You could say Liberty Counsel had a bad September.
When Mat Staver, founder of the Religious Right legal group, announced that Pope Francis secretly met with his client, Kim Davis, during the recent U.S. papal tour, it should have been a moment of glory for the organization.
In a September letter to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, Americans United’s Legislative Department urged representatives to reject a proposed bill that would allow religious exemptions from the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate. HR 2061, also called the Equitable Access to Care and Health Act (EACH), is intended to permit individuals to opt out of purchasing insurance. It is heavily supported by the Church of Christ, Scientist.
It seems two bakers in Oregon are positioning themselves to be the Religious Right’s next martyrs by refusing to pay a fine for discriminating against a same-sex couple.
Call it a new front in the “culture wars.”
The U.S. Supreme Court made it unequivocally clear on June 26 in Obergefell v. Hodges, that same-sex couples have the right to marry. But as predicted, the Religious Right has been reluctant to admit defeat.
In the wake of the verdict, certain public officials across the country refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In some cases, they stopped issuing licenses to all couples, regardless of orientation, in an attempt to skirt the ruling.
The Colorado Court of Appeals has protected the constitutional rights of same-sex couples and ruled against a baker seeking a “religious freedom” right to discriminate, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says. Americans United had filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case.
Some Religious Right operatives have said they would rather go to jail than accept marriage equality in the states. Although Texas’ attorney general has not yet made so bold a statement, he may nonetheless spend some time behind bars for his refusal to cooperate with the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage decision.
The far right makes no secret of its hatred for the Internal Revenue Service, but recent comments by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen should earn the agency a few brownie points with fundamentalists who fear that Christian colleges will be forced to extend benefits to married same-sex couples or risk their tax exemptions.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals acted correctly today by upholding Washington state regulations that require pharmacies to fill prescriptions that their owners may find objectionable, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says.
Americans United filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the most recent version of the case, arguing that the regulations do not violate the religious freedom rights of pharmacy owners.