Author archives: frc-media-office

Conservatives Committed to Preserving Traditional Marriage

by FRC Media Office

June 26, 2015

Today, Republican Study Committee (RSC) Chairman Bill Flores (R-TX) released the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges:
 
“Today the Supreme Court overstepped its authority in another unfortunate display of judicial activism. With the Constitution silent on the question of marriage, this issue should be decided by the American people – not an activist Court. Millions of Americans have voted to preserve traditional marriage, with the knowledge that moms and dads raising kids in a stable home is essential to healthy communities and a healthy nation. I remain committed to restoring the right of Americans to decide this question for themselves, at the ballot box or through their state legislature. The first step is protecting the rights of religious organizations and schools to live according to their beliefs without facing retribution from the federal government.” 

Senate Values Action Team Responds to SCOTUS Marriage Decision

by FRC Media Office

June 26, 2015

Senate Values Action Team:

In response to today’s Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, please see Senate VAT leaders’ comments below:

Senator Blunt:  “I’m disappointed in this decision.  My view is that family issues in Missouri like marriage, divorce, and adoption should be decided by the people of Missouri.”

Senator Scott:  “I continue to believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. The Supreme Court’s overreach into decisions that should be made by states and the people living and voting in them is disappointing. Moving forward, we must ensure families and religious institutions across America are not punished for exercising their right to their own personal beliefs regarding the traditional definition of marriage.”

Senator Ernst:  “I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision and its failure to recognize the freedom of our states to make their own decisions about their respective marriage laws.  While it is my personal belief that marriage is between one man and one woman, I maintain that this is an issue best handled at the state level.”

Senator Lankford:  “I am disappointed with today’s ruling on marriage. During oral arguments the Court stated that there is a millennia of history for traditional marriage and that the issue has historically been decided by the people, not the courts. Two years ago, the Supreme Court even ruled that marriage policy is a state issue, but today they reversed themselves and redefined marriage over the objection of millions of people.   

Just like there remains a diversity of opinion on abortion, decades after Roe v. Wade, there will remain strong opinions on marriage long past today’s decision. Many Americans believe marriage is between a man and a woman, and we need to celebrate marriage as the best way to provide stability for children. For people who live by the clear teaching of many different faith traditions and people who simply believe in the sanctity of marriage, it is essential that their views are respected. As President Obama has said there are good people on both sides of the issue. After the ruling, the President was right to call the nation to respect and revere our nation’s ‘deep commitment to religious freedom.’ We should all be able to agree that everyone deserves the right to live out their religious convictions.

I believe each person is created in the image of God and has value and worth; every person should be respected. That belief defines my respect for people as individuals but it also sets a standard that will not change with a Supreme Court decision. Now the Courts will be required to also stand for the First Amendment of the Constitution and the faith traditions of millions of Americans.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy acknowledged the importance of religious freedom in the written decision. Kennedy wrote, “It must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.”

After the Supreme Court announcement during a press conference at the White House, President Obama said, “I know that Americans of good will continue to hold a wide range of views on this issue. Opposition in some cases has been based on sincere and deeply held beliefs. All of us who welcomed today’s news should be mindful of that fact. Recognize different viewpoints. Revere our deep commitment to religious freedom.”

Supreme Court’s Marriage Ruling is Shocking Abuse of Power, Will Never Be Accepted

by FRC Media Office

June 26, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins responded today to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision forcing the people in all 50 states to embrace same-sex “marriage,”  regardless of their votes to define marriage in their states as a man-woman institution.

Of the decision FRC President Tony Perkins said:

Five justices on the Supreme Court have overturned the votes of 50 million Americans and demanded that the American people walk away from millennia of history and the reality of human nature.

In reaching a decision so lacking in foundation in the text of the Constitution, in our history, and in our traditions, the Court has done serious damage to its own legitimacy.

 “No court can overturn natural law.  Nature and Nature’s God, hailed by the signers of our Declaration of Independence as the very source of law, cannot be usurped by the edict of a court, even the United States Supreme Court. 

Marriage is rooted not only in human history, but also in the biological and social reality that children are created by, and do best when raised by, a mother and a father. No court ruling can alter this truth.

It is folly for the Court to think that it has resolved a controversial issue of public policy. By disenfranchising 50 million Americans, the Court has instead supercharged this issue.

Just as with Roe v. Wade in 1973, the courts will not have the final say on this profound social matter.  The American people will stand up for their right to have a voice and a vote, especially as they experience the ways in which redefining marriage fundamentally impairs their freedom to live and work in accordance with their beliefs.

With this ruling, the Supreme Court has set our government on a collision course with America’s cherished religious freedoms, explicitly guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Constitution. 

Americans will not stop standing for transcendent truth, nor accept the legitimacy of this decision.  Truth is not decided by polls or the passage of time, but by the One who created time and everything that exists therein. 

We will not lapse into silence but will continue to speak uncompromisingly for the truth about what marriage is, always has been, and always will be: the union of one man and one woman,” concluded Perkins.

Family Research Council’s amicus brief in this case can be found here.

 

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A good and balanced law

by Cathi Herrod, President, and Josh Kredit, General Counsel and Vice President of Policy, Center for Arizona Policy

June 2, 2015

Cross-posted by permission of the Center for Arizona Policy, part of a national network of partner organizations that advance faith, family, and freedom at the state level.

Many of you likely watched the scene unfold in Indiana last month where supporters of religious freedom sought to pass a fairly simple law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

The scene was eerily similar to what played out here in Arizona with the CAP-supported SB 1062. Ignoring the facts, opponents of religious freedom falsely claimed that the bill would allow individuals to have a license to do pretty much anything, all in the name of their free exercise of religion. Or in other words, they wrongly tried to say religious freedom would become the equivalent of Monopoly’s “Get Out of Jail Free Card.”

Yet what was lost in the debate, both here in Arizona and in Indiana is the reality of how these laws actually operate in a court-setting and in real life. They don’t provide a license to do whatever illegal activity somebody wants to do. Rather, they provide the court with a well-established and longstanding legal balancing test for analyzing competing interests.

To provide some background, Arizona has had a state-version of RFRA since 1999, and a nearly identical federal law has been in place since 1993. More than 20 states also have state RFRAs.

In a nutshell, RFRA ensures the government cannot force someone to violate their religious convictions unless the government meets a strict legal test. For the strict legal test, the government must show it has a really good reason for the law and that the law is narrowly tailored to achieve that objective. If the government does that, then the RFRA defense fails and the government law or action stands.

Although Indiana’s original version of RFRA was heavily amended after big business bullied the governor and legislature, the remaining law is still set to take effect on July 1, 2015.

This brings us to a recent story out of Indiana and a perfect example of how RFRA works. Calling his newly formed church the First Church of Cannabis, founder Bill Levin plans to break the law and openly smoke marijuana. If he is cited or arrested, he says he will claim Indiana’s RFRA for protection.

Unfortunately for Mr. Levin, this same ploy was attempted in Arizona already, and Arizona’s RFRA operated just like it’s supposed to.

In 2005, Danny Hardesty was arrested for possession of marijuana, and in court he claimed that the use of marijuana was a sacrament of his church, the Church of Cognizance. This case reached the Arizona Supreme Court in 2009, and in a unanimous ruling the Court ruled against Hardesty.

Even assuming Hardesty had a truly sincere religious belief to smoke marijuana, the Court found that the government has a good reason to prohibit marijuana use (the fact that it poses a real threat to individual health and social welfare, in addition to the public safety concern posed by unlimited use, particularly by those driving motor vehicles), and that “no less restrictive alternative [ ] would serve the State’s compelling public safety interests and still excuse the conduct for which Hardesty was tried and convicted.”

So there you go, RFRA is not a “Get Out of Jail Free Card,” and it does not provide a license to do whatever illegal activity someone wants. Rather, it is a time-tested and just law that allows for courts to acknowledge when the government overreaches and burdens someone’s free exercise of religion, and to balance that against the reasons for the government action.

Please watch for the launch of the 3rd edition of The Policy Pages later this fall, which will include a brief devoted solely to explaining how laws like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act work.

 

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