All posts from “July 2010”

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July 8, 2010

U.S. Judge: Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

A Massachusetts-based judge ruled today that a federal ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional because it interferes with state's rights to define marriage, according to the Associated Press.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro ruled on two challenges to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The state had argued the law denied benefits such as Medicaid to gay married couples in Massachusetts, where same-sex unions have been legal since 2004.

Tauro agreed, and said the act forces Massachusetts to discriminate against its own citizens.

"The federal government, by enacting and enforcing DOMA, plainly encroaches upon the firmly entrenched province of the state, and in doing so, offends the Tenth Amendment. For that reason, the statute is invalid," Tauro wrote in a ruling in a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Ruling in a separate case filed by Gays & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Tauro found that DOMA violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.


The Family Research Council's Tom McClusky issued a statement saying the organization is confident the decision will be overturned on appeal.

"The federal DOMA does not violate equal protection principles and has not interfered with Massachusetts' freedom to determine its own definition of marriage," he said. "In part, this decision results from the deliberately weak legal defense of DOMA that was mounted on behalf of the government by the Obama administration, which has called for repeal of the law."

The Boston Globe has more on the case.

July 7, 2010

Evangelicals Push Response to Arizona's Immigration Law

Evangelical leaders participated in a conference call with Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform today as the Obama administration heads into a legal battle over Arizona's immigration law.

Today's group included Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Joel Hunter, pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed, and Samuel Rodriguez, president of The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

The Obama administration filed a federal lawsuit against Arizona's new immigration law that focuses on why federal immigration laws enforced by federal agencies should take precedence to laws passed by a state. Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Utah are all preparing measures similar to Arizona's law, according to The Washington Post.

Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice will file an amicus brief in support of Arizona's law.

"It's troubling that the federal government, which has repeatedly failed to secure our nation's borders, is now attempting to punish the state of Arizona for doing just that," he said in a statement.

Dan Gilgoff reported on CNN which evangelicals attended President Obama's speech last week: Land, Rodriguez, the National Association of Evangelicals' Leith Anderson, and Willow Creek pastor Bill Hybels.

After Obama's speech, Land issued a statement praising the president. “In any marriage, you have to first have an initial proposal," he said. "The President proposed this morning. It’s up to the Congress to now accept that proposal or to construct its own proposal and to bring forth a bill that will consummate the marriage."

He discussed his support for immigration reform in an interview with NPR. "If the new conservative coalition is going to be a governing coalition, it's going to have to have a significant number of Hispanics in it," he said. "That's dictated by demographics, and you don't get large numbers of Hispanics to support you when you're engaged in anti-Hispanic immigration rhetoric."

Rodriguez wrote about evangelicals' partnership with Obama on the Washington Post's On Faith site. Associated Baptist Press reports on the number of Baptists who support immigration reform.