Category Archives: Law

It's Working

Our push to urge Members of Congress to introduce legislation to protect people of faith from governmental persecution for living out the truth of marriage in their daily lives and at work is working. Thousands of people have reached out to members of Congress urging them to introduce and support the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). These patriots know that without the legal protections that FADA would provide, faith-based nonprofit groups, small businesses, churches, pastors and priests, schools, charities and individuals will continue to be subject to targeting by government officials whenever they do not embrace the extreme agenda of LGBT activists and the left.

We need to keep the pressure up on Congress so that when they return to Washington after Labor Day they give us action, and not more empty promises. That's why I am asking you to please support the National Organization for Marriage with an immediate financial contribution. The plain fact is that we need to raise additional resources to push Congress and the Trump administration to provide the protection they have repeatedly promised.

Many NOM members have responded with help, and for that I am grateful. If you have not yet been able to make a contribution, I ask that you prayerfully consider one now.

If you have not yet contacted your member of Congress to ask him or her to introduce and support the First Amendment Defense Act, there's still time to act. You can click on this link to look up your Representative in Congress. (You'll have to enter your zip code).

The reality of the political situation in America today is that Republicans in Washington – from President Trump on down to the most junior member of the House of Representatives – owe their election to people of faith, who form the core base of political support that delivered both houses of Congress and the White House to the Republican Party. Despite this, we've heard little but talk from them since they were sworn into office this past January. We need them to stop talking and start doing. Introducing and passing the First Amendment Defense Act needs to happen now.

You can help NOM push for urgently needed legal protections by contributing to support NOM and by contacting your Representative in the House to urge action on the First Amendment Defense Act.


Brian S Brown

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Anderson: "The ENDA Agenda"

On Thursday at The National Review Online, Ryan T. Anderson from Heritage - and co-author of What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense - took on "The ENDA Agenda."

Ryan AndersonRyan points out a remarkable confluence where "conservatives and libertarians alike oppose this bill," explaining why:

Of course, employers should respect the intrinsic dignity of all their employees. But ENDA is bad public policy. Its threats to our freedoms 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[.]

Ryan then spells out the connection between ENDA and threats to traditional marriage believers on the basis of precedents we've seen set by local and state legislation of a similar kind to ENDA:

It is hard to square ENDA’s basic purpose with any robust protection of citizens’ rights to speak freely of religious or moral convictions about marriage and sexuality. Indeed Americans are paying the price where their state or local governments have passed sexual-orientation and gender-identity statutes.

You can read the entire piece here.

The ENDA Rational Argument

Proponents of the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which is approaching a vote in the Senate are quick to dismiss arguments that the bill may be a Trojan horse for the same-sex marriage agenda.

(This is a tactic with which those of us in the marriage debate are very familiar. When an argument for traditional marriage is first made, it is scoffed at and dismissed outright. When that argument is then proven to be valid and true, it is studiously ignored. It is the equivalent in public discourse of putting your fingers in your ears and humming.)

EmployeesBut the arguments for marriage will not go away simply by activists' pretending they don't exist.

And neither will arguments proving ENDA to be a threat to marriage.

A great resource outlining such arguments has just been released this week over at the website of The Heritage Foundation.

The factsheet entitled "ENDA Threatens Fundamental Civil Liberties" points out:

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.

Download the factsheet for yourself here.

And while you're at Heritage, you can also check out some other resources on ENDA.

For example, there is a lengthy paper entitled ENDA and the Path to Same-Sex Marriage from back in 2009 which, along with its Executive Summary, demonstrates how even same-sex marriage activists themselves have claimed "legislation like ENDA as a key step on the 'incremental' path to same-sex marriage":

[L]aws like ENDA have already proved to be an important step toward legal recog­nition for homosexual unions in several states throughout the country. In states including Ver­mont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Cali­fornia, Connecticut, and Iowa, courts have cited sexual orientation nondiscrimination laws in decisions mandating same-sex marriage or some other form of legal recognition for homosexual unions. And no state has legislatively redefined marriage without first enacting a sexual orientation nondiscrimination law [SOURCE].

Once you've gotten appraised of these arguments which are only the beginning of the rationale for why ENDA is such dangerous legislation, click here to find out how you can help make sure that this law is rejected and Americans' first amendment rights are protected.

Suing to Prove Your Innocence

Turning the tables on the national narrative, Mennonite art gallery owners Betty and Richard Odgaard have filed suit against the Iowa Civil Rights Commission asking the Commission to rule that their refusal to participate in a religious ceremony by allowing their gallery to be used for a same-sex wedding ceremony is not a violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act.  From the Quad City Times

Religion and LawDES MOINES — A nationally known religious rights group is suing the Iowa Civil Rights Commission on behalf of a Grimes couple who refused to host a same-sex couple’s wedding…

“Just as the Odgaards cannot be forced to display art that violates their religious convictions, they should not be forced to host religious ceremonies that violate their religious convictions,” Hardman wrote. “To our knowledge, no Iowa or Federal court has ever forced anyone to participate in a religious activity against their will. Doing so now would abandon Iowa’s history of being the vanguard of protecting individual freedom, and out of line with state and federal law.” (Read More)

It is a sad day in America when people of faith have to sue to prove their innocence.

More Fallout from the Supreme Court's Rulings

The fallout from this summer’s Supreme Court ruling in the Windsor case continues to accumulate. This week Leanna Baumer on the Family Research Center Blog discussed a little noticed Department of Labor ruling:

Department of LaborThe latest agency to ignore the majority of states’ laws on this topic is the Department of Labor. Last week, DOL issued guidance informing all private employers across the nation that they must now extend spousal health and retirement benefits organized under the Employment Income Retirement Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to same-sex spouses—even if they live in a state that does not recognize same-sex “marriage”…

If you’re a shop owner who is willing to hire any individual, no matter their sexual orientation, but who believes in natural marriage and only wishes to extend spousal benefits to those traditionally married couples, how will you comply with federal law?...

In addition to the burden this places on private employers, the Labor guidance continues to trample on the will of the American people in most states who have maintained laws respecting only natural marriages. (Read more here.)

Undoing the Myth of Inevitability

Kellie Fiedorek at the Alliance Defending Freedom has a great piece in American Thinker this morning as to why states’ laws and constitutional amendments defining marriage as one man and one woman are completely constitutional and should not be overturned by the US Supreme Court despite efforts by those who would redefine marriage.  She writes…

Myth of InevitabilityProponents of redefining marriage again have set their sights on the U.S. Supreme Court to force a new definition of marriage on every state in the country -- this time by 2015…
But the problem for those behind this plan is that the state marriage laws they are challenging do not violate the Constitution.  Maintaining the gendered definition of marriage that these states have always known falls squarely into what both the Constitution and U.S. Supreme Court precedent approve…
Some assume that the Supreme Court found a new right to same-sex marriage when it issued the Windsor decision at the end of June, but nothing could be farther from the truth.

Read more here.

This is an important piece that all marriage champions should read and share as we work to win the battle in the court of public opinion.  The redefinition of marriage is not inevitable.

New Mexico GOP Files Amicus Brief in Defense of Marriage

Following the lawless actions of certain county clerks in New Mexico issuing illicit 'marriage' licenses to same-sex couples, a case has been working its way through the court system there and is due to be heard by the New Mexico Supreme Court on October 23rd.

New Mexico's Attorney General, Gary King, is refusing to defend New Mexico law in the courts, but thankfully others, like Governor Martinez, are stepping up to fulfill their constitutional duties.

On Monday, GOP lawmakers in the State also stepped up to the plate, filing an amicus brief in the case:

The Republican lawmakers... said anti-discrimination and equal protection guarantees in the state constitution do not provide a legal right to marriage for same-sex couples.

The lawmakers said that "the judiciary should exercise caution when asked to divine fundamental and important constitutional rights not expressly provided in the Constitution's text."

You can read more about the case here.

"Following State Law"

When officers and enlisted swear their oath in joining the Army or Air National Guard, they vow to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States and of the State/Commonwealth/District/Territory" where they are serving.

National GuardToday, Talking Points Memo reports on three State National Guards that are doing just that by refusing to break the laws of their States in order to provide same-sex 'marriage' benefits:

The Obama administration determined this month that married same-sex couples are entitled to spousal military benefits, but three GOP-controlled states - Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi - have refused to grant them to members of their National Guards. Now advocates are urging the federal government to push back. [...]

A Mississippi National Guard spokesman told the news outlet that the unit was "following state law," which, like laws in 30-plus other states, bans same-sex marriage.

You can read more here from the Associated Press.

What "WE DO" Does

The "WE DO" Campaign -- a project of a group called The Campaign for Southern Equality -- is an effort to rally same-sex couples across the South and nationwide to show up at their local clerk's office to request marriage licenses in places where marriage law still upholds the traditional and biblical definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

State Law ShredderAccording to its website, currently "the Campaign for Southern Equality is traveling across North Carolina, standing with couples as they approach the marriage license counter and ask their local elected official to stand with them as an act of conscience."

An op-ed by a member of the organization published in at claims that the Campaign for Southern Equality has been emboldened to step up this project by the actions of D. Bruce Hanes, the Register of Deeds from Montgomery Country, PA who recently made national news for issuing same-sex marriage licenses there -- an action which, as the court in Pennsylvania recently affirmed -- was illegal and in violation of his oath of office.

It is important that marriage advocates everywhere know that the recent disturbing trend of lawlessness, with local and state officials flouting and breaking clear and constitutionally enacted marriage laws, is not merely a coincidental or copy-cat phenomenon, but a carefully planned tactic aimed at undermining the democratic process and overriding the will of voters in order to impose a radical agenda of genderless marriage on our communities.

Remain vigilant, find out how marriage license issuance works in your community, and be sure to speak up to those responsible for upholding the law that you are watching and expect them to fulfill the duty they are sworn to do!

Judge Orders Pennsylvania Clerks to Obey State Marriage Law

County clerks have no authority to make up their own laws, or decide which they will/will not abide by. A Pennsylvania judge confirmed this yesterday by ordering Montgomery County clerks to desist from illegally issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples (174 had been issued in total).

As our president Brian Brown noted yesterday, Governor Corbett took great leadership on this issue to uphold the law in Montgomery County and stop the potential spread of rogue actions. The question now is whether the governor will be able to have these ‘licenses’ declared invalid and also use his office to push for a vote of the people. Please urge Gov. Corbett to take this crucial step to protect against confusion and lawsuits in the future that may jeopardize marriage in Pennsylvania.

Gavel in Motion


The state's Health Department sued Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes in August after he began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, following the U.S. Supreme Court's June ruling that the federal government must recognize same-sex unions in states where they are legal.

"A clerk of courts has not been given the discretion to decide that a law ... he or she is charged to enforce is a good idea or bad one, constitutional or not," Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court President Judge Dan Pellegrini wrote in an opinion issued on Thursday. "Only courts have the power to make that decision."

"The key question in this case has been whether any local official, anywhere in Pennsylvania, has the ability to decide which laws to uphold and which laws to reject based on their own personal legal opinion," [Pennsylvania General Counsel James] Schultz said.

Regardless of personal beliefs, ALL elected officials are trusted to respect the rule of law. If the state they represent protects marriage as the union of husband and wife, acknowledging and enforcing that law is their job.


Minneapolis Mayor Tries to Force Same-Sex Marriage on Neighboring States

Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak is launching an ad campaign encouraging Wisconsin same-sex couples to come to his town to 'marry'. The campaign, which will start running in Milwaukee and Madison area publications, is already being called a shameless attempt at self-promotion, with the mayor simply using marriage to raise his own profile.

Keep in mind, Wisconsin voters passed a constitutional amendment in 2006 that protects marriage as husband and wife in their state. And as Wisconsin Family Action President Julaine Appling reiterates, "Our law would not recognize any validity to those (same-sex) marriages performed in any other state."

R.T. RybakWith Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele standing by his side at the Milwaukee LGBT Center, [Mayor R.T.] Rybak showed off a poster that said, "Hey Milwaukee! I want to Marry You in Minneapolis."

Rybak has already taken his ad campaign to Chicago and plans a visit to Colorado.

He gibed [Wisconsin] Gov. Scott Walker for not seeing the economic benefits of allowing same-sex marriage. Rybak pointed out that wedding ceremonies benefit local hotels, caterers, florists and bakers.

...Tom Evenson, a spokesman for Walker, said in an email, "This issue (same-sex marriage) was decided by Wisconsin voters through a constitutional amendment in 2006, long before Governor Walker took office."

In 2006, Walker, then the Milwaukee County executive, supported the amendment that banned same-sex marriage, according to news accounts.

Interesting to hear Mayor Rybak's remarks about caterers, florists, and bakers. Maybe he missed these stories:

Oregon Bakers Who Declined Same-Sex Ceremony Forced to Shut Down

Washington State AG Sues Florist For Refusing to Provide Flowers to S-S Ceremony

Christian Wedding Vendor in Maryland Forced to Shut Down Over SSM

Vermont Innkeepers Pay $30,000 for Refusing Lesbian Couple

Wedding Photographer May Be Required to Photograph Same-Sex Commitment Ceremonies


Australia Votes to Reject Rudd and His Promise of Same-Sex Marriage

Same-sex marriage has proven to be anything but a vote winner in elections not just across U.S., but internationally as well. Australia's opposition crushed the governing Labor party in yesterday's elections and the people voted Tony Abbott into office, who has made clear that he supports marriage between one man and one woman, over the incumbent SSM-pushing prime minister Kevin Rudd.

International News:

Tony Abbott“It is clear that changing the definition of marriage is not something that defined the way Australians voted despite Labor’s high-profile campaigning on it and strong support for it in the media,” ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said.

“Australia has an opportunity now to move on from this debate but if same-sex marriage activists persist in the new Parliament, it should go back to the people again for the ultimate conscience vote in a referendum,” Mr Shelton said

“Mr Rudd’s bullying of a Christian pastor on Q&A in the final week of the campaign made Australians feel uncomfortable with the consequences for freedom of speech and freedom of belief should the law on marriage be changed,” Mr Shelton said.

“It should not be up to politicians to decide to normalise this sort of treatment of fellow Australians who will always believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Oregon Bakery Owners' Decision Aligned with State Constitution

Before the owners of "Sweet Cakes by Melissa" were forced to close their very successful Oregon bakery, voters in their state had approved a referendum to define marriage as the exclusive union of one man and one woman. In other words, same-sex unions were not even legally recognized in Oregon.

Why then would Aaron and Melissa Klein be harassed to the point of closing their business just for declining to support a ceremony that was technically illegal in their state anyway? NewsBusters has more:

Sweet CakesFollowing a voter-approved referendum in 2004, Oregon's constitution (Article XV, Section 5A) has stated that "... only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or legally recognized as a marriage."

For some reason, that doesn't seem to matter in the "Sweet Cakes" controversy over Aaron and Melissa Klein's refusal earlier this year to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple's (not legally recognized) "marriage." The turned-down couple has filed a civil-rights complaint with the Civil Rights Division of the Oregon Department of Labor and Industry. In the meantime, the Kleins, who have experienced ongoing harassment and threats against anyone and everyone who might refer business to them, have closed their storefront business and are operating it out of their home. Aaron has taken employment elsewhere.

No press coverage that I have seen has raised the seemingly valid issue of how the Kleins can be forced to do something in support of a ceremony, i.e., same-sex "marriage," which is not legally sanctioned and could construed to be an illegal act.

It seems like a stretch to assert that the 2007 law trumps the language hard-wired into the state's constitution and forces the Kleins to support something the state doesn't formally recognize.

Marriage’s Destruction? It’s Lee Marvin’s Fault

Cultural movements—both good and bad—almost always can trace their ultimate success or failure to a “tipping point” moment. Sometimes these moments are obvious and celebrated, and in some cases they can be more hidden or obscure. point blank lee marvin

Writing for First Things’ On the Square about the dissolution of marriage, attorney Wesley J. Smith points his finger at famous actor Lee Marvin for one of those more obscure moments…well, sort of.

Smith poses the question: “How did marriage lose most of its meaning?” And his answer is the infamous 1976 California Supreme Court case Marvin v. Marvin.

The case was precedent setting because Michele Triola Marvin sued Lee Marvin, claiming breach of contract because he had assured her of “life-long support,” but instead broke up with her. The couple had never married, but had lived together for many years and she had legally changed her last name to Marvin. The suit was dismissed by the trial court, but surprisingly was taken up on appeal by the state’s Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court’s decision in favor of Michelle Marvin, “sparked the long march that institutionalized the sexual revolution, transforming what might have been a transitory cultural phenomenon—akin to the Roaring Twenties—into a remade legal and social order.”

Smith also points out, “the Court half-heartedly tried to refill what it had just hollowed-out.” The ruling stated, “Lest we be misunderstood, however, we take this occasion to point out that the structure of society itself largely depends upon the institution of marriage, and nothing we have said in this opinion should be taken to derogate from that institution.”

Despite the courts attempt to sugarcoat their actions, the decision cleared the way for the slow, but sure denigration of marriage by equating virtually any form of cohabitating with the institution of marriage.

You can read Smith’s full article, The Case That Destroyed Marriage, here.

Scottish Parliament Hears from Faith Groups

Faith groups from around Scotland gathered at the Scottish Parliament yesterday to urge MSPs not to proceed with same-sex marriage legislation that would limit civil liberty and free speech:

Scottish ParliamentKieran Turner of the Evangelical Alliance said the Bill could drive a wedge between faith-based community projects and local councils.

He said there is a risk that local councils could sever links with organisations that hold to a traditional view of marriage.

John Deighan of the Scottish Roman Catholic Church said the essence of marriage is “that there is a man and a woman at the heart of it, and that is the relationship which gives rise to children”.

Writing in The Scotsman, he also said: “The institution of marriage pre-exists and pre-dates the state ... For the sake of the common good, I urge our parliamentarians not to proceed with this legislation”.

In written evidence to the committee the Evangelical Alliance said it was “disappointed” the Government had made “little substantive effort” to protect freedom of speech or conscience.

John Mason MSP, who is a member of the Equal Opportunities Committee, warned ahead of a recent pro-traditional marriage rally that safeguards are needed for those who believe marriage is between a man and a woman.

The Committee are holding double evidence sessions at earlier start times, in a move seen by critics as pushing the legislation through “in haste”. -Christian Institute