Category Archives: Religious Freedom
“Marriage expresses the reality that men and women bring distinct, irreplaceable gifts to family life, especially for children who deserve both a mom and a dad,” said Senior Counsel Byron Babione. “That is why Arizonans approved a constitutional amendment to affirm marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The court should uphold the right of Arizonans to define marriage consistent with this public policy, which is motivated by their concern over what’s best for children and society.”
ADF attorneys were appointed by Attorney General Tom Horne to assist the Arizona Solicitor General’s office in defending the state’s marriage laws after six same-sex couples sued county clerks in Pinal County, Maricopa County, and Coconino County.
According to the brief filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona in the case,Connolly v. Roche: “[M]arriage has always existed to channel the presumptive procreative potential of man-woman relationships into committed unions in order to join children to both their mother and their father. Nevertheless, some now seek to redefine marriage from a gendered to a genderless institution, while many others legitimately believe that such a change would obscure marriage’s animating purpose and undermine its social utility. So far, the States have reached differing decisions on this important question. Yet Plaintiffs, discontented with the sovereign decision of Arizonans, argue that the public debate about the meaning, purpose, and future of marriage was meaningless… But Plaintiffs are mistaken. The Constitution has not removed this question from the People.”
“The laws of Arizona have always reflected the man-woman nature of marriage,” added ADF Legal Counsel Jim Campbell. “The court should not endorse the recently conceived notion that marriage is about special government recognition for adult relationships, but instead should uphold the time-honored laws preserving marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
But you and I know better. And we are seeing stories like these two more often that show why our First Freedom is in jeopardy:
La Paz County forcing closure of church that helps the homeless
The Church of the Isaiah 58 Project runs a homeless shelter out of its church in La Paz County. Along with providing medical care, shelter, and clean clothes, the church also provides nearly 13,000 meals to the County’s homeless every winter.
As the assessor wasn’t applying state law as intended by the policymakers, our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit defending the church in court. In 2013, Gov. Brewer vetoed a CAP-supported bill intended to clarify state law to ensure the assessor would properly apply the law.
Now, a church that operates on a $50,000 annual budget owes a tax lien of $68,000 by June 15 or it will be forced to close its doors. This is the definition of injustice. Since our nation’s founding, churches have been exempt from property taxes. Not only because of the very clear benefits they provide to our communities, but also because of the fundamental principle that the government should stay out of the business of the church.
If you would like to help the church by making a donation, you can click here.
The intolerance of tolerance
You may recall right before the veto of SB 1062, 11 law professors, led by University of Virginia Law School Professor Douglas Laycock, sent a letter to Gov. Brewer in an attempt to clarify all of the misinformation and lies surrounding the bill.
But like those few who actually read the bill, Professor Laycock recognized that the media hype surrounding the bill had completely distorted its true impact. As a longtime legal expert on First Amendment law, Professor Laycock knows how laws like Arizona’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act were designed to operate and why they were necessary.
Writing that letter has not come without a cost. Since that time, the homosexual community has come after Professor Laycock – starting with an open letter, accusing Professor Laycock of harming homosexual students with his work.
They also filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking “among other things, university-funded travel expenses and cellphone records for the past two-and-a-half years,” and “a full, transparent accounting of the resources used by Professor Laycock which may be going towards halting the progress of the LGBT community and to erode the reproductive rights of women across the country.”
These types of intimidation tactics are designed to suppress speech and restrain diversity of opinion. You can only imagine that these accusers will only be satisfied if Professor Laycock completely renounces his work, or is forced out.
Hardly an exercise in true freedom.
Whether it’s Elane Photography, Hobby Lobby, the 2013 veto (mentioned above) or the 2014 veto of the CAP-supported bill (HB 2281) that would have ensured churches that rent their property don’t pay property tax, there is no shortage of stories that show that our religious freedom is in danger of being eradicated in the name of “tolerance.”