In what will prove to be a momentous year for marriage, the U. S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal of cases involving marital status in four states (Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee) and will judge whether the citizens of these states and all others have the authority to maintain the traditional meaning of marriage or be forced to accept novel, alternative versions of the institution.
The ruling, expected to be rendered by late June, has the potential to dramatically alter marriage as we know it (and have known it for thousands of years). At stake in the matter is whether individual states and their citizenry have any say-so in determining what kinds of relationships they must certify as valid marriages.
A vast majority of states, 30 in total, have state constitutional provisions that acknowledge time-honored parameters of marriage and succinctly define it as a union between one man and one woman. The upcoming decision by the Supreme Court will inform whether states will be allowed to retain this historical understanding of marriage. more >>
A judge has ruled in favor a diocese that voted to break away from The Episcopal Church regarding a lawsuit over ownership of dozens of church properties worth an estimated $500 million.
Judge Diane Goodstein ruled late on Tuesday that the Protestant Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina rightfully owns the church properties under their diocese and not the Episcopal Church.
In a 46-page decision, Goodstein argued that the diocese owns all real and personal property, according the paperwork connected to the diocesan property. "It is equally undisputed that there is nothing in the deeds of their real property referencing any trust in favor of TEC," reads the decision. more >>
Answers in Genesis President and CEO Ken Ham revealed that his organization is filing a lawsuit against Kentucky for denying the Ark Encounter theme part participation in the state's tax rebate incentive program. AiG is arguing that the refusal is based on religious discrimination against the creationist group's beliefs.
"Our organization spent many months attempting to reason with state officials so that this lawsuit would not be necessary," Ham said in a statement on Tuesday. "However, the state was so insistent on treating our religious entity as a second-class citizen that we were simply left with no alternative but to proceed to court. This is the latest example of increasing government hostility toward religion in America, and it's certainly among the most blatant."
AiG also accused Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear for backing this refusal, even though he originally expressed support for the Ark Encounter project. more >>
Justice Anthony Kennedy, the likely swing vote in the U.S. Supreme Court's upcoming gay marriage decision, appeared to place a high value in how the Court will affect the children of gay parents. Some of those children are now telling Kennedy and the Court that redefining marriage to include same-sex couples is harmful for children.
During oral arguments for the 2013 gay marriage case Hollingsworth vs. Perry, Kennedy asked, "there is an immediate ... what could be a legal injury, and that's the voice of these children [of same-sex parents]. There are some 40,000 children in California ... that live with same-sex parents, and they want their parents to have full recognition and full status. The voice of those children is important in this case, don't you think?"
While Kennedy presumed to know what all 40,000 of those children wanted, some children of same-sex couples now want Kennedy to know that they do not support gay marriage. more >>
Brittany Koper, a granddaughter of Paul Crouch Sr., founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network, the world's largest Christian network, alleged in a lawsuit filed Thursday that top bosses in the organization threatened her life with a gun and fired her and her husband, Michael, after she refused to illegally funnel some $100 million of charitable assets to their personal accounts.
"The nature of these illegal activities involved the systematic diversion of defendant Trinity Broadcasting's charitable assets through unlawful distributions to defendant Trinity Broadcasting's directors through numerous channels. The magnitude of these unlawful and related financial schemes uncovered by or disclosed to plaintiff Brittany Koper is on the order of $100 million," alleges the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court Central District of California.
The document lists Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana, which also does business as Trinity Broadcasting Network; International Christian Broadcasting, which also does business as Heroes Under God; Matthew Crouch, Brittany's uncle; Janice Crouch, TBN's senior vice president, board member and wife of the-late Paul Crouch Sr. who died in 2013; and John Casoria, Brittany's cousin, as defendants. more >>
Egypt has handed down death sentences to 183 people involved in the murder of 11 policemen and two civilians during the August 2013 mass protests. Human rights groups have pointed out, however, that the court has failed to hold a single police officer accountable for the deadly clashes.
"Today's death sentences are yet another example of the bias of the Egyptian criminal justice system," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui of Amnesty International. "These verdicts and sentences must be quashed and all of those convicted should be given a trial that meets international standards of fairness and excludes the death penalty."
"Issuing mass death sentences whenever the case involves the killing of police officers now appears to be near-routine policy, regardless of facts and with no attempt to establish individual responsibility," Sahraoui added. more >>