Supreme Court

Barber: Children of Same-Sex Couples Live In 'Disordered and Dysfunctional Households'

Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber joined talk show host Sandy Rios today where he maintained that the children of same-sex couples are in “disordered and dysfunctional households where immorality is being modeled that is obviously not the gold standard and not the best environment for them.”

Barber was responding to Justice Kennedy’s claim that California children of same-sex couples “want their parents to have full recognition and status,” a point Barber dismissed since California already has a civil unions law, while then adding that he opposes civil unions.

According to Barber, “homosexual duos” know “that intuitively” they are “disordered and immoral” and are only capable of entering into a “mock marriage.”

Anecdotally certainly there are couples out there who want to enter into a mock marriage; homosexual duos that want to somehow get the government’s official stamp of approval on a behavior and a lifestyle that I think they inherently know is disordered and immoral, they know that intuitively so they want that official government stamp of approval and for people to say, ‘Hey what you are entering into is good and normal and natural and look we’re going to even call it marriage.’ I call it mock marriage. They want to enter into something that looks like marriage.



They have full recognition and full status. All the rights, privileges and responsibilities of marriage are inherent in a civil union relationship that California has already passed. Now, I don’t agree with civil unions and children clearly have a right to a mother and a father and those children who are in those disordered and dysfunctional households where immorality is being modeled that is obviously not the gold standard and not the best environment for them.

However, the honorable and learned Justice Kennedy I think overlooked for some reason the reality that they already have civil unions there so all we’re talking about here is what they’re really seeking, is to have the idea that this can be something that it cannot be, that it’s marriage. Ultimately, what they are trying to do is redefine the word marriage so that it will become something that it has never been and never will be or can be. They are seeking to do the impossible.

Pat Robertson and Jim Garlow Agree: Gays and Lesbians Don't Want Marriage

The 700 Club today covered the marriage equality cases and dueling rallies at the Supreme Court. Host Pat Robertson and pastor Jim Garlow used the same tired talking points about how gays and lesbians don’t really want marriage.

Garlow, the Proposition 8 activist who addressed NOM’s anti-gay rally yesterday, told Christian Broadcasting Network reporter John Jessup that “there isn’t that much interest in marriage, there isn’t that much interest in commitment and monogamy, it isn’t there; it’s attempting to force us to affirm a lifestyle, that’s what’s at stake here.”

Robertson concurred and said that “the foundation of our society since the founding of our great Republic is under attack” by “a few people [who] want to have their way doing of sex affirmed by everyone else.”

“They say it’s homophobia to believe that a marriage between a man and a woman is sanctioned by God,” Robertson said, “God is not a homophobe, God is almighty, He’s in charge of the world and this is the way he made it. “Two men do not have children, two women do not have children,” he concluded.

Watch:

Government Is Not God PAC: 'If Homosexuals Win, The Bill of Rights Dies'

The Religious Right group Government Is Not God PAC in a message to members this week warning that if the Supreme Court strikes down Proposition 8 and DOMA then “religious freedom, freedom of speech and the First Amendment will die.”

“If homosexuals win, the Bill of Rights dies and religious liberty/free speech will die with it,” GING PAC argued. “We either fight this evil or see our children and grandchildren brainwashed and/or coerced into accepting homosexuality as the new normal in our society.”

The group went on to say that “no institution will be safe from being homosexualized” and that society will soon “see our children and grandchildren brainwashed and/or coerced into accepting homosexuality as the new normal in our society,” as anti-gay activism “will be punishable by suppression, fines, or even jail sentences.”

If the U.S. Supreme Court decides that “marriage” in the United States includes so-called “gay” couples, religious freedom, freedom of speech and the First Amendment will die.

Once “gay” marriage is given the Supreme Court’s stamp of approval, any opposition to these bizarre sexual unions will be considered a violation of the law of the land and will be punishable by suppression, fines, or even jail sentences.

Every private institution – including religious ones – will be relentlessly attacked for “discriminating” against “gays.” No institution will be safe from being homosexualized.



Even secular groups like the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) are already feeling the growing wrath and viciousness of the “gay” political movement. Homosexual activists in the California legislature won passage of a bill – signed into law – that prohibits NARTH counselors from treating minors who freely contact them for help in overcoming same-sex attractions. NARTH won an injunction against the law, but the battle is far from over.

“Gay” activists only one point of view expressed in our culture: Theirs. And, they’re willing to suppress the free speech and religion of anyone who opposes them.

What’s ahead in America is what has already happened in The Netherlands. In a document published in The Netherlands Institute for Social Research publication, “Acceptance of Homosexuality in the Netherlands, 2011,” the authors stated: “The Dutch government is committed to increasing the social acceptance of homosexuality among ethnic minorities, members of orthodox religions, and the young – all groups which emerge in nationally representative surveys as having more difficulties than average with homosexuality.” (p. 24).

In other words, The Netherlands government is going to actively brainwash its population – including religious populations – into accepting homosexuality as normal and a positive good in society.

“Gay” activists have already infiltrated our military and can now brazenly promote their political goals inside the finest armed forces in the world. They’re relentlessly attacking the Boy Scouts for refusing to permit homosexual leaders or members. And, they routinely attack business owners – like the owner of Chick-fil-A – for expressing support for the God-ordained institution of marriage between one man and one woman.

Whatever the left-leaning Supreme Court decides, be sure of this: The battle will never end over the moral clash between homosexuals and biblical Christianity. If homosexuals win, the Bill of Rights dies and religious liberty/free speech will die with it. We either fight this evil or see our children and grandchildren brainwashed and/or coerced into accepting homosexuality as the new normal in our society.

NOM's 'Historic' Fail

For weeks, the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown has been touting the “historic” March for Marriage, telling supporters “this is our time” to "change history." A month ago he wrote excitedly about a “game-changer,” a $500,000 matching gift from one of the major donors that keep NOM afloat. Brown had been inspired by a massive turnout for an anti-marriage-equality protest  in France, and hoped for something similar in Washington. But even with big donors and heavy-weight Religious Right co-sponsors, Brown and his allies couldn’t pull it off. Not even close.

In reality, NOM’s rally had a few, perhaps several, thousand attendees.  (NOM’s Thomas Peters claims 15,000, which seems, um, generous.) And every time one of the speakers tried to make the crowd feel like part of a larger movement by talking about the 200,000 people they said marched recently for one-man/one-woman marriage in Puerto Rico, or the hundreds of thousands or millions in France and Spain, or even the 585,000 who have signed the Manhattan Declaration or the half million who marched against legal abortion, it only served to highlight how few bothered to show up in Washington. According to various speakers, the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia sent five busloads; anti-gay state senator Ruben Diaz claimed 32 buses from New York. Brian Brown gave a shout out to some Chinese Christians from Chicago.

The ethnically diverse speakers’ list was a mix of old and new, including some familiar faces on the anti-gay circuit, such as Harry Jackson, Gary Bauer, and Iowa’s Bob Vander Plaats. Harry Jackson led the crowd in a chant that he said was a prayer for the Supreme Court: “Let God arise and his enemies be scattered.” Bauer delivered a blustery message to the Republican Party that if they “bail” on marriage, he’ll lead as many people as he can out of the GOP (which may not be that much of a threat). Vander Plaats urged Supreme Court justices to look to the Founding Fathers, Billy Graham, and Pope Francis. Also speaking were Doug Mainwaring, now making the circuit as the anti-equality gay man the Religious Right loves to love; Frank Schubert, the mastermind of the dishonest Prop 8 campaign and every anti-equality campaign since then; and Jim Garlow, who made a name for himself among the Religious Right with his pro-Prop 8 organizing. Garlow insisted you cannot call yourself a Christian and support the Court’s “obliterating” what he called a “core aspect of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (Garlow should have seen the packed crowd at the morning’s pro-equality interfaith service at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation.) Garlow warned Supreme Court justices that they will one day stand before “the Chief Justice of the Universe” and will be held accountable if they defy His ways.

A couple of groups sent under-30 speakers to say how wrong the media is to suggest that Millennials are a lost cause on this issue.  But facts are facts, and polls show that support for marriage equality is overwhelming among under-30 Americans: 72 percent of Millennials believe same-sex couples should be able to get legally married, including 58 percent of under-30 Republicans.

Many of the speakers were on-message to the point of being boringly redundant, repeating the message on marchers’ pre-printed signs: “Kids do best with a mom and a dad” and “Every child deserves a mom and a dad.” Sometimes this came with a strong shot of gender stereotypes: mothers provide tenderness and fathers provide protection.  Brian Brown even showed a video of the Religious Right’s newest heroine, the 11-year old who testified against marriage equality in Minnesota and asked which of her parents she did not need, her mother or father. Perhaps someone could explain that no same-sex couples seeking to get married have any desire to force her to get rid of either parent.

NOM’s backers for the marriage march included the far-far-right-wing Catholic group Tradition, Family & Property, with its scarlet banners, capes, and marching band (see Adele Stan’s reminder who TFP is), Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, a couple of Catholic dioceses, the Knights of Columbus and the Institute on Religion and Democracy.  Brown gave special thanks to the Mormon-run GFC Foundation for providing grants for buses.

 

Garlow: Supreme Court Trying to 'Flex Muscles Against Almighty God' By 'Obliterating' Marriage

Pastor Jim Garlow, who helped spearhead Proposition 8 and has described the gay rights movement as Satanic and part of an “Antichrist spirit,” delivered a stark warning to the Supreme Court during the closing speech at the National Organization for Marriage’s rally on the National Mall.

“Isn’t it interesting that the Supreme Court would be considering obliterating one of the core aspects of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” during Holy Week, Garlow said, as he marveled that “on this incredibly sacred week, the court would tend to try to flex their muscles against Almighty God: no one can win, your arms are too short to box with God.”

Watch:

Gary Bauer Threatens to Leave GOP if it 'Bails Out' on Issue of Marriage Equality

Today, the National Organization for Marriage and allied groups organized a "March for Marriage" orchestrated to coincide with arguments at the Supreme Court over the constitutionality of Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. 

The march ended with a rally on the National Mall featuring a variety of speakers, including Gary Bauer, who used it as a platform to send a message to the Republican Party that "if you bail out on this issue, I will leave the party and I will take as many people with me as I possibly can":

Staver: Church Must 'Rise Up' If Supreme Court Backs Marriage Equality

Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel spoke to Sandy Rios earlier today and warned that the Supreme Court “will become an illegitimate arbitrator of the rule of law” if “the court goes the wrong way” on the marriage equality cases.

After complaining that the Bush administration sabotaged efforts to pass a federal marriage amendment, Staver insisted that gay rights advocates seek to “tear down the family and put the homosexual agenda, particularly led by same-sex marriage, on a collision course with the free exercise of religion.”

Staver concluded that “the church and people of faith and values need to rise up” if the court rules in favor of same-sex marriage as “we just simply cannot allow this to become the law of the land.”

Staver: When it came into 2005 his mandate was marriage and he didn’t do anything about it, that’s when we had the momentum to go forward with a national constitutional marriage amendment and both he and Karl Rove throttled back and went down a different path. But now we’re today and it’s the big day for Proposition 8 and DOMA and these are not conservative arguments that Ted Olson is going to make, these are judicial activism arguments, these are deconstructive arguments, these are arguments that will actually tear down the family and put the homosexual agenda, particularly led by same-sex marriage, on a collision course with the free exercise of religion.



Staver: This is a monumental point in American history. God forbid if the court goes the wrong way. If it does, the court will become an illegitimate arbitrator of the rule of law and become simply a political institution and it will ultimately hurt the value and the respect of the United States Supreme Court.

Rios: Well I totally agree with you, I think we really are on the precipice and it’s pretty scary. I’m seeing all kinds of prognostications of what’s going to happen and I think back to the hearing on Obamacare where almost everyone thought we knew which way the court was going to go and then we were shocked by Justice Roberts’ decision and we might be in for the same thing on this.

Staver: I pray that we are not. If we are, if worst case scenario the last week of June we come down with a bad decision, the church and people of faith and values need to rise up. We just simply cannot allow this to become the law of the land, it will fundamentally change who we are, it will fundamentally weaken the family and religious freedom will be in the crosshairs.

Perkins: 'Revolution' Possible if 'Court Goes Too Far' on Marriage Equality Cases

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show yesterday where he joined other anti-gay activists in warning that a Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality could lead to a “revolution.”

Perkins, who in November feared that the Supreme Court may spark a “revolution” and “break this nation apart” by striking down anti-gay laws, told Mefferd that the Supreme Court “could literally split this nation in two and create such political and cultural turmoil that I’m not sure we could recover from” if it strikes down Proposition 8 and DOMA.

“If you get government out of whack with where the people are and it goes too far, you create revolution,” Perkins said. “I think you could see a social and cultural revolution if the court goes too far on this.”

Perkins: I think the court is very much aware with the backdrop of the fortieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade just two months ago that interjecting itself in this, especially when you have thirty states that have taken the steps that they have, could literally split this nation in two and create such political and cultural turmoil that I’m not sure we could recover from it.

Mefferd: I have had the same thoughts. It’s interesting; the National Organization for Marriage has been billing this as ‘1973 for Marriage.’ We’ve been telling people here about the March for Marriage taking place tomorrow and you guys are going to be involved in it as well, I know you’re cosponsoring it, but why do you think it is so important for Americans to come out and publicly stand for marriage like we’ve seen in France for example?

Perkins: That’s a good example. I’m just finishing my daily update that I’m going to be sending out and I made reference to France, you know support for natural marriage is coming from the most unlikely places, hundreds of thousands of people now have turned out multiple times in France to support natural marriage, young and old alike. It’s very important. We’ve been saying this all along that Americans need to speak out because the court likes to hold itself as being above public opinion, that they live in this ivory tower and don’t pay any attention to what’s going on; they do. I believe the court will push as far as they think they can without creating a social upheaval or a political upheaval in this country. They’re smart people, I think, they understand how organizations and how societies work and if you get your substructure out of kilter with the superstructure, if you get government out of whack with where the people are and it goes too far, you create revolution. I think you could see a social and cultural revolution if the court goes too far on this.

Starnes and Rios: Gay Rights Opponents 'Second-Class Citizens,' Face 'Punishment' and 'Persecution'

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes joined Sandy Rios on American Family Radio yesterday to discuss the marriage equality cases being argued at the Supreme Court this week. The two took a grim view of the proceedings: Starnes lamented that opponents of gay rights have become “second-class” citizens and Rios warned that a Supreme Court marriage equality victory would lead to “tremendous punishment” for anti-gay activists.

“We are in for persecution like we have never seen,” she said, to which Starnes replied, “Well, it’s already started.”

Starnes: People are, people are very concerned about, about culture and about values and where things are going in this country. What concerns me, though, Sandy, is the vitriol coming from those who support gay marriage. You know, I’m the kind of person that is more than happy to sit down and talk and debate and listen to what people have to say. I may not agree with it, but at least, you know, it’s their right to have their opinion under our Constitution.

And yet, there seems to be this opinion on the other side that says, you know what, you and I don’t deserve the same rights. You know, it’s as if we’re second-class citizens now because we support the traditional, Biblical definition of marriage, or perhaps we are pro-life, and that means we’re somehow second-class citizens who don’t deserve to be in the public marketplace of ideas.

Rios: Absolutely. In fact, it’ll be worse than that. You know there’s going to be punishment. There will be tremendous punishment. If gay marriage is embraced by the country, if the Supreme Court goes south this week in its hearings, we are in for – of course, we’re not going to hear about it until June – but we are in for persecution like we have never seen it.

Starnes: Well, it’s already started.
 

Equal Protection or "Social Tradition": The Supreme Court's Test in the Marriage Cases

The Supreme Court hears two cases this week that could determine the future of marriage equality in America.

NOM's Brown Invokes Lincoln on Federal Marriage Amendment: 'We Cannot Be…Half Slave, Half Free'

National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown joined Steve Deace on Friday to discuss the marriage equality cases being argued this week at the Supreme Court. If the Court rules broadly in favor of equality, Brown said, NOM would turn its focus toward advocating for a Federal Marriage Amendment banning marriage equality throughout the country. Responding to conservatives who are concerned about the Federal Marriage Amendment’s infringement on states’ rights, Brown invoked Abraham Lincoln: “We need a solution in this country, we cannot be, as Lincoln said, half slave, half free. We can’t have a country on key moral questions where we’re just, where we don’t have a solution.”

I think we’re going to win these cases. But say the worst happens and we lose in a broad way – that means that the Court somehow does a Roe, a Roe v. Wade, on marriage and says that all these state constitutional amendments are overturned, gay marriage is now a constitutional right – well, we’re going to press forward on a Federal Marriage Amendment. We’ve always supported a Federal Marriage Amendment, and there’s a lot of misconceptions about it. Some people try and argue, ‘Well, this is against federalism.’ No, our founders gave us a system where we can amend the Constitution. We shouldn’t have to do this, we shouldn’t have to worry about activist judges, you know, making up out of thin air a constitutional right that obviously none of our founders found there and no one found there until quite recently. But if we do, for us, the Federal Marriage Amendment is a way that people can stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough.’ We need a solution in this country, we cannot be, as Lincoln said, half slave, half free. We can’t have a country on key moral questions where we’re just, where we don’t have a solution. And if the Court forces a solution, the way we’ll amend that is through  the Federal Marriage Amendment.

FRC: No Right to Have Sex Outside of Marriage, Society Should 'Punish It'

Family Research Council senior fellow Pat Fagan appeared alongside Tony Perkins, the head of FRC, on Washington Watch yesterday to discuss his article which claims that Eisenstadt v. Baird, the 1972 case that overturned a Massachusetts law banning the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried people, may rank “as the single most destructive decision in the history of the Court.”

Fagan argued that the Supreme Court decision was wrong because it effectively meant that “single people have the right to engage in sexual intercourse.” “Society never gave young people that right, functioning societies don’t do that, they stop it, they punish it, they corral people, they shame people, they do whatever,” Fagan said.

The court decided that single people have the right to contraceptives. What’s that got to do with marriage? Everything, because what the Supreme Court essentially said is single people have the right to engage in sexual intercourse. Well, societies have always forbidden that, there were laws against it. Now sure, single people are inclined to push the fences and jump over them, particularly if they are in love with each other and going onto marriage, but they always knew they were doing wrong. In this case the Supreme Court said, take those fences away they can do whatever they like, and they didn’t address at all what status children had, what status the commons had, by commons I mean the rest of the United States, have they got any standing in this case? They just said no, singles have the right to contraceptives we mean singles have the right to have sex outside of marriage. Brushing aside millennia, thousands and thousands of years of wisdom, tradition, culture and setting in motion what we have.



It’s not the contraception, everybody thinks it’s about contraception, but what this court case said was young people have the right to engage in sex outside of marriage. Society never gave young people that right, functioning societies don’t do that, they stop it, they punish it, they corral people, they shame people, they do whatever. The institution for the expression of sexuality is marriage and all societies always shepherded young people there, what the Supreme Court said was forget that shepherding, you can’t block that, that’s not to be done.

Wildmon: Overturning DOMA and Prop 8 May Lead to Hate Speech Laws

During the debate over the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, Religious Right groups like the American Family Association warned that the law would “criminalize negative comments concerning homosexuality” and “take away our religious freedoms.”

Of course, none of that happened, but that hasn’t stopped anti-gay activists from making the exact same false claims again and hoping more people will fall for it.

Yesterday, AFA president Tim Wildmon appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show and alleged that if the Supreme Court overturned Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) then we will see “persecution against Christians” and restrictions on the freedom of speech.

Wildmon: You’re headed down the road of persecution against Christians who believe in the Bible as their standard for moral behavior. In Canada now they have different rules there where you can’t even criminalize the lifestyle itself or you’ll be charged with a hate crime. You know that’s the road we’re headed down if these laws, if DOMA is struck down, if Prop 8 is struck down, then you’re headed for control of speech, even if it’s religious speech.

Ironically, the AFA’s own legal counsel, Pat Vaughn, admitted that “the Defense of Marriage Act is probably unconstitutional.”

Rios: Female Justices 'Rudely' Interrupting Scalia, 'Speaking Inappropriately'

The topic of discussion on Sandy Rios’ American Family Radio program Wednesday was diversity among federal judicial nominees. The Washington Post published a story over the weekend detailing President Obama’s largely successful effort to appoint more women, people of color and openly LGBT people to federal judgeships. The voice of dissent in the article was that of the Committee for Justice’s Curt Levey, who told the Post that the White House was “lowering their standards” in nominating nonwhite judges. So naturally, Rios invited Levey on as a guest and explained to him why she disapproves of President Obama’s diverse judicial nominations.

In particular, Rios disapproves of Obama’s Supreme Court nominees, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, respectively the third and fourth women ever to sit on the high court. Sotomayor and Kagan, Rios says, have been forgetting their place and behaving “rudely,” “interrupting” and “speaking inappropriately” to, of all people, Justice Antonin Scalia.

While Levey correctly notes that “Scalia can give it out as well as take it,” he agrees with Rios that Sotomayor, the Supreme Court’s first Latina justice, “has occasionally, at least, stepped over the line.” In particular, he says Sotomayor – who he once accused of supporting “violent Puerto Rican terrorists” --  “sort of lost it” during arguments on the Voting Rights Act, when she contradicted Scalia’s stunning assertion that the law represents a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”

In fact, while Scalia’s bombast provoked audible gasps in the hearing room, Sotomayor waited several minutes before calmly asking the attorney challenging the Voting Rights Act, “Do you think that the right to vote is a racial entitlement in Section 5?"

Later, Rios, with an impressive lack of self-awareness, marvels that progressive groups criticized Scalia for his remarks. “Groups on the left,” Levey responds, “shall we say, like to personalize things.”

Rios: I read an article that Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, at least this article was intimating that they are behaving in a – these are my words – sort of rudely on the bench, to Scalia and to others, interrupting, speaking inappropriately. Have you observed that? Do you know what I’m talking about and is that true?

Levey: Um, yeah. I mean, you know, Scalia can give it out as well as take it, but yeah, Sotomayor has gone over the line a number of times. Most recently in the Voting Rights Act case, which was just last week, where, you know, Scalia had the nerve to speak the truth and refer to the Voting Rights Act as “racial preferences,” which of course is what it’s become by guaranteeing that there be minority districts formed, minority congressional districts. And, you know, Sotomayor sort of lost it when Obama [sic] said that, interrupted and you know, basically made fun of Scalia’s comment. So yeah, I think they have the right to be aggressive up there, but Sotomayor has occasionally, at least, stepped over the line.

Rios: And on the Voting Rights Act and Scalia’s comments, you know, there were demonstrators at the Court last week, hundreds of them, demonstrating against Antonin Scalia. I don’t remember that happening. I don’t remember a Supreme Court justice – doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened – but I don’t remember it being a subject of public demonstrations.

Levey: No. Typically they will, you know, they’ll, protestors at the Supreme Court will focus on issues, not justices. But you know, that changed of late. There’s been in the last two years a lot of, you know, progressive groups have gone personally after Scalia and especially Thomas and his wife. But you know, we see that in so much of politics, that groups on the left like to, shall we say, personalize things.

Rios: Yeah, as like in Alinsky, yes, personalize and target, yeah, so we are seeing some very new things and actually pretty dangerous I think.

Earlier in the program, Rios and Levey lamented the fact that President Obama has had more openly LGBT people confirmed to the federal bench than all of his predecessors combined. Echoing right-wing arguments made against Romney advisor Richard Grennell, who was forced to resign last year after less than a month on the job, Rios claimed she didn’t mind that the president was appointing gay people to federal judgeships, but that they are “activists who are trying to change the law.”

Levey: You know, I don’t have any problem with him nominating gay and lesbian nominees. The problem is that they should be gay and lesbian nominees who respect the Constitution. You know, there are…

Rios: I don’t disagree, Curt, just for the record, I don’t disagree with that. It’s the activists, activists who are trying to change the law that I will have trouble sitting on the bench.

Levey: Exactly. He’s not appointing, you know, conservative or even moderate, you know, gay Americans, he’s appointing very radical gay Americans. And, you know, again, it’s not so much any individual nominee as it is the pattern here. Of the 35 or so nominees who are pending now, only six are straight white males, even though about half the legal profession is straight white males. So, do straight white males have some, you know, right to a certain number of seats? Of course not. But if you were doing it in a balanced way without any preference for minorities of various types, then you’d probably wind up with about 17 or 18 of those 35 being straight white males. The fact that there’s only six tells us that there’s a system of preferences going on.

Why It's Important to Have Diversity on the Federal Courts

The Washington Post ran a story yesterday about President Obama's successful push to bring greater diversity to the federal courts. The story quoted a conservative activist who accused the White House of "lowering their standards" in order to find diverse nominees and a Republican aide who claimed that the White House's focus on diversity would "override the substantive qualifications of the nominees."

Leslie Watson Malachi, Director of African American Religious Affairs at People For the American Way, responded with the following letter to the editor:

To the editor:

Regarding the March 3 story, “Obama pushing to diversify federal judiciary amid GOP delays.”

One of President Obama’s most significant, but least noticed, achievements has been his effort to bring more women and people of color to the federal bench. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court showed us just how critical that effort is.

In oral arguments on Shelby County v. Holder, the challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, Justice Antonin Scalia declared that the renewal of voting protections for people of color simply amounts to a “racial entitlement.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina on the Supreme Court, promptly contradicted him.

Scalia’s arrogant dismissal is echoed by the conservative activist who tells the Post that the White House may be “lowering their standards” in nominating women and people of color and the  GOP aide who worries that a focus on diversity would “override the substantive qualifications of the nominees.”

President Obama hasn’t had to choose between qualified nominees and diverse ones. Instead, he’s chosen judges and justices like Sotomayor: excellent nominees from diverse backgrounds, all of whom have earned their way to judgeships for which they are eminently qualified. 

LESLIE WATSON MALACHI
DIRECTOR, AFRICAN AMERICAN RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS
PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY

PFAW

LaBarbera: Gay Rights Legal Brief Is a 'Tool of Repression'

In an interview with the American Family Association’s news affiliate Instant Analysis (formerly OneNewsNow), Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality condemned the large group of corporations that joined legal briefs asking the Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8.

LaBarbera blasted the corporations for “pushing homosexuality on the American public,” calling the amicus brief “a tool of repression against Christians and people of faith who simply want their right to not support homosexuality.” He claimed that if the Supreme Court rules against Prop 8, “that will be a sad day for American freedom” and “a disaster,” as deciding who should have the freedom to marry “should be left up to citizens.”

Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality acknowledges that corporations are at liberty to do what they want privately, such as adopting pro-homosexual policies.

“... But when you start pushing homosexuality on the American public using the government, that's another matter,” he offers. “Then it becomes a tool of repression against Christians and people of faith who simply want their right to not support homosexuality.”

According to the family advocate, the Prop. 8 case before the nation's high court is essentially the “Roe v. Wade” of the homosexual movement.

“If the court steps in and overrides the decision of the people of California not to support homosexual so-called marriage, that will be a sad day for American freedom,” he tells American Family News. “All across the nation citizens have spoken on this issue – [and] at the very least it should be left up to citizens.

“If the court imposes national homosexual marriage, that will be a disaster – and it will fuel the culture wars for decades to come.”

Of course, it is absurd to argue that a Supreme Court decision against DOMA or Prop 8 actively represses or takes away the rights of marriage equality opponents. But the Religious Right is often inconsistent in its arguments. Another AFA news item, however, explicitly rejects paying any attention to how the public feels, contradicting LaBarbera’s argument.

Sam Rohrer, a former Republican lawmaker in Pennsylvania and head of the Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network, tells the AFA that the public’s view on marriage equality doesn’t matter because judges should rule according to “moral law” established by God as “the base of the Constitution and the individual rights guaranteed by it are based on the Bible.”

The Christian Post reported on Monday that The Washington Post has published two polls that show "Americans are done with DOMA." But the Pennsylvania Pastors' Network (PPN) contends that the results are "likely skewed."

PPN president Sam Rohrer believes that polls are worth about the amount it cost to conduct them - particularly when they are financed by organizations that advocate for the destruction of marriage, including the Respect for Marriage Coalition.

"When they use polls to try to substantiate and/or to prove an acceptance of a position that has not been historically sound, I'm saying [that] is an inappropriate use of polls," Rohrer submits. "And any judge that looks to the poll as a determination of how they may or may not judge and rule on this case is to embrace moral relativism rather than moral law."

That is especially relevant now, as the U.S. Supreme Court is to hear arguments on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act next month; the resulting ruling is expected near the end of June.

The Coalition's poll results show that 83 percent of Americans, "regardless of their personal opinion on the issue," believes same-sex "marriage" will be legal nationally "in the next five to ten years." But that can only happen if the federal Defense of Marriage Act is repealed by the Supreme Court or Congress.

And a national survey conducted on behalf of the Center for American Progress (CAP) and Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) reportedly reveals that 59 percent of registered voters "oppose" Section 3 of DOMA, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman and a spouse as someone of the opposite gender.

The PPN president asserts that the purpose of the recent polls is to influence public opinion and the courts.

"What the Pastors' Network is saying is that when making a decision, a moral decision where you're talking about an institution created by God, God doesn't need public opinion polls; so neither should a judge consider what polls may or may not be," Rohrer contends. "It's a moral decision, and moral decisions ought to be made based on what God says -- not what some poll may or may not say."

Part of the oath of office high court justices take is to support and defend the Constitution. And as Rohrer points out, the base of the Constitution and the individual rights guaranteed by it are based on the Bible -- not the popular view of the culture.

Scalia Completely Rewrites ... Everything

Scalia ignores constitutional text, says Congress didn't really mean to pass the Voting Rights Act, and calls the VRA a "racial entitlement."
PFAW Foundation

African American Ministers Leadership Council Responds to Scalia’s ‘Racial Entitlement’ Comment

In Supreme Court oral arguments on Shelby County vs. Holder today, Justice Antonin Scalia reportedly stated that the renewal of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act represents “the perpetuation of racial entitlement.”

Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, Director of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council, responded:

“Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act doesn’t represent the ‘perpetuation of racial entitlement,’ as Justice Scalia states. Rather, it is one of the most important tools we have for confronting the entitlement of those who believe some people’s votes and voices should matter more than others. Section 5 boldly confronted a reality of American life that still exists today: the routine devaluation of the lives and voices of people of color. Justice Scalia’s statement carries disturbing echoes of the ‘perpetual entitlement’ that has kept bigotry, discrimination, homophobia, disempowerment, sexism, and classism alive in America. I hope that Scalia’s fellow justices will approach this issue more thoughtfully, and with a greater awareness of the reality in their country.”

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We Can’t Afford to Lose the Voting Rights Act

Tomorrow morning, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a challenge to a pivotal section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The part of the VRA that’s under attack is Section 5, which requires the Justice Department or a federal court to approve changes to voting laws in states and counties that have a history of racially discriminatory voting practices before those laws can go into effect. The lead-up to last year’s elections, in which state legislatures passed a slew of discriminatory voter suppression measures, showed just how much Section 5 is still needed.

Today, People For the American Way Foundation released a new report from Senior Fellow Jamie Raskin detailing the history and continued need for Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and what progressives can do to ensure equal voting rights in the years to come. Raskin writes:

A decision against Section 5 preclearance or the Section 4(b) coverage formula would likely spell the political demise of the Voting Rights Act, even if it is theoretically salvageable by an updated coverage formula or an even more relaxed preclearance procedure.  Our paralyzed, deadlocked Congress will never come to terms on how to revive and renovate it if the Court knocks it down or puts it into a tiny little straitjacket.

Win, lose, or draw, progressives should reckon with the prospect that the days of this landmark statute might be numbered.  This means that we need to take up an ambitious democracy and voting rights agenda of our own for the new century, this time with explicitly universalist aims and general terms that deal with the complex suppression of democracy today.  The voting rights struggles of the new century relate not just to old-fashioned racial trickery in Alabama and Texas but new-age vote suppression in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio; they involve not just traditional vote dilution in the South but the increasingly untenable disenfranchisement of 600,000 Americans in Washington, D.C and 3.6 million Americans in Puerto Rico.

Also today, PFAW Foundation’s Director of African American Religious Affairs, Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, wrote in the Huffington Post about the challenges that people of color still face at the ballot box, nearly half a century after the passage of the Voting Rights Act:

In 2011 and 2012 I organized faith leaders from 22 states in combating voter suppression efforts and turning out the vote among specific communities. This election cycle offered many powerful reminders why Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is still needed. Texas, for example, passed a discriminatory voter ID law that would have required voters to present government-issued photo ID at the polls, which would have especially burdened poor people and people of color. But because Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act still stands, this law was defeated and the right to vote was protected. Reverend Simeon L. Queen of Houston, Texas, a comrade in the struggle, reflected: "It is inexcusable that nearly 50 years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, politicians are still trying to make it harder for African Americans in Texas to vote. I wish the Voting Rights Act wasn't still necessary, but thank the Lord it's still there."

Since 1980 I have been fortunate to work with men and women, some who started before I was born, to fight for laws protecting the right to vote. Despite the commitment of those who devoted their lives to voter protections, the right to vote remains fragile for many Americans. From voter ID laws to restrictions on early voting, as a country we cannot allow anyone to say "this isn't a problem anymore" to communities who are experiencing, as others witness, those problems at the polls each election. 

PFAW Foundation
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