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Left Behind

I want to do the right thing,” said Jennifer Schoenrock of Waynes­ville, Mo.

Schoenrock, a court clerk in Pulaski County, recently informed the conservative World magazine that the “right thing” is to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, even if the Supreme Court makes marriage equality the law of the land this month. Couples who come in seeking licenses, she explained, “are like my kids. I can’t do it.” Read more

More Than Marriage: Obergefell v. Hodges Is About Women’s Rights, Too

At today’s U.S. Supreme Court marriage-equality arguments, the focus will be on whether the states’ marriage bans impermissibly discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. But the marriage cases also involve old-fashioned discrimination on the basis of sex. In states without marriage equality, men can marry only women, and women can marry only men. These arguments have not received as much discussion in the cases so far, but they will be before the high court all the same. Read more

Bayou Boondoggle: La. Lawmakers Consider ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill

It seems Louisiana lawmakers didn’t learn from the recent backlash caused by “religious freedom” bills in Indiana and Arkansas, so Pelican State politicians are mulling legislation that could allow for discrimination against LGBT persons under the guise of “religious liberty.” Read more

As 2016 Presidential Campaign Gets Under Way, IRS Should Act To Enforce Non-Profit ‘No-Politicking’ Rule, Says Americans United

Church-State Watchdog Group Says Liberty University May Have Violated Federal Law By Hosting U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz

The Internal Revenue Service should make it clear that houses of worship and other tax-exempt, non-profit groups have no right to engage in partisan politicking, Americans United for Separation of Church and State told the tax agency today.

In a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn urged the agency to act now, since the 2016 presidential campaign is getting under way.
Read more

Bumpy Lane: Religious Right Operative Seeks To Build (Another) Church-Based Political Machine

Here’s what the country doesn’t need right now: another zealot aiming to mobilize right-wing pastors to become a force in electoral politics.

Yet that’s what the country is getting. Read more

New Congress, New Challenges

Jim Inhofe, a Republican U.S. sen­ator from Oklahoma, believes the making of public policy should be left to a higher power.

“[G]od’s still up there,” Inhofe, a Religious Right ally, opined in 2012. “The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”   Read more

New AU Legal Memo Debunks Religious Right Claims On Same-Sex Marriage

People who work for the government have no legal right to refuse services to same-sex couples in states where marriage equality is the law, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says in a recent legal memorandum.

Americans United issued the memo Dec. 1 in response to claims being made by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Religious Right legal group based in Arizona. The ADF has been sending letters to states where marriage equality is legal, insisting that clerks and other government officials who oppose gay marriage don’t have to serve same-sex couples. Read more

Ariz. School Board Censors Abortion Information

The Gilbert, Ariz., School Board has voted 3-2 to censor a high school honors biology textbook to meet the demands of a Religious Right group.

Board members claim they’re making sure the books comply with a state statute requiring them to “present childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion,” reported the Arizona Republic.

A spokesman for the Department of Education disagreed with the assertion that the book violates the law as written. Read more