Marriage Equality

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker: State Courts Must Defy The Supreme Court's Gay Marriage Ruling

On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer interviewed Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker, a former Religious Right activist and aide to Chief Justice Roy Moore who has become a radical justice in his own right, for two segments about the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling earlier this year.

After making the case that the Obergefell decision does not even apply to Alabama, Parker absurdly asserted that the Supreme Court had no grounds upon which to issue the decision in the first place because gays are not being denied equal treatment under the law since everyone is free to marry someone of the opposite sex. 

As such, Parker said, it is imperative that state supreme courts stand up to the U.S. Supreme Court in defiance of its ruling in this case in order to foment a "revival" that will return this nation to its founding principles.

"The states should be a check on the federal government," he said, "and the proper organ within a state to do that versus the U.S. Supreme Court would be a state supreme court. Now, I doubt that it would be a blanket defiance of all jurisdiction on the U.S. Supreme Court, but in regards to the Obergefell decision where it's clear that they jumped outside of the precedents in order to impose their will on this country, that yes, resisting that decision could maybe start a revival of what we need in this country and return to our original founding principles."

Michael Farris: Gay Marriage Leading To 'Heresy Trials' Of Christians, A New 'Dark Ages'

Michael Farris, the homeschooling activist and founder of Patrick Henry College, joined South Carolina pastor Kevin Boling on his “Knowing the Truth” radio program yesterday, where he claimed that Christians have entered a new “dark ages” of religious intolerance and “heresy trials” thanks to gay marriage.

Recalling the ideologically diverse coalition that worked to pass the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993 (which included us at People for the American Way), Farris claimed that the “political left” has since abandoned religious freedom and freedom of speech, causing the coalition to fall apart. In fact, it was the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case that drastically reshaped the federal RFRA, turning it from a shield to protect religious liberty into a sword allowing people to impose their beliefs on others. Subsequent state-level versions of the bill, such as a law in Indiana that was quickly amended, have sought to even further expand the power of individuals and corporations to cite religious liberty in discriminating against others, especially LGBT people.

Farris claimed, however, that gay rights have brought American Christians back to a time “no better than the era of William and Mary’s Toleration Act” of 1688.

“In the intervening 20 years [since the passage of RFRA], because of increased secularization and especially because of the advance of the homosexual rights movement, particularly in the homosexual marriage arena, that coalition of across-the-board, left-right coalition that gave us the Religious Freedom Restoration Act has completely disintegrated,” he said. “The political left today no longer believes not only in religious freedom, but they don’t believe in freedom of speech, they don’t believe in freedom of association. They want to crush people that dissent.”

“And so we’ve really gone frankly to … no better than the era of William and Mary’s Toleration Act,” he said, “where if you didn’t differ too much from the Church of England, you could get away with some stuff but not too much. So that’s really the era that we’re living in.”

“We’re back to that,” he later added. “If ... Christian people differ on same-sex marriage there are what amount to heresy prosecutions. And so we have gone full circle, we’ve gone away from liberty and gone toward toleration, and with toleration comes persecution and heresy trials and we’re back to the dark ages before liberty in the United States. It’s very distressing.”

Later in the interview, Farris blasted the Obama administration for denying asylum to a family of German homeschoolers he was representing when “they’re willing to have the Muslims come here from Syria, they’re willing to have homosexuals who were persecuted in other countries come here.” (The German family was eventually allowed to stay in the country indefinitely.)

This led Farris to bring up contentions that President Obama is secretly a Muslim, which, he said, he wasn’t sure about either way.

“I don’t really know what his personal faith is, one way or the other, and it really almost doesn’t matter in this sense,” he said. “What I can see and what I can tell, and I’m not judging his heart, is that his political actions give favoritism to Muslims and his political actions punish Christians on a systematic basis, so that bias is very obvious.”

“We are at war on a religious freedom basis,” he added, “and the question is, are Christians going to stand up or are we just going to roll over on this one.”

Franklin Graham: 'Middle East Is Burning' Because Obama's Too Focused On Gay Rights

In an interview on Newsmax TV last night, Rev. Franklin Graham blamed the Syrian refugee crisis on President Obama’s support for LGBT rights, claiming that “the Middle East is burning” because the Obama administration has been “more focused” on LGBT rights “than anything else.”

Host J.D. Hayworth, a former GOP congressman, asked Graham: “Why do you think President Obama has taken so little interest in helping to protect Christians in the Middle East?”

“Well, he’s more interested in policies that are against Christians,” Graham responded, “in this country, and going around the world promoting same-sex marriage and the agenda of the gay and lesbian community. And I’m not here to bash the gays and lesbians and they certainly have rights, I understand all that, but this administration has been more focused on that agenda than anything else and as a result the Middle East is burning and you have more refugees moving today since World War II, and it could have been prevented.”

Graham then praised Pope Francis for reportedly meeting privately with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who has attempted to prevent her county office from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, saying that Davis is a victim of discrimination simply for standing up for her view that “homosexuality is a sin against God.”

“Christians need to be protected from these new laws that are coming out and discriminating against Christians and forcing Christians to do things that go against their conscience and go against the teaching of the Bible,” he said. “Again, homosexuality is a sin against God. Now, if a gay or lesbian person is watching, I’m not here to bash you or anything like that, I’m just here to tell you the truth, that this is what the Bible teaches.”

Ken Starr Not Rushing To Join Religious Right's Kim Davis Fan Club

Lawyers for Kim Davis are trying to piggyback on the popularity of Pope Francis by revealing that Davis was “sneaked into the Vatican embassy by car” to meet the pope when he visited Washington, D.C., recently. Not exactly a red-carpet welcome, but Davis and Liberty Counsel can use all the P.R. help they can get these days.

Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver says the visit, grudgingly confirmed by the Vatican, wasn’t arranged through the American bishops. But it would not have been terribly surprising if it were enabled by Archbishop William Lori, point man for the U.S. bishops’ strategy of using religious liberty claims to resist LGBT equality and the contraception coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act.

On the Friday before the pope’s arrival in Washington, D.C., Lori gave the keynote to a day-long “Religious Freedom Summit” at the Catholic University of America’s law school. Much of the day was devoted to discussion of horrific religious persecution in other parts of the world, including anti-Christian persecution in Syria and China. Those harrowing first-person accounts made it hard to consider claims of “religious persecution” by people like Kim Davis as even remotely in the same category.

Even among the conservative lawyers who filled the room, support for Davis wasn’t unanimous. The closing address at the conference was given by Ken Starr — yes, that Ken Starr — who is now president of Baylor University, a Texas-based Christian college with Baptist heritage.

Starr talked about how courts have wrestled with the words of the First Amendment for some 80 years, and proposed some key principles that he said should guide the law: non-coercion in matters of conscience; nondiscrimination against religion; government’s ability, within limits, to provide affirmative protections for religious belief; and government noninterference with the mission and governance of religious organizations.

Starr acknowledged that in implementing many of these principles there are lines that must be drawn. For example, he explained, the majority and dissenters in the Hobby Lobby case gave different weight to the religious liberty claims of the company’s owners and the potential for demonstrable harm to the company’s employees. How we identify and measure recognizable harm to third parties, and weigh it against free exercise, will continue to be wrestled with in the courts, he said, suggesting that there were probably differing opinions even among the people in the room.

Which brings us to Kim Davis, and other Religious Right martyrs-in-the-making such as bakers and florists who refuse service to same sex couples.

First, Davis:

I don’t think that this question is easy. Others may, and the freedom of conscience simply trumps all. But the reason I think it’s not easy is because she is a public official who has taken an oath to uphold the law. I know, I heard the panel saying, look at all the exceptions to individuals who’ve been sworn to uphold the law and who have chosen not to do it. I personally find that a little uncomfortable. Oh, you’re going to pick and choose which laws to enforce.

He asked whether people in the room would be okay with a sheriff or chief of police deciding which laws to enforce based on their personal beliefs.

Starr then addressed conversations about accommodations for bakers and florists who refuse to serve gay customers:

Not a public official like Kim Davis, a private citizen. But at the same time I’m going to suggest that we really think hard on this. She is one who has opened her bakery or catering service or floral shop to business. She has a license from the state to do business. And in carrying out a commercial business, the general rule is one akin to principle two of nondiscrimination. That rule is deeply anchored in the common law. You’ve got to serve people who come in to you. And also the public accommodation provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act when folks were excluded from service on grounds of race. The very idea and ideal of the common law rule is equality — you take care of every customer who comes to you unless you have a very substantial — they’re trying to tear up my shop.

Starr noted that there’s plenty of litigation in these areas, and that some “creative” arguments are being mounted by those suggesting that wedding services such as cakes and flowers are protected as a freedom of speech issue. (That kind of claim was made unsuccessfully by a photographer in New Mexico, discussed in PFAW’s “Religious Liberty: Shield or Sword?”)

Starr also noted that “we are an increasingly diverse community of men, women and children who come from so many cultures and traditions …The world we inhabit is a pluralistic one.” He acknowledged that his four principles won’t magically resolve differences on these issues, suggesting that those involved should adhere to another organizing principle, the Golden Rule, and treat those with whom they disagree with kindness, dignity, and respect.

Starr isn’t the only conservative lawyer taking issue with the claims of Kim Davis and her supporters. Ken Klukowski said earlier this month that Davis was on “very shaky legal ground” and that her refusal to allow deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses was an indefensible effort to force other civil servants to act in conformity with her religious beliefs.


Carly Fiorina Falsely Claims She Never Called Obergefell The 'Law Of The Land'

As a number of commentators have pointed out recently, Carly Fiorina’s swift rise in Republican presidential polls has given her an opportunity to display what Mother Jones called her “adventurous relationship to the truth,” which includes deliberately misleading statements on everything from the contents of the Planned Parenthood smear videos to her record as CEO of Hewlett-Packard.

Fiorina displayed her signature truthiness once again in an interview Friday with Iowa conservative radio host Jan Mickelson, who asked her to defend her statement that Supreme Court decisions like Obergefell v. Hodges are “the law of the land,” which he said would turn off voters in Iowa.

Fiorina insisted that she had never said that, speculating, “I think that is a quote from someone else, not from me,” and suggesting that Mickelson might be thinking of her Republican rival John Kasich.

In fact, Fiorina said those very words in an interview with the Iowa conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts in May when asked about the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in the marriage equality case.

“I think the Supreme Court decision will become the law of the land, and however much I may agree or disagree with it, I wouldn’t support an amendment to reverse it,” she said. “And I very much hope that we will come to a place now in this nation where we can support their decision and at the same time support people’s right to hold religious views and to protect their right to exercise those views.”

Fiorina told Mickelson that “there is an argument to be made for judicial engagement to rectify when the law begins to impinge on the personal immunities and privileges of citizens,” but seemed to imply that the denial of marriage rights was not such a case. Grasping onto the Right’s argument that LGBT equality undermines religious freedom, she called for the passage of state Religious Freedom Restoration Act laws similar to a controversial one passed and later amended in Indiana, which would have opened the door for anti-LGBT discrimination. She also called for the passage of such a law at “the federal level” — there is already a federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, so presumably Fiorina supports one that would expand the ability of people to discriminate against LGBT people.

Fiorina also promised that if she were to become president, she would “appoint the right justices” and “spend a lot of time” with potential nominees “to see how well they hold up to pressure, because people look like they’re one thing and then become another thing when they can’t take pressure.”

When Mickelson suggested that Sen. Ted Cruz might fit the bill for a Fiorina Supreme Court, Fiorina laughed: “Well, wouldn’t that be an interesting selection. He clearly can stand up to pressure.”

UPDATE: Fiorina appeared again on Mickelson’s program on Monday, where he confronted her a clip of her “law of the land” comments. Fiorina evaded the question, telling Mickelson that she had “no idea what reference that snippet was from,” but that if it was “about gay marriage” she was saying that “we profoundly disagree with this” and will focus on finding Supreme Court nominees who will overturn it.

What I said, for example, was we need to be, if that was about gay marriage, we profoundly disagree with this, we need to invest our political capital and our leadership now in protecting religious liberty all across this nation, which means every state needs to enact a religious freedom protection act, as we have a national act. And it also reminds us how important it is who’s on the Supreme Court. So, let’s focus our energies on making sure we have the right nominees and the right protections and liberties.

Star Parker: Gay Marriage is 'Bringing Horrible Hostility Into The Public Squre'

Star Parker spoke at the Values Voter Summit on Saturday afternoon, where she ranted about gay marriage and warned that its legalization is "bringing horrible hostility into the public square."

"We have 500,000 orphans in our foster system," she said. "Most God-fearing Christians don't even know we have an orphan system, but those homosexuals know because now that they're married, that's where they're going to get their children, right out of our foster system!"

Liberals have "declared a war on marriage, weakened women and opened the door to this culture of meaningless," she warned. "The feminist movement was nothing more than the promotion of monism, the elimination of gender binary. It's an attack on the Creator, the created, the distinction. He said if we look at marriage, we see Him. Conjugal and sacramental marriage is the capstone of creation and, as a result of its collapse, homosexuality is now dividing us and bringing horrible hostility into the public square."

"As the Apostle Paul defined in Romans," she said with disgust, "men leaving the natural use of the woman, burning in their lust for one another. Men with men, committing what is shameful."

FRC Sends Out-Of-Control Kim Davis Fundraising Email

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, who will be hosting a number of GOP presidential candidates at this week’s Values Voter Summit, sent out a rather alarmist fundraising email today demanding donations to help his group fight the “Hollywood and radical forces” intent on “indoctrinating your children or grandchildren . . . ruining your job or career . . . getting you to compromise your faith . . . go silent . . . shut up . . . affirm sexual immorality . . . or deny key parts of the Bible.”

Referring to Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who was found in contempt of court when she tried to stop her entire county office from issuing licenses to gay couples, Perkins warns: “If ‘politically correct’ government officials will put a Christian like Kim in jail for the faith we all SHARE -- well, what plans do they have in store for YOU?”

The WRONG people have plans for you
September 23, 2015

Their attacks are only beginning

$500,000 Matching Grant doubles your gift to help us
stand for you against the plans of anti-family forces

Dear Miranda,

They have big plans for you. Who? The White House. Judges. Radical Left organizations.

What plans?

Ask Kim Davis. She's a Christian like you, and she went to JAIL for her faith -- a faith you and she share.

Consider that carefully. If "politically correct" government officials will put a Christian like Kim in jail for the faith we all SHARE -- well, what plans do they have in store for YOU?

Depending on the circumstances, they'll do whatever is necessary to drive Christianity from influence in America by indoctrinating your children or grandchildren . . . ruining your job or career . . . getting you to compromise your faith . . . go silent . . . shut up . . . affirm sexual immorality . . . or deny key parts of the Bible.

As you know, Kim is the head clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky. When the U.S. Supreme Court ignored the Constitution by inventing a "right" to same-sex marriage, Kim requested a simple religious accommodation so that a marriage license that violated her conscience would go out in some other way than under her authority. It was a reasonable request.

But a judge threw Kim in jail for six days as Hollywood and radical forces cheered. These forces aren't interested in "fairness" or "equality." They want to drive people of faith from public life. THAT IS THEIR PLAN.

And that is why I pray you will give now in response to the Matching Grant . . . help FRC achieve and even exceed our September 30 goal . . . and continue to expose and oppose their plans in the most influential sectors of society.

The White House, ACLU, LGBT organizations, liberal Hollywood stars, and "politically correct" corporations plan to:

  • Threaten your job or career if you try to live your faith openly at work.
  • Destroy your family business if you don't affirm sexual immorality.
  • Attack your favorite Christian ministries if they don't hire homosexuals, cross-dressers, or help provide for abortions.

FRC is working every day to stop them. Our team of dedicated staff members includes top policy experts, researchers, and communication specialists stationed strategically near the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. But our most important team members are supporters like you.

Staver: Gay Marriage Is Leading America 'Into The Very Pit Of Hell'

Back in July, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver spoke at the Reclaiming America for Christ conference in Oklahoma where he spent a half-hour absolutely fuming about the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling, calling it a "grave sin" that would lead America "into the very pit of Hell."

Staver, who has recently been leading Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis' unsuccessful legal battle, was beside himself with outrage, declaring that neither the Supreme Court nor any state could ever legalize gay marriage because doing so contradicts the will of God and therefore Christians have no choice but to resist with all their might.

"We need to stop playing charades," Staver thundered, "thinking that five individuals can re-write God's natural, created order of marriage as a union of a man and a woman, and 320 million Americans are simply just going to follow them like the Pied Piper off the cliff into the very pit of Hell. If that's what they think, they have something else coming because as for me and my household, I will not obey those five! I will obey God rather than man and they have shaken their fist in the face of the Creator and we must resist that."

The ruling, he warned, "is a grave sin. There will be judgment on those five unless they repent."

Jesse Lee Peterson: Gay Marriage Different Because 'It's Not About Love'

Right-wing activist Jesse Lee Peterson joined “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax yesterday to discuss his recent column comparing Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who is refusing marriage licenses to gay couples, to Rosa Parks.

When guest host Amy Holmes asked Peterson if a clerk should be able to cite his or her religious beliefs to deny marriage a license to a person like Davis who has been married multiple times, Peterson explained that it’s an entirely different issue because unlike such marriages, “homosexuality is not about values” and “it’s not about love,” but instead is “based on sex.”

While homosexuality is all about sex, he explained, anti-gay discrimination has nothing to do with sex.

“A marriage is between a man and a woman, not between two men and two women,” he said. “That has been the rule forever, ever since mankind has been on earth, so what homosexuals are trying to do is to get you to change the rules based on sex. And Kim Davis is not concerned about who they have sex with, but when it comes to comparing it to a man and woman being married, then it’s a different story.”

Roy Moore Struggles To Explain Legal Difference Between Interracial And Same-Sex Marriage Bans

Roy Moore, the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, was a guest on Eagle Forum Live over the weekend, where he discussed the recent developments in marriage equality with Anne Cori, Phyllis Schlafly’s niece.

Moore seemed to be thrown a little off guard when a listener called in and asked angrily why “people use the 14th Amendment to protect interracial marriage when the authors of the 14th Amendment were against interracial marriage.” (The Supreme Court has found bans on both same-sex and interracial marriages to be violations of the 14th Amendment.)

Cori interrupted the caller and asked Moore to instead address people who say “you have to agree with same-sex marriage because interracial marriage is okay.”

The difference, Moore said, is that the right to the “pursuit of happiness” found in the Declaration of Independence came from God and God supports interracial marriage but not same-sex marriage.

“I think people today would say that same-sex marriage is a pursuit of happiness,” Cori interjected.

“Well, they would say that, but that’s not the way the laws of God define the pursuit of happiness,” Moore responded. “And pursuit of happiness was given by God and recognized by the United States Supreme Court in 1967 in Loving v. Virginia.”

Of course, interracial marriage opponents at the time were quite certain that God opposed interracial marriage, which had lower levels of public support at the time Loving was decided than same-sex marriage does today.

Larry Pratt: Arrest Judge Who Found Kim Davis In Contempt

Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt called last week for the arrest of Judge David Bunning, the Bush-nominated federal judge who held Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in contempt after she repeatedly defied court orders to let her office issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Pratt told Sam Bushman of the far-right “Liberty Roundtable” radio program on Wednesday, “This district court judge merely withdrew his horns, they haven’t been cut off. And we’re not finished until we can cut that district judge Bunning’s horns off.”

“In fact, he’s the one who should be put in jail for violating his oath of office,” Bushman said.

“Thank you!” Pratt responded.

“It’s an assault on the Constitution,” Pratt added of Bunning’s decision to detain Davis for five days, “it’s something that Joseph Stalin could only have dreamed about, and here we’re doing it to ourselves. It’s really incredible. We have lawyers like this Judge Bunning that are so ignorant of this American republican system that they don’t seem to know their left hand from their right.”

"Either they’re so ignorant and they don’t know," Bushman replied, "or they have hatred and contempt to where they think they are superior, judge, jury and execution is what it turns out to be, they just didn’t get to execute Kim because we all came to her defense."

On the same program, former sheriff and Oath Keepers member Denny Peyman echoed Pratt’s call for Bunning’s arrest.

UPDATE: In a phone call, Bushman told us that he didn't mean to imply that Judge Bunning wanted to execute Kim Davis, but was merely playing off the phrase "judge, jury and executioner" in describing a judiciary that he told us is trying to "concentrate all power." Bushman also objected to the use of the term "far-right" to describe his program, telling us he'd prefer the description, “American that believes in and wants to promote God, family and country and wants to protect life, liberty and property and believes and advocates that this nation shall endure.”

Oath Keepers Sheriff Wants To Arrest Judge Who Jailed Kim Davis

Last week, the armed militia group Oath Keepers caused a bit of a stir when they announced that they were converging on Rowan County, Kentucky, to “protect” anti-gay county clerk Kim Davis from being detained again for refusing to issue marriage licenses. Soon afterwards, the Oath Keepers leadership called off the mission when Davis, through her attorneys at Liberty Counsel, declined their offer of an armed guard to stand off against federal officials, but not before members of the group had already started to arrive in the county.

One of the organizers on the ground for the Oath Keepers’ short-lived Kim Davis mission was Denny Peyman, a former sheriff of Jackson County, Kentucky, and member of the “constitutional sheriffs” movement, which believes that county sheriffs are the nation’s highest law enforcement officers and therefore have the power to unilaterally arrest federal officials.

In an interview with the far-right radio program Liberty Roundtable last Wednesday, the day the Oath Keepers publicly announced their Davis mission, Peyman said that if he had been sheriff when Davis was found in contempt of court for defying court orders to issue marriage licenses, he would have blocked U.S. Marshals from arresting Davis and would have instead personally arrested the judge who found her in contempt.

“I would have loved for that to happen when I was in office,” he said. “It would have been a completely different scenario would have come out of this whole thing.”

“Yeah, Denny Peyman would have bust out and arrested that judge for violating due process, huh?” asked Sam Bushman, the program’s host.

“Exactly,” Peyman responded. “The judges all take care of each other. I’ve turned in enough evidence and stuff and all they do is seal it and make sure it doesn’t get back out. They take care of each other. When I arrested the judge here and stuff, they basically protected him, because they could be next and they know that.”

Later in the interview, Bushman and his cohost Curt Crosby said that the people sheriffs should really be arresting are Hillary Clinton, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and President Obama.

Peyman agreed: “You know, you put a couple of people away, the rest of them might straighten out, you think?”

Update: In a phone call, Bushman disputed the use of the term "far-right" to describe his program, insisting that we instead use the description, “American that believes in and wants to promote God, family and country and wants to protect life, liberty and property and believes and advocates that this nation shall endure.”

Kim Davis Declines Oath Keepers' Offer Of Armed Guard

Yesterday, we reported that the Oath Keepers, a "Patriot" movement group best known for the standoff at the Bundy Ranch and for showing up heavily armed to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, was converging on Kentucky to offer a "security detail" to anti-gay clerk Kim Davis to protect her from further arrest for refusing to do her job and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Now, almost as soon as they arrived, the Oath Keepers are packing up and going home. Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes writes in an email to members today that Davis, through her attorneys at the Religious Right legal group Liberty Counsel, has (probably wisely) declined their offer of assistance. He encourages members to save their gas money for another mission, such as "our planned upcoming operation to guard Texas border ranches against drug cartel violence and invasion":

Upon request by Kim Davis' legal team, Oath Keepers is canceling the planned security detail for Mrs. Davis in Morehead, Kentucky.

Oath Keepers has been contacted by Kim Davis' legal team at Liberty Counsel, and they have, on her behalf, declined our offer of assistance in protecting her from a possible repeat incarceration by Federal District Court judge David Bunning. We will, of course, respect her wishes, and are hereby issuing a stand-down for our security volunteers who were planning on deploying to Morehead, Kentucky on Monday.

Oath Keepers will NOT be conducting a security detail for Mrs. Davis.  We always seek the full consent and cooperation of anyone we protect, and we must respect their wishes if they decline that protection. Anyone who was planning on going to Morehead, KY to serve on the security detail are now asked to not do so. We do thank you most sincerely for your willingness to step up, as unpaid volunteers, in defense of due process.   That was a very honorable intent, and we commend you.

This is a free country, and of course you are free to still go there on Monday and peaceably assemble to express your support for her due process rights and your opposition to arbitrary arrest if you want to, but Oath Keepers will not be conducting a security detail, and she apparently does not want anyone else to do so. Therefore, we encourage you to save your gas money and time off work for another security detail, at another time (such as for our planned upcoming operation to guard Texas border ranches against drug cartel violence and invasion).

We have not talked to Mrs. Davis directly, and therefore we don't know her reasoning or ultimate intent, but we do note that civil disobedience where the person is willing to allow themselves to be unlawfully arrested and are willing to go to jail to make a point, is a time honored, respectable, and honorable American tradition going back to Henry David  Thoreau.  We must respect that if it turns out to be her chosen strategy.  There is more than one way to skin a cat, and such non-resistant civil-disobedience can be a powerful tool in resisting tyranny.  Or it may be that she is confident of making an accommodation.   We don't know, but regardless we will respect her wishes and stay out of it.

Rhodes ends with a "special message to our critics":

As for the many harsh critics of our offer to protect Mrs. Davis, it is frankly sad that so many Americans cannot understand taking a stand in defense of someone's due process rights regardless of who that person is, what they stand for, or what they are accused of doing or have done.   That should not matter, and all that should matter is our common ground of the Bill of Rights and the hard-won rights of due process and in particular jury trial.   As I told one person who wrote in:

You can't see past your opposition to what she did long enough to see our point about due process and the dangers of having judges use their contempt power like a magic wand to put people into indefinite detention till they submit.  Please try to focus on the due process rights of the accused, not on the particular crime.   I would, and have, stood up for the due process rights or anyone, regardless of the accusations made against them.  I did so during the Bush Admin, when I stood up for the due process rights of Yasir Hamdi and Jose Padila, both of whom are Muslim Americans who were held in indefinite detention by Bush.  I also stood up for the due process rights of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.   And the paper I wrote at Yale Law about that won Yale's top prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights.  But that was during the Bush years, and was a harsh criticism of what a Republican was doing to Muslims. so the leftist professors at Yale ate it up.
Now, with the shoe on the other foot, leftists are apparently as blind to the bedrock issues of due process for someone they despise - Davis - as the Bush supporters were when it came to someone they despised - Jose Padilla and Yasir Hamdi.

Clearly, in America, what matters most is whether the accused is seen as a "good guy" or a "bad guy" and if seen as being bad, then there is zero concern for due process and people will clamor for expedited punishment.   I suppose that is just a reflection of human nature.  But sad nonetheless.

Now, after a cycle of the Republicans in power, and then the Democrats, with both exponentially growing the military industrial complex, national security surveillance state over us, I see that Orwell was right when he said "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."  It doesn't matter to me whether it is a right boot or a left boot.  Or whether you think the person being smashed deserves it.  I oppose it.  - Stewart

Tony Perkins' Surprisingly Apt Kim Davis Analogy

The Religious Right activists who frequently claim that they are simply seeking to “live and let live” in a country that increasingly favors LGBT rights and other social progress sometimes compare themselves to the Pilgrims, citing the historical myth that the American concept of religious liberty originated with early Puritan governments.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, made this argument on his “Washington Watch” radio program today in response to a caller who claimed that the arrest of Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who attempted to bar her entire office from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, portends laws making it “illegal to pray in the military” and is reminiscent of Nazi “legislation trying to annihilate the Jews.”

“It’s just kind of sad that if you have religious beliefs you can’t be an elected official,” the caller said.

Perkins agreed, attacking the “intentional” “misconception” that “religious liberty is simply the freedom to pick the church of your choice” rather than the freedom of people like Kim Davis to impose their religious views on everyone else.

“Do you really think that William Bradford and the Pilgrims came to America, to this land, seeking just to move their church membership because they couldn’t find a church that they really liked there in England or Holland, where they were before they came back to England?” he asked. “I don’t think so. And, in fact, they had religious freedom in Holland but they didn’t have the ability to build community and a framework to live under based on their religious freedom. That’s why they risked it all to come to what we now know as the United States of America.”

“They came here for the same thing that Kim Davis is asking for,” he said, “religious freedom. Not freedom of worship, but the freedom of religion.”

Perkins may have accidentally made the perfect Kim Davis analogy. The Puritans traveled to Plymouth Colony after a stint in Holland where, as historian Robert Tracy McKenzie notes, they “encountered a religious tolerance almost unheard of in that day and age.” In America, he writes, “they hoped to live by themselves, enjoy the same degree of religious liberty and earn a ‘better and easier’ living.” In doing so, they set up a theocracy, where, as PBS writes, they sought “religious freedom—but only for themselves.”

Perkins is absolutely right that Kim Davis and her supporters are seeking something similar to what the Pilgrims sought in the 17th century : not the freedom of religion, but a religious state, governed by them.

FRC Official: Call Gay Marriage 'Garriage' And Lesbian Marriage 'Larriage'

Pat Fagan, the director of the Family Research Council’s Marriage and Religious Research Institute, suggested yesterday that marriage equality opponents start referring to gay men’s marriages as “garriage” and lesbians’ marriages as “larriage,” with the overarching term for “homosexual marriage” being “harriage.”

Fagan made his proposal in a question to Ryan T. Anderson, the marriage equality opponent who was presenting on his new book “Truth Overruled” at FRC’s office.

"A proposal," Fagan said, "something along this line, that we in the pro-family movement start using related terms, but keep ‘marriage’ for what it always was. So we might call — and this is to be worked out — but something like, if you're talking about gay marriage you call it ‘garriage.’ If it’s lesbian, you call it 'larriage.' If you want a generic homosexual marriage it’s ‘harriage.’ But getting these words into use I think is key. And that will take time, but whomever holds the language ultimately holds the whole game.”

Anderson, who has been doing his best to soften the public face of opposition to marriage equality, politely told Fagan that while his “broader point” was “exactly right,” his “only concern with the three terms that you suggest is how will that be heard by other people?”

H/T reader Erik

Oath Keepers Send Armed Guards To Protect Kim Davis From US Marshals

The Oath Keepers, the anti-government “Patriot” group that mounted an armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management at the Bundy Ranch, stationed armed guards outside of military recruitment centers after the Chattanooga shooting, and unsettled Ferguson protestors when they showed up carrying assault weapons, is now offering anti-gay Kentucky clerk Kim Davis a “security detail” to protect her from further arrest if she continues to defy the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes announced yesterday that he had reached out to Davis’ lawyers at Liberty Counsel to offer the protection of his group, which he says is already forming a presence in Rowan County, Kentucky, where Davis was recently released from jail after prohibiting her office from issuing marriage licenses. Rhodes said in a statement that his position has nothing to do with gay marriage, but rather his conviction that Davis had been illegally detained by the federal judge who held her in contempt for violating multiple court orders.

In a phone call with former Jackson County, Kentucky, Sheriff Denny Peyman and other local Oath Keepers activists, Rhodes said that he was on his way to Kentucky to help with the Davis operation. Although the group had originally intended to picket outside the home of the judge who held Davis in contempt, he said, they had changed their plan when she was released on Tuesday.

Rhodes said that the Rowan County sheriff should have blocked U.S. Marshals from detaining Davis, but since neither the sheriff nor the state’s governor will do their “job” and “intercede” on behalf of Davis, the Oath Keepers will have to do it instead. “As far as we’re concerned, this is not over,” he said, “and this judge needs to be put on notice that his behavior is not going to be accepted and we’ll be there to stop it and intercede ourselves if we have to. If the sheriff, who should be interceding, is not going to do his job and the governor is not going to do the governor’s job of interceding, then we’ll do it.”

Peyman suggested that he meet with the Rowan County sheriff to “educate him” on his responsibility to block the actions of the federal courts, but in the meantime, Rhodes said, “our guys are already there and more coming” and they are ready to “lead by example” by preventing Davis from being arrested again.

When Rhodes asked Peyman what he would have done if he were sheriff of Rowan County when Davis was detained, Peyman said he would have stopped the arrest.

“This is exactly the kind of thing that our Founding Fathers dealt with when dealing with the magistrates and the officers of the crown who wanted to run roughshod over the rights of the colonists without a jury indictment, without any of that,” Rhodes declared. “Same thing. They’re going to show their power and show you who’s boss.”

Although Rhodes's anti-government extremism doesn't always align with the Religious Right, his rhetoric on Davis not far from that of the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, who said that U.S. Marshals and county prison officials should have refused to participate in Davis' detention because they have no obligation to follow “laws that have no moral foundation that are actually in contradiction to moral law and truth.”

UPDATE: Rhodes reports that Davis, through her Liberty Counsel attorneys, has declined Oath Keepers' offer and he has ordered members of his group to "stand down."

This post has been corrected to note that Peyman is the former sheriff of Jackson County.

Kim Davis Attorney: Marriage Equality Will Bar All Christians From Public Office

Mat Staver, the head of Liberty Counsel and the attorney representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her effort to bar her office from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, claimed yesterday that if Davis doesn’t get her way then Christians will be effectively barred from holding all public offices.

Interviewing Staver on his “Washington Watch” program, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said that he was “very disappointed” in Republicans who have suggested that Davis resign from her position if she is unwilling to perform a major part of her job.

“That would establish a reverse religious test where if you hold an orthodox religious view of marriage, you would be barred from holding public office,” Perkins said.

Staver agreed with Perkins, noting that Davis “believes God called her” to run for clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky.

“But if what we do is follow the advice of some of these Republican candidates that say she needs to resign, well what does that mean?” he asked. “That means that Kim Davis and anyone else who is an elected official … that means you have to check your faith at the ballot box. And once you’re elected, you have to change your faith, put it aside, transgress it, you cannot have your conscience accommodated. ‘No more Christians need to run for office,’ that’s essentially the message, and if you’re in office you need to resign your post immediately. Now what kind of America is that? It’s certainly not the America that the Founders envisioned and I don’t think it’s the kind of America that most people want.”

“It won’t stop with this issue, Mat,” Perkins warned. “It will be something else next. This is the time to stand and exercise our religious freedom lest we lose that religious freedom.”

Staver claimed that Davis was merely seeking the “simple accommodation” that her name be removed from marriage licenses in the county — a new line from the attorney who has been urging public officials to defy the marriage equality decision lest they run afoul of God’s law .

Davis, he said, is the first of many Christians who will be jailed “for their religious beliefs” thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision.

“This is a tragedy, it’s the first Christian jailed since the decision of the Supreme Court on June 26 on marriage,” he said. “But unfortunately, Tony, as you and I fear, I don't think this is going to be the last Christian jailed for their religious beliefs and conscience that collide with this issue of same-sex marriage.”

“No, not as long as there are Christians who are willing to live their lives according to their faith,” Perkins agreed, “and there are a lot of them out there.”

Bobby Jindal: 'If You Disagree With Gay Marriage, They Put You In Jail'

Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana claimed yesterday that people are being put in jail in the U.S. because they “disagree with gay marriage,” even as Hillary Clinton remains “one email away from going to jail.”

When Iowa talk radio host Simon Conway asked Jindal about Clinton’s apology for use of a private email server while at the State Department, the Republican presidential candidate replied, “I thought she was apologizing for this failed foreign policy, I thought she was apologizing for Benghazi, for failing to stand with Israel, for allowing Iran to become a nuclear power. She’s got a lot to apologize for.”

Jindal contrasted Clinton with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was briefly held by U.S. Marshals when she was found in contempt of court for barring her office from issuing marriage licenses, which he claimed shows that you can be put in jail if “you disagree with gay marriage.” (Back in 2009, Jindal took a very different tack with a justice of the peace who cited his personal beliefs in refusing to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple, demanding that the official lose his job.)

“Here’s where we are in our country today,” he said. “If you disagree with gay marriage, they put you in jail, as you see what happened in Kentucky, and yet if you mishandle national security information you’re allowed to run for president. It’s a crazy, crazy world we live in.”

Staver: Requiring Kim Davis To Do Her Job Is Like Forcing Her 'To Grant A License To Sodomize Children'

Mat Staver, the Liberty Counsel attorney who is representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during her ongoing refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses, appeared on the "WallBuilders Live" radio program today, where he said that requiring Davis to issue such marriage licenses is like requiring her to provide licenses to "sodomize children."

"A clerk provides licenses to do something," Staver explained. "A license to operate a motor vehicle on the road, a license to build a particular facility or a license to do this or a license to do that or a license to operate a business. So that person is licensing someone to do something and in this case, they're licensing what? They're licensing something that is directly contrary to the core of their religious convictions, to engage in sinful activity among same-sex relations and sanction something that is contrary to the Scriptures and that is marriage of two people of the same sex."

"To force someone like that to give a license for something that will legalize, that will put a stamp of approval on something that is absolute rebellion against God, sinful, then that is a direct collision of unprecedented magnitude," he continued, saying that requiring Davis to do her job is like requiring her "to grant a license to engage in pornography, to grant a license to sodomize children or something of that nature."

Christian Reconstrucionist Michael Peroutka Joins Kim Davis Fan Club

Michael Peroutka, a neo-confederate whose Institute on the Constitution promotes a far-right Christian Reconstructionist view of religion and government, has joined the chorus of right-wing voices that have gathered to defend Kim Davis, the county clerk jailed for contempt of court after refusing to obey a court order that she issue marriage licenses to qualified same-sex couples.

Peroutka appeared at a rally with other Davis supporters over the weekend, declaring, “Kim Davis has given all believers a lesson in faithfulness.”

Peroutka ran as a Republican and won a seat on the county council of Ann Arundel County, Maryland, last year, once declared that the Maryland General Assembly had no legitimacy after passing gay-rights legislation that he said violated God’s law. Peroutka is also a long-time funder of the right-wing activism of Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who has also been promoting resistance to the “tyranny” of judges who rule for marriage equality.

An NBC News story on Peroutka’s support for Kim Davis quoted him saying, “There is no law that requires her to grant a marriage license to people of the same sex. The Court has had many opinions ... but they are not law."

Earlier this year, Peroutka’s Institute on the Constitution warned U.S. Supreme Court justices that striking down state bans on marriage equality “could bring God’s judgment on the Nation.”

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