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Civil Rights Swap Meet: A Cynical Approach To Marriage Equality

Tuesday’s marriage arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court hinted at coming battles over the right of religious business owners or organizations to discriminate against gays and lesbians in contexts outside of marriage itself. Indeed, several briefs to the high court—and a few justices at oral argument—suggested that if same-sex people have a constitutional right to get married, it will be more difficult for individuals and businesses to use religion as an excuse to discriminate against same-sex people in other settings. Read more

Court Report: Justices Deliberate Marriage Equality

Seats inside the U.S. Supreme Court were at a premium today for the oral argument in Obergefell v. Hodges, the marriage equality case.

I was fortunate to get a spot in the press gallery. I was in the back row, and my view was obstructed by two large columns, but I’m not complaining; I would have been willing to hang from the rafters for this historic argument, a marathon session that featured five attorneys and lasted two and a half hours. Read more

Deja Vu All Over Again: Religious Objections To Interracial Marriage And Same-Sex Marriage

“Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” has become a cliché, but opposition to marriage equality remains rooted in certain religious beliefs. The same-sex marriage bans of four states will be considered next week by the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges. Proponents of these marriage bans framed their arguments in religious terms; legislators even quoted scripture and proclaimed that the ban was necessary “for the stability of society and for the greater glory of God.” Read more

Fundamentalist Freak-Out: It’s (Not) The End Of The World As We Know It, And The Religious Right Doesn’t Feel Fine

Mat Staver, a Religious Right attorney and dean of Liberty University’s law school, isn’t very happy with the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the same-sex marriage cases.

As I’m sure you’ll recall, the high court’s Oct. 6 decision not to wade into this matter had the effect of legalizing same-sex marriage in a bunch of states, several of them in the Bible Belt. (Here are some shots of same-sex couples getting married in Oklahoma – Oklahoma! Pretty darned amazing.) Read more

Radical Reaction: Extremist Groups Enraged By Supreme Court’s Action On Marriage Equality

Yesterday morning, the Supreme Court dealt a major blow to opponents of marriage equality. It refused to hear every one of the appeals filed by five states whose same-sex marriage bans have been struck down in lower courts; that means the bans remain off the books, and marriage equality is in effect in these states. Read more

Prayer Problems: Does Greece Town Board’s New Invocation Policy Exclude Atheists And Other Religious Minorities?

The Town Board of Greece, N.Y., has issued its formal policy on pre-meeting prayers, leading to a combination of confusion and backlash.  

Almost four months ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that while communities are free to open their meetings with predominantly Christian prayers, they may not exclude other points of view. Read more

Birth Control Battle: The Right Wing’s Long-Running Attack On Contraceptives

American writer Theodore Dreiser’s 1925 novel An American Tragedy deals with the story of a socially ambitious young man who, dismayed because he has impregnated his working-class girlfriend, engineers her death.

The book was banned in some cities – but not because of its depiction of murder. Rather, conservative religious leaders feared that a plot hinging on an unwanted pregnancy would spur young people to get curious about birth control. Read more

I Won’t Stand For It!: A Former Judge Says He’ll Take The Greece Ruling Sitting Down

Editor’s Note: Today 's blog post is by James C. Nelson, a retired justice of the Montana Supreme Court. Nelson was appointed to the court by Gov. Marc Racicot in 1993 and was reelected to the position three times, serving until his retirement in 2013. Read more

Justice For All: The Supreme Court And The Role Of The Justices’ Religious Beliefs

Today’s Washington Post has an interesting story about how the personal religious beliefs of members of the Supreme Court might affect their decisions.

The question is especially relevant now with the high court poised to hear oral arguments tomorrow in a pair of cases that could have far-reaching consequences for what religious freedom means. Read more

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