Trditional Marriage News

Date:
Friday, May 8, 2015

By Fr. Mark Hodges| LifeSiteNews|  Thu May 7, 2015 - 4:53 pm EST 

 

RICHLAND, WA, May 7, 2015, (LifeSiteNews.com) -- GoFundMe has again shut down the support page of a beseiged business whose owner believes in Christian morality.

A campaign to help Barronelle Stutzman, a Christian florist being sued because she declined to take part in a homosexual “marriage” ceremony, has been canceled by the fund raising website.

Stutzman, who owns Arlene’s Flowers, referred a longstanding homosexual customer to nearby florists, because she could not in good conscience create custom arrangements in support of his same-sex “wedding.” The homosexuals sued her, and to help pay mounting costs, Stutzman set up a GoFundMe page.

 

Now GoFundMe has shut down the page and banned her pro-marriage cause, just as it did Melissa and Aaron Klein, Christian bakers being fined for refusing to participate in a separate same-sex “marriage” ceremony.

GoFundMe announced the ban in a blog post titled, “Protecting Our Community.”

Not only did Stutzman employ homosexuals at Arlene’s Flowers, but for nine years she served the very couple now suing her.

 

n order to justify its banning Stutzman, GoFundMe changed its public policies to include banning GoFundMe from funding anyone guilty of "discriminatory acts."

To make matters worse, the Washington state Attorney General's office interpreted a state statute to single out and punish a private citizen. Not only did they sue her business, but they sued Stutzman personally. This ruling prevents her case from going to trial and makes her personally responsible for paying damages and attorney's fees incurred by either the homosexuals suing her or the State of Washington, or both. This means Stutzman's home, her family business, and her life savings are at risk.

Before Stutzman, GoFundMe shut down the fundraising campaign of Sweet Cakes By Melissa, after the Kleins were fined $135,000 for refusing to cater a homosexual “wedding.”

GoFundMe defended that ban by saying, “The subjects of the 'Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa' campaign have been formally charged by local authorities and found to be in violation of Oregon state law concerning discriminatory acts. Accordingly, the campaign has been disabled.”

 

Greg Scott of Alliance Defending Freedom commented, "GoFundMe has facilitated fundraising for inane things like sending a man to a stranger’s bachelor party, but have now cut off families who face financial ruin and who’ve had their fundamental freedoms obliterated by unjust government action. If there is a better example of a company and culture with its priorities and loyalties completely upside down, I can’t think of it."

Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse picked up Sweet Cakes By Melissa's cause, and created a campaign to help persecuted Christians who face financial distress and are punished for living their faith.

"They have taken a stand for the Word of God, and they should not have to stand alone," Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham said. "Please pray for our nation. When our judges are punishing Christians for practicing what they believe, that's persecution, plain and simple."

 

“We’ve already seen many laws that have been passed that restrict our freedom as Christians. I believe it’s going to get worse," Franklin Graham said. “We are losing our religious freedom in this country, and we’re losing it a little bit day by day.”

Readers may support Christians who are facing persecution for standing up for their beliefs by donating to Samaritan's Purse here.

Date:
Thursday, May 7, 2015
May 7, 2015|8:04 am| The Christian Post|
 

English Dictionary publishers are considering the possibility of adding a new honorific term alongside "Mr.," "Mrs." and "Miss."

Recently an assistant editor with the Oxford English Dictionary stated that the transgender title of "Mx" may soon be added to their list of honorific terms.

Jonathan Dent, assistant editor on the OED, explained to the Sunday Times earlier this week about the new addition.

 

"This is an example of how the English language adapts to people's needs," said Dent, adding that its "people using language in ways that suit them."

Emily A. Brewster, associate editor with Merriam-Webster, Inc., told The Christian Post that the British-based dictionary publisher planning to add Mx. was unsurprising.

"Contrary to what some news outlets have reported, the OED does not yet include the honorific Mx. We're not surprised, though, that its editors are considering adding the term," said Brewster.

 

"Mx. is used increasingly on various official forms in the U.K., as well in British newspapers and periodicals."

Regarding whether or not American English dictionaries will add the term, Brewster noted the contrast of popular usage between the United Kingdom and the U.S.

"Evidence of Mx in the US (or Mx., as it's styled over here) is far sparser, but we are monitoring its development and will be interested to see if it takes root here in the same way it has in the U.K.," explained Brewster to CP.

 

According to Dent of OED, usage of the term "Mx" is not unprecedented, and can be dated at last as far back as 1977 in the issue of an American magazine titled "Single Parent."

"he early proponents of the term seem to have had gender politics as their central concern [and] saw the title as one which could sidestep the perceived sexism of the traditional 'Mr.,' 'Mrs.' and 'Miss,'" said Dent to the Times.

Date:
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
May 6, 2015|8:20 am| The Christian Post|
 

An English professor at California State University-Northridge, who was raised by two lesbian mothers, claims that the federal government could be liable for paying "reparations" to thousands of children raised by same-sex parents due to the emotional damage suffered from being deprived of opposite-sex parents.

Professor Robert Oscar Lopez, who is openly bisexual and also married, wrote in an op-ed for the American Thinker that somewhere between 100,000 and 500,000 children could be placed in homes with same-sex parents in the next 15 years as a result of state and federal governments' growing acceptance of same-sex marriage and same-sex parenting.

 

"Whatever the numbers of kids being raised in gay homes might be right now, with the rise of gay marriage, there was a rise in kids being raised by gay couples," Lopez wrote. "Those responsible for gay marriage will be responsible for thousands upon thousands of individual children who would not have been raised by same-sex couples were it not for actions taken by the government."

As the Supreme Court is set to rule in June whether or not states are constitutionally obliged to issue same-sex marriage licenses, a ruling assuring such a constitutional right could result in a future generation of children growing up and taking legal action for the emotional harm they suffered from being raised in a same-sex household, Lopez asserted.

 

"A sizable number of these citizens could come together and document losses, damages, or 'pain and suffering' incurred because they were forced to grow up in same-sex parenting home as opposed to home with a mother and father," Lopez stated. "If so, there will be grounds for later Congresses, Supreme Courts, and presidential administrations—ones that aren't as cowed by the gay lobby as our current leaders – to go back and investigate how gay marriage passed, how it led to depriving children of a mother or father and who has to pay up."

Lopez, who co-authored an amicus brief to the Supreme Court cautioning against the dangers of same-sex parenting, authored a hypothetical scenario in which a group of 9,000 adults who were raised by same-sex parents came together in 2030 looking to sue the the federal government for reparations after being raised in same-sex households.

"What will the investigators of 2030 find? There are more than a few details that will not look great," he argued. "When our imaginary hero of 2030 travels back to 2015, he will not find lawmakers, judges, or a Fourth Estate that lacked substantiated warnings about the likelihood of large-scale problems resulting from gay marriage."

 

Rev. Dr. D. Paul Sullins, a professor of sociology at Catholic University of America, recently released findings he compiled from the U.S. government's National Health Interview Survey that found that 32.4 percent of children in married same-sex households report crying or being fearful everyday.

Lopez co-edited a book of essays (Jephthah's Daughter's: Innocent Casualties in the War for Family Equality) that documented all the parties in society that are harmed by same-sex marriage. The book was published in February and included 57 essays and over 500 endnotes.

"Our book was published in February of 2015 and brought to the attention of the Supreme Court through our amicus briefs," he explained. "Mind you, these 480-plus pages of documentation include copious details of the impact of children, and they represent only what has been documented up to February 2015."

 

Lopez compared people seeking reparations for being raised by same-sex parents to the over 100,000 Japanese-Americans that received $20,000 each from the U.S. government for damages incurred while being placed in internment camps during World War II.

"The fifty-second or fifty-third president of the United States may have to answer to well over 500,000 citizens who were permanently cut off from their own biological heritage, forced to live in sex-segregated homes for two decades or more, and then denied not only the actual inheritances they should have gotten from the excluded biological parents, but also their cultural identities," Lopez wrote.

"In the case of Japanese internment, there was a war, and America had been attacked by the Japanese air force," Lopez added. "Children of gay parents didn't bomb anyone, yet they were stripped of one of their parents without due process and forced to live in the homes of unrelated gay adults for eighteen years."

Date:
Tuesday, May 5, 2015

By JOHN STONESTREET| LIVESITE| Mon May 4, 2015 - 11:40 am EST

 

May 4, 2015 (BreakPoint.org) -- This past Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a group of cases that will decide whether same-sex marriage will become the law of the land.

 

Although a decision in what will probably be called Obergefell v. Hodges is not expected until June, it’s not too early to think about the question “what’s next?”

And the first and most important thing to keep in mind is that while the Court can redefine marriage for legal and constitutional purposes, it cannot redefine marriage itself. That’s far beyond its competence and its authority.

Marriage is an institution that predates both politics and even religion. When Jesus talked about marriage, he pointed us back to the very beginning, to the proclamation that we find in Genesis 2: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Those twenty-two words sum up what Justice Kennedy was getting at when, in the oral arguments, he said that “I don’t even know how to count the decimals when we talk about millennia . . . This definition has been with us for millennia. And it’s very difficult for the court to say, ‘Oh, well, we know better.’”

 

Some think that this comment means the outcome isn’t the foregone conclusion that many on both sides have assumed. Perhaps. What is true is that, regardless of the outcome, our primary allegiance as Christians must be to the actual definition of marriage, not any legal innovations, just as our allegiance has been to the sanctity of human life for the forty-two years since Roe v. Wade. And it’s for the same reason: these things ultimately belong to God, and we are called to be witnesses to the truth—even if it costs us our job, our popularity, our business, or our tax-exemptions.

And our responsibility includes setting the historical and anthropological records straight. Some of the comments by the justices brought to mind the professor’s question in “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”: “What do they teach them at these schools?”

For example, after asking whether it would be prudent to wait and see whether the legalization of same-sex marriage “is or is not harmful to marriage?” Justice Stephen Breyer dismissively replied, “You know . . . you could have answered that one the same way we talk about racial segregation.”

 

With all due respect to Justice Breyer, this silly analogy has gone on too long. First of all, marriage literally dates from time immemorial. But legally-mandated segregation, or “Jim Crow,” didn’t last a century, and it only lasted that long because the Supreme Court, in Plessy v. Ferguson, gave the noxious idea of “separate-but-equal” its imprimatur. While marriage is the most ancient and venerable institution known to man, segregation was a modern idea born of modern ideas about race.

Similarly, while heterosexual marriage is a universal norm, Jim Crow and Apartheid were local aberrations. Comparing the two isn’t apples and oranges, it’s apples and bricks.

The same can be said of Justice Ginsburg’s citing a case in which a Louisiana court gave the husband “sole control of marital property.” According to Ginsburg, this proves that we’ve “changed our idea about marriage.”

 

Well, no, it doesn’t. There is a huge difference between changing our ideas about the legal status of husbands and wives within a marriage and saying that either husbands or wives are unnecessary to have a marriage.

Regardless of what happens in June, we need to be prepared to respond to these kinds of arguments now. If not to change other’s minds, then at least to be clear in our own.

In the meantime, we pray and we bear witness to the truth. And for believers, that’s always something we can do.

 

Date:
Monday, May 4, 2015
April 28, 2015|4:41 pm| The Christian Post|
 

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered by experts to be a "swing vote" in the gay marriage case that's expected to split the justices in a five to four decision, made statements both for and against same-sex marriage during Tuesday's oral arguments.

"The word that keeps coming back to me is 'millennia,'" Kennedy told Mary Bonauto, a lawyer for the same-sex couples challenging state laws that prohibit same-sex marriages. "This definition has been with us for millennia. It's very difficult for the court to say, 'Oh well, we know better.'"

 

Later in the day, however, Kennedy said that same-sex couples were seeking the same "dignity" and "ennoblement" as heterosexual couples.

Kennedy, along with Chief Justice John Roberts, asked tough questions to plaintiffs and the defense during the two and a half hour arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges.

At one point, Roberts told a lawyer for the same-sex couples, "you're not seeking to join the institution — you're seeking to change what the institution is. The fundamental core of the institution is the opposite sex relationship and you want to introduce into it a same-sex relationship."

 

Lawyers argued before the justices whether the U.S. Constitution requires states to permit same-sex couples to marry. The nine-member court agreed to hear arguments for and against same-sex marriage based on four cases from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circut as part of the legal ruling process, which include:Obergefell v. Hodges (Ohio), Tanco v. Haslam (Tennessee), DeBoer v. Snyder (Michigan), and Bourke v. Beshear (Kentucky).

Donald Verrilli, a lawyer for the Obama administration, argued that "gay and lesbian people are equal, they deserve the equal protection of the laws, and they deserve it now," while urging the court not to wait on the ruling, which could come as early as June.

A lone Christian protester dramatically interrupted oral arguments during the first 90 minutes, shouting that "homosexuality is an abomination."

 

"'The Bible teaches that if you support gay marriage you will burn in hell for eternity,' he screamed, prompting Justice Antonin Scalia to joke that the interruption was 'rather refreshing,'" according to USA Today.

The protester was subsequently removed from the court room and handcuffed by police.

There are 12 states that still ban same-sex marriage, including Georgia, Ohio, Louisiana and Texas.

Date:
Friday, May 1, 2015

Ryan T. Anderson @RyanT_Anderson / May 01, 2015/ The Daily Signal/ 

 

Forty-two years ago, in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the Supreme Court tried to settle the abortion debate by declaring the Constitution somehow creates a right to abortion in all fifty states.

There is nothing in the Constitution that requires abortion in all 50 states, and that’s why Roe is rightly viewed as an activist decision, as explained in this Heritage paper:

Judicial activism occurs when judges decline to apply the Constitution or laws according to their original public meaning or ignore binding precedent and instead decide cases based on personal preference.

Labeling as ‘activist‘ a decision that fails to meet this standard does not express policy disagreement with the outcome; it expresses disagreement with the judge’s conception of his or her role in our constitutional system.

 

The result of this judicial activism has been three distinct types of harm: on the substance, on the process and on the rights of conscience.

On substance, by preventing states from making common-sense compromise policy on abortion, untold numbers of babies and women have been harmed. Look no further than Kermit Gosnell’s house of horrors. Or consider the fact that the U.S. is one of only seven countries in the world—alongside North Korea and China—that allows elective, late-term abortions after 20 weeks.

On process, by removing the issue of abortion regulation from the democratic process, the Court has created a 40+ year culture war. No issue in American public life is more contentious than abortion politics every election cycle. The Court short-circuited constitutional self-government on this issue.

 

On the rights of conscience, by unilaterally creating a “right” to abortion, the Court created a situation where for the past 40 years abortion funding has been a constant source of religious liberty concerns—most recently with the coercive Department of Health and Human Services mandate.

Why would the Court want to repeat these mistakes now on marriage?

After all, there simply is nothing in the Constitution that requires all 50 states to redefine marriage. Whatever people may think about marriage as a policy matter, everyone should be able to recognize the Constitution does not settle this question.

Unelected judges should not insert their own policy preferences about marriage and then say the Constitution requires them everywhere. Since nothing in the Constitution requires the redefinition of marriage, as explained in this Heritage legal memorandum, a Supreme Court ruling redefining marriage everywhere would simply be an act of judicial activism.

 

 

Perhaps the Court doesn’t want to repeat the mistakes of Roe v. Wade. Indeed, the justices on Tuesday gave voice to each and every one of these three potential harms that could occur due to judicially imposed redefinition of marriage.

On substance, judicially redefining marriage could cause harm to marriage itself—and thus to spouses and children.

No one knows with certainty how redefining marriage will harm the institution of marriage. The lawyer defending the state marriage laws certainly made good arguments that it’s reasonable to think it could cause harm.

So what’s the rush to have the Court strike down state laws that define marriage as a union of husband and wife? Why should, as Justice Stephen Breyer asked, “nine people outside the ballot box … require states that don’t want to do it to change … what marriage is?”

 

Breyer then asked, “Why cannot those states at least wait and see whether in fact doing so in the other states is or is not harmful to marriage?”

 

Wait and see. Justice Anthony Kennedy said the same thing:

Well, part of wait and see, I suppose, is to ascertain whether the social science, the new studies are accurate. But that it seems to me, then, that we should not consult at all the social science on this, because it’s too new. You think you say we don’t need to wait for changes.

Clearly, we do need to wait and see what the consequences of redefining marriage will be. And that’s why the Court shouldn’t attempt to settle this once and for all.

Judicial activism on the marriage issue could cause harm to the substance of marriage by not allowing citizens and their elected representatives the ability to arrive at the best public policy for everyone.

On process, judicially redefining marriage could cause harm to civil peace and self-government.

 

Chief Justice John Roberts noted that a court-imposed 50-state solution would not lead to civil peace, but to anger and resentment. If the Court redefined marriage, “there will be no more debate.” And this would cause problems: “closing of debate can close minds, and it will have a consequence on how this new institution is accepted. People feel very differently about something if they have a chance to vote on it than if it’s imposed on them by the courts.”

Indeed, just as Roe v. Wade created a culture war on the abortion issue, an activist Court ruling redefining marriage everywhere could create a similar backlash.

On the rights of conscience, judicially redefining marriage could cause harm to religious liberty and the rights of conscience.

After all, the Obama administration’s Solicitor General himself, Donald Verrilli, admitted that religious schools that affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman may lose their non-profit tax-exempt status if marriage is redefined, saying: “It’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is it is going to be an issue.”

 

But where marriage has been redefined democratically, religious liberty can best be protected. Justice Antonin Scalia explained that in the states “They are laws.” He continued:

They are not constitutional requirements. That was the whole point of my question. If you let the states do it, you can make an exception. … You can’t do that once it is a constitutional proscription.

Scalia repeated himself, almost verbatim, mere minutes later: “That’s my whole … point. If it’s a state law, you can make those exceptions. But if it’s a constitutional requirement, I don’t see how you can.”

And that’s why judicially redefining marriage could cause harm to religious liberty and the rights of conscience.

In sum, when you consider the harms that judicial activism caused on the abortion issue, and when you see the justices given voice to the potential harms of judicially imposed marriage redefinition, it seems a much better path forward to respect the constitutional authority of citizens and their elected representatives to make marriage policy in the states.

Date:
Thursday, April 30, 2015
April 29, 2015|4:48 pm| The Christian Post| 
 

WASHINGTON — The lead attorney representing the Obama administration admitted before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday that if the court were to rule in favor of making same-sex marriage a constitutional right, it would create a religious liberty "issue" for faith-based schools and institutions, who could be at risk of losing their tax-exempt statuses.

As the Supreme Court listened to oral arguments regarding whether the 14th Amendment requires states to issue same-sex marriage licenses, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli tried to dodge a question from Chief Justice John Roberts, who asked him whether or not religious schools which have married housing would be required to provide housing to same-­sex married couples.

 

The solicitor general, which is the third highest ranking official in the Justice Department and is appointed to speak on behalf of the Obama administration in court cases, provided a winded answer to Roberts about how it is the states that are responsible for setting their civil laws.

Roberts continued prodding Verrilli by saying that even though states set their laws, the federal government has "enforcement power," which Verrilli admitted was true but reasoned that there is no federal law "now" that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Justice Samuel Alito followed up and asked a pointed question regarding whether religious schools could have their tax-exempt status revoked for not providing same-sex couples with housing. Alito referenced the 1983 Bob Jones University Supreme Court case, which ruled that the Internal Revenue Service could revoke the school's tax-exempt status for refusing to accommodate interracial married couples with housing.

 

"So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same­-sex marriage?" Alito asked.

It was clear that Verrilli did not want to answer that question but offered an offhand remark assuring that a ruling in favor of gay marriage would create some issues.

"You know, I don't think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics but it's certainly going to be an issue," Verrilli stated. "I ­­ I don't deny that. I don't deny that, Justice Alito. It is, it is going to be an issue."

Speaking at a Heritage Foundation panel on Wednesday, which discussed Tuesday's oral arguments, Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director for the Judicial Crisis Network, explained that Verrilli's answer indicates that the Obama administration is looking to "preserve the ability to remove tax-exempt status from institutions, like religious universities."

 

"What this exchange shows is that the administration wants to leave the door wide open to do [removing tax-exempt statuses]," Severino told The Christian Post after the panel. "Not that they could really be bound, necessarily, by the statements here but the solicitor general does not want to, even in furtherance of winning this case, because him saying 'Don't worry, that won't happen,' that would actually help him in this case. Even though that would help his case, he said, 'I am not going to say that. We are not going to go there.'"

"Frankly his answer to Chief Justice Roberts a minute earlier more or less admitted that the federal government could say this case could force a religious college to open its married housing to a married same-sex couple if they were married under laws of the state," Severino added.

Severino also explained that such a ruling in favor of constitutional gay marriage would create a "head-on collision" with religious expression.

"That ought to give a lot of people cause to say that this is an absolute head-on collision potentially with religious liberty because the arguments that are being made on the other side are so extreme here," Severino stated.

 

Severino reasoned that if such a ruling could cause tax-exempt status issues for Christian universities and schools, it could also present religious freedom conflict for faith-based charities and other organizations also.

"There isn't any reason to say that it clearly wouldn't extend to charitable organizations, potentially even to removing tax-exempt status from a house of worship, which is a slightly different argument but I can see people trying to make that argument," Severino asserted. "Taking the tax-exempt status thing would be a gigantic step and a very serious blow to a lot of institutions, all sorts of charitable institutions that are run by religious organizations from Salvation Army on down."

"Just imagine if all of those groups were not tax-exempt anymore and what impact that would have on their ability to serve the poor the way they are attempting to do and live out their faith," she continued.

 

Severino expects that the potential for conflict with religious liberty will somehow weigh into the case's outcome even if the court decides to constitutionalize gay marriage.

"Those potential collisions were brought out and will affect the way the justices decide this case because I think that Justice [Anthony] Kennedy is not going to want to have that kind of collision with religious liberty, and any of the justices ought to be concerned with the potential of further limiting the religious liberty at this point," she said. "Perhaps, even if it doesn't mean that is going to affect the outcome entirely, it may affect the way that the opinion is written in a way to have less of a risk to steamroll religious freedom."

Date:
Thursday, April 30, 2015
April 29, 2015|4:48 pm| The Christian Post| 
 

WASHINGTON — The lead attorney representing the Obama administration admitted before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday that if the court were to rule in favor of making same-sex marriage a constitutional right, it would create a religious liberty "issue" for faith-based schools and institutions, who could be at risk of losing their tax-exempt statuses.

As the Supreme Court listened to oral arguments regarding whether the 14th Amendment requires states to issue same-sex marriage licenses, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli tried to dodge a question from Chief Justice John Roberts, who asked him whether or not religious schools which have married housing would be required to provide housing to same-­sex married couples.

 

The solicitor general, which is the third highest ranking official in the Justice Department and is appointed to speak on behalf of the Obama administration in court cases, provided a winded answer to Roberts about how it is the states that are responsible for setting their civil laws.

Roberts continued prodding Verrilli by saying that even though states set their laws, the federal government has "enforcement power," which Verrilli admitted was true but reasoned that there is no federal law "now" that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Justice Samuel Alito followed up and asked a pointed question regarding whether religious schools could have their tax-exempt status revoked for not providing same-sex couples with housing. Alito referenced the 1983 Bob Jones University Supreme Court case, which ruled that the Internal Revenue Service could revoke the school's tax-exempt status for refusing to accommodate interracial married couples with housing.

 

"So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same­-sex marriage?" Alito asked.

It was clear that Verrilli did not want to answer that question but offered an offhand remark assuring that a ruling in favor of gay marriage would create some issues.

"You know, I don't think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics but it's certainly going to be an issue," Verrilli stated. "I ­­ I don't deny that. I don't deny that, Justice Alito. It is, it is going to be an issue."

Speaking at a Heritage Foundation panel on Wednesday, which discussed Tuesday's oral arguments, Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director for the Judicial Crisis Network, explained that Verrilli's answer indicates that the Obama administration is looking to "preserve the ability to remove tax-exempt status from institutions, like religious universities."

 

"What this exchange shows is that the administration wants to leave the door wide open to do [removing tax-exempt statuses]," Severino told The Christian Post after the panel. "Not that they could really be bound, necessarily, by the statements here but the solicitor general does not want to, even in furtherance of winning this case, because him saying 'Don't worry, that won't happen,' that would actually help him in this case. Even though that would help his case, he said, 'I am not going to say that. We are not going to go there.'"

"Frankly his answer to Chief Justice Roberts a minute earlier more or less admitted that the federal government could say this case could force a religious college to open its married housing to a married same-sex couple if they were married under laws of the state," Severino added.

Severino also explained that such a ruling in favor of constitutional gay marriage would create a "head-on collision" with religious expression.

"That ought to give a lot of people cause to say that this is an absolute head-on collision potentially with religious liberty because the arguments that are being made on the other side are so extreme here," Severino stated.

 

Severino reasoned that if such a ruling could cause tax-exempt status issues for Christian universities and schools, it could also present religious freedom conflict for faith-based charities and other organizations also.

"There isn't any reason to say that it clearly wouldn't extend to charitable organizations, potentially even to removing tax-exempt status from a house of worship, which is a slightly different argument but I can see people trying to make that argument," Severino asserted. "Taking the tax-exempt status thing would be a gigantic step and a very serious blow to a lot of institutions, all sorts of charitable institutions that are run by religious organizations from Salvation Army on down."

"Just imagine if all of those groups were not tax-exempt anymore and what impact that would have on their ability to serve the poor the way they are attempting to do and live out their faith," she continued.

 

Severino expects that the potential for conflict with religious liberty will somehow weigh into the case's outcome even if the court decides to constitutionalize gay marriage.

"Those potential collisions were brought out and will affect the way the justices decide this case because I think that Justice [Anthony] Kennedy is not going to want to have that kind of collision with religious liberty, and any of the justices ought to be concerned with the potential of further limiting the religious liberty at this point," she said. "Perhaps, even if it doesn't mean that is going to affect the outcome entirely, it may affect the way that the opinion is written in a way to have less of a risk to steamroll religious freedom."

Date:
Wednesday, April 29, 2015

by JOEL GEHRKE April 28, 2015 2:07 PM| The National Review|

 

Religious institutions could be at risk of losing their tax-exempt status due to their beliefs about marriage if the Supreme Court holds that gay couples have a constitutional right to wed, President Obama’s attorney acknowledged to the Supreme Court today.

“It’s certainly going to be an issue,” Solicitor General Donald Verrilli replied when Justice Samuel Alito asked if schools that support the traditional definition of marriage

would have to be treated like schools that once opposed interracial marriage. “I don’t deny that.” Alito was continuing a line of questioning started by Chief Justice John Roberts.

“Would a religious school that has married housing be required to afford such housing to same­-sex couples?” Roberts had asked. Verrilli tried to defer to the states on that point,

but Roberts pressed him about the significance of the court’s ruling as it might pertain to federal law.

 “There is no federal law now generally banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, and that’s where those issues are going to have to be worked out,” he said.

 

Date:
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
April 28, 2015|6:03 pm| The Christian Post|

 

As the Supreme Court's oral arguments on whether states should be constitutionally obligated to issue same-sex marriage licenses adjourned Tuesday afternoon, Heritage Foundation's Ryan Anderson said in a news conference outside the building that the likely swing vote justice, Anthony Kennedy, was "not persuaded" by LGBT arguments.

As many are predicting the Supreme Court's decision in June to come down to a narrow 5-4 vote, Justice Kennedy has been pegged again as the justice who is likely to decide which way the court leans in making the tough decision on whether the 14th Amendment requires states to uphold same-sex marriages and validate same-sex marriage licenses given out by other states.

Kennedy pointed out in the hearing that "one of the problems" in this case is that the traditional man-woman definition of marriage has been the norm for "millennia," while the LGBT definition of marriage as being a union between two loving and consenting adults has only existed inside the United States for a decade, as Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in June 2004.

 

"One of the problems is when you think about these cases, you think about words or cases, and the word that keeps coming back to me in this case is millennia, plus time," Kennedy said. "But on a larger scale, ... it was about ­­about the same time between Brown and Loving as between Lawrence and this case. It's about 10 years."

Kennedy further explained that it would be difficult for a bench of unelected judges to issue a national ruling on this highly-debated issue when there is only 10 years of same-sex marriage for the court to examine.

"And so there's time for the scholars and the commentators and ­ the bar and the public­­ to engage in it. But still, 10 years is­, I don't even know how to count the decimals when we talk about millennia," Kennedy added. "This definition has been with us for millennia. And it's very difficult for the court to say, 'oh well, we know better.'"

Speaking after the hearing, Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Ryan Anderson, who attended the arguments, asserted that Kennedy's concern about redefining a millenia of marriage was not eased by the subsequent response of pro-LGBT attorney Mary L. Bonauto, who stated that the issue of gay rights in America has been contested for over a century.

 

"Anthony Kennedy asked the next question and he says 'You want us to throw away a millenia of marriage as the union of a man and a woman based on 10 years of same-sex marriage,'" Anderson told the raucous crowd outside the court building. "Anthony Kennedy was not persuaded."

Cathy Ruse, who is a senior legal fellow at the Family Research Council and also observed the hearings, said that the lawyers on the LGBT side did not want to acknowledge the "history" of marriage argument.

"The fact that [Kennedy] is bringing up that distinction, shows that he is actually thinking of it in those terms, which the other side did not want to acknowledge that at all," Ruse told CP. "They didn't want to acknowledge the millennia and the importance of the history on the issue."

Although Kennedy was not sold that a "millennia" of traditional marriage can be redefined by the Supreme Court, that didn't stop him from asking difficult questions to attorney John Bursch, who argued in defense of the state of Michigan and other states with same-sex marriage bans.

 

Kennedy asked Bursch, who pushed the importance of the state holding a child-rearing view on marriage, why same-sex couples do not deserve the "same ennoblement" in their relationships.

Even though many social conservative attorneys and activists feel that Kennedy's "millennia" remark indicates that he may vote in favor of states' rights, Jordan Lorence, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, told The Christian Post after the arguments that it was difficult to tell which side Kennedy is leaning.

"Those were good questions that [Kennedy] was asking but there were other times where [Bursch] was up and I thought [Kennedy] was asking things that would indicate that he might be leaning the other way," Lorence said. "I think it was very hard to read Justice Kennedy on this, except to say that I think he is giving serious consideration to the views on both points, which means it is probably going to be a five to four vote. For the other eight justices, where they came down was pretty clear for or against the state laws. We are just going to have to see."

Ruse additionally pointed to another Kennedy remark as an indication that he is "not comfortable" creating a new constitutional right.

 

"Justice Kennedy raised the issue of the [Washington vs.] Glucksberg case, which is the case in which the Supreme Court said no to the effort to make assisted suicide a constitutional right. Kennedy brought up Glucksberg. Kennedy voted no in Glucksberg. 'No, we are not going to create a new constitutional right,'" Ruse explains. "So, he brings up Glucksberg in this context. That is interesting. What he says when he does is 'What about our obligation to define a fundamental right in its narrowest terms,' and he mentions Glucksberg. That says to me that he is uncomfortable, potentially not comfortable creating a new constitutional right because we don't have it defined in its narrowest terms."

Jeff Mateer, general counsel at the Liberty Institute, told the crowd after the hearing that he foresees the court ruling in June to allow the state's to continue deciding their own marriage laws.

"It was encouraging and prayers have been answered and you should feel encouraged. ... I was especially encouraged that several of the justices recognized that religious liberty is a key value," Mateer said. "In the end, what I think we are going to see that the court is going to issue a decision that respects the right of the democratic process and will send this case back to the states where it belongs and that we respect religious liberty and we do have the freedom to believe, to speak and act upon our beliefs."

Pages