Feinstein No Einstein on Marriage
Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has toppled part of DOMA, House and Senate liberals are trying to finish the job. Hours after five justices struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, two leaders rushed to file bills that would do what the Supreme Court did not: wipe the entire law off the books. If they succeed, same-sex couples could apply for federal marriage benefits no matter where they live, imposing same-sex "marriage" on every state in the nation. For the first time in American history, states would be forced to recognize "marriages" performed in other states -- regardless of what their local laws may be.
Under the Supreme Court's ruling, only homosexual couples in states that have redefined marriage (12, plus the District of Columbia) can access the 1,138 federal tax, health, residency, military, and other perks reserved for natural spouses. With their two bills, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) are clearing the decks for a massive expansion of the Court's ruling -- which will be the first salvo in a full-blown war against state marriage laws. As the Left tries to tear down the federal walls protecting marriage, this week they also promised to go after the 38 states standing for marriage.
Fortunately for us, conservatives in the House are just as determined. Representatives from Tim Huelskamp (R-Kans.) to Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) have no intention of backing down on the definition of marriage that, as Fox News reports, a majority of Americans still support. Still, it's important that every conservative understands -- liberals are on the move. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is already taking these rulings as a signal to shred any remaining U.S. conscience and free speech rights by forcing a vote on ENDA. "To make this the law of the land, I will soon bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act [ENDA] to the floor of the Senate for a vote."
This version, unlike others, does more than force daycares, public schools, and other businesses to hire cross-dressers, transgenders, and homosexuals. It also insists that employers to do away with gender-specific bathrooms -- meaning that your daughters could be sharing a bathroom with a male teacher or coworker (who poses as a woman) in the next stall! That's a bridge too far, even for some Democrats. But I wouldn't put it past them, especially as more politicians warm to the idea of open transgenderism in the military.
Our team will be meeting with allies to counter these new attacks. In the meantime, your elected representatives need to hear from you. Capitol Hill can be a lonely place for conservatives speaking out on these issues. Even if your members consistently vote the right way, they need your support and encouragement to continue leading on these values. Let your representative and senators know that you're watching and help provide some much-needed push-back to this radical agenda. When I talk to our friends on the Hill, you'd be surprised how much attention they pay to the grassroots feedback they get. If they don't hear from you, they notice.
Call them today -- and again over the next few weeks -- and remind them where you stand on marriage (Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121). Urge them to vote no ENDA and on the Feinstein and Nadler's so-called "Respect Marriage Act." Also, tune in this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. (ET) to watch as I debate marriage on CBS's "Face the Nation." (Check your local listings for stations and air times).
A Good Man Is Hard to Fine
Conservatives could use some good news after Wednesday -- and yesterday, they got it. The courts, which have been the source of great consternation this week, were also the source of celebration, as Hobby Lobby won a crucial victory against the Obama administration. By a vote of 5-3, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Christian craft chain can fight the contraception-abortion mandate without being fined in the process. Eight judges opted to hear the case instead of three, a sign of the case's importance. The largest and most visible victim of the President's rule -- Hobby Lobby -- can litigate without fear of losing millions of dollars in penalties in the process. Starting Monday, the Green family would have been ordered to fork over $1.3 million a day -- simply for refusing to pay for their employees' morning-after pills.
The decision, which was authored by four Republican appointees and one Obama appointee, criticized HHS for demanding that employers violate their beliefs to stay in business. "Sincerely religious persons could find a connection between the exercise of religion and the pursuit of profit," the judges write. "Would an incorporated kosher butcher really have no claim to challenge a regulation mandating non-kosher butchering practices?"
The recent successes in this and other lawsuits give some hope to nonprofits like FRC, which are bracing for their own Armageddon when the mandate kicks in for faith-based groups on January 1st (the administration's new deadline for compliance). At least for now, we can all take some comfort in the fact that the courts are starting to recognize this mandate for what it is: a dangerous threat to our First Freedoms.
Texas Ropes the Legislature Back into Session
Even an all-day filibuster, shouting crowds of Planned Parenthood supporters, and the clock can't beat Governor Rick Perry (R-Texas), who will have the last word on the state's sweeping pro-life bill. State senator Wendy Davis (D) had tried for hours to postpone the chamber's vote on a measure that would ban abortions after 20 weeks and enact a whole raft of safety and health protections at local clinics. And while the Senate did finally vote to pass the proposal, it was decided that members had done so too late. The session, which expired at midnight Tuesday, ran out as protestors yelled loud enough and long enough to create enough chaos that members couldn't finish their business fast enough.
Thanks to Governor Perry, they'll have more than enough time on Monday, when he's ordered the Texas legislature to reconvene. "I am calling the legislature back into session because too much important work remains undone," the Governor announced. "Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn... We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do." Hats off to Governor Perry for calling the Democrats' bluff and doing everything in his power to give women and children the safest environment possible. We look forward to welcoming Texas into the courageous fraternity of states that have banned abortion after 20 weeks!
Kneeling for Healing
If there was ever a time to pray for our nation, it's now. The decisions Wednesday by America's highest court only magnify the need for God's people to get on their knees in a 2 Chronicles 7:14 moment. As Christians, we know that higher Court of Appeal whom our nation's Founders addressed as the "Supreme Judge of the World." That's the Court where you and I have been appointed to serve as advocates, under the authority of our Chief Advocate, our Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7:25). If you haven't already, I encourage you and your church to join with an estimated million Americans across the country in Call2Fall, this Sunday, June 30. Everything you need to know about this important prayer event can be found at Call2Fall.com. Please visit the site and let us know you will be with us by clicking, "I'm in!"
I'll be observing Call2Fall at Greenwell Springs Baptist Church on Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. Then, that same evening at 6:00 p.m., I'll join with our friends at Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama (2200 Briarwood Way) to celebrate America's Christian heritage. If you're in the area, I invite you to join us.
** Tune in to tonight as FRC's Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin is featured in a Fox News special report on Benghazi at 10:00 p.m. (ET). Also, FRC's Ken Klukowski will be dropping by Fox News's "Geraldo at Large" at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday night to debate marriage.
** In all of the Supreme Court news, the President's ridiculous new climate initiative was put on the media's back burner. That's a shame, because, as FRC's Ken Blackwell points out, his orders could devastate U.S. families and the economy. Hear him break down just a few of the problems with the idea in this interview for Fox Business.
**** If you're in the Baton Rouge area, worship with us this Sunday, June 30 at Greenwell Springs Baptist Church (19421 Greenwell Springs Road). I'll be continuing the sermon series with the message, "Life by God's Design: In Our Conduct -- Godly (Ephesians 4:24-5:21)" at the 8:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.