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Unanimous Iowa Supreme Court Upholds Marriage Equality Ruling

A unanimous Iowa Supreme Court today upheld a lower court ruling that denying marriage to same-sex couples violates the equal protection clause of the state's constitution. People For the American Way Foundation, which was amicus in the case, welcomed the decision as a victory for core constitutional and American values. "The Iowa Supreme Court's decision is a historic affirmation of equality," said People For the American Way Foundation Interim President Michael B. Keegan. "It's a joyous day for the Iowa families involved in the case, and for equality advocates in Iowa and across the nation. Congratulations to the courageous couples who challenged unfair and unconstitutional discrimination, and to One Iowa, Lambda Legal, and all their allies. We were glad to support their work in this case."

Marriage Equality Opponents Blur Distinction Between Civil And Religious Marriage

Efforts to bring down discriminatory legal barriers to marriage equality have met with fierce resistance led by Religious Right organizations. Anti-equality leaders routinely blur the distinction between civil and religious marriage in order to portray legal marriage equality as a threat to their religious liberty. The truth can be a powerful weapon against that deception: when Americans understand that allowing same-sex couples to be legally wed would not require any church or congregation to bless or perform such weddings, support for legal equality jumps substantially.

The Right Re-Tools as a 'Resistance Movement'

Now that the Religious Right and the Republican Party are regrouping from significant electoral defeats, many progressives as well as pundits are tempted once again to dismiss the movement or the continued threat it poses to the constitutional principles of equality, privacy, and separation of church and state. But the legal, political, grassroots, and media infrastructure that has been built steadily over recent decades is still largely in place. It maintains a powerful ability to shape public debate and mobilize millions of Americans. And it is finding a renewed focus in opposing the Obama administration and obstructing progressive change.

Supreme Court Rules Religious Monuments to be Government Speech

The Supreme Court today ruled that religious monuments on government property constitute government speech in Pleasant Grove City v. Summum. PFAW Foundation President Kathryn Kolbert issued the following statement: "I'm pleased that the Court today made clear that religious monuments like the one the Summum sought to erect are government speech. I'm especially glad the decision acknowledged that the establishment clause provides a limit on what government can use that speech to say. Government shouldn't favor one religion over another or favor any religion over no religion at all." PFAW Foundation filed an amicus brief in the case.

Attacks on DOJ Nominees Signal Right's Judicial Nominations Strategy

Right-wing political and legal organizations have unleashed a coordinated campaign of over-the-top attacks on the qualifications, records, and fitness of President Obama’s nominees for important positions in the U.S. Justice Department. Deputy Attorney General nominee David Ogden has been the prime target of the Right’s wrath, but Solicitor General nominee Elena Kagan, Associate Attorney General nominee Thomas Perrelli, and Office of Legal Counsel nominee Dawn Johnsen have also come in for their share of criticism.

People For Foundation Wishes Justice Ginsburg a Speedy Recovery

Following news reports that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized for surgery for pancreatic cancer, PFAW Foundation President Kathryn Kolbert said, "We and our members across the country are saddened by news of Justice Ginsburg's hospitalization, but are wishing her a speedy recovery. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Justice Ginsburg, and her family and loved ones. Justice Ginsburg has been a crucial voice on the Court in support of our core constitutional values of personal freedom and equal justice for all."

Supreme Court Rejects Church-State Appeal

The Supreme Court yesterday rejected an appeal of a lower court decision which upheld the policy of the Fredericksburg, Virginia, City Council requiring that the official prayers recited at the beginning of its meetings be non-sectarian. The decision came in a lawsuit filed by a member of the City Council, Rev. Hashmel Turner, who claims that he has a constitutional right to offer a sectarian prayer as the Council's official opening prayer. The City Council and Mayor were represented in the case on a pro bono basis by Terence Rasmussen and Robert Rolfe of the law firm of Hunton & Williams and by attorneys with People For the American Way Foundation.

Beyond the Sigh of Relief: Justices in the Role of Marshall and Brennan

Transcript of an event at the National Press Club about nominating and confirming justices who will defend personal freedoms and fundamental rights.

Discussion on Obama and the Future of the Supreme Court

On December 9, People For the American Way Foundation will present a panel discussion entitled "Beyond the Sigh of Relief: Justices in the Mold of Marshall and Brennan" to examine what an ideal justice looks like in the twenty-first century. What: "Beyond the Sigh of Relief: Justices in the Mold of Marshall and Brennan"; When: December 9, 2008, 2:30 p.m.; Who: Kathryn Kolbert (moderator), Julius Chambers, Dahlia Lithwick, John Payton, and Jamin Raskin

People For Memo On Election Day '08 Voting Issues

While right-wing partisans tried to whip up a frenzy over non-existent voter fraud issues, thousands of eligible Americans still experienced challenges at the polls in part due to an organized effort to disenfranchise voters. These challenges included voter purges; voter intimidation and suppression including misleading fliers and misinformation from elections officials; challenges to their right to vote by partisan operatives, and absentee ballot problems.

Documenting Democracy in 2008

People For the American Way is participating in the nonpartisan Video the Vote project, which aims to document democracy in action on Election D

Voting Rights Experts Available on Election Day to Discuss the Impact of Voter Suppression and Intimidation, Voter ID Laws

People For the American Way is one of the nation's leading advocates on voting rights including solutions to voter suppression and intimidation tactics, and federal election reform.

Kathryn Kolbert is President of People For the American Way and People For Foundation. Recognized repeatedly by The National Law Journal

Radio Ads Urge African Americans to Oppose Anti-Gay Discrimination

People For the American Way Foundation's African American Ministers Leadership Council In Long-Term Project to Challenge Homophobia in Black Church & Communities

Three radio ads urging African Americans to oppose anti-gay discrimination begin running across California today. The ads are part of a long-term effort to challenge homophobia in the Black Church and African American communities that is being carried out by the African American Ministers Leadership Council, a project of People For the American Way Foundation.

Defending Science Education in Your Community

Is there an effort in your state, locality or neighborhood school to introduce creationism or sideline evolution in the science classroom? If so, this toolkit was made for you. Parent and student versions available.

Timeline: How Creationism Has "Evolved"

An overview of how the strategies of the creationism movement have "evoloved" over time.

Schools and Censorship: Banned Books

An overview of attempts- some successful- to ban books in public schools.

Wendy Gonaver's Fight for Free Speech and Religious Liberty

When Wendy Gonaver was fired for standing up for her religious beliefs, she took action.

Protecting the Vote in 2008

2008 Election Protection activities -- you have the right to vote!

Voting Rights Opponent Appeals to Supreme Court

As expected, the Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One (NAMUDNO), a public utility district in Travis County, Tex., filed a direct appeal Sept. 8, 2008 with the Supreme Court from a unanimous federal district ruling that it is exempt from Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

More Rights At Stake: A Preview of the Supreme Court's 2008-09 Term

A report from People For the American Way Foundation on a selection of cases the Supreme Court will consider in the term beginning October 6, 2008. In the 2008-09 term, the Court is set to consider a number of important cases involving voting rights, employment discrimination, free speech, and access to justice.
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