South Carolina, the only state under the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals where the same-sex marriage ban is still enforced, is now facing another lawsuit by those who refuse to have their same-sex spouses' family names written on their driver's license.
The American Civil Liberties Union and S.C. Equality filed the lawsuit in federal court Friday on behalf of people who were married in other states and could not get their surnames changed by the Department of Motor Vehicles, according to The Associated Press.
While a woman in Lexington County filed a similar lawsuit challenging the state's gay marriage ban last month, other lawsuits are pending in federal court. more >>
Yesterday, my colleagues and I at the ACLJ filed a new lawsuit against the IRS in federal court in New Hampshire. The facts of the case are simple: On June 18, 2014, Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire submitted a FOIA request to the IRS for all communications between Senator Jeanne Shaheen or Representative Carol Shea-Porter and key IRS officials, including Lois Lerner. The request for IRS communications with Senator Shaheen was particularly significant. On February 16, 2012, Senator Shaheen joined a number of her Democratic colleagues demanding that the IRS investigate the alleged "political activities" of tax-exempt organizations. She followed up this demand with a second letter asking the IRS to "immediately change the administrative framework for enforcement of the tax code as it applies to groups designated as 'social welfare organizations.'"
In the weeks and months following these letters, the IRS bombarded conservative groups with extraordinary and unconstitutional demands for information, including — in some cases — demands for Internet passwords, donor lists, and information about even the activities of the family members of conservative leaders.
The IRS responded to Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire's information request by disregarding the law. It declared it could not meet FOIA's statutory deadlines but instead stated it would respond by October 23, 2014. more >>
North Dakota's highest court upheld a state law that restricts the usage of medication abortions, reversing a lower court ruling.
The North Dakota Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that House Bill 1297 did not violate the state constitution, an allegation made by North Dakota's lone abortion clinic.
While three of the five justices concluded that the law was unconstitutional, at least four justices must concur for a law to be struck down as unconstitutional, according to North Dakota's constitution. more >>
A 21-year-old college student has been charged with first-degree murder after allegedly trying to decapitate a friend who he believed to be practicing witchcraft.
Isaiah Zoar Marin was taken into custody in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on Thursday and charged with first-degree murder in the near-decapitation death of Jacob Crockett, 19. Marin reportedly called police and admitted to killing someone. Court documents obtained by Tulsa World stated that he began "rambling" about sacrificing a person and then told a different dispatcher that he "hacked them to death with a machete."
Marin has been described as a "religious zealot" who was a "heavy drug user" by the victim's brother, who arrived at the crime scene later on Wednesday, after the murder. more >>
Conservative groups believe there's still much to be done in Houston after Mayor Annise Parker dropped her controversial subpoenas against five pastors who had spoken against homosexuality and the city's Equal Rights Ordinance.
"Mayor Parker claims she withdrew the subpoenas not because she was wrong to issue them in the first place, but because they were not 'serving Houston,'" said the conservative American Family Association, which noted that while Parker's decision was a success, the matter "was far from over."
"In reality, what they were not serving is the foundation of our nation: religious liberty and the right of conscience." more >>
A three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit voted to review a case that claims police officers in a Michigan town failed to protect the freedom of speech for 12 evangelizing Christian street preachers who were pelted with stones and water bottles by a crowd of Muslims while preaching at an Arab festival in 2012.
Although the same court voted 2-1 in August that police officers in the town of Dearborn did not violate the free speech of the the preaching group that calls itself the Bible Believers, the court voted in favor of a review, which is a rare occurrence and, according to 6th circuit rules, "intended to bring to the attention of the entire court a precedent setting error of exceptional public importance."
Ruben Israel, a Los Angeles based street preacher who organized the Bible Believers' mission to Dearborn and filed the initial lawsuit against Wayne County, said that the fact the appeals court is reviewing the case is a sign that they will help "set the record straight" when it comes to protecting the rights of "unpopular" speech in America. more >>