Conservative groups have criticized Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway's recent decision to not appeal a judge's ruling that struck down part of the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
Conway, a Democrat, announced Tuesday that he will not be appealing a Feb. 12 ruling by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II that determined Kentucky must recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. Conway said in a statement that he has chosen not to appeal Judge Heyburn's ruling because doing so would be "defending discrimination." Shortly after his announcement, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, also a Democrat, said the state will hire outside attorneys to appeal Heyburn's ruling.
Beshear said in a statement that the definition of marriage "will be and should be ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in order to bring finality and certainty to this matter," adding that "the people of this country need to know what the rules will be going forward. Kentucky should be a part of this process." more >>
A former Tenn. judge who previously ordered a mother to change her son's name from Messiah to Martin has been found guilty of five counts of bias.
On Monday, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct Disciplinary Counsel censured former judge Lu Anne Ballew, saying she disobeyed her obligations of impartiality when she ordered a mother to change her son's name from Messiah to Martin in 2013. The state's board of judicial conduct said censuring Ballew was the harshest form of punishment they could administer, as the judge already lost her job over the incident that took place in May last year.
According to WBIR-TV, a "public censure" means that Balew's violation of conduct will be put on record, and she may be required to "follow a specified course of corrective action." The news outlet adds that a censure is considered to be a stronger punishment than a public reprimand. more >>
A group of former and current Republicans are filing an amicus brief, encouraging a federal court of appeals to overturn same-sex marriage bans in Oklahoma and Utah. They argue that the conservative values of freedom and liberty fall in line with gay marriage support.
It remains unclear which current Republican lawmakers have signed the 30-page argument but The Associated Press, which received a draft of the brief, named former Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming, who has been known to be socially liberal and once described himself as a "RINO," or "Republic In Name Only," as part of the group. Simpson has also stated his support for same-sex marriage, telling MSNBC's Chris Matthews in 2011, ahead of the GOP presidential primaries, that he wouldn't stand behind pro-traditional marriage candidates like Rick Santorum "who are homophobic."
Another Republican named on Tuesday's brief is former Rep. Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas, who changed her opposition to same-sex marriage last year. more >>
The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Monday to hear an appeal from the Romeikes, a German homeschooling family that had asylum in the United States. The U.S. Justice Department sought to deport them back to Germany where they could lose custody of their children due to their religious beliefs.
"Today, the United States Supreme Court declined to review Uwe and Hannelore Romeike's asylum case," Michael Farris, chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association, wrote in a letter to supporters. "We knew it was an uphill battle since the Court only accepts 80–100 out of nearly 10,000 requests each year. While we are disappointed, the court's decision in no way changes our commitment to fight for the Romeikes and homeschooling freedom."
The Romeikes chose to homeschool because they believed the public schools were teaching their children values inconsistent with their Christian views. HSLDA helped the Romeikes flee Germany after they were threatened with jail time and losing custody of their children. HSLDA has also represented the Romeikes in court. more >>
A mediation process between a breakaway Texas megachurch and the mainline denomination it once belonged to over disputed church property has failed to produce a result.
Highland Park Presbyterian Church of Dallas announced Friday that its settlement talks with Presbyterian Church (USA) over their legal property dispute did not conclude in a resolution.
In a statement posted on their website last week, Highland Park Presbyterian acknowledged the failure regarding talks with the PC (USA) regional body, Grace Presbytery, which is the association the church belonged to before voting to disaffiliate. more >>
Oral arguments in a lawsuit by an atheist organization against the placement of the "World Trade Center cross" at a museum on government property will take place later this week.
American Atheists will present their case before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, arguing that the WTC cross does not belong in a museum on government leased property.
Two days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, construction workers found a cross beam among the wreckage of the Twin Towers. more >>