A county commissioner in Carroll County, Md., disobeyed a judge's recent injunction on Thursday when she opened an official budget meeting with a sectarian prayer, saying she'd rather go to jail than give up her First Amendment rights to freedom of religion.
Carroll County Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier opened Thursday's budget meeting by referencing the recent injunction granted by U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles Jr., who earlier this week ruled that Carroll County commissioners are prohibited from using "the name of a specific deity associated with any specific faith or belief" during pre-meeting prayers. Quarles said in his ruling that the commission may now only say non-sectarian prayers.
The injunction was granted as several Carroll County residents, along with the American Humanist Association, proceed with a civil lawsuit against the county for its pre-meeting sectarian prayers, arguing that they are official "government speech" and therefore a violation of the Constitution's Establishment Clause. more >>
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced Friday that the federal government will recognize the 300 same-sex marriages performed in Michigan following the recent ruling that struck down the state ban on gay marriage. The announcement comes shortly after state Gov. Rick Snyder said the same-sex nuptials would not be recognized at a state level.
Holder said in a statement posted on the Department of Justice website that he will be recognizing the marriages performed last weekend in the state, adding that these married same-sex couples will be eligible for federal benefits.
The move follows a similar decision made in January, when the Obama administration said it would recognize same-sex marriages performed in Utah from Dec. 20 to Jan. 6, before a stay was granted in a court ruling that struck down the state's gay marriage ban. more >>
A U.S. appeals court upheld a Texas law on Thursday that requires abortionists to gain admitting privileges at a local hospital within 30 miles of their abortion clinics.
The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, La., ruled in Planned Parenthood v. Abbott that Texas' HB 2, which was signed into law last July, is constitutional and does not place an undue burden on abortionists and women seeking abortions.
HB 2 went into effect in October 2013 and requires abortionists to follow FDA guidelines for administering abortion-inducing drugs, such as RU-486, to patients in-office; places a ban on abortions at 20 weeks gestation; requires abortion facilities to meet the health and safety standards of ambulatory care centers by the fall of this year; and requires abortionists to gain admitting privileges at a hospital located within 30 miles of the clinics where they practice. more >>
Televangelist Pat Robertson has recently stated that Jesus would not have baked a cake for a gay couple, adding his commentary on an ongoing debate in the United States.
On the Wednesday edition of "The 700 Club," Robertson spoke about how in Jesus' time a same-sex couple would not have been accepted.
"I think you got to remember from the Bible, you look carefully at the Bible what would have happened in Jesus' time if two men decided they wanted to cohabit together, they would have been stoned to death," said Robertson. more >>
A panel of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of a Kansas law that might strip two Planned Parenthood clinics of money distributed under a federally financed family planning program known as Title X.
The three-judge panel in Denver on Tuesday overturned a district judge's ruling that required Kansas to continue funding Planned Parenthood clinics in Wichita and Hays, using federal Title X funds that subsidize family planning services for low income families.
Planned Parenthood operates three facilities in the state, with one providing abortion services and the other two, Wichita and Hays, providing abortion referrals. more >>
The Twittersphere erupted Tuesday as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding two private businesses and their challenge of the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate, with politicians and several activist groups using the social media platform to show their support during the case.
The two businesses involved in Tuesday's court hearing included the well-known Hobby Lobby craft store chain and the Pennsylvania-based owners of Conestoga Woods Specialties. Both businesses are challenging a directive of the Affordable Care Act that requires employers to provide workers with health insurance for some contraceptives. The evangelical owners of Hobby Lobby and the Mennonite Christian owners of Conestoga Woods Specialties argue that forcing their businesses to supply insurance coverage for contraceptives, including some that can lead to the early termination of pregnancy, is a violation of religious freedom.
Those supporting Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods Specialties in Tuesday's oral arguments began a Twitter hastag that read: "#religiousfreedomforall." Several well-known groups used the Twitter hashtag on Tuesday and Wednesday, including The Becket Fund, which is representing the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby, in the case, as well as Alliance Defending Freedom and the Pro-Life Action League. more >>