A Montana polygamist who was excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said earlier this week that he plans to file a lawsuit against the state if it denies his application for a marriage license with his second wife.
Nathan Collier, who once starred on TLC's "Sister Wives" alongside his two wives Victoria and Christine, applied for a marriage license at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings on Tuesday with hopes of legally marrying his second wife, Christine. His decision to do so came last week after Chief Justice John Roberts' dissent on gay marriage, which raised the issue of plural marriage following the U.S. Supreme Court's legalization of same-sex marriage.
On June 26, the Supreme Court ruled 5–4 in Obergefell v. Hodges, which declared state-level gay marriage bans unconstitutional. more >>
The Episcopal Church, a theologically liberal denomination that has strong historic ties to the former Confederacy, voted at their General Convention in favor of a resolution calling for the removal of Confederate battle flags from public display.
"[The] 78th General Convention recognize that icons and symbols are and have always been important to the liturgical life and practice of The Episcopal Church in leading us to Jesus Christ and in inspiring us to share the Good News that is at the heart of our ministry," read Resolution D044 that was introduced by the Rev. Betsy Baumgarten.
"That as our Baptismal Covenant calls Episcopalians to 'respect the dignity of every human being' and as the fourth Mark of Mission calls Episcopalians to 'transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation,' we consider the continued display of the Confederate Battle Flag to be at odds with a faithful witness to the reconciling love of Jesus Christ …" more >>
The Oregon Christian bakery owners who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding on the grounds that it would violate their religious convictions have been ordered to pay $135,000 in emotional damages, and have also been prohibited from speaking about standing up for their Christian beliefs.
On Thursday, Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian issued his final order in the case against Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners of the Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery in Gresham, who were found guilty of discrimination in January for declining to bake a cake for a lesbian couple's wedding in 2013. Avakian ordered the Kleins to pay complainant Rachel Bowman-Cryer $75,000 for damages and $60,000 to her partner Laurel Bowman-Cryer.
"Respondents' claim they are not denying service because of complainants' sexual orientation but rather because they do not wish to participate in their same-sex wedding ceremony. The forum has already found there to be no distinction between the two," Avakian wrote in his order. "Further, to allow respondents, a for-profit business, to deny any services to people because of their protected class, would be tantamount to allowing legal separation of people based on their sexual orientation from at least some portion of the public marketplace." more >>
Sudanese authorities arrested 12 young Christian women in Khartoum and forced them to strip out of their clothes after they left a church service wearing what was deemed "immoral dress," a Christian persecution watchdog organization has reported.
According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, the 12 women were leaving a service at the El Izba Baptist Church in Khartoum last Thursday wearing trousers and skirts when they were detained by the local public order police.
The women were taken to the police station and forced to remove their clothing to allow the police officers to inspect the clothing to verify the clothing's indecency. more >>
After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last Friday that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to get married, Chief Justice John Roberts and many others have argued that the reasoning used by the court to justify the right to same-sex marriage gives "no reason" why plural unions should be banned.
Although the ideas of people legally marrying more than one partner and married couples adding other love interests to their state-recognized marriages might seem far-fetched, Roberts' gay marriage dissent makes the case that the majority's opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, all but sets a precedent that could lead the nation down the slippery slope to the legalization of polygamy, also known as polyamory.
"Although the majority randomly inserts the adjective 'two' in various places, it offers no reason at all why the two-person element of the core definition of marriage may be preserved while the man-woman element may not," Roberts wrote. "Indeed, from the standpoint of history and tradition,a leap from opposite-sex marriage to same-sex marriage is much greater than one from a two-person union to plural unions, which have deep roots in some cultures around the world. If the majority is willing to take the big leap, it is hard to see how it can say no to the shorter one." more >>
Following the Supreme Court's ruling last Friday that states must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, at least two county court clerks in Mississippi and Arkansas have already resigned because they will not comply with the court's ruling, while other clerks across the nation have had differing responses to the ruling.
On Tuesday, Linda Barnette, a circuit court clerk in Grenada County, Mississippi, announced her resignation and explained that it was due to the fact that the Supreme Court's ruling conflicted with her Christian belief that marriage should only be between one man and one woman.
Barnette, who held her position for 24 years before her resignation, said she is choosing "to obey God rather than man." more >>