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California: Lawmakers Head Home as Poll Numbers Plunge — Plus a Reprieve on Boy Scout Bill, at Least for Now
CitizenLink is proud to work with the California Family Alliance and other family policy organizations across the country to stand for marriage, life and religious freedom. Learn more about the one in your state.
Just as beleaguered fans of hapless sports teams celebrate off days in the schedule by lamenting that at least they “won’t lose today,” California’s pro-family contingent can relax for four weeks as our state Legislators retreat to their home districts for their summer recess.
Before heading home, however, state Sen. Ricardo Lara placed Senate Bill (SB 323), his egregious Boy Scout bill back on the inactive file, a week after resurrecting it. The bill would strip the tax-exempt status for all revenue-generating activities of youth charities and private schools whose policies prohibit homosexual members and leaders. The move was likely made because he lacked enough votes for the required two-thirds majority. Keeping pressure on lawmakers is critical and just a few hours after sending out our alert last week, The Washington Times picked up the story on its blog. Together we are making a difference!
We still need to remain vigilant, however, as that bill could resurface after legislators return to the Capitol on Aug. 4.
Just as California lawmakers return, the U.S. Congress heads into its monthlong recess in August. According to the latest Gallup Poll, this respite cannot come soon enough. The June survey found that just 7 percent of Americans say they have “a great deal” (4 percent) or “quite a lot” (3 percent) of confidence in Congress as an institution, a new low in the 41-year history of the poll. The public’s confidence level has eroded 34 points since its record high of 42 percent, logged in 1973, the first year of the poll.
The annual survey polls the confidence level of 17 U.S. institutions dealing with government, business and societal organizations. Topping the confidence list is the military with 74 percent, followed by small business (62 percent), police (53 percent) and the church or organized religion (45). Rounding out the top five was the medical system at 34 percent, while the healthcare system came in at No. 10 with 23 percent.
The presidency ranked seventh with 29 percent, coming in behind the U.S. Supreme Court, a percentage point higher.
While the survey of 1,027 adults living in all 50 states did not consider other elected positions, including governors or state legislatures, pollsters suggest that Congress’ poor showing could have a ripple effect.
“The dearth of public confidence in their elected leaders on Capitol Hill is yet another sign of the challenges that could face incumbents in 2014′s midterm elections—as well as more broadly a challenge to the broad underpinnings of the nation’s representative democratic system,” the poll summary said.
Closer to home, a new Field Poll released June 27 shows that just over a third (35 percent) of Californians approve of the state Legislature, while 47 percent disapprove.
The survey found that the Legislature’s approval rating dropped 8 points since April, likely a reflection of public sentiment over the arrest of Sen. Leland Yee on charges of gun trafficking and bribery. Yee was the third California lawmaker involved in criminal scandals this year; all were Democrats.
Next week, we will take a more in-depth look at the fallout from these corruption cases. In the meantime, while state lawmakers vacation, we continue with our steady work behind the scenes.
by Lori Arnold, research assistant
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about the California Family Alliance.
Even though same-sex marriage has not been legalized in Colorado, a judge said today that a Boulder county clerk may continue issuing such licenses. This follows a separate court decision Wednesday moving forward a ban on the state constitutional marriage amendment.
Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall took it upon herself to begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples on June 25; this was the same day a federal appeals court struck down Utah’s constitutional marriage amendment. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers filed a motion last week seeking to stop Hall from issuing the licenses.
In today’s order, Boulder District Judge Andrew Hartman said Hall must keep a record of the licenses. He also said she must let couples know that the validity of the licenses depends upon higher court rulings.
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said Hartman’s order claims that even if the licenses are invalid, the “state suffers no irreparable harm from their issuance.” Suthers also issued a statement today underscoring the need for rulings — on both of these cases — from the state Supreme Court.
“The uncertainty that has been created by these recent Colorado court rulings — as to the propriety of county clerks issuing same-sex marriage licenses prior to final resolution of the issues — cries out for resolution by the state’s highest court,” he said. “It is paramount that we have statewide uniformity on this issue and avoid the confusion caused by differing county-by-county interpretations of whether same-sex marriage is currently recognized. Therefore, we will act swiftly in an attempt to prevent a legal patchwork quilt from forming.”
Approved by voters in 2006, the Colorado marriage amendment defines the institution as a union between one man and one woman.
In an opinion issued Wednesday, Adams County Judge C. Scott Crabtree said the state constitutional marriage amendment is unconstitutional. He also put the ruling on hold pending an appeal to avoid “instability and uncertainty.”
“Judge Crabtree provides additional clarity that until the high court rules on the issue of same-sex marriage, Colorado’s current laws remain in place,” Suthers said. “While the legal debate regarding same-sex marriage continues, and many find the legal process frustrating, adherence to the rule of law will bring about the final resolution with the greatest certainty and legal legitimacy. That certainty and legitimacy is in the best interests of everyone, including gay couples who desire to marry.”
Update: According to reports, Colorado county clerks in Denver and Pueblo announced today that they will also begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Read the order in the Boulder County clerk case, Suthers v. Hall.
Read Crabtree’s order in the case challenging the Colorado marriage amendment, Brinkman and Burd v. Colorado.
An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of a Pennsylvania county clerk was denied Wednesday. Theresa Santai-Gaffney, Schuylkill County clerk, had asked the high court to stop same-sex marriage in the state while a court case moves forward.
In May, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones overturned Pennsylvania’s centuries-old marriage law that defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The state decided not to defend the will of the people — and that’s when Santai-Gaffney took action.
She did so in order to “stand up for the people and for all rights,” she said.
“There’s ways to change laws and let that due process take place,” she told republicanherald.com. “My heart belongs to the county.”
Santai-Gaffney’s attorney, Randy Wenger, with the Independence Law Center, said the legal group is considering its next steps.
“We believe Theresa is a proper party and we believe that intervention is appropriate,” he said. “She’s an elected official charged with carrying out the marriage law. Therefore, she has a unique interest in the judicial review of this law. So, this is not the end of the road for us and it shouldn’t be. The people of Pennsylvania deserve to have adequate review of this law.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Read “Radical Judge Strikes Down Pennsylvania Marriage Law.”
Read “TAKE ACTION: Stand for Marriage, Support Courageous Pennsylvania County Official.”
CitizenLink is proud to work with the North Carolina Family Policy Council and other family policy organizations across the country to stand for marriage, life and religious freedom. Learn more about the one in your state.
If you knew that just a few hours of your time could help save the institution of marriage in North Carolina, would you make a commitment to carve that time out of your busy schedule?
Next Tuesday, July 15, our friends with the North Carolina Pastors Network (NCPN) are holding a Press Conference on the Capitol Grounds in Raleigh to encourage Governor Pat McCrory to defend our state’s marriage laws, and we need your participation! (This is also a great opportunity to associate with the NCPN and stand with other pastors and concerned citizens in support of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.)
North Carolina Pastors Network
Pastors Press Conference
On the Capitol Grounds, Raleigh, N.C.
10:00 a.m., Tuesday, July 15
Three lawsuits have been filed in federal district courts in North Carolina seeking to overturn our marriage laws, including the Marriage Protection Amendment that was approved by 61 percent of North Carolina voters in May 2012.
Even more pressing is the fact that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals is poised to rule on the constitutionality of Virginia’s marriage amendment, which was struck down by a federal district court judge in February. Because North Carolina falls under the jurisdiction of the Fourth Circuit, the court’s ruling likely will have an impact on the status of marriage in our state.
Indications suggest that Governor McCrory’s administration is not prepared to respond quickly if any of these courts rule in a way that negatively impacts North Carolina’s marriage laws, and we need your help to encourage him to be prepared! North Carolina must quickly intervene and take necessary action to appeal any unfavorable actions by the courts, and we need the Governor’s support to do so.
Please make time to participate in this important Press Conference and help stand for marriage as the union of one man and one woman in North Carolina.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about the North Carolina Family Policy Council.
It’s always amusing when a left-leaning organization loudly opposes something that it’s actually doing at that very moment. Stuart Shepard shares a story in his Stoplight® video commentary.
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EWTN's Johnnette Benkovic and Fr. Philip Scott to Lead 8th Annual Women of Grace Retreat at Malvern Retreat House
Congressional Democrats are expected to introduce a bill that would reverse the Hobby Lobby decision. It would also prevent families from running their businesses based on Christian principles.
The bill was spearheaded by Sens. Patty Murray from Washington, Mark Udall from Colorado and Dick Durbin from Illinois. According to Durbin’s website, the bill could come up for a vote in the Senate as early as next week.
Elise Viebeck, a reporter for The Hill, said in a video segment that these lawmakers have an ulterior motive:
Democrats are hoping that by engaging Republicans in a political fight over women’s health issues they will put the GOP on the spot and turn out more women voters.
Lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, have underscored this motive. He said that anyone who opposes the bill might just be “treated unfairly come November.”
Representatives Jerrold Nadler from New York and Diana DeGette from Colorado are crafting similar legislation in the House.
News of these legislative responses comes just one week after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the federal government cannot force Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties — and other closely held businesses — to offer potential abortion-inducing drugs in employee health plans.
Media outlets and Obamacare supporters have been spouting erroneous and misleading claims regarding the decision. Many even claim it’s a “war on women.”
Legal analysts, including a majority of the justices, call it a religious freedom issue. In the Supreme Court majority opinion, Justice Alito clearly stated that the HHS mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA):
In holding that the HHS mandate is unlawful, we reject HHS’s argument that the owners of the companies forfeited all RFRA protection when they decided to organize their businesses as corporations rather than sole proprietorships or general partnerships.
Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski told The Hill conservatives are not worried about these bills.
“The polling shows that when we fight back, women believe in what we’re saying,” Kukowski said. “The Dems are a one-trick pony, and waging a false war on women is the only way they believe they can win. If you don’t fight back, why wouldn’t the voters believe them? Those days are over, and we’ve been very open and aggressive with our messaging and tactics.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Read “Dems plot legislative offensive on high court’s birth control decision.”
Learn more about the Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Monday that removes the words “husband” and “wife” from California marriage law. Bill sponsor Sen. Mark Leno called the terms “outdated and biased” and suggested they be replaced with more neutral terms such as “spouse” or “married persons.”
“Words are, without doubt, one of the key tools used to shape thought,” writes Sarah Jean Seman on Townhall.com. “This alteration in the state law is the next step to easing gay unions into cultural acceptance.”
Jeff Johnston, sexuality analyst for Focus on the Family, said the push to redefine marriage is in full swing.
“People ask, ‘How does redefining marriage affect me?’ Well, this is one way,” he said. “The very words we use are changed and called ‘biased and outdated.’ Our language for marriage — husband and wife — is being excised and neutered. Words are important, they have meaning. Children growing up in this ‘brave new world’ will be taught that marriage is about ‘equality,’ rather than the truth that marriage unites a husband and wife with each other and any children that come from their union.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about SB1306.
CitizenLink is proud to work with the Family Heritage Alliance and other family policy organizations across the country to stand for marriage, life and religious freedom. Learn more about the one in your state.
Wow! The political fur is flying and as election season heats up, I find myself strangely surprised at the end-justifies-the-means antics. From the bizarre to the downright dishonest, the hits just keep on coming. If abandoning scruples works in the political process (and it must or folks wouldn’t spend the kind of money it takes to do it) then at the end of the process, only the immoral will be standing. So to the individual voters out there, pay attention to what politicians and their cronies are saying. If they lie before the election, it’s a pretty safe bet the dishonesty will continue once the voting dust has settled. The time to hold these folks accountable is before the election. Look at voting records when you can and research when you can’t. When an add hits your TV or a postcard lands in your mailbox, check the facts. If they don’t add up, make a mental note to vote against that person or the people he or she represents. I am so tired of folks complaining about the state of the union. When apathy and ignorance characterize the voters, the end result will be positively disastrous.
I mention my surprise. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. I am especially astounded when so called “conservatives” lack integrity in their politics. Here’s why. There is a set of values that wear the label “conservative”. Occasionally, we at the FHA get some pushback on the use of that label, but for lack of a better one, please allow a little latitude. Those values we call “conservative” have varying expressions from one individual conservative to the next. However, they commonly include placing a high value on all human life, on individual and religious freedom, on family as it has been defined in the Bible and understood for centuries, and on smaller government.
For most of us who hold to these conservative values, we do so because we have a worldview shaped by the Bible. In other words, those of us who wear the label conservative began with a Biblical worldview. We didn’t start as “conservatives” and then find the Bible as a result. So, theoretically, “conservatism” is supposed to follow submissively along as the Bible leads. So, I am always a bit flabbergasted when conservatives behave as though the Bible has had no influence on their life whatsoever. Seriously folks, if you are a conservative running for public office or actively assisting someone who is, remember where you got your conservatism and apply your Biblical values to the way you campaign. We are so pleased that folks are involved in the political process. However, if we are Christians first, then perhaps we should act like it in all areas of our life (including our politics).
by John Dennis
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about the Family Heritage Alliance.