Obama places minority status, federal benefits at heart of anti-DOMA brief
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 25, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Completing the turn against traditional marriage he began more than two years ago, President Barack Obama filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The administration has placed access to taxpayer-subsidized benefits and tax breaks – as well as its belief the homosexuals deserve a special place as an underprivileged minority group – at the heart of its legal argument.
Solicitor General Donald Verrilli filed the amicus curiae brief urging the court to declare Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional on multiple grounds, including an alleged violation of equal protection under the law.
The 54-page document also claims the justices must give greater deference to homosexuals, because “gay and lesbian people are a minority group with limited political power.”
The decision acknowledges that voters in three states – Maine, Maryland, and Washington – democratically approved marriage redefinition and six additional states redefined the institution at the legislative level of through judicial fiat. However, it counts 36 additional states that have passed laws or state constitutional amendments preserving marriage as an institution between one man and one woman since 1996.
That lack of electoral success, the Obama administration argues, proves that the Supreme Court should short-circuit the popular will.
DOMA, the brief states, is “the rare case in which deference to the democratic process must give way to the fundamental constitutional command of equal treatment under law,” decreed from the federal bench.
The administration also places access to federal subsidies and tax breaks at the heart of its case. “The law denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex couples,” the brief states.
The protagonist in the case United States v. Windsor, Edith Windsor, is a New Yorker who “married” her lesbian partner in Canada. She is suing because she must pay $363,000 in estate taxes that would not be owed by a married couple. President Obama has argued in favor of increasing the estate tax.
The same-sex “marriage” argument turns largely, not around equal process but giving homosexuals access to government welfare benefits and tax incentives originally designed for stay-at-home mothers. Some believe, like 20-year-old Tufts University junior Grianne Griffiths, believe that “turning the conversation to [federal] benefits is crucial in changing public consciousness.”
Others believe there is no discrimination in allowing states to set their own definition of marriage, and for the federal government to establish the definition of marriage for its own purposes.
The Justice Department brief states the law, passed before a single state legalized homosexual “marriage,” “targets” homosexual couples considered married under state law. This constitutes “a harsh form of discrimination that...does not substantially advance an interest in protecting marriage, or any other important interest.”
The Family Research Council disagrees, citing a growing body of research from its own social scientists and other scholars showing that an intact traditional family may be the greatest means of reducing child poverty, dropout rates, physical abuse, mental illness, and unemployment.
“Redefining marriage would have massive economic implications,” an FRC spokesman stated. “Only an administration blinded by its extreme social agenda would fail to recognize that.”
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“Obama’s radical policies will undermine marriage and morality and ultimately will harm children and society,” agreed Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel.
The Obama administration entered the legal brief on Friday, known to politicians as “the Friday news dump,” a time that produces little media exposure for an unpopular action.
Obama has not yet determined whether he will file an amicus brief in the companion case over California's Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment protecting marriage. He has until February 28 to file such a document.
"If they decide to enter the case, their brief will probably be the most important before the court," said Richard Socarides, Bill Clinton's liaison on homosexual affairs. "The position of the government on how it thinks we should treat our citizens - what could be more important?"
Obama may have signaled reticence over the weekend, saying, “I have to make sure that I'm not interjecting myself too much in this process, particularly when we're not a party to the case.”
However, he is certain to have a substantial impact on the outcome. He appointed two of the justices who will decide on the case – Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.
In February 2011, Obama took the unusual step of announcing he would no longer defend DOMA in court. The Justice Department began lobbying for the law, signed by President Bill Clinton, to be overturned that June.
His appointees have been outspoken on Proposition 8, as well. Obama named defrocked Methodist minister Harry Knox to the Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in 2009. Knox called faithful Catholics who supported Proposition 8 “foot soldiers of a discredited army of oppression.”
The president has also shown a penchant of enacting pro-homosexual policies by executive order. “Where government has historically denied things like same-sex partner benefits for federal workers or military personnel, the Obama administration has just ignored the law and awarded them anyway,” noted an FRC spokesman.
The brief seems to admit it is on shaky legal standing, stating the government's position would fall apart if the High Court uses the typical standard for evaluating laws.
“The government has concluded that heightened scrutiny governs classifications based on sexual orientation and that DOMA Section 3 cannot be sustained under that standard. If the Court disagrees and applies rational-basis review, the government has previously defended Section 3 under rational-basis review, and does not challenge the constitutionality of Section 3 under that highly deferential standard,” the brief states.
‘Little miracles’: Mom gives birth to naturally-conceived quintuplets after refusing ‘selective reduction’
AUSTRALIA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- A 26-year-old Australian mom has given birth to five healthy babies, all conceived naturally, after refusing the doctor’s advice that she must abort three of them in order to give the remaining two a better chance at life.
“After my initial ultrasound I was told I could consider the selection method to give 2 babies the best chance in life,” wrote mom Kim Tucci in a Facebook post last September.
“I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and I cried. I could never do that! Was I selfish for not giving two the chance of 100% survival? All I knew is that I already love them and that every heart beat I heard I connect with them more. For me life starts when a heart starts beating and all I know for sure is that I will do whatever it takes to bring them into this world healthy,” she wrote.
Last Thursday Kim and her husband Vaughn welcomed the five new members into their family — one boy and four girls —increasing the number of their children from 3 to 8. The babies were born at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early, due to insufficient space in Kim’s womb. They weighed on average about 2.5 pounds.
The quintuplets’ story began last March, after Kim and Vaughn had been trying for six months to conceive just one more child for their family. Due to health complications, Kim wondered if she would ever become a mother again.
After what she thought was an extra long cycle, she decided to take a pregnancy test.
“I was feeling tired and a little nauseated and thought I would take a pregnancy test just to get the ‘what if’ out of my head. To my shock and utter excitement it was positive,” she wrote on a Facebook post.
The parents got the shock of their lives when doctors confirmed in an ultrasound examination that there was not one baby, but five.
“After a long wait for the ultrasound we finally went in. The sonographer told me there were multiple gestational sacks, but she could only see a heart beat in two. I was so excited! Twins!”
“I was moved to another machine for a clearer view and had the head doctor come in and double check the findings. She started to count, one, two, three, four, five. Did i hear that correctly? Five? My legs start to shake uncontrollably and all i can do is laugh. The sonographer then told me the term for five is ‘quintuplets,’” Kim wrote.
Even though Kim began to feel stretched to the limit with all those human lives growing inside her, she chose to focus on her babies, and not herself, referring to them as “my five little miracles.”
“It's getting harder as each day passes to push through the pain, every part of my body aches and sleeping is becoming very painful. No amount of pillows are helping support my back and belly. Sometimes I get so upset that I just want to throw my hands up and give in.”
“Sometimes my pelvis becomes so stiff I can barely walk and my hips feel like they are grinding away constantly. I'm finding it hard to eat as I basically have no room left in my stomach, and the way it is positioned it's pushed all the way back with the babies leaning against it.”
“My skin on my belly is so stretched its painful and hot to touch. It literally feels like I have hives! No amount of cream helps relieve the discomfort. I have a lot of stretch marks now. Dealing with such a huge change in my body is hard.”
“Is it all worth it? Yes!!!! I will keep pushing through,” she wrote in one Facebook post days before the babies were born.
The newborns' names are Keith, Ali, Penelope, Tiffany, and Beatrix. They were born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco, Western Australia. Mother and babies are reported to be doing well.
UN rights chief tells Catholic countries to legalize abortion over Zika virus: bishops and cardinal react
GENEVA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- The United Nations, following the lead of international abortion activists, is now urging Latin American countries hit by the mosquito-borne Zika virus to lift restrictions on abortion for pregnant women who have contacted the virus and whose pre-born children may be at risk for birth defects, including having smaller than normal heads.
The UN human rights office said today that it is not enough for South American countries to urge women to postpone pregnancy without also offering them abortion as a final solution.
“How can they ask these women not to become pregnant, but not offer… the possibility to stop their pregnancies?” UN spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told reporters.
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that governments should make available contraception and abortion services.
“Laws and policies that restrict (women’s) access to these services must be urgently reviewed in line with human rights obligations in order to ensure the right to health for all in practice,” he said.
But Brazil’s bishops strongly asserted yesterday that efforts should be made to eradicate the virus, not the people who may be infected by it.
The disease is “no justification whatsoever to promote abortion,” they said in a statement, adding that it is not morally acceptable to promote abortion “in the cases of microcephaly, as, unfortunately, some groups are proposing to the Supreme Federal Court, in a total lack of respect for the gift of life.”
Honduras Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has also come out strongly against the notion of “therapeutic abortions” as a response to the problem. Unlike Brazil where abortion is legal in the case of rape or health of the mother, abortion remains entirely illegal in Honduras.
“We should never talk about ‘therapeutic’ abortion,” the cardinal said in a homily at a February 3 Mass in Suyap. “Therapeutic abortion doesn’t exist. Therapeutic means curing, and abortion cures nothing. It takes innocent lives,” he said.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency February 1 on account of concerns over the virus, critics have pointed out, however, that not one death as resulted from the virus. Even on WHO’s own website the virus is described in mild terms.
“It causes mild fever and rash. Other symptoms include muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and conjunctivitis. Zika virus disease is usually mild, with symptoms lasting only a few days,” the website states. “To date, there have been no reported deaths associated with Zika virus,” it added.
Critics suspect that the crisis is being manipulated to advance an anti-human agenda on the pre-born.
“Is Zika, actually, a hideous virus that threatens to spread uncontrollably across the world creating an army of disabled children with tiny heads and low IQ’s? Or might this be a willful misinterpretation of the scarce data to manipulate public opinion and legislatures?” wrote pro-life critic Mei-Li Garcia earlier this week.
“It becomes very clear that the publicity surrounding this story has a very little to do with medicine and a lot to do with a convenient crisis that is being used by those pushing for the legalization of abortion around the world,” she wrote.
Hillary’s litmus test for Supreme Court picks: They must ‘preserve Roe v. Wade’
DERRY, NH, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Hillary Clinton has a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees - several, in fact. At a Democratic event on Wednesday, Clinton unveiled her criteria in selecting a judge for the nation's highest court.
“I do have a litmus test, I have a bunch of litmus tests," she said.
"We’ve got to make sure to preserve Roe v. Wade, not let it be nibbled away or repealed,” she said.
That echoes her recent call to arms speech before Planned Parenthood last month, when she stated that taxpayers must fund abortion-on-demand in order to uphold the "right" of choice.
“We have to preserve marriage equality,” Clinton said, referring to last summer's Obergefell v. Hodges case, a 5-4 ruling that redefined marriage nationwide. “We have to go further to end discrimination against the LGBT community."
Her views differentiate her from the Republican front runners. Ted Cruz has called the court's marriage ruling "fundamentally illegitimate," and Donald Trump told Fox News Sunday this week that he would "be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things." Marco Rubio has said he won't "concede" the issue to the one-vote majority.
All Republican presidential hopefuls say they are pro-life and will defund Planned Parenthood.
Her husband, Bill Clinton, raised the makeup of the Supreme Court early last month in New Hampshire, saying it receives "almost no attention" as a campaign issue.
On Wednesday, Hillary said "the next president could get as many as three appointments. It’s one of the many reasons why we can’t turn the White House over to the Republicans again.”
Clinton said her judicial appointees must also reverse the Citizens United ruling on campaign finance and oppose a recent decision striking down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013's Shelby County v. Holder, justices struck down Section 4(b) of the act, which said that certain states and jurisdictions had to obtain permission from the federal government before changing their voting laws.
At one time, most politicians frowned upon any "litmus test" for judicial nominees, emphasizing the independence of the third branch of government. "I don't believe in litmus tests," Jeb Bush told Chuck Todd last November.
But with the rise of an activist judiciary in the middle of the 20th century, constitutionalists have sought to rein in the power of the bench.