By Michael Peabody — Last November, a federal judge stuck a stick in a beehive when she found that a long-standing tax-exemption for clergy housing was unconstitutional. The case, Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) vs. Lew, is currently on appeal to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and religious organizations are out in force defending the exemption.
Articles by: Michael Peabody
By Michael Peabody — Although the U.S. Supreme Court did not provide a reason for declining Huguenin’s writ, it is probably not because the Court intends to lock in the New Mexico decision or that the Supreme Court is not interested in addressing this issue at a later date. It is most likely because the Court is looking for a better case, perhaps a combination of several cases which represent different results in different jurisdictions.
Today, without comment, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of a New Mexico photography studio and its owners. The highly-publicized case of Elane Photography v. Willock involved a photographer who refused on religious grounds to photograph a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony.
By Michael Peabody — On March 25, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores (transcript and audio). According to a number of court pundits, the court is expected to split with four justices on each side and the deciding vote is predicted to fall to Anthony Kennedy. Perfectly projecting the Court’s decision is not much easier than predicting a perfect NCAA March Madness bracket, but here are some potential outcomes for the case.
Arizona Bill SB 1062 is on Governor Jan Brewer’s desk where she is expected to sign it, veto it, or ignore it and let it become law by default within the next few days. This bill modifies Arizona’s 1999 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to permit business owners to deny service to gay customers, or potentially members of any other group, so long as they are doing it because of the religious beliefs of the owners. SB 1062 could potentially cause more harm than good.
Standing Firm For Faith While Seeking Mutually Acceptable Solutions — Is it Possible to Peacefully Resolve the Religious Wars in America’s Marketplace?
By Michael Peabody — Parties to these kinds of disputes should be well-served if they cooperatively seek solutions by identifying and respecting those specific personal areas which are non-negotiable and cordoning them off, while respecting the freedom of the areas in between where both sides must intersect. Identifying and preserving these areas of respect and finding opportunities for accommodation is not an easy process in today’s ideologically divided world, but the results will be much more profitable for both sides than engaging in perpetual conflict in the public arena. At the same time, the religious rights of the participants on both sides to belief and practice would be honored and protected.
On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two highly anticipated rulings in same-sex marriage cases. First, the Court ruled that the federal government has to legally recognize the marriages of same-sex couples in those states that have legalized them. In a second decision, the Court declined to hear an appeal in defense of a California ballot initiative that had banned same-sex marriage on grounds that the nongovernmental party bringing the appeal lacked standing. For reasons discussed below, both decisions represent incremental steps that will ultimately lead the Court to consider whether same-sex marriage should be a right nationwide.
Washington state law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees in compensation or terms or conditions of employment because of age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, race, creed, color, national origin, veteran status, or disability. This case raises the issue of whether a failure to make reasonable accommodation for an employee’s sincere religious beliefs is implied in the statute.
In order to force the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a ruling on the merits of same-sex marriage, advocates have filed lawsuits in Utah and Michigan.
By Michael Peabody — Despite serious public opposition to involvement in another quagmire in the Middle East, chances are the United States will soon be involved in the two-year-old civil war in Syria. While there are many questions regarding how this will help or hinder national foreign policy aims, few have considered how a shift in power could affect the religious freedom of the people of Syria.