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Lawsuit against New York’s homosexual ‘marriage’ law moves forward

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WASHINGTON, December 2, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A New York state judge has allowed a lawsuit that could overturn the state’s homosexual “marriage” law to move forward.

Acting State Supreme Court Justice Robert Wiggins ruled that the courts could decide whether Governor Andrew Cuomo violated a law requiring his meetings with Republicans in the state senate to be open to the public.

“There is no demonstration that the public welfare on this issue required secrecy,” Justice Wiggins wrote in his November 18 decision.

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Cuomo secretly met with weary Republicans in the Governor’s Mansion in Albany on June 24, as they prepared to vote on the “Marriage Equality Act.” They locked out the public and press, and denied registered lobbyists access to politicians.

The plaintiffs contend that “at least two meetings” violate the 1976 New York Open Meetings Law, which requires that “public business be performed in an open and public manner.”

“We are contending that when the 32 Republicans met with Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg and perhaps some others, it was a flagrant disregard for the intention of the law,” Rev. Jason J. McGuire told LifeSiteNews.com. Rev. McGuire is executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms (NYCF), which filed the lawsuit.

McGuire told LifeSiteNews.com that as he attempted to attend one of the meetings, he found the sergeants-at-arms blocking the hallways to the Republicans’ chambers. “They said it was an issue of ‘safety and security,’” McGuire said, but “the only hallways blocked were Republican hallways.”

The act capped off a series of closed doors conferences that homosexual “marriage” supporters held to convince the GOP-controlled senate to schedule a vote on the bill. In May, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Christine Quinn, the speaker of the New York City council and a lesbian, lobbied Republican senators to support the act. Bloomberg held another meeting with Republicans on June 16.

While state law allows one-party meetings to occur in secret, Bloomberg is a registered independent, and Cuomo and Quinn are registered Democrats.

McGuire told LifeSiteNews.com, “In the new year, we’ll have an opportunity to present our argument” on the merits of the law. If a judge agrees, the same-sex “marriage” law could be overturned. “We’ve asked for nullification and that’s ultimately where this could lead,” he said.

Rena Lindevaldsen of Liberty Counsel, which is representing NYCF, says the lawsuit is acting “as a check on an out-of-control political process that was willing to pass a bill regardless of how many laws and rules it violated.”

In his decision, while allowing the lawsuit to move forward, Justice Wiggins had reluctantly dismissed some of the claims of the plaintiffs.

One of these related to New York law that requires pending legislation to be made public for three days before passage. On June 24, Governor Cuomo overridden that law by issuing a “message of necessity” to pass the bill. Wiggins ruled that since the senate accepted the measure, he lacked jurisdiction to rule on it. But the judge wrote that Cuomo’s “disregard for the statute seems evident.”

The plaintiffs also charged politicians with establishing an implied quid pro quo, exchanging votes for campaign cash. They state that in his June 16 meeting with Republicans, Mayor Bloomberg offered to financially support any Republican who backed the marriage bill and to help the opponent of anyone who opposed it. Four Republican state senators promptly changed their votes: James Alesi, Mark Grisanti, Roy McDonald, and Stephen Saland.

The “Marriage Equality Act” subsequently passed after the Assembly approved it by a vote of 80-63, and the Republican-controlled state senate voted to pass it 33-29. The law took effect on July 24. The next day, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms filed the lawsuit.

Shortly after the vote, Bloomberg contributed the maximum amount allowed by law, $10,300, to all four Republican senators who changed their vote in favor of the law. Bloomberg and powerful homosexual activist Tim Gill threw a $1.2 million fundraiser for the four in October. They also donated a hefty sum to the Republican Senate campaign committee for agreeing to hold the vote.

But while the four Republicans have Bloomberg’s support, they have also made some determined enemies with their votes. Shaun Marie, executive director of the Conservative Party of New York State, told LifeSiteNews.com the state party “will not endorse anybody” that voted for the bill and that the party is “actively recruiting” candidates to run against the wayward Republicans in 2012.

Any effort to overturn the law can’t come too soon for Christians in the state concerned that their religious liberty is already being encroached upon since the bill passed. At least four New York clerks have either resigned rather than sign marriage licenses for homosexual couples, or are fighting heavy pressure to sign the licenses against their consciences.

McGuire fears churches may soon come under fire for abiding by their traditional stance on moral and ethical issues. He said the law’s “religious liberty” clause is “extremely weak.”

McGuire plans to present his case in state court in 2012. Whatever the decision, he anticipates a long legal battle.

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

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Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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