Kirsten Andersen

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Union leaders line up behind same-sex ‘marriage,’ Obama

Kirsten Andersen
Kirsten Andersen
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WASHINGTON, D.C., October 19, 2012, ( >LifeSiteNews) – Although their membership is evenly split, 90 percent of all union contributions go to the Democratic Party. Now, as it has become a wedge issue in the 2012 presidential campaign, a number of the nation’s largest unions have endorsed same-sex “marriage.”

The UAW, AFL-CIO, SEIU, AFSCME, and other top unions have issued statements supporting same-sex “marriage.” Many state-level unions have followed suit, particularly in states like Maryland, where the issue is on the ballot this November.

While some unions have backed gay nuptials for a few years, others, such as the UAW, announced their support only after President Barack Obama announced his position had changed on the issue.

Obama, who had previously opposed redefining marriage, changed his views in May in response to mounting pressure from the homosexual lobby and, in his words, the role of religion and conversations with his teenage daughters about the issue. Since then, same-sex “marriage” has become a major part of the Democratic Party platform.

Historically, more than 90 percent of all union political spending – which totaled a staggering $4.4 billion between 2005 and 2011, according to the Wall Street Journal – has been in support of Democratic candidates for office.

Click “like” if you want to defend true marriage.

This is one reason why groups like the National Right to Work Committee argue against compulsory unionism laws that force many workers to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. While virtually all union political spending goes to support Democrats, the rank-and-file union members who finance that support are about evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, just like the rest of the country. Yet many have no choice about where the union spends their money. 

Up until recently, that coerced financial support for Democrats had been largely based on economic and workplace concerns. Democrats favor a higher minimum wage, taxpayer-funded healthcare, and other measures that union officials claim benefit the workers they’re paid to represent.

The same-sex “marriage” issue is not related to workplace concerns, nor is it something most working families support.  A CNN exit poll taken during Ohio’s 2004 battle to ban same-sex “marriage” showed that 64 percent of union members and 63 percent of those living in union households voted in favor of the ban in defiance of the AFL-CIO’s public opposition.

Former union negotiator Phil Burress was one of them. He chaired the campaign to protect traditional marriage, and was appalled at what he saw as union officials’ betrayal of their members’ values. Burress told CNS News that he considered the AFL-CIO’s backing of the homosexual and transgender agendas to be “a stealth campaign.” 

“I know union workers,” he said, “and on these social issues—especially dealing with marriage—the AFL-CIO does not represent the rank-and-file workers.”

Union bosses, he added, “certainly talk with workers when it comes to negotiating contracts, but when it comes to taking public policy stances, they don’t talk to the membership at all.”

Similarly, when Michigan, a labor union stronghold, voted to amend the state constitution to block gay “marriage” and “civil unions,” a Detroit News poll showed two-thirds of union members voted for the amendment. Meanwhile, AFL-CIO and MEA teachers union officials campaigned against the marriage amendment. Because it was an issue, not a candidate they were campaigning against, they were able to do so with union treasury dues, not PAC money.
 
After passage, the Michigan ACLU filed suit to limit the marriage amendment’s enforcement. The plaintiff in the case? “Pride at Work,” the homosexual activist arm of the AFL-CIO. 

Even though union members overwhelmingly supported the ban on gay “marriage,” their dues money was spent fighting it, both before and after the vote.

Mike Goschka, then a Michigan state senator and a member of the United Steelworkers Union, was angry. He told Focus on the Family he thought the issue was as bad for society as legalized abortion.

“I was 19 years old and abortion was made legal,” Goschka said. “I didn’t have a clue back then, but this is on our watch. We simply cannot stand idly by and watch the demise of the culture.”
 
“Polling data show that the American people continue to be closely divided on the issue of ‘gay marriages,’” Stanley Greer, Senior Research Associate at NILRR wrote on his blog. “And in the dozens of states that have held ballot measures or referenda on the particular question of whether public policy should recognize and encourage same-sex unions, majorities have voted ‘No’ every time, most recently in North Carolina this spring.”

“Rank-and-file union members have disparate views on this controversial issue, just as other Americans do,” continued Greer. “With evident contempt for the views of millions of rank-and-file unionists, AFL-CIO czar Richard Trumka and other union bosses are using their forced dues-funded empires to assist a controversial political agenda.”

Same-sex “marriage” legislation is on the ballot this year in Maryland, Maine, Washington and Minnesota.

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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