 8 has hired high-powered attorneys Theodore B. Olson and David Boies to challenge Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights, started by a political strategist with support from Hollywood, announced Monday that the two legal luminaries who led the fight against California’s gay marriage ban would join a federal lawsuit to overturn Virginia’s prohibition.

The addition of  Olson and Boies, Supreme Court practitioners on opposite ends of the political spectrum,  suggests that Virginia's ban may become  the next case to test gay marriage before the high court.

The court put an end to Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot measure that barred gay marriage in California,  in a narrowprocedural ruling that left state bans in place elsewhere. Gay rights activists are hoping the next marriage case will prod the court to overturn bans nationwide on constitutional grounds.

TIMELINE: Gay marriage through the years

The ACLU and Lambda Legal, a gay rights group,  also are challenging Virginia’s ban in a class action lawsuit filed in a different federal court in the state.

“As a Virginian and a conservative, I believe these laws stand against the very principles of our nation’s founding,” Olson said.

Boies noted that a challenge to Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage led to the Supreme Court’s 1967 landmark ruling in Loving vs. Virginia, which ended restrictions on mixed-race marriages nationwide. Gay rights lawyers have cited that ruling in arguing for same-sex marriage.

“Virginia gave us the first marriage equality case — and the one that most clearly established that the right to marry the person you love is a fundamental right of all Americans,”  Boies said. “It’s fitting, then, that Virginia be the battleground for another great test of that principle.”

Virginia amended its constitution in 2006 to ban same-sex couples from marrying. It is one of 37 states with such a prohibition.

Follow Politics Now on Twitter and Facebook

Twitter: @mauradolan

maura.dolan@latimes.com

 

Date:
Tuesday, October 1, 2013

BY BEN JOHNSON

Fri Sep 27, 2013 17:53 EST

TRENTON, NJ, September 27, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A New Jersey judge ruled on Friday that the state's law protecting marriage as the union between a man and a woman violates the state constitution.

Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson specifically cited the U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in saying the state must recognize same-sex “marriages” by October 21.

 

Governor Chris Christie, the Republican who vetoed a bill redefining marriage in 2012, has promised to appeal to a higher court.

"Gov. Christie has always maintained that he would abide by the will of the voters on the issue of marriage equality and called for it to be on the ballot this Election Day," said Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak. “Since the legislature refused to allow the people to decide expeditiously, we will let the Supreme Court make this constitutional determination.”

The state Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that homosexuals have no right to be recognized as “married” – by a one vote margin.

But New Jersey already has civil unions – also decreed by the state Supreme Court in the same case. The U.S. Supreme Court cited California's civil unions as proof the state did not value marriage as a unique legal relationship between a man and a woman in striking down Proposition 8.

Jacobson ruled that applying a different label to homosexuals barred gay couples from collecting federal benefits.

“Judge Jacobson has trampled on the right of the people of New Jersey to define marriage, a right that the Supreme Court has upheld in the very case she misuses to redefine marriage,” stated Brian Brown, the National Organization for Marriage’s president.

The ruling and the underlying lawsuit made clear the push for gay “marriage” revolves around collecting welfare benefits and other state incentives designed for the nuclear family.

“The ineligibility of same-sex couples for federal benefits is currently harming same-sex couples in New Jersey in a wide range of contexts,” Jacobson wrote.

Jacobson was appointed by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner in January 2012. She succeeded Assignment Judge Linda Feinberg.

Hayley Gorenberg of Lambda Legal said she found the ruling “thrilling,” because “the state stood between these families and a host of federal protections, benefits, rights and responsibilities.”

But Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council, told ABC News the ruling represented “judicial activism” that imposed an extreme social agenda on the state without the voters' consent.

State legislators had threatened to override Christie's veto but still lack the votes: 12 in the House, three in the Senate.

“This is a gross abuse of power that cannot be allowed to stand,” said Brown.

 

Date:
Thursday, September 26, 2013

CINCINNATI (AP) — A lawsuit seeking to have the out-of-state marriages of two gay Ohio couples recognized on death certificates has been expanded to include all similarly situated couples, despite a statewide ban on gay marriage.

Attorneys are now asking federal Judge Timothy Black to require Ohio's health department director to order funeral directors and coroners to list gay clients as married if they were legally wed in another state.

Black approved a request to expand the lawsuit on Wednesday and is expected to issue a ruling in December.

A spokeswoman for Ohio Department of Health Director Theodore Wymyslo did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

John Arthur and James Obergefell, both 47, are the couple who began the lawsuit. Arthur, who has Lou Gehrig's disease, and Obergefell sued in July to ensure that they can be buried next to each other in Arthur's family plot, which is in a cemetery that only allows descendants and spouses.

A second couple, William Herbert Ives and David Michener, joined the lawsuit earlier this month after Ives died unexpectedly and Michener wanted him to be listed as married before he was cremated.

Black found in favor of both couples, saying they deserved to be treated with respect and that Ohio law historically has recognized out-of-state marriages as valid as long as they were legal where they took place, citing marriages between cousins and involving minors.

"How then can Ohio, especially given the historical status of Ohio law, single out same-sex marriages as ones it will not recognize?" Black wrote. "The short answer is that Ohio cannot."

His ruling has sparked backlash from opponents of gay marriage, including state Rep. John Becker, a Union Township Republican who last week called for Black's impeachment.

"The grounds are malfeasance and abuse of power," Becker wrote in a letter to U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup in which he asked the congressman to begin impeachment proceedings. "Judge Black has demonstrated his incompetence by allowing his personal political bias to supersede jurisprudence."

A woman who answered the phone at Black's office said the judge was prohibited from commenting.

Only eight federal judges in history have been removed by Congress, most recently Judge G. Thomas Porteous of Louisiana in 2010 after he was accused of accepting cash and other favors from attorneys and bail bondsmen with business before his court.

Phil Burress, president of the Ohio-based anti-gay marriage group Citizens for Community Values, said the effort to get gay couples recognized on death certificates is just a roundabout way to get gay marriage declared legal in Ohio.

"Basically they're trying to come through the back door," he said. "Until they change it they have to obey the law. Marriage in the state of Ohio is between one man and one woman."

Robert Grunn, a Cincinnati funeral director who is joining the lawsuit, said he wants to do what's right.

"It's making people more equal," he said. "A time of death is very painful and you don't want to have to exclude your loved ones on a certificate that's meaningful to your family history."

 
Date:
Tuesday, September 24, 2013

BY PATRICK B. CRAINE

Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:31 EST

DETROIT, Sept. 24, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Despite strong criticism and a public rebuke from another bishop, Detroit’s Archbishop Allen Vigneron has reaffirmed his insistence that Catholics who support same-sex “marriage” should not receive Holy Communion.

The archbishop was speaking to media at a pro-life vigil in Motor City on Saturday.

“I don’t think they were hurtful,” he said of his comments from April, according to the Detroit Free Press. “I think they were straightforward. There’s nothing hurtful in telling people the truth.”

“And the truth is that... the teaching of the church about marriage is God’s way for us to flourish,” he added. “That’s what I want people to know.”

On April 7th, the archbishop had stressed, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, that a Catholic must be committed to Church teaching if they present themselves for Holy Communion.

“For a Catholic to receive holy Communion and still deny the revelation Christ entrusted to the church is to try to say two contradictory things at once: ‘I believe the church offers the saving truth of Jesus, and I reject what the Church teaches,’” he said. “In effect, they would contradict themselves. This sort of behavior would result in publicly renouncing one's integrity and logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury.”

Four days later, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, a retired auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese with a strongly liberal reputation who has made a name for himself as an opponent of Church teaching, gave an interview to oppose Vigneron’s stance.

"Don't stop going to communion.  You're okay," Gumbleton told Fox News.

The highest authorities of the Church, including Pope Benedict himself, have insisted, however, that the Church’s law not only bars public advocates of abortion and same-sex “marriage” from receiving Communion but, in Canon 915, instructs clergy to deny them Communion if they refuse to recant after receiving instruction.

Canon 915 states that those who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

Archbishop Vigneron offered a Mass at Assumption Grotto church for about 200 pro-lifers, and then joined a walk to two abortion facilities where he led a Rosary. The event was organized by the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants.

In his homily, he told the pro-lifers who gathered that they were part of the “field hospital” spoken of by Pope Francis in his widely-publicized interview published last week.

 

Pages