Legislation

Texas Weighs Bill to Criminalize Nearly All Abortions

A Republican state legislator in Texas has introduced a bill that would ban all abortion except in the cases of rape or incest. State Rep. George Lavender introduced his blatantly unconstitutional bill to eliminate legal abortion as the state legislature considers legislation that would allow residents to purchase license plates to fund anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers. Moreover, the legislature just passed a bill that would require women to look at a medically unnecessary and potential unsafe ultrasound before terminating their pregnancy. Other states are considering similar bans on abortion but through so-called “personhood” legislation.

Chris Hoppe of the Dallas Morning News reports that if Lavender’s bill passes, it would likely be struck down by a court challenge, and that Texas already has a law criminalizing abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned:

Rep. George Lavender, R-Texarkana, has jumped well past the debate on the mandatory sonograms and filed a bill on Wednesday that would prevent any abortion except in cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother.

The bill would be a direct affront to the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision and certainly, if passed, be detoured through a lengthy and predicatable court challenge. At least the ACLU promises that it will.

The civil rights' group called the bill, "a draconian attempt to roll back nearly 40 years of history by eliminating women's right to make decisions regarding their own bodies," said ACLU of Texas legal director Lisa Graybill.

The ACLU said that if this bill should pass, along with a package of bills aimed at illegal immigrants, that Texas -- now in the throes of cutting teachers, nursing homes and health programs -- will end up expending large amounts of taxpayer money to defend lawsuits that have little chance of success.

"The state of Texas is attempting to trump federal law," said ACLU executive director Terri Burke. "This is a serious overreach."

Texas currently has law that would immediately outlaw abortions if the Supreme Court overturns its decision and leaves the legality of abortions up to individual states.

Roy Moore Opposes Effort to Remove Racist Language From Alabama's Constitution

In 2004, voters in Alabama were given an opportunity to remove racist language mandating separate schools for "white and colored children" and poll taxes from the state constitution ... and they refused.

In 2012, it looks like they will get another chance ... and "Ten Commandments Judge" Roy Moore is opposed to the effort because apparently trying to rid Alabama's Constitution of the vestiges of racism makes Alabama look racist

Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur got a Senate committee to vote unanimously Tuesday for his proposed constitutional amendment that would remove language providing for poll taxes and for schools separated by race.

The vote by the Constitution, Campaign Finance, Ethics and Elections Committee sends his legislation to the Senate, where its passage is almost assured because more than two-thirds of the senators are co-sponsors. If approved by both houses of the Legislature, it would go before Alabama voters in a statewide referendum in November 2012.

...

Moore, however, opposes the current amendment. He said the racist language is meaningless because of court rulings and is ignored by people, and he said Orr could do more damage to the state's image by bringing it up for a statewide referendum.

"Painting Alabama as still racist is not a good thing for our state," Moore said in an interview.

Hartzler Introduces Gratuitous Bill to Require Obama to Enforce DOMA

Just days after Rep. Steve King (R-IA) announced plans to cut funding to the Department of Justice because it will no longer defend the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) has introduced legislation requiring the Obama administration to enforce DOMA. Hartzler accuses President Obama of “selectively enforcing our laws” and “breaking his word to the American people,” which could lead to “chaos.”

Of course, Hartzler’s argument is totally baseless: the Defense of Marriage Act will continue to be enforced, even though the Department of Justice decided that it will no longer defend the law in court. As Reuters reported, “In a filing on Monday, DOJ attorneys reiterated that Obama told executive agencies to enforce the law until Congress repealed it -- even though the administration would no longer defend its constitutionality in court.”

But that hasn’t stopped Hartzler, whose political career is based on her vehement opposition to gay rights, from offering her specious legislation:

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-4) is the lead sponsor of legislation calling on President Obama and his Department of Justice to respect the law and enforce the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

“President Obama’s decision to order his Justice Department to stop defending DOMA is not a surprise but it is disappointing,” Hartzler said. “Once we start going down the road of selectively enforcing our laws we are headed for chaos. President Obama took an oath to uphold the laws of the United States and he is breaking his word to the American people.”

“The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act was enacted through large majority votes in both the House and Senate and was signed into law by President Clinton,” added Hartzler. “President Obama is subverting the will of the representatives of the people. The good citizens of the 4th Congressional District are expected to follow the law and President Obama should not put himself above the law."

In 2004, Hartzler served as state spokesperson for the Coalition to Protect Marriage, which supported Missouri’s defense of marriage amendment. That amendment passed with the support of 71 percent of the state’s voters.

Sponsor of Alabama Sharia Law Ban Doesn't Know What Sharia Law Is

After an Oklahoma judge blocked a state constitutional amendment “banning” Sharia and international law, state legislators across the country have been following in Oklahoma’s (failed) footsteps. Proposals to ban the use of Sharia law in courts have emerged in at least thirteen states, and legislators in Tennessee and Missouri may even make practicing Sharia law a felony.

One Alabama state legislator now wants to pass a law which states, “The courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia.”

The Anniston Star reports that the bill’s sponsor, Republican State Senator Gerald Allen, admits that he doesn’t know of any court cases in Alabama or anywhere in the U.S. using Sharia law to make decisions. Allen’s staff lifted the legislation’s description of Sharia law from Wikipedia, and the senator admits he doesn’t even know what it is:

A bill introduced Tuesday in the Alabama Senate would ban the use of Islamic law in Alabama courts.

The bill’s sponsor said the measure was designed to protect future generations from erosion of the Constitution. One Birmingham area Muslim leader said the move was an effort to “demonize Islam and Muslims.”

But no one — not even Sen. Gerald Allen, who sponsored the bill — can point to examples of Muslims trying to have Islamic law recognized in Alabama courts.

“It’s not about what’s happening right now,” Allen, a Republican from Cottondale, said in a telephone interview.

“I’m thinking about 10 years down the road, 20, 30, 40. Time has an effect on these things, and I’m thinking about the future.”

Allen is the sole sponsor of SB 62, a bill that would ban Alabama courts from using Shariah law or international law in making legal decisions.

The bill defines Shariah as “a form of religious law derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: The divine revelations set forth in the Qur’an and the example set by the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.”

That definition is the same, almost word for word, as wording in the Wikipedia entry on Shariah law as it appeared Thursday. Allen said the wording was drafted by Legislative staff. A source on the staff at the Legislature confirmed that the definition was in fact pulled from Wikipedia.

Allen could not readily define Shariah in an interview Thursday. “I don’t have my file in front of me,” he said. “I wish I could answer you better.”



Allen said his bill was based on a state constitutional amendment that was recently passed in Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, too, supporters of the measure were unable to cite a single in-state example of Shariah law being used in court, according to an account by the Los Angeles Times.

Allen said his bill, which also bans the use of international law in Alabama courts, is designed to “protect the Constitution for the future generations that come after us.”

“Our Founding Fathers were pretty smart,” he said. “They gave us three branches of government, a separation of powers. I want to preserve that system.”

Porter: My Heartbeat Bill Is Not Unconstitutional, Roe v Wade Is!

Yesterday we mentioned that Janet Porter had brought two fetuses to "testify" before an Ohio committee on behalf of her "Heartbeat Bill," and last night Alan Colmes had Porter on his radio program to give her a chance to explain just what she hoped to accomplish with this stunt.

Colmes tried to get Porter to admit that her goal is, ultimately, to outlaw abortion entirely but she kept dancing around the issue, insisting instead that she is really just embracing science and technology and that it is not her legislation that is unconstitutional, but rather Roe v. Wade that is unconstitutional.  She also reported that legislators in Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma, and Arizona are "lining up" to introduce their own versions of her "Heartbeat Bill."

Oh, and a big "thank you" to Alan for the shout out to RightWingWatch - we love him too:

ACLJ: Looking To Outlaw Islam? Let Us Help!

Today, CBN ran a report on efforts around the country to ban Sharia law, including legislation in Tennessee that would, in essence, make it a felony to be a practicing Muslim ... and Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, which is "specifically dedicated to the ideal that religious freedom and freedom of speech are inalienable, God-given rights" was there to urge legislators who are serious about trying to outlaw Sharia to give them a call so that they can help:

We we've said at the American Center for Law and Justice is if you're a state legislator and you're serious about writing a law from stopping judges from being able to use Sharia law in court, come to us and let us walk you through this because, as you see now, the American Bar Association, the ACLU, they've got their sights set on these anti-Sharia laws and they are going to look for any holes in them to try to hold them unconstitutional.

What we've encouraged people is come to use early, let us work with the law, through the law with you, to make sure there's no holes for the ALCU and other outside groups to attack.

You know, the ACLJ really ought to change it's "about us" page to reflect the fact that its belief that "religious freedom and freedom of speech are inalienable, God-given rights" only applies to Christians.

Anti-Muslim Activists Tied to Peter King Want to Ban Muslim Students Group

Brigitte Gabriel of ACT! for America, one of the leading anti-Muslim activists in the country, wants the University of California, Los Angeles to ban the Muslim Student Association. Gabriel is no marginal figure, as her group won a glowing endorsement from Rep. Susan Myrick (R-NC) and she will host Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who is using his perch as the Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee to launch investigations into Muslim American communities, on her premier talk show. In addition, ACT! for America’s David Yerushalmi was heavily influential in shaping legislation in Tennessee and Missouri that would make it a crime to practice Sharia law, the legal code of Islam.

ACT! for America recently announced that it wants UCLA to ban the campus chapter of the Muslim Student Association due to the groups purported links to radical Islam. “We at ACT for America are serving this petition to UCLA in our effort to ban the assembly of any group advocating the overriding of the laws of the United States Of America with their own set of laws on a publicly funded university such as UCLA,” says the group in a letter to UCLA’s Chancellor, “We are specifically sighting the Muslim Student Association in violation of this.”

The letter goes on to say, “We demand that they be removed from campus on the grounds that their purpose is to conduct a stealth jihad against America through the indoctrination of our youth on college campuses.”

Now that ACT! for America has made its extreme agenda even more obvious, does Congressman King agree with his allies at ACT! for America that universities should ban groups which represent Muslim students?

Porter Schedules Fetus To Testify in Favor of Heartbeat Bill

When Janet Porter is involved in something, you know it is just a matter of time before it goes completely off the rails.

It happened with her 2007 Values Voter Debate where a choir sang "Why Should God Bless America? " while Religious Right leaders asked questions to empty podiums representing the Republican candidates who skipped the event.

And it happened again with her May Day prayer rally at the Lincoln Memorial which left her facing $70,000 in expenses and cost her her daily radio show.

And so it was only a matter of time before her already bizarre "Heartbeat Bill" activism in Ohio took a turn toward the surreal, with Porter announcing plans to have a fetus "testify" in favor of the legislation:

A fetus has been scheduled as a legislative witness in Ohio on a unique bill that proposes outlawing abortions after the first heartbeat can be medically detected.

Faith2Action, the anti-abortion group that has targeted Ohio to pilot the measure, called the in-utero witness the youngest to ever come before the House Health Committee at 9 weeks old.

Faith2Action president Janet Folger Porter said the intent is to show lawmakers who will be affected by the bill, which abortion rights groups oppose. Ohio Right to Life has not endorsed the measure.

An aide to committee Chairman Lynn Wachtmann said a pregnant woman will be brought before the committee and an ultrasound image of her uterus will be projected onto a screen. The heartbeat of the fetus will be visible in color.

Just allow me to remind everyone that Porter served as the co-chair of Mike Huckabee's Faith and Family Values Coalition when he ran for president. 

Raul Labrador Badly Twists the Facts on Planned Parenthood

During his successful congressional campaign last year, now-Congressman Raul Labrador (R-ID) used his opposition to abortion-rights as a wedge issue to criticize his opponent, who was the most conservative Democrat in the House. The freshman congressman recently joined his conservative colleagues by voting in favor of the Pence amendment to defund the women’s health organization Planned Parenthood. ABC’s Boise affiliate KIVI reports:

Freshman Boise congressman, Raul Labrador says the abortion debate just about splits this country in half, but GOP lawmakers argues all Idahoans agree on one part. "They don't want the federal government to be abortions. There's so much money going to Planned Parenthood. And it's impossible for us to know where they're going. They claim they are not funding any abortion with that money, but that's the main business they do," argues Labrador.



Planned Parenthood believes Congress is attempting to take away the reproductive rights of women. However, Congressman Labrador takes exception to that. The freshman republican, states, "I don't think Planned Parenthood speaks for women. If they want to provide services, they can continue to do so. We're not closing their shop, we're just saying no more federal funding." The Senate is expected to vote on the resolution this coming week.

However, Labrador is indisputably wrong when he said that abortion is Planned Parenthood’s “the main business.”

Abortion services account for just three percent of the group’s services, with the vast majority going towards contraception, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, immunizations, and screenings for breast and cervical cancer. Such services especially help women without health insurance, with Planned Parenthood clinics sometimes acting as the only women’s health service providers in many regions.

Labrador also incorrectly describes the federal government’s role in providing abortion services, as the 35-year old Hyde Amendment prohibits federal taxpayer funding abortion care except in the cases of rape and incest, or when the woman’s life is at risk.

The freshman Congressman’s erroneous statements reflect the collaboration of Religious Right and Republican leaders to dishonestly smear Planned Parenthood.

Raul Labrador Badly Twists the Facts on Planned Parenthood

During his successful congressional campaign last year, now-Congressman Raul Labrador (R-ID) used his opposition to abortion-rights as a wedge issue to criticize his opponent, who was the most conservative Democrat in the House. The freshman congressman recently joined his conservative colleagues by voting in favor of the Pence amendment to defund the women’s health organization Planned Parenthood. ABC’s Boise affiliate KIVI reports:

Freshman Boise congressman, Raul Labrador says the abortion debate just about splits this country in half, but GOP lawmakers argues all Idahoans agree on one part. "They don't want the federal government to be abortions. There's so much money going to Planned Parenthood. And it's impossible for us to know where they're going. They claim they are not funding any abortion with that money, but that's the main business they do," argues Labrador.



Planned Parenthood believes Congress is attempting to take away the reproductive rights of women. However, Congressman Labrador takes exception to that. The freshman republican, states, "I don't think Planned Parenthood speaks for women. If they want to provide services, they can continue to do so. We're not closing their shop, we're just saying no more federal funding." The Senate is expected to vote on the resolution this coming week.

However, Labrador is indisputably wrong when he said that abortion is Planned Parenthood’s “the main business.”

Abortion services account for just three percent of the group’s services, with the vast majority going towards contraception, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, immunizations, and screenings for breast and cervical cancer. Such services especially help women without health insurance, with Planned Parenthood clinics sometimes acting as the only women’s health service providers in many regions.

Labrador also incorrectly describes the federal government’s role in providing abortion services, as the 35-year old Hyde Amendment prohibits federal taxpayer funding abortion care except in the cases of rape and incest, or when the woman’s life is at risk.

The freshman Congressman’s erroneous statements reflect the collaboration of Religious Right and Republican leaders to dishonestly smear Planned Parenthood.

Iowa Personhood Bill Could Legalize the Murder of Abortion Providers

After the failed attempt in South Dakota to push a bill that would legalize the killing of abortion providers, Iowa is now set to take up legislation with a similar effect. The Iowa State House is weighing both a Personhood bill, which gives legal rights to zygotes by classifying them as separate “persons,” and a bill that expands the right to use deadly force to protect a third party. The Personhood legislation attempts to criminalize abortion and common forms of birth control and has already been approved by a State House subcommittee; Personhood Amendments are also under consideration in Mississippi, North Dakota, and Georgia. Essentially, by declaring that a zygote and a fetus have all of the same legal rights as a “person” while also broadening the legal protections regarding the reasonable use of deadly force, abortion providers could be legally targeted with the rationale of protecting a third party.

Lynda Waddington of The Iowa Independent reports:

Currently, abortion is also settled law in Iowa. But House File 153, sponsored by 28 Republicans, challenges it. Under that bill, the state would be mandated to recognize and protect “life” from the moment of conception until “natural death” with the full force of the law and state and federal constitutions. Essentially, the bill declares that from the moment a male sperm and a female ovum join to create a fertilized egg that a person exists.

House File 7, which has been sponsored by 29 GOP House members, seeks to expand state law regarding use of reasonable force, including deadly force. Current state laws provide that citizens are not required to retreat from their dwelling or place of business if they or a third party are threatened. The proposal would significantly expand this to state that citizens are not required to retreat from “any place at which the person has a right to be present,” and that in such instances, the citizen has the right to use reasonable force, including deadly force, to protect himself or a third party from serious injury or death or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.



Todd Miler, a criminal defense attorney in Des Moines, agrees that these two bills, when combined, create a situation that could lead to someone claiming the killing of an abortion provider or a family planning worker was reasonable use of deadly force.

“My first thought when I looked at House File 153 was that it was a first step — something that had been put out there as a first step toward a larger political goal. But, when you place it next to House File 7 the potential ramifications are startling,” Miler said.

“[House File 7] explicitly provides that people have a right to defend themselves or others at any place they are legally allowed to be. That would definitely include sidewalks or streets outside of clinics. They could attempt to kill a physician or a clinic worker, and if they did so while believing they were protecting another person, which would be defined under House File 153 as a fetus, then, under this law, they would have the right to do that.”

Iowa Personhood Bill Could Legalize the Murder of Abortion Providers

After the failed attempt in South Dakota to push a bill that would legalize the killing of abortion providers, Iowa is now set to take up legislation with a similar effect. The Iowa State House is weighing both a Personhood bill, which gives legal rights to zygotes by classifying them as separate “persons,” and a bill that expands the right to use deadly force to protect a third party. The Personhood legislation attempts to criminalize abortion and common forms of birth control and has already been approved by a State House subcommittee; Personhood Amendments are also under consideration in Mississippi, North Dakota, and Georgia. Essentially, by declaring that a zygote and a fetus have all of the same legal rights as a “person” while also broadening the legal protections regarding the reasonable use of deadly force, abortion providers could be legally targeted with the rationale of protecting a third party.

Lynda Waddington of The Iowa Independent reports:

Currently, abortion is also settled law in Iowa. But House File 153, sponsored by 28 Republicans, challenges it. Under that bill, the state would be mandated to recognize and protect “life” from the moment of conception until “natural death” with the full force of the law and state and federal constitutions. Essentially, the bill declares that from the moment a male sperm and a female ovum join to create a fertilized egg that a person exists.

House File 7, which has been sponsored by 29 GOP House members, seeks to expand state law regarding use of reasonable force, including deadly force. Current state laws provide that citizens are not required to retreat from their dwelling or place of business if they or a third party are threatened. The proposal would significantly expand this to state that citizens are not required to retreat from “any place at which the person has a right to be present,” and that in such instances, the citizen has the right to use reasonable force, including deadly force, to protect himself or a third party from serious injury or death or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.



Todd Miler, a criminal defense attorney in Des Moines, agrees that these two bills, when combined, create a situation that could lead to someone claiming the killing of an abortion provider or a family planning worker was reasonable use of deadly force.

“My first thought when I looked at House File 153 was that it was a first step — something that had been put out there as a first step toward a larger political goal. But, when you place it next to House File 7 the potential ramifications are startling,” Miler said.

“[House File 7] explicitly provides that people have a right to defend themselves or others at any place they are legally allowed to be. That would definitely include sidewalks or streets outside of clinics. They could attempt to kill a physician or a clinic worker, and if they did so while believing they were protecting another person, which would be defined under House File 153 as a fetus, then, under this law, they would have the right to do that.”

Religious Right Reactions to DOJ's DOMA Decision

Earlier today it was reported that President Obama had ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.

So far, reactions from the Religious Right have been few and far between but we are going to post them here as they trickle in:

National Organization for Marriage:

“We have not yet begun to fight for marriage,” said Brian Brown, president of NOM.

“The Democrats are responding to their election loss with a series of extraordinary, extra-constitutional end runs around democracy, whether it’s fleeing the state in Wisconsin and Indiana to prevent a vote, or unilaterally declaring homosexuals a protected class under our Constitution, as President Obama just did,” said Brown. “We call on the House to intervene to protect DOMA, and to tell the Obama administration they have to respect the limits on their power. This fight is not over, it has only begun!”

...

“On the one hand this is a truly shocking extra-constitutional power grab in declaring gay people are a protected class, and it’s also a defection of duty on the part of the President Obama,” said Maggie Gallagher, Chairman of NOM, “On the other hand, the Obama administration was throwing this case in court anyway. The good news is this now clears the way for the House to intervene and to get lawyers in the court room who actually want to defend the law, and not please their powerful political special interests.”

FRC:

"It's a dereliction of duty,'' said Tom McClusky, senior vice president of Family Research Council Action. "Whether they agree with the law or not is irrelevant...The Obama administration has purposely dropped the ball here."

AFA:

"I think it's a clear sign that we simply cannot avoid engaging on the social issues," Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for the group, told TPM. "Mitch Daniels has called for a truce on social issues and that would be fine if the homosexual lobby was willing to lay down arms, but they're obviously not and this proves it. A truce is nothing more than a surrender."

Fischer said he was not surprised by the president's decision.

"Frankly I was surprised that President Obama pretended to be a defender of natural marriage as long as he did," he said.

He said that the White House move should serve as "a wake-up call to all conservatives that fundamental American values regarding the family are under all-out assault by this administration. It ought to represent a clarion call to man the barricades before we lose what is left of the Judeo-Christian system of values in our public life."

Focus on the Family:

Tom Minnery, a vice president with Focus on the Family, said the Obama administration did not aggressively defend the Defense of Marriage Act in any case. "If the federal government will not defend federal laws, we're facing legal chaos," Minnery said. "If the administration can pick and choose what laws it defends, which law is next?"

"We would hope Congress uses the tools at its disposal to counter this decision and defend marriage," Minnery said.

ADF:

“Typically, when a law is challenged, the government has a duty to defend the law, and typically they do so with the most vigorous possible defense,” said Jim Campbell, attorney with the conservative Alliance Defense Fund. “In this case, we’ve seen executive branch officials refuse to do so.”

Official FRC statement:

"This decision by President Obama and the Department of Justice is appalling. The President's failure to defend DOMA is also a failure to fulfill his oath to 'faithfully execute the office of President of the United States.' What will be the next law that he will choose not to enforce or uphold?

"Marriage as a male-female union has been easily defended in court and overwhelmingly supported by the American people. There is absolutely no excuse beyond pandering to his liberal political base for President Obama's decision to abandon his constitutional role to defend a federal law enacted overwhelmingly by Congress.

"With this decision the President has thrown down the gauntlet, challenging Congress. It is incumbent upon the Republican leadership to respond by intervening to defend DOMA, or they will become complicit in the President's neglect of duty," concluded Perkins.

Liberty Counsel:

Today President Barack Obama instructed the U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, and the Department of Justice to cease defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). “This is outrageous and unthinkable that the President would abandon the defense of marriage,” said Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “President Obama has betrayed the American people by his refusal to defend the federal law that affirms what many courts upheld as constitutional, namely, that marriage is between one man and one woman,” said Staver.

...

“Regardless of President Obama’s own ideological agenda, as President, he and his Attorney General have a duty to defend lawfully passed legislation, especially when the essence of the law has been upheld by many courts. Thirty states have passed marriage amendments affirming marriage as one man and one woman. Today President Obama has abandoned his role as President of the United States and transformed his office into the President of the Divided States. He has been the most divisive president in American history. He has today declared war on the American people and the fundamental values that are shared by most Americans. His radicalism resulted in the historical push-back in the 2010 elections. His radicalism today will come back around when the people respond to this betrayal in 2012,” said Staver.

TVC:

“The Obama Administration has been sabotaging marriage in direct contradiction to his campaign promises. Today, President Obama takes his most unprecedented step yet, choosing to rule and reign through executive decree in what could only be called a supra-constitutional act. After massive defeats at the polls in November, a total repudiation on health care, and staring down a cost-cutting Congress, Obama is looking to secure what little base remains. Obama’s actions today are an unprecedented grab for power and perhaps the most audacious in the 235 year history of the American republic.

“President Obama believes he has “concluded” that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, as passed along by Attorney General Eric Holder -- effectively asserting that Obama may rule by whim and decree.

“We are a nation of laws, not whims.

“Virtually every state in the country has overwhelmingly passed laws and state constitutional amendments protecting marriage. This unprecedented power grab demands the immediate reaction of the United States House of Representatives, who must do everything possible to fight back against what can only be described as a despotic and alarming attack on the rule of law.”

Catholic League:

Now Obama is officially on record as president opposing the defense of marriage. Thus does he pit himself against the 1996 law that was signed by President Bill Clinton, and opposed by only 15 percent in the House and 14 percent in the Senate. He also stands in opposition to the over 30 state initiatives affirming marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Now that Obama is totally out of the closet, it will spur a genuine effort to adopt a constitutional amendment affirming the integrity of marriage.

Gary Bauer:

The president is the chief law enforcement officer, not the chief justice! It is not up to Barack Obama to determine which laws he likes and which laws he doesn’t. It is his responsibility to enforce the law until the nation’s highest court decides the law does not pass constitutional analysis.

But this president sees things very differently — he’s here to fundamentally transform America, by, among other things, redefining marriage ...

Today’s news should put to rest any suggestion that Obama has moved to the center. He has just aligned himself with the most radical elements in the culture war who are trying to redefine normalcy.

I’ll have more on this tomorrow, but I have to be honest with you: I’m worried our side has gone back to sleep. Financial support for our work has dropped significantly. But the left is energized. Obama suddenly feels free to abandon the law and let the militant homosexual rights movement force same-sex “marriage” on every state in the nation. A liberal politician is urging the unions to “get a little bloody” in the streets.

The Tea Party protests have ebbed while the left-wing radicals are fired up. The momentum seems to have shifted back to the left. Men and women of faith must remain engaged in the public policy battles of the day. The culture war is real and only one side can prevail.

Religious Right Reactions to DOJ's DOMA Decision

Earlier today it was reported that President Obama had ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.

So far, reactions from the Religious Right have been few and far between but we are going to post them here as they trickle in:

National Organization for Marriage:

“We have not yet begun to fight for marriage,” said Brian Brown, president of NOM.

“The Democrats are responding to their election loss with a series of extraordinary, extra-constitutional end runs around democracy, whether it’s fleeing the state in Wisconsin and Indiana to prevent a vote, or unilaterally declaring homosexuals a protected class under our Constitution, as President Obama just did,” said Brown. “We call on the House to intervene to protect DOMA, and to tell the Obama administration they have to respect the limits on their power. This fight is not over, it has only begun!”

...

“On the one hand this is a truly shocking extra-constitutional power grab in declaring gay people are a protected class, and it’s also a defection of duty on the part of the President Obama,” said Maggie Gallagher, Chairman of NOM, “On the other hand, the Obama administration was throwing this case in court anyway. The good news is this now clears the way for the House to intervene and to get lawyers in the court room who actually want to defend the law, and not please their powerful political special interests.”

FRC:

"It's a dereliction of duty,'' said Tom McClusky, senior vice president of Family Research Council Action. "Whether they agree with the law or not is irrelevant...The Obama administration has purposely dropped the ball here."

AFA:

"I think it's a clear sign that we simply cannot avoid engaging on the social issues," Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for the group, told TPM. "Mitch Daniels has called for a truce on social issues and that would be fine if the homosexual lobby was willing to lay down arms, but they're obviously not and this proves it. A truce is nothing more than a surrender."

Fischer said he was not surprised by the president's decision.

"Frankly I was surprised that President Obama pretended to be a defender of natural marriage as long as he did," he said.

He said that the White House move should serve as "a wake-up call to all conservatives that fundamental American values regarding the family are under all-out assault by this administration. It ought to represent a clarion call to man the barricades before we lose what is left of the Judeo-Christian system of values in our public life."

Focus on the Family:

Tom Minnery, a vice president with Focus on the Family, said the Obama administration did not aggressively defend the Defense of Marriage Act in any case. "If the federal government will not defend federal laws, we're facing legal chaos," Minnery said. "If the administration can pick and choose what laws it defends, which law is next?"

"We would hope Congress uses the tools at its disposal to counter this decision and defend marriage," Minnery said.

ADF:

“Typically, when a law is challenged, the government has a duty to defend the law, and typically they do so with the most vigorous possible defense,” said Jim Campbell, attorney with the conservative Alliance Defense Fund. “In this case, we’ve seen executive branch officials refuse to do so.”

Official FRC statement:

"This decision by President Obama and the Department of Justice is appalling. The President's failure to defend DOMA is also a failure to fulfill his oath to 'faithfully execute the office of President of the United States.' What will be the next law that he will choose not to enforce or uphold?

"Marriage as a male-female union has been easily defended in court and overwhelmingly supported by the American people. There is absolutely no excuse beyond pandering to his liberal political base for President Obama's decision to abandon his constitutional role to defend a federal law enacted overwhelmingly by Congress.

"With this decision the President has thrown down the gauntlet, challenging Congress. It is incumbent upon the Republican leadership to respond by intervening to defend DOMA, or they will become complicit in the President's neglect of duty," concluded Perkins.

Liberty Counsel:

Today President Barack Obama instructed the U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, and the Department of Justice to cease defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). “This is outrageous and unthinkable that the President would abandon the defense of marriage,” said Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “President Obama has betrayed the American people by his refusal to defend the federal law that affirms what many courts upheld as constitutional, namely, that marriage is between one man and one woman,” said Staver.

...

“Regardless of President Obama’s own ideological agenda, as President, he and his Attorney General have a duty to defend lawfully passed legislation, especially when the essence of the law has been upheld by many courts. Thirty states have passed marriage amendments affirming marriage as one man and one woman. Today President Obama has abandoned his role as President of the United States and transformed his office into the President of the Divided States. He has been the most divisive president in American history. He has today declared war on the American people and the fundamental values that are shared by most Americans. His radicalism resulted in the historical push-back in the 2010 elections. His radicalism today will come back around when the people respond to this betrayal in 2012,” said Staver.

TVC:

“The Obama Administration has been sabotaging marriage in direct contradiction to his campaign promises. Today, President Obama takes his most unprecedented step yet, choosing to rule and reign through executive decree in what could only be called a supra-constitutional act. After massive defeats at the polls in November, a total repudiation on health care, and staring down a cost-cutting Congress, Obama is looking to secure what little base remains. Obama’s actions today are an unprecedented grab for power and perhaps the most audacious in the 235 year history of the American republic.

“President Obama believes he has “concluded” that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, as passed along by Attorney General Eric Holder -- effectively asserting that Obama may rule by whim and decree.

“We are a nation of laws, not whims.

“Virtually every state in the country has overwhelmingly passed laws and state constitutional amendments protecting marriage. This unprecedented power grab demands the immediate reaction of the United States House of Representatives, who must do everything possible to fight back against what can only be described as a despotic and alarming attack on the rule of law.”

Catholic League:

Now Obama is officially on record as president opposing the defense of marriage. Thus does he pit himself against the 1996 law that was signed by President Bill Clinton, and opposed by only 15 percent in the House and 14 percent in the Senate. He also stands in opposition to the over 30 state initiatives affirming marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Now that Obama is totally out of the closet, it will spur a genuine effort to adopt a constitutional amendment affirming the integrity of marriage.

Gary Bauer:

The president is the chief law enforcement officer, not the chief justice! It is not up to Barack Obama to determine which laws he likes and which laws he doesn’t. It is his responsibility to enforce the law until the nation’s highest court decides the law does not pass constitutional analysis.

But this president sees things very differently — he’s here to fundamentally transform America, by, among other things, redefining marriage ...

Today’s news should put to rest any suggestion that Obama has moved to the center. He has just aligned himself with the most radical elements in the culture war who are trying to redefine normalcy.

I’ll have more on this tomorrow, but I have to be honest with you: I’m worried our side has gone back to sleep. Financial support for our work has dropped significantly. But the left is energized. Obama suddenly feels free to abandon the law and let the militant homosexual rights movement force same-sex “marriage” on every state in the nation. A liberal politician is urging the unions to “get a little bloody” in the streets.

The Tea Party protests have ebbed while the left-wing radicals are fired up. The momentum seems to have shifted back to the left. Men and women of faith must remain engaged in the public policy battles of the day. The culture war is real and only one side can prevail.

Arizona Weighs Even More Extreme Anti-Immigrant Bills

It looks like Arizona’s draconian racial profiling law was only the beginning. Republicans in the State Senate Appropriations Committee just approved a flagrantly unconstitutional bill that would eliminate citizenship by birthright, a right protected by the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

As recently as 1982 in Plyler v. Doe, the Supreme Court ruled that undocumented immigrants are protected by the 14th Amendment, which guarantees birthright citizenship. The debate over the citizenship bill may even show signs of splintering inside the Republican Party, with one leading anti-immigrant State Senator accusing the state’s Chamber of Commerce of supporting “‘open borders’ because you like cheap labor.”

In addition to the legislation that would directly challenge the 14th Amendment, the committee also passed a bill that would force public schools to report to law enforcement officials on children’s parents if they’re undocumented, make it a crime for undocumented immigrants to drive in the state, and ban undocumented immigrants from attending state colleges and universities.

“If we’re going to stop this invasion - and it is an invasion – you’re going to have to stop rewarding people for breaking those laws,” said State Senate President Russell Pearce, a champion of the two bills and the architect of SB 1070.

Now, the bills move to the full State Senate.

Arizona Weighs Even More Extreme Anti-Immigrant Bills

It looks like Arizona’s draconian racial profiling law was only the beginning. Republicans in the State Senate Appropriations Committee just approved a flagrantly unconstitutional bill that would eliminate citizenship by birthright, a right protected by the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

As recently as 1982 in Plyler v. Doe, the Supreme Court ruled that undocumented immigrants are protected by the 14th Amendment, which guarantees birthright citizenship. The debate over the citizenship bill may even show signs of splintering inside the Republican Party, with one leading anti-immigrant State Senator accusing the state’s Chamber of Commerce of supporting “‘open borders’ because you like cheap labor.”

In addition to the legislation that would directly challenge the 14th Amendment, the committee also passed a bill that would force public schools to report to law enforcement officials on children’s parents if they’re undocumented, make it a crime for undocumented immigrants to drive in the state, and ban undocumented immigrants from attending state colleges and universities.

“If we’re going to stop this invasion - and it is an invasion – you’re going to have to stop rewarding people for breaking those laws,” said State Senate President Russell Pearce, a champion of the two bills and the architect of SB 1070.

Now, the bills move to the full State Senate.

Montana Legislature Moves to Stop Towns from Covering Sexual Orientation and Gender in Anti-Discrimination Laws

The Montana State House is currently considering legislation that would prevent the city of Missoula from implementing an anti-discrimination ordinance that includes protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. The legislation, proposed by Republican State Rep. Kristin Hansen, would prohibit local governments from going farther than state law in enacting protected classes, was passed out of committee after they rejected an effort to expand the state law. Since Montana does not have a statewide protection for sexual orientation or gender identity, Missoula’s more far-reaching anti-discrimination ordinance would be nullified if Hansen’s bill passes. The Missoulian reports:

The Republican majority on the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill Monday that would effectively overturn Missoula's 2010 ordinance banning discrimination against city residents based on their sexual orientation and gender.

House Bill 516 by Rep. Kristin Hansen, R-Havre, now moves to the House floor for debate this week.

It would prohibit local governments from enacting ordinances or policies that seek to protect residents from real or perceived discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender as the cities of Missoula did through an ordinance and Bozeman did through a policy.

The panel voted earlier Monday to table HB514 by Rep. Edie McClafferty, D-Butte, which would have broadened the Montana Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination statewide based on gender identity or expression and sexual orientation. The move to table her bill came after the bill was rejected 14-6.

The debate over the bill was fraught with fear mongering from right-wing activists about threats to women and children if the ordinance was upheld and the “punishment” for gays and lesbians:

Leading the support for Hansen's bill were two Bitterroot Valley conservatives who were outspoken opponents of the Missoula ordinance last year.

Harris Himes, representing the Montana Eagle Forum, called the Missoula ordinance "unconstitutional on its face."

"There are those of us who would not to rent to gay and lesbian people for religious reasons," said Himes, a Hamilton pastor.

Pressed later by Rep. Ellie Hill, D-Missoula, what those religious reasons are, Himes said: "It is God himself who says that homosexuality is an abomination, and he has various punishments for that, too." Hill asked what those punishments are, and Himes quoted Leviticus saying that homosexuals "surely shall be put to death."

Dallas Erickson of Montana Citizens for Decency through Law, said, "This law in Missoula means that a person with a penis can now go into the showers where the people with vaginas have gone."

Erickson said he knows Ravalli County residents who won't take their children into Missoula businesses "because they don't know if they're going to confronted in the restroom with a different gender."

Montana Legislature Moves to Stop Towns from Covering Sexual Orientation and Gender in Anti-Discrimination Laws

The Montana State House is currently considering legislation that would prevent the city of Missoula from implementing an anti-discrimination ordinance that includes protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. The legislation, proposed by Republican State Rep. Kristin Hansen, would prohibit local governments from going farther than state law in enacting protected classes, was passed out of committee after they rejected an effort to expand the state law. Since Montana does not have a statewide protection for sexual orientation or gender identity, Missoula’s more far-reaching anti-discrimination ordinance would be nullified if Hansen’s bill passes. The Missoulian reports:

The Republican majority on the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill Monday that would effectively overturn Missoula's 2010 ordinance banning discrimination against city residents based on their sexual orientation and gender.

House Bill 516 by Rep. Kristin Hansen, R-Havre, now moves to the House floor for debate this week.

It would prohibit local governments from enacting ordinances or policies that seek to protect residents from real or perceived discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender as the cities of Missoula did through an ordinance and Bozeman did through a policy.

The panel voted earlier Monday to table HB514 by Rep. Edie McClafferty, D-Butte, which would have broadened the Montana Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination statewide based on gender identity or expression and sexual orientation. The move to table her bill came after the bill was rejected 14-6.

The debate over the bill was fraught with fear mongering from right-wing activists about threats to women and children if the ordinance was upheld and the “punishment” for gays and lesbians:

Leading the support for Hansen's bill were two Bitterroot Valley conservatives who were outspoken opponents of the Missoula ordinance last year.

Harris Himes, representing the Montana Eagle Forum, called the Missoula ordinance "unconstitutional on its face."

"There are those of us who would not to rent to gay and lesbian people for religious reasons," said Himes, a Hamilton pastor.

Pressed later by Rep. Ellie Hill, D-Missoula, what those religious reasons are, Himes said: "It is God himself who says that homosexuality is an abomination, and he has various punishments for that, too." Hill asked what those punishments are, and Himes quoted Leviticus saying that homosexuals "surely shall be put to death."

Dallas Erickson of Montana Citizens for Decency through Law, said, "This law in Missoula means that a person with a penis can now go into the showers where the people with vaginas have gone."

Erickson said he knows Ravalli County residents who won't take their children into Missoula businesses "because they don't know if they're going to confronted in the restroom with a different gender."

Congressman Hunter Outlines GOP Plans to Scuttle DADT Repeal

Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-CA) joined Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association to discuss his legislation to block the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). The Congressman believes that even though Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen supported the repeal, his new bill will require the more skeptical military officials to sign on to the repeal as well. Hunter criticized the repeal during the congressional debate, saying that the military is “not the YMCA,” and said that if the House does not pass his bill he will try to pass it as an amendment on military appropriations. Later in the interview, Hunter agreed with Perkins that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’s repeal is simply part of the left’s agenda “to use the military to advance a social policy.”

Other Republican leaders including Tim Pawlenty and Mitch McConnell have also supported efforts to obstruct the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Watch:

Congressman Hunter Outlines GOP Plans to Scuttle DADT Repeal

Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-CA) joined Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association to discuss his legislation to block the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). The Congressman believes that even though Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen supported the repeal, his new bill will require the more skeptical military officials to sign on to the repeal as well. Hunter criticized the repeal during the congressional debate, saying that the military is “not the YMCA,” and said that if the House does not pass his bill he will try to pass it as an amendment on military appropriations. Later in the interview, Hunter agreed with Perkins that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’s repeal is simply part of the left’s agenda “to use the military to advance a social policy.”

Other Republican leaders including Tim Pawlenty and Mitch McConnell have also supported efforts to obstruct the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Watch:

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Legislation Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Thursday 07/14/2011, 3:27pm
Writing for the ultraconservative Crisis magazine, Kevin Ryan of Boston University’s Center for the Advancement of Ethics and Character is outraged over the recently signed California law that makes sure textbooks cover important LGBT historical figures. Ryan said that the policy has a “distinct Stalinist odor” that will bolster the “gay agenda.” But Ryan has a way to respond to the new textbook law: abolish public schools. “Eliminate state-run public schools,” Ryan writes, “make a transition to one of the many school choice options” like... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 07/13/2011, 12:39pm
Right-wing activist and former California legislator Steve Baldwin has organized an open letter to “Conservative, Catholic and Evangelical Leaders” asking them to refuse support for Mitt Romney’s campaign for president. Already a number of activists including failed US Senate candidate and Tea Party hero Joe Miller; Rick Scarborough of Vision America; Brian Camenker of MassResistance; Linda Harvey of Mission America; Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association; Ted Beahr of WND and Movieguide; Gary Glenn of American Family Association-Michigan, Kelly... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 07/12/2011, 11:03am
Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly wants Congress to hold up the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act until it is altered so that it doesn’t benefit women. Schlafly, a long-time critic of the landmark law who believes that married women cannot be raped by their husbands, contends that the Violence Against Women Act goes too far in protecting women from abusive spouses and that the law is merely a feminist plot to tear down men: The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), now up for reauthorization, is in major need of revision. Its billion-dollar-a-year price tag spent by the... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 07/11/2011, 11:28am
Willie Wooten of is one of the latest official endorsers of Texas Governor Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally. Wooten, of the New Orleans-based Gideon International Christian Fellowship, is a self-proclaimed Apostle who claims to have “had a positive influence in the governmental arena and has been instrumental in preventing ungodly laws from being enacted within the state of Louisiana and also throughout our nation.” A critic of gay rights, Wooten has compared being gay to polygamy and incest and argued that “homosexual marriage is not a civil rights issue; it... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 07/08/2011, 1:22pm
Jeff Mirus of Trinity Communications believes that marriage equality will criminalize Christianity, leading to a totalitarian state and a new gulag archipelago. Far from the first Religious Right activist to suggest that equal rights for gays and lesbians will cause liberty to founder, Mirus, discussing the case of a Mexican priest who was fined for propagandizing against a political party that supports marriage equality, argues that “gay marriage is the perfect totalitarian wedge.” He adds, “gay marriage is the lie that will create the next Gulag”: In a Mexican case,... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 07/06/2011, 2:45pm
Yesterday, the California State Assembly followed the State Senate in passing a bill that would make sure textbooks recognize the contributions of prominent LGBT figures in California history. Randy Thomasson, the head of Save California, has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the legislation, even going so far as to liken homosexuality to drug and alcohol abuse, and is making one final plea to Governor Jerry Brown to veto the bill. If the bill is signed into law, Thomasson in a statement called on parents to “removed their children from the government school system” to... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 07/06/2011, 1:19pm
In 2009, Janet Porter of Faith 2 Action organized a right-wing conference in St. Louis called "How To Take Back America" that was co-sponsored by the likes of WorldNetDaily, The American Family Association, Vision America, Liberty Counsel, and WallBuilders.  The keynote speakers at the conference were Mike Huckabee and Rep. Michele Bachmann. The line-up at this conference was so radical that we put together a report on the participants which gave special attention to the truly fringe views espouse by Porter:  It is probably impossible to overstate the extremism and lunacy... MORE