Ben Johnson

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‘The Roe v. Wade of marriage’: pro-family advocates respond

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 27, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Supreme Court rulings on Proposition 8 and DOMA defy thousands of years of history and the findings of sociology, undermine citizen democracy, open the door to polygamy, and rewrite thousands of federal laws on family policy with the stroke of a pen, according to pro-family advocates.

“Today the Supreme Court issued the Roe v. Wade of marriage,” said Penny Nance, president and CEO of Concerned Women for America (CWA) after news of the rulings broke. “These rulings will continue to divide our Republic just as Roe continues to do 40 years later.”

"The Supreme Court rulings fly in the face of reams of research showing that the best household arrangement for children is a married mom and dad,” said Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, director and senior fellow of CWA's Beverly LaHaye Institute. “It represents a national experiment in social reconstruction at the expense of our children's futures and the future of America."

“For thousands of years marriage between one man and one woman has resulted in flourishing civilizations,” said Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, the leader of the African-American conservative organization BOND (Brotherhood Organization of A New Destiny). “To change the definition of marriage and undermine such a pivotal part of society will have dire consequences for our nation.”

“These rulings are an attack on God, humanity, the Constitution, and the family unit,” he said.

Some advocates suggested that the legal reasoning in the DOMA decision leaves little barrier to further extending the definition of marriage beyond simply gay "marriage."

“What if a state were to recognize polygamists’ marriages? Under the rationale of this ruling, those marriage would have to be given federal benefits,” Paul Linton, special counsel for the Thomas More Society told LifeSiteNews.com.

“What happens if a state decided to allow marriages between adults of closely related persons? Those couples also would qualify for federal benefits,” he added.

Supporters of traditional marriage accused the Supreme Court of stepping outside its authority in the rulings.

“Over one thousand laws were passed with the traditional definition of marriage in mind,” Nance said. “Today, the Court uses its powers to amend those laws with one stroke of the pen. Remember, DOMA only defined marriage for federal purposes.”

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“This is one more example of the Court legislating from the bench, instead of employing the judicial restraint envisioned by our Constitution,” she said.

Others said that the decisions are fundamentally flawed from a legal and jurisprudential viewpoint.

“The Court failed to recognize that, just as the states have constitutional authority to make state policy about marriage, Congress can pass a federal statute defining a term used in federal law—and that’s what DOMA has done for marriage,” said former Senator Jim DeMint, who is now president of the Heritage Foundation.

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia added, “The Supreme Court got it wrong to invalidate portions of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Of course the Federal government has the ability to define marriage for purposes of Federal law.”

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, was blunt in his assement of the rulings, calling them decision “illegitimate” and a “miscarriage of justice.”

Brown particularly took issue with the Hollingsworth v. Perry ruling, which found the people of the State of California had no legal standing to petition the justices.

“The Supreme Court's holding that proponents of an initiative had no legal right to appeal ignores California law and rewards corrupt politicians for abandoning their duty to defend traditional marriage laws. It's imperative that Congress continue to preserve the right of states to protect true marriage and refuse to recognize faux marriages performed in other states or countries," he said.

Linton told LifeSiteNews the decision allows “a hostile executive branch to effectively have a veto power over something they have no business having a veto power over” - the people they rule.

“Today, the Court declared that if the executive refuses to defend those laws, the people can’t stand up for themselves. That’s not government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” agreed DeMint.

Others said the flaw went deeper than constitutional interpretation: It ignored nature itself.

“Our culture has taken for granted for far too long what human nature, experience, common sense, and God’s wise design all confirm: the difference between a man and a woman matters, and the difference between a mom and a dad matters,” the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said in a statement.

At the same time, one pro-life leader pointed out that the DOMA ruling, by stopping short of actually redefining marriage in federal law, and instead deferring to states' rights, does have some positive implications, particularly for the pro-life cause.

Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America said the two decisions, which were decided by a one-vote margin, "have major implications for Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.”

“In the DOMA case, the Supreme Court found that the federal government must respect the rights of states to determine their own laws protecting the 'rights' of their citizens, citing the 'equal protection' clause of the 5th Amendment. This begs the question, 'Where is the equal protection for pre-born babies?'”

"The Supreme Court should follow its own principles set forth in these cases to overturn Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton and turn those decisions back to the states to extend equal protections to pre-born babies," Hawkins said.

Pete Baklinski conducted LifeSiteNews.com's interview with Paul Linton.

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Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
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Vatican pressing forward with reform of US feminist nuns: Cardinal Müller

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, says the Vatican is pressing forward with plans to reform the U.S.-based Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

In an interview published in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the cardinal said that the reform of the LCWR, which was undertaken after an assessment of the group found serious doctrinal problems, will be carried out with the goal of helping them "rediscover their identity.”

“Congregations have no more vocations and risk dying out," Müller said. "We have first of all tried to reduce hostility and tensions, partly thanks to Bishop Sartain whom we sent to negotiate with them; he is a very gentle man. We wish to stress that we are not misogynists, we are not women gobblers! Of course we have a different concept of religious life but we hope to help them rediscover their identity.”

Moreover, the cardinal said that problems specific to the LCWR are not a reflection of all the women religious in the US.

"We need to bear in mind that they do not represent all US nuns, but just a group of nuns who form part of an association,” Müller said.

“We have received many distressed letters from other nuns belonging to the same congregations, who are suffering a great deal because of the direction in which the LCWR is steering their mission.”

Cardinal Müller's remarks confirmed the assertion he and the Holy See’s delegate to the LCWR, Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle, made in an address to LCWR officials in Rome on April 30, that the theological drift the feminist nuns are taking constitutes a radical departure from the foundational theological concepts of Catholicism.

The Holy See “believes that the charismatic vitality of religious life can only flourish within the ecclesial faith of the Church,” Müller said in the address.

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“The LCWR, as a canonical entity dependent on the Holy See, has a profound obligation to the promotion of that faith as the essential foundation of religious life. Canonical status and ecclesial vision go hand-in-hand, and at this phase of the implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment, we are looking for a clearer expression of that ecclesial vision and more substantive signs of collaboration,” he stated.

The LCWR has openly defied the mandate of reform intended to bring their organization into line with basic Catholic doctrine on the nature of God, the Church, and sexual morality.

Among the CDF’s directives, to which LCWR has strenuously objected, is the requirement that “speakers and presenters at major programs” be approved by Archbishop Sartain. This, Müller has explained, was decided in order to “avoid difficult and embarrassing situations wherein speakers use an LCWR forum to advance positions at odds with the teaching of the Church.”

The LCWR has invited speakers to their Annual Assembly such as New Age guru Barbara Marx Hubbard, and Sr. Laurie Brink, who is particularly noted for flagrantly denying the Divinity of Christ and telling the sisters that to maintain their “prophetic” place in society they need to “go beyond” the Church and even “go beyond Jesus.”

In one of the first public statements of his pontificate, Pope Francis affirmed that the investigation and reform of the LCWR must continue.

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Brian Fisher

Birth mothers: real heroes of the pro-life movement

Brian Fisher
By Brian Fisher
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What does it mean to be brave? Is it the doctor who dedicates himself to improving the health of a third-world nation? Is it the woman who faces her third round of chemotherapy to fight the progression of cancer? Is it the teacher who forgoes the comforts of a suburban school to reach minorities in the inner city? All of these are examples of bravery demonstrated in exceedingly challenging circumstances. And our society longs for stories of bravery to inspire us and fill us with hope.

As someone who works day in and day out with those on the front lines of helping rescue babies from abortion, I’m no stranger to stories of bravery. I see courage every day in the eyes of the men and women who sacrifice their time and energy to help women facing unplanned pregnancies. I see it every time a young mom — despite being pressured by her parents or significant other to get an abortion — chooses LIFE. And perhaps more profoundly than in any other situation, I see it when an expectant mom with no relational support, job, or income chooses to place her baby for adoption rather than abort her son or daughter.

This was Nicky’s situation.

When Nicky found herself pregnant with her boyfriend’s child, her life was already in shambles. During her 26 years, Nicky had already given birth to and surrendered sole custody of a little girl, committed several felonies, lived in her car, lost several jobs, and barely subsisted on minimum wage. So when she met up with an old boyfriend, Brandon, Nicky believed she was being given a second chance at happiness. “Our first year together was beautiful. We were getting to know each other and deciding if we would stay together forever.” Unfortunately, a positive pregnancy test result changed everything.

“When I told him I was pregnant, Brandon sat down on the bed, looked me in the eyes, and told me to ‘get an abortion’.” Nicky says those three little words changed everything for her. “I became depressed living with someone who wanted his child ‘dealt with.’”  Like thousands of women every day, Nicky began searching online for information on abortion, hoping her boyfriend would eventually change his mind. Through our strategic marketing methods, Online for Life was able to guide Nicky to a life-affirming pregnancy center where she received grace-filled counsel. “The woman I sat with was beyond wonderful. She helped me to just breathe and ask God what to do….And so I did.”

Nicky left the pregnancy center that day with a new resolve to choose life for her child, even though she still wasn’t sure how she’d financially support a child. “I was alone with just $10 in my pocket…and without any type of plan for what I was going to do.” So Nicky relied on the support of the staff she met at the life-affirming pregnancy center. With their help and through a chain of fortunate events, Nicky was put in contact with the couple who would eventually become her daughter’s adoptive parents.

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After meeting this couple face to face and coming to terms with her own desperate situation, Nicky conceded that the best thing for her unborn child would be to place her in someone else’s loving home. She told Brandon about her plans and he agreed that adoption would give their child the best chance at a happy and secure future. He even returned home to help Nicky prepare for the birth of their child. “The weeks leading up to my delivery were filled with a mixture of laughter, tears, protectiveness and sadness,” Nicky recalls. But one sentiment continued to be shared with her. “Brave…so brave.” That’s what everyone from the life-affirming pregnancy center to the adoption agency to the birthing center kept calling Nicky. “The nurses kept coming up to me and telling me they were honored to care for and treat someone like me.” After several weeks of preparation, Nicky finally gave birth to a healthy baby girl, and she made the dreams of a couple from the other side of the country come true.

Nicky’s adoption story continues to be riddled with a strange combination of pain and joy. “I cry every day, but I know my baby, who came out of a very bad time, ended up being loved by people from across the country.” When asked what message she’d like to share with the world about her decision to give up her child for adoption, Nicky responds, The voice of the mother who gives up a baby for adoption isn’t heard. We need to change that.”

To learn more about Online for Life and how we’re helping to make stories like Nicky and her daughter’s story a possibility, please visit OnlineforLife.org.

Author, speaker, and business leader Brian Fisher is the President and Co-Founder of Online for Life, a transparent, metric-oriented, compassion-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to helping rescue babies and their families from abortion through technology and grace.

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New York farmers stop hosting weddings after $13,000 fine for declining lesbian ceremony

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By Dustin Siggins

New York farmers Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who were ordered last week to pay $13,000 for not hosting a same-sex "wedding," say they are closing that part of their operation.

"Going forward, the Giffords have decided to no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their farm, other than the ones already under contract," said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) lawyer James Trainor. ADF represented the Giffords in their legal fight against New York's non-discrimination law.

Last week, the Giffords were ordered to pay a $10,000 fine to the state of New York and $3,000 in damages to a lesbian couple, Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, who approached them in 2012 about hosting their "wedding." The Giffords, who are Roman Catholic, said their religious convictions would not let them host the ceremony, but that McCarthy and Erwin could hold their reception on their property.

Unbeknownst to the Giffords, the lesbian couple recorded the two-to-three minute conversation. After declining to hold the reception on the Giffords' farm, on which they live and rent property, the lesbian couple decided to make a formal complaint to the state's Division of Human Rights.

Eventually, Judge Migdalia Pares ruled that the Giffords' farm, Liberty Ridge Farm, constitutes a public accommodation because space is rented on the grounds and fees are collected from the public. The Giffords argued that because they live on the property with their children, they should be exempt from the state law, but Pares said that this does not mean their business is private.

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Trainor told TheBlaze that the Giffords' decision to end wedding ceremonies at Liberty Ridge “will hurt their business in the short run," but that was preferable to violating their religious beliefs.

“The Giffords serve all people with respect and care. They have hired homosexual employees and have hosted events for same-sex couples,” he said.

However, "since the state of New York has essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions," Trainor explained to LifeSiteNews. "No American should be forced by the government to choose between their livelihood and their faith, but that’s exactly the choice the state of New York has forced upon the Giffords."

"They will continue to host wedding receptions," said Trainor.

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