February 19, 2015
Former Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran filed today a federal lawsuit against the city of Atlanta and its Mayor Kasim Reed alleging they terminated his employment because of his belief in traditional marriage. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, states Cochran's was fired "solely" because "...[Cochran] holds religious beliefs concerning same-sex marriage and homosexual conduct that are contrary to the mayor's and the city's views on these subjects, and because he expressed those beliefs in the non-work-related, religious book he self-published."
January 26, 2015
Bowser signed into law two euphemistically titled acts: The "Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act" and the "Human Rights Amendment Act." In fact, the former discriminates against pro-lifers, and the latter violates the human right of religious liberty. Here's how. The former could force employers in the nation's capital to cover elective, surgical abortions in their health plans and require pro-life organizations to hire individuals who advocate for abortion. The latter could force Christian schools to recognize an LGBT student group or host a "gay pride" day on campus.
January 14, 2015
Ryan Anderson, who researches and writes about marriage and religious liberty at The Heritage Foundation, argued that the answer may not be known for a number of years, as same-sex marriage becomes more prevalent in the United States. According to Pew Research, 67 percent of those ages 18 to 33 favor same-sex marriage. "My generation is more pro-life than my parents' generation, and there's no reason why the same thing can't happen on the question about marriage," Anderson said.
January 8, 2015
Just before the Christmas break, the D.C. City Council passed a law that could force pro-life organizations to pay for abortion coverage. But that wasn't the only piece of bad legislation, violating religious liberty which came out of the D.C. Council in December. A new bill might force Christian schools to recognize an LGBT student group or host a "gay pride" day on campus. Here's how: In a unanimous vote on Dec. 2, the D.C. Council approved legislation that revokes religious liberty protections that Congress passed for the District back in 1989. The Orwellian titled bill-"The Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014"-eliminates an important protection for a key human right: religious liberty.
December 13, 2014
Finishing off a week that was pretty bad for the media, CBS News is now spinning a story about a Michigan religious freedom bill. Their headline reads: "Bill would let Michigan doctors, EMTs refuse to treat gay patients." But the bill does nothing of the sort. The bill, passed by the Michigan House last week, is the Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act. And, as the legal scholar Ed Whelan points out, "the bill is modeled on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, [and] at least 19 other states have enacted laws modeled on the federal RFRA, and nothing remotely like what CBS News alleges has ever happened anywhere."
December 10, 2014
Congress should permanently prohibit federal funding of abortion and ensure transparency in health care. The No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act would ensure that no federal funds could be used to pay for abortion or health benefit plans that cover abortion, including those offered through Obamacare exchanges. The current version of the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act also includes language from another bill, the Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, which would address the serious lack of transparency about abortion coverage that has been noted by groups on both sides of the abortion debate.
November 9, 2014
Much worse than the stories about Brendan Eich or Phil Robertson are the stories that involve government coercion, government fines and other punitive action. The examples are well known at this point. Consider Christian-run adoption agencies in Massachusetts and Illinois and Washington, D.C., that have been forced out of the adoption space because they wanted to find homes with married moms and dads for the children they were responsible for. They just wanted to run their adoption agency according to their belief that children deserve a mom and a dad-and the state said no.
November 6, 2014
Earlier today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit overruled lower court decisions that had struck down state laws defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The 6th Circuit Court ruled that constitutional amendments passed by popular vote in Michigan (2.7 million votes), Kentucky (1.2 million), Ohio (3.3 million) and Tennessee (1.4 million) do not violate the U.S. Constitution. Citizens remain free to define marriage as a male-female institution. Today's decision helpfully explained why these laws are constitutional, why it is reasonable for citizens to support such laws, and why arguments for court-imposed redefinition of marriage do not succeed. It also sets the stage for marriage to return to the U.S. Supreme Court.
November 2, 2014
In an exclusive interview with Kelsey Harkness of The Daily Signal, former senator Rick Santorum discussed the state of religious liberty in America and the tension between some LGBT activists and those with deeply held religious beliefs. "We need to continue to fight, and in fact to push back the other way," Santorum said. "We've been too silent too long and we need to say, ‘Look, all of these thoughts are proper in the public square.' We need real freedom in this country, not government-dictated adherence to a set of principles."
October 29, 2014
Indeed, a form of government respectful of free association, free contracts, free speech, and free exercise of religion should protect citizens' rights to live according to their beliefs about marriage. After all, protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience does not infringe on anyone's sexual freedoms. No one has a right to have the government force a particular minister to marry them. Some citizens may conclude that they cannot in good conscience participate in same-sex ceremonies, from priests and pastors to bakers and florists. They should not be forced to choose between their beliefs and their livelihood.
October 7, 2014
Marriage is too important to allow unelected judges to redefine it without a fight. Even if the umpires are colluding with the other team, that's no reason to allow them an unopposed victory. Even if many of the courts of law are biased, we can still win in some of them-indeed many who favor redefining marriage think the 6th Circuit Court will uphold Ohio and Michigan's marriage laws, and the battle continues in other circuits, including the 5th Circuit which will review Texas and Louisiana's law (a federal judge recently upheld Louisiana's law). And the composition of the Supreme Court might well change for the better before the Court ends up actually deciding the marriage question.
September 26, 2014
Feldman notes the two central issues in this debate: the policy question - what is marriage? - and the legal question - who gets to define marriage? On the policy question, Niemeyer explains that there are indeed rational reasons for people to think that marriage is a union of husband and wife: "Only the union of a man and a woman has the capacity to produce children and thus to carry on the species. And more importantly, only such a union creates a biological family unit that also gives rise to a traditionally stable political unit." Indeed, "when the Supreme Court has recognized, through the years, that the right to marry is a fundamental right, it has emphasized the procreative and social ordering aspects of traditional marriage."
September 26, 2014
Government shouldn't be able to fine citizens for acting in the market according to their own-rather than the government's-values, unless there is a compelling government interest being pursued in the least restrictive way possible. But the New York State Division of Human Rights doesn't see things this way. On August 8, it fined Cynthia and Robert Gifford $13,000 for acting on their belief that marriage is the union of a man and woman and thus declining to rent out their family farm for a same-sex wedding celebration.
September 18, 2014
The American conception of religious liberty provides every person the freedom to seek the truth, form beliefs and live according to the dictates of their conscience -whether at home, in worship, or at work. Americans should be free to care for the poor, heal the sick and serve their communities in accordance with the faith without unnecessary government interference. Protecting the fundamental right to religious freedom will require continued vigilance from every American against an ever-expanding government that threatens to suffocate the free exercise of religion and the charitable works it inspires.
September 9, 2014
The Obama administration has decided to continue its legal battle against Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic charity that objects to Obamacare's mandate that employee health plans cover contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs. The order of Catholic nuns argues that the rule fashioned by the Department of Health and Human Services requires them to violate their religious beliefs by offering insurance coverage for 20 specific drugs and devices - some of which the nuns believe could destroy what they consider a human life.
August 22, 2014
Under current regulations, a religious non-profit can sign what amounts to a "permission slip"directing their insurance company or administrator to cover the objectionable drugs and devices - a scheme most organizations believe still makes them complicit in a gravely immoral act. Under today's revision, objecting religious non-profits would instead send a letter to HHS. HHS would then direct the organizations' health plans to include the objectionable drugs and services. Numerous federal courts - including the Supreme Court - have seen through the current gimmick and granted temporary protection from the coercive mandate for religious non-profits in 31 cases.
August 19, 2014
But the New York State Division of Human Rights doesn't see things this way. On August 8, it fined Cynthia and Robert Gifford $13,000 for acting on their belief that marriage is the union of a man and woman and thus declining to rent out their family farm for a same-sex wedding celebration. The Human Rights Commission ruled that "the nature and circumstances of the [Giffords's] violation of the Human Rights Law also warrants a penalty." This is coercive big government run amok.
August 12, 2014
The fundamental legal question is who gets to define marriage. Simmons ruled it "should be the prerogative of each State." The judge continued: "neither the Federal Government nor another state should be allowed to dictate to Tennessee what has traditionally been a state's responsibility, which is to provide a framework of laws to govern the safety and wellbeing of its citizens."
July 21, 2014
In response to this executive order, Congress has an opportunity to protect religious liberty and the rights of conscience. Policy should prohibit the government from discriminating against any individual or group, whether nonprofit or for-profit, based on their beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage. The government should be prohibited from discriminating against such groups or individuals in tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation, or contracting. This is the policy approach proposed by the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (H.R. 3133, S. 1808).
July 16, 2014
"Imagine the vast majority of pro-life laws wiped out with the enactment of a single piece of federal legislation. That is the purpose behind S. 1696," summarizes Bill Saunders of Americans United for Life. The misleadingly named "Women's Health Protection Act," S. 1696, sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., would do just the opposite of its euphemistic title. Effectively, it would strip states of the ability to protect the health and safety of women and defend the lives of unborn children.
July 7, 2014
One of the hallmarks of religious liberty protections is that they protect people of all faiths, even if their beliefs seem unfounded, flawed, implausible, or downright silly. Recognition of a right to religious freedom does not, however, depend on religious skepticism, relativism, or indifferentism. Rather, it rests on the intelligible value of the religious quest-the activities of seeking to understand the truth about ultimate questions and conforming one's life accordingly with authenticity and integrity.
June 30, 2014
With today's ruling, the Greens' and Hahns' family businesses will be able to continue offering their employees generous healthcare plans (which cover most forms of contraception) without fear of government penalties. And the women who work for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood remain free - like all women - to make their own decisions about these four drugs and devices (as well as other birth control) and to purchase or find insurance coverage for them. But the government cannot coerce these family businesses to participate in those decisions in violation of their beliefs.
May 22, 2014
Some people would like me and the millions of Americans who continue to believe that marriage is what societies have believed it to be throughout human history - a male-female union - to get with the program and accept the inevitable. We're clearly, they tell us, on the Wrong Side of History. But we should avoid the temptation to prognosticate about the future in lieu of working to shape that future. We are citizens in a self-governing society, not pundits watching a spectator sport, not subjects of rulers. We are participants in one of the most significant debates our society - any society - has ever faced.
April 28, 2014
America exists to defend the unalienable rights of the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." In this new time for choosing, we must return to the synthesis of the American Founding: ordered liberty based on faith and reason, natural rights and morality, limited government and civil society-with the laws of nature and nature's God providing the standard.
April 3, 2014
Christian adoption agencies already have been forced out of serving children because they believe orphans deserve a mom and a dad. Forcing out these agencies doesn't help those orphans, and it doesn't help our society. We need as many adoption agencies as possible. Other cases include a photographer, a baker, a florist, a bed-and-breakfast, a T-shirt company, a student counselor, the Salvation Army, and more. In each of these instances, there were plenty of other businesses available that were willing to provide similar services.
April 3, 2014
The resignation of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich over a personal $1,000 donation he made in 2008 in support of California's Proposition 8 shows the dark side of campaign disclosure laws and how liberals are using them to intimidate, harass, and bully anyone who disagrees with them on social and cultural issues. The Mozilla staffers and others targeting the company are engaging in the type of intolerance and coercive behavior that they are always accusing others of exhibiting.
April 1, 2014
From the Declaration of Independence through the Revolution, the Civil War through the civil rights movement, Americans have frequently been willing to fight back and assert their rights when overzealous governments tried to take them away. That's still happening today. The owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties took their turn recently, when their lawyers argued before the Supreme Court.
March 20, 2014
Ryan T. Anderson talks a lot about marriage. Heritage's William E. Simon fellow has even been on CNN talking about marriage. But apparently safe enough for a CNN studio and dozens of other college campuses isn't safe enough for Stanford University, because the Stanford University Graduate Student Council (GSC) has denied funding for the Stanford Anscombe Society (SAS) to have Anderson and other advocates for traditional marriage come speak at Stanford, and is attempting to charge the SAS $5000 in unnecessary security costs.
February 26, 2014
Equality demands that we treat in the same ways things that are the same. But a same-sex relationship is fundamentally different from a marriage. No same-sex union can produce a child. And no same-sex relationship can provide a child with a mother and a father. The government isn't in the business of affirming our loves. Rather, it leaves consenting adults free to live and love as they choose.
February 18, 2014
A growing number of incidents show that the redefinition of marriage and state policies on sexual orientation have created a climate of intolerance and intimidation for citizens who believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman and that sexual relations are properly reserved for marriage. Now comes government coercion and discrimination. Laws that create special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity are being used to trump fundamental civil liberties such as freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion.
February 13, 2014
The Supreme Court has agreed to review two challenges brought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood. It will consider whether family-run businesses can exercise religion and, if so, how such a ruling would affect the anti-conscience mandate. Americans do not forfeit their right to live and work in accordance with their faith simply because they go into business to provide for themselves, their families, and their employees.
November 5, 2013
A bill to prohibit workplace discrimination against homosexual and transgender persons poses serious threats to religious freedom and undermines the biological basis of gender, say its critics as it heads to a crucial Senate vote. “All Americans should oppose unjust discrimination, but ENDA does not advance that goal. In fact, it moves us in the wrong direction,” said scholar and author Ryan T. Anderson. The bishops explained that as it is currently written, the proposed law lacks an exception for a "bona fide occupational qualification" for "those cases where it is neither unjust nor inappropriate to consider an applicant's sexual inclinations."
October 30, 2013
Concerns about ENDA unite civil libertarians concerned about free speech and religious liberty, free marketers concerned about freedom of contract and government interference in the marketplace, and social conservatives concerned about marriage and culture. ENDA would further weaken the marriage culture and the ability of civil society to affirm that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and that maleness and femaleness are not arbitrary constructs but objective ways of being human. ENDA would treat these moral convictions as if they were bigotry.
October 21, 2013
One of the clearest expressions of the Founders' attitude toward religion - endorsed by most Americans today - came from our second president, John Adams. "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people," Adams declared in 1798. "It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." Only a moral and religious people could acquire and retain such traits of character as honesty, kindness, thoughtfulness, respect for law, fairness, self-discipline and self-reliance - virtues the Founders rightly deemed necessary for self-rule.
October 18, 2013
But we really shouldn't be surprised at this bewildering system, where hidden premiums and restricted consumer choice are further muddled at the direction of special interest groups. Obamacare's capacity to confuse stems from the law's power to control. Americans, told that their consciences are of no consequence, are left with few tools to scale the high walls of confusing regulations built by unelected bureaucrats in search of health care that meets their family's needs and aligns with their values.
September 19, 2013
Bipartisan legislation was introduced today in the House of Representatives that would prevent the federal government from discriminating against citizens and organizations who believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.
The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (H.R. 3133) was introduced by Representative Raul Labrador (R-ID) and over 60 other original co-sponsors from both political parties.
July 2, 2013
Like the administration's multiple previous attempts to "fix" the mandate, this final rule doesn't provide any workable or adequate solutions to the mandate's trampling on Americans' fundamental freedoms. At the renewal of health-plan years, employers still will be forced to facilitate coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization - regardless of religious or moral objection to one or more of these practices.
April 11, 2013
On Monday, hundreds of thousands of public comments flooded the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as individuals and groups expressed concern with the Obama Administration's continued trampling on a fundamental freedom. Many public comments expressed continued opposition to the coercive HHS mandate that requires almost all employers to provide health insurance coverage of abortion-inducing drugs and devices, contraception, and sterilization-regardless of moral or religious objection. After more than a year of public outrage, over 50 lawsuits against the anti-conscience mandate, and a federal judge's demand that HHS fix its coercive mandate, the Administration published a "notice of proposed rulemaking" (NPRM) on February 6.
March 26, 2013
How do you throw Piers Morgan off his game? Stick to the facts, remain civil and win the argument. Heritage's Ryan Anderson did exactly that Tuesday night in a showdown with the liberal CNN host of "Piers Morgan Live" and guest Suze Orman. The show came on the day the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case involving California's Proposition 8, which defined marriage as the union of a man and woman. The court will hear arguments Wednesday on the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
March 7, 2013
"The health-care law puts my family in an impossible dilemma," explains Carrie Kolesar, part owner of Seneca Hardwood Lumber Company in Cranberry, Pennsylvania, which is suing over the mandate. "[W]e have to choose between violating our freedom of conscience and giving up freedoms protected under the Constitution, or facing severe government penalties that will harm our families and put us out of business. No American should be faced with a decision like that."
February 26, 2013
On February 19, nine U.S. Senators and two U.S. Representatives joined a “friend of the court”brief in Hobby Lobby’s 10th Circuit Court appeal over the Obamacare anti-conscience mandate, highlighting the Obama Administration’s refusal to recognize business owners’ religious freedom. The congressional brief explains that the federal government “may not pick and choose whose exercise of religion is protected and whose is not.”
November 3, 2012
A second federal district court has granted a preliminary injunction halting enforcement of Obamacare's conscience-crushing contraception mandate. Weingartz Supply and its owner objected to the mandate's requirement that they provide their employees abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraceptives in violation of the owner's religious beliefs or risk crippling fines.
October 18, 2012
Gallaudet University put its chief diversity officer, Angela McCaskill, on paid leave last week for the offense of joining 200,000 other Marylanders in signing a petition supporting a ballot referendum over Maryland’s recently adopted same-sex marriage law.
October 12, 2012
The real "fact" about the anti-conscience mandate is that it applies to almost all employers-including many religious organizations such as hospitals and social service providers. It requires them to provide coverage that pays for abortion drugs, contraception, and sterilization regardless of moral or religious objections.
August 26, 2012
In the video, Marshall stresses that the infringement of religious freedom under Obamacare is only beginning: “We will see other conflicts with conscience in the future. So the only real solution for the religious liberty problem under the HHS mandate is the repeal of Obamacare.”
July 29, 2012
Accepting the Administration’s logic would limit the application of religious freedom to individuals alone, acting within their houses of worship on weekends. It would effectively push religion out of every sphere of public life and restrict the free exercise rights of adherents to live out their faiths in their day-to-day lives. The Administration does not appear to perceive religion as something that people of faith strive to live out daily in every aspect of their lives, however imperfectly.
July 5, 2012
Obamacare’s anti-conscience mandate displays the Administration’s offensively constricted view of faith in public life, affording the narrowest religious exemption in federal law that effectively only applies to formal houses of worship. Schools, soup kitchens, health clinics, and countless other “Good Samaritan” groups are left completely unprotected by the exemption simply because they serve vulnerable individuals without regard to their creed or background.
June 28, 2012
The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obamacare reflects a tragic misreading of the law, one which could cost us not just economically but also in terms of liberty. On the bright side, the Court recognized that there are limits to what Congress may do under the Commerce Clause. But this was the silver-lining of a dark cloud. The Court then fundamentally misreads ObamaCare, contorting to find another authority—the power to tax—for Congress to enact the law.
June 28, 2012
This morning, the Supreme Court didn’t just miss the opportunity to protect individual liberty. It also failed to defend religious freedom. The Court’s ruling to uphold the health care law doesn’t mean it has cleared its legal challenges, however. Twenty-three federal lawsuits against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate—which goes into effect on August 1—now take on added urgency.
June 19, 2012
Though the ANPRM states that insurance issuers would be prohibited from charging a premium for the separate contraceptive coverage, there is no reason to believe that insurance issuers would not raise premiums on other services to compensate for the coverage they are forced to provide for “free.” Indeed, state-level insurance regulation is properly focused on ensuring that issuers charge enough in premiums to cover expected claims costs, and failing to adjust premiums to pay for mandated services could undermine the financial solvency of insurers,
May 18, 2012
The controversy over the Obama Administration's anti-conscience mandate and the fight for religious liberty only serves to highlight the inherent flaws in Obamacare. This conflict is a natural result of the centralization laid out under Obamacare and will only continue until the law is repealed in full.
May 3, 2012
The federal website Regulations.gov released the first round of public comments on the administration's proposed anti-conscience mandate on Wednesday. The comments were overwhelmingly opposed to the measure: out of 211 comments submitted, only six, less than 3%, offered support for the mandate.