Civil Rights

Idaho: Northwest Religious Liberty Association Calls for Conscience Exemption to Anti-Discrimination Legislation

Greg Hamilton and Steve McPherson of the Northwest Religious Liberty Association testified before the Idaho House State Affairs Committee - January 26, 2015

This week, in four days of testimony, the Idaho House State Affairs Committee has been considering House Bill 2 (HB2), that would add anti-discrimination protections for Idahoans based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Advocates have been promoting the "Add the Words" bill for nine years and this is the first year that the Legislature has held hearings.

 
 

Supreme Court Plans to Make National Decision on Same-Sex Marriage – What it Means

Supreme Court Plans to Make National Decision on Same-Sex Marriage – What it Means

By Jason Hines, PhD – The Court will answer two questions. First, does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? Second, does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state? These questions create three possible outcomes.

 
 

Unsettled and Inconsistent Law: Fetal Rights and Personhood

Unsettled and Inconsistent Law: Fetal Rights and Personhood

The legal status of the unborn child is not as clear as most people think. There are glaring inconsistencies in the way that the law is practiced, even in states with liberal abortion policies. For instance, if a person kills a fetus in California without the consent of the pregnant woman or for medical necessity it is considered murder under Penal Code section 187. This is why Scott Peterson was convicted for double-homicide when he killed his pregnant wife, Laci, in 2002. This January in Florida, John Andrew Weldon was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison when he tricked his pregnant girlfriend into taking abortion-causing drugs, leading to the miscarriage of her 6-week-old fetus.

 
 

Should ministers at for-profit wedding chapels be compelled to perform same-sex ceremonies?

iStockPhoto.com

Two ordained ministers, Donald and Evelyn Knapp, who operate a for-profit wedding chapel in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho were threatened with a misdemeanor charge for refusing to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. The Knapps responded by filing a lawsuit and a motion for a temporary restraining order against the city in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho.

 
 

Opinion: Atheists, Conscience and God's Name

An atheist airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada recently wasn't allowed to re-enlist because he refused to sign an oath containing the phrase “so help me God.”

Initially, Air Force personnel reported that enlistees used to be allowed to opt out of the oath's appeal to deity, but the provision had been withdrawn on Oct. 30, 2013. The Air Force claimed that only Congress could reinstate it.

However, when the American Humanist Association and the media became involved, the Air Force sought legal counsel and reverted to the former practice. But that didn't please some Christians.

 
 

Supreme Court Rules Closely-Held Corporations Have Religious Rights

Supreme Court Rules Closely-Held Corporations Have Religious Rights

Most business owners set up corporations as legal alter-egos to avoid being held personally responsible if their businesses get sued, but in this case, the employers (in Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood, and Mardel) are saying that their corporations can still manifest the owners' religious beliefs even if it comes at the potential expense of their employees. The Supreme Court agrees.

 
 

Arizona Governor Vetoes SB 1062

Arizona Governor Vetoes SB 1062

Citing the lack of examples where a business' religious freedom was being violated under current law and the concept that the broadly worded bill could have unintended negative consequences, Arizona Governor Janet Brewer vetoed SB 1062 on Wednesday evening, February 26, 2014.

 
 

Arizona SB 1062 is a Bad Idea and Should Be Vetoed!

Arizona SB 1062 is a Bad Idea and Should Be Vetoed!

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.

 
 

Marriage Proceedings: Making Sense of the Same-Sex Marriage Cases (Liberty Magazine)

Marriage Proceedings: Making Sense of the Same-Sex Marriage Cases (Liberty Magazine)

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.

 
 

The Firebrand: The Dangers of Speaking Truth to Power (Liberty Magazine)

The Firebrand: The Dangers of Speaking Truth to Power (Liberty Magazine)

The story of Savonarola is not a lesson in the necessity of violence for a successful revolution, but rather a lesson in the dangerous consequences of speaking truth to power.