Posts Tagged As: Alliance Defending Freedom

The GOP Will Mark The One-Month Anniversary of the Pulse Night Club Massacre with a Hearing to Legalize More Anti-LGBT Discrimination

Jim Burroway

July 12th, 2016

I kid you not:

Tuesday’s congressional hearing on a federal “religious freedom” bill that would enable anti-LGBT discrimination is “disturbing,” a White House spokesperson said Monday.

Jeff Tiller, a White House spokesperson, made the remarks in response to an email request from the Washington Blade to comment on the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform’s controversial hearing on the First Amendment Defense Act.

“We strongly oppose attempts to roll back non-discrimination protections for LGBT Americans,” Tiller said. “It’s disturbing that congressional Republicans plan to hold a hearing tomorrow on discriminatory, anti-LGBT legislation. President Obama remains firmly committed to promoting and defending the equal rights of all Americans, including the rights of LGBT Americans.”

A coalition of 70 groups has called on Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) to cancel the hearing, which is set to take place on the one-month anniversary of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., claiming the lives of 49 people and wounding 53 others.

The so-called “First Amendment Defense Act” will allow businesses and individuals to circumvent federal protections against anti-LGBT discrimination and allow businesses to withhold marriage benefits from same-sex couples for religious reasons. The bill was introduced by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) House and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) in the Senate.

Witnesses set to testify for the bill include Kelvin Cochran, a former Atlanta fire chief who was fired for distributing a book he wrote, titled Who Told You That You Were Naked?,  to his subordinates (including, presumably, LGBT subordinates in the department) which purportedly presented “the Biblical view” of homosexuality, adultery and other sexual topics. Other witnesses include a representative from the anti-gay Alliance Defending Freedom and a political science professor from the Witherspoon Institute.

Those set to testify against the bill include former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA); Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit which overturned state bans on same-sex marriage nationwide, and a law professor from the Columbia University’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law.

How Will Today’s Republican Party Mark The One Month Anniversary of the Pulse Gay Night Club Massacre?

Jim Burroway

June 29th, 2016

By holding hearings on a bill allowing discrimination against LGBT people. That’s how:

The House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform is set to hold a hearing on the First Amendment Defense Act amid pressure from anti-LGBT advocates, including the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage, to move forward with the legislation.

…Introduced by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) in the U.S. House and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the U.S. Senate, the First Amendment Defense Act has the purported purpose of preventing federal government action against individuals and businesses that oppose same-sex marriage for religious reasons. Critics say it essentially carves out a legal exemption for anti-LGBT discrimination.

…A senior Hill staffer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the committee sent out invitations to witnesses on the conservative side designating July 12 as the date of the hearing. The staffer declined to share a copy of the invite with the Washington Blade.

So, there you have it. On the one month anniversary of the massacre killing 49 people and wounding 53 more at a gay night club, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives will mark the solemn occasion by doing NOM’s bidding. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) is the committee chair whose brilliant idea it was to schedule this fine piece of anti-gay animus on that date. Invited witnesses include the usual suspects from the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Witherspoon Institute. By the way, here’s NOM’s fundraising pitch sent out earlier today:

Friends — I just met with my team and learned we are seriously behind our fundraising goals for the first half of the year, which ends at midnight on Thursday.

In fact, unless we get contributions from 3,050 supporters in the next 48 hours I’m going to have to cut our budget right as we head into one of the most important periods ever for the fight for marriage and religious liberty.

You can make a difference! Donate Today!

I have to be honest, we’ve never been in a bigger hole and I am freaking out. In the past, we had reserves saved up to help cushion a shortfall, but our reserves are gone.

Not only are we looking at major fights in the next few months, including pushing for passage of the First Amendment Defense Act, but we’re headed into the slowest time of year for fundraising as families take time off for vacations and travel.

Don’t worry NOM. The Republican Party is coming to your rescue.

Schadenfreude Alert

Jim Burroway

October 6th, 2014

The Family “Research” Council’s Tony Perkins says the sky is falling:

“Unfortunately, by failing to take up these marriage cases, the High Court will allow rogue lower court judges who have ignored history and true legal precedent to silence the elected representatives of the people and the voice of the people themselves by overturning state provisions on marriage. Even more alarming, lower court judges are undermining our form of government and the rights and freedoms of citizens to govern themselves. This judicially led effort to force same sex ‘marriage’ on people will have negative consequences for our Republic, not only as it relates to natural marriage but also undermining the rule of and respect for law.

“The Court decision ensures that the debate over natural marriage will continue and the good news is that time is not on the side of those who want to redefine marriage. As more states are forced to redefine marriage, contrary to nature and directly in conflict with the will of millions, more Americans will see and experience attacks on their religious freedom. Parents will find a wedge being driven between them and their children as school curriculum is changed to contradict the morals parents are teaching their children. As more and more people lose their livelihoods because they refuse to not just tolerate but celebrate same-sex marriage, Americans will see the true goal, which is for activists to use the Court to impose a redefinition of natural marriage on the entire nation.

Ryan T. Anderson is not throwing in the towel:

This is an unfortunate setback for sound constitutional self-government and a setback for a healthy marriage culture. …Declining to review these cases does not speak one way or the other to the merits of the cases. But it does leave in place bad rulings from lower courts—and it will make it harder for courts to do the right thing in the future.

Nevertheless, as citizens, we must rally in support of our constitutional authority to pass laws making marriage policy. We must insist that law and culture promote the truth about marriage.

Neither is NOM’s Brian Brown:

…[G]iven what the Supreme Court has allowed to happen, the only alternative to letting unelected judges impose their view of marriage on Americans across the country is to pursue a process that will allow the American people to decide for themselves what is marriage. It is critical not only to marriage but to the republican form of government in this country to amend the Constitution to reaffirm the meaning of marriage. We therefore call on the US Congress to move forward immediately to send a federal marriage amendment to the states for ratification.

“We call upon Americans vigorously to contest this development by turning to the political process, starting with the upcoming mid-term elections. We urge voters to hold politicians accountable and demand to know if they will accept the illegitimate act of attempting to redefine marriage or whether they will stand with the American people to resist. In particular, we urge Republicans to hold their party leaders to account, and to demand that they remain true to their belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman which was a pillar of the party’s founding in 1856, and remains essential to society’s well-being today.

Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund), which is defending several of these states’ marriage bans, is doing all it can to keep that lipstick on the pig:

US Supreme Court holds off on taking up marriage issue

Monday, October 06, 2014

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Byron Babione regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Monday declining to hear cases involving marriage laws in several states, including petitions ADF attorneys filed in defense of Oklahoma’s and Virginia’s marriage laws:

“The court’s decision not to take up this issue now means that the marriage battle will continue. Several federal courts – including those in the 5th, 6th, 8th, and 11th circuits – still have cases working their way to the Supreme Court. ADF will continue to remain a leader in the critical effort for the freedom of the people. The people should decide this issue, not the courts.”

U.S. Supreme Court Stays Virginia Marriages

Jim Burroway

August 20th, 2014

Bostic Stay

The U.S. Supreme Court has stayed the Fourth Circuit Court’s decision upholding a lower court’s ruling which found Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The Fourth Circuit’s ruling was due to go into effect tomorrow morning after it refused to issue a stay last week. The Supreme Court’s stay will remain in effect until it either rejects a request to hear the appeal of the Virginia case or it hands down a decision.

Lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom representing Michele McQuigg, a named defendant as county clerk for Prince William County had asked Chief Justice John Roberts to issue a stay. Roberts, who oversees the Fourth Circuit, referred the request to the full court. There’s no indication of whether there were any dissents to the request.

Fourth Circuit Refuses to Stay Virginia Marriages

Jim Burroway

August 13th, 2014

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request for a stay of its July 28 ruling which declared Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. The appeals court voted 2-1 to reject the request filed by Michèle McQuigg, a named defendant in the lawsuit. McQuigg is the clerk of court for Prince William County, which includes the outer suburbs of Washington, D.C.

The next step would be to seek a stay from Chief Justice John Roberts, who oversees the Fourth Circuit. Roberts has the option of considering the request himself or referring it to the full U.S. Supreme Court. McQuigg’s lawyer, Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Byron Babione, announced that he will take that next step. So far, the Supreme Court has granted every request for a stay in marriage cases elsewhere.

Virginia Attorney Mark Herring announced last Friday that his office has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case itself, writing that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage “denies gay people the equal protection of the law.” McQuigg has said that she will also file an appeal.

If no stay is issued, same-sex marriages will begin next Wednesday.

Judge Sets Oral Arguments for Virginia Marriage Ban Challenge for Thursday

Jim Burroway

January 27th, 2014

After Virginia Attorney General, Mark Herring, announced last week that he believed that Virginia’s state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage violated the U.S. Constitution and that he would not defend it, Federal District Judge Arenda L. Wright asked the parties in a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban whether the court should proceed for oral arguments. The deadline for replies was noon today.

The plaintiffs, who are represented by Ted Olson and David Boies of Prop 8 fame, urged the court to issue its judgement based on the briefs already filed. But the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is defending the ban on behalf of the defendant Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk George Schaefer, have asked for a hearing. The Judge has now issued orders reaffirming that oral arguments will proceed as scheduled.

Virginia Attorney General Says Same Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Jim Burroway

January 23rd, 2014

The Washington Post reports that Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring will announce today that the state of Virginia will ask a federal court to strike down the state’s ban on marriage equality. Citing “an official close to the attorney general with knowledge about the decision,” the Post reports that Herring’s office will file a supporting brief in Bostic v Raine on behalf of a Norfolk couple who were denied a marriage license. Their case is being represented by Ted Olson and David Boies, the same legal team what successfully overturned California’s Prop 8.

The Post reports:

Herring will say that Virginia has been on the “wrong side” of landmark legal battles involving school desegregation, interracial marriage and single-sex education at the Virginia Military Institute, one official said. He will make the case that the commonwealth should be on the “right side of the law and history” in the battle over same-sex marriage.

He has not informed Republicans in Richmond about his plans; an uproar is likely. GOP lawmakers have worried that Herring would change the state’s position — such decisions are up to the attorney general — and have contemplated legislation that would allow them to defend the law in court.

The attorney general thinks that is unnecessary, the official said. The clerks of the circuit court in Norfolk and Prince William County are defendants in the suit, and both are represented by independent counsel.

One county clerk named in the suit has hired a private attorney, while another one will be defended by the Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund). Oral arguments for the case are scheduled for January 30.

Who defended may have played a role in OK ruling

Timothy Kincaid

January 15th, 2014

As we have seen over and over, when it comes to marriage cases, who has standing may play an important role in the outcome. In the Oklahoma decision handed down yesterday, the case may have also hinged to some extent on who could defend the state’s constitutional amendment.

The case started nine years ago and has gone through a number of procedural hurdles since that time. The first of which may have been unexpectedly important.

In 2004, two lesbian couples filed a complaint against the Oklahoma Governor and the Oklahoma Attorney General seeking that the Federal DOMA law and the Oklahoma Defense of Marriage constitutional amendment be overturned.

The Governor and the Attorney General argued that as the issuer of marriage licenses was the County Clerk and that in Oklahoma the clerks are part of the Judiciary branch of government, the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue them. The court disagreed, but in 2009 the Tenth Circuit bought that argument and the Governor and Attorney General were dismissed.

Along with the state’s legal department.

However, the court allowed the plaintiffs to amend their case to name as defendants the Attorney General of the United States (for the federal DOMA side of the case) and the Tulsa County Court Clerk and the State of Oklahoma. The court then dismissed the State of Oklahoma as a defendant leaving only Eric Holder (for the US) and Sally Howe Smith, the clerk.

In 2011, Holder informed the court that the Justice Department would no longer defend the Federal DOMA case, and the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group stepped in. And, if this case is in any way similar to comparable cases, BLAG’s defense was likely nominal.

As the Hollingsworth and Windsor cases were advancing to the Supreme Court, the judge held the case in limbo until SCOTUS was heard. Upon announcement, the BLAG defense filed to have the Federal side of the case found moot and for their participation to be dismissed.

Which left the only counsel defending the amendment those who are described in the ruling as

Smith is represented by the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office and attorneys with an organization known as the “Alliance Defending Freedom.”

So it appears that the county, having found themselves way over their heads in defending the state and federal constitution, calling in the specialists, ADF. And it is true that when it comes to gay issues, the ADF has a truly impressive record. Astonishing, really.

Well, that is, if you look at things from my perspective. The Alliance Defending Freedom (nee Alliance Defense Fund) are losers on a colossal scale. Over and over. State after state. Case after case.

And yet they are trotted out with their tired old disproven defeated arguments to be the best defenders of “tradition” and “children”. For which I am thankful.

SCOTUS to ADF: Go Away

Jim Burroway

June 30th, 2013

The Alliance Defending Freedom, the Phoenix-based anti-gay legal group that had been supporting ProtectMarriage’s fight to support California’s Proposition 8, had filed an emergency motion yesterday in a last desperate attempt to put a stop to same-sex weddings taking place in California. ADF had complained that the Ninth Circuit had lifted its stay on marriages before the end of the 22-day waiting period during which Prop 8 supporters can still file a separate motion for the Supreme Court to reconsider its position. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who oversees the Ninth Circuit, denied ADF’s emergency motion:

Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy turned down at midday Sunday a request to stop same-sex marriages from occurring in California. Without comment, and without seeking views from the other side, Kennedy rejected a challenge to action by the Ninth Circuit Court on Friday implementing a federal judge’s ruling allowing such marriages.

…Although attorneys for the ballot measure’s sponsors have been creative in finding new ways to try to press the challenge, the brief action by Kennedy on Sunday may have removed the final barrier to the full achievement of marriage rights for gays and lesbians in the nation’s most populous state. …If there was some irony in Justice Kennedy’s action, it was that he was among the four dissenting Justices who would have allowed the measure’s backers to press their defense of the same-sex marriage ban. However, they had been out-voted, five to four.


Prop 8 Supporters Try Desperation Shot

Jim Burroway

June 29th, 2013

Lawyers for Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund), which have been found by the U.S. Supreme Court to lack standing to defend California’s Proposition 8 on appeal, is trying one last time to derail marriages in California by filing an emergency motion asking the U.S. Supreme Court to put a stop to those weddings.

“The Ninth Circuit’s June 28, 2013 Order purporting to dissolve the stay…is the latest in a long line of judicial irregularities that have unfairly thwarted Petitioners’ defense of California’s marriage amendment,” the paperwork states. “Failing to correct the appellate court’s actions threatens to undermine the public’s confidence in its legal system.”

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Austin Nimocks said the Supreme Court’s consideration of the case is not done yet because his clients still have 22 days to ask the justices to reconsider the 5-4 decision announced Wednesday.

Legal experts say that the Supreme Court’s 22 day waiting period is not binding on the Ninth Circuit Court. The ADF filed its motion with Justice Anthony Kennedy, who oversees appeals from the Ninth Circuit. Kennedy dissented from the majority opinion which ruled that ADF lacked standing to appeal the Federal District Court ruling striking down Prop 8.

Update: SCOTUSBlog’s Tom Goldstein says ADF isn’t likely to succeed. He also noticed something rather telling:

But it seems unlikely that the Supreme Court will see the situation as sufficiently urgent to require its intervention now. In perhaps a sign of that understanding, the firm of the proponents’ principal Supreme Court counsel — Cooper & Kirk — did not place its name on the emergency application.

If you want to see what desperation looks like in writing, you can see the ADF’s motion here (PDF: 1.7 MB/76 pages!).


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