Wisconsin Family Action Reacts to 7th Circuit’s Ruling on Marriage

Court says Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment is unconstitutional

WFA LogoMADISON—Today the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment, ruling it unconstitutional, just nine days after oral arguments.

“We are deeply disappointed but not surprised at this ruling,” said Wisconsin Family Action President Julaine Appling. We knew we had the most liberal panel of judges on the 7th Circuit. When they denied the state’s request to have the case heard before all ten judges on the court, we pretty much knew what to expect.”

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on Wisconsin’s marriage protection amendment and Indiana’s marriage law last Tuesday in Chicago.

“I was in the courtroom last Tuesday. I knew then what the outcome was going to be. Judge Posner in particular made his opinion quite clear. His clarity took a backseat only to his sarcasm,” Appling noted.

The opinion affirmed District Judge Barbara Crabb’s ruling and judgment, which means that the stay on removing the amendment remains in place while the case works its way through the appeals process. Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen has publicly indicated that the state will appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court.

Twenty states have had similar rulings. Already the 4th, 6th and 10th Circuit Courts of Appeal are either petitioning the US Supreme Court to take their cases or will be soon.

“We’ve known all along these cases from all across the country would end up at the US Supreme Court. Apparently the 7th Circuit wants to get in at the front of the line on that process,” Appling commented.

Yesterday a federal judge in Louisiana issued a ruling affirming that state’s marriage protection amendment.

Appling commented, “We finally have a federal judge with courage, common sense and an understanding of the law—one that is not in the pocket of a small minority of people that are determined to redefine and thereby deconstruct society’s most important institution. That’s hopeful as we head to the highest court in the land.

“The struggle to preserve and protect traditional marriage is far from over. This ruling does not change the fact that a marriage of one man and one woman is the healthiest, most prosperous, and most stable place not only for the man and woman but also for the children they may bring into the world. The ruling is a denial of reality. While every marriage may not have children, every child has both a mother and father. This ruling denies children of either a mother or a father. Our organization will continue to aggressively take the message everywhere across this state that marriage between a man and woman is good not only for the individuals in a given marriage, but is also good for Wisconsin,” Appling concluded.

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Wisconsin Family Action Asks, “What Happened to “We, the People?”

Federal judge strikes down WI Marriage Protection Amendment

Press release from Wisconsin Family Action:

MADISON—Today US District Judge Barbara Crabb struck down Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment, ruling it unconstitutional.

“We are deeply disappointed but not surprised at Judge Crabb’s ruling,” said Wisconsin Family AcImagetion President Julaine Appling.  “All over the country federal judges have replaced “We, the people” with “I, the judge” when ruling on state constitutional amendments that define and protect marriage as one man and one woman.  Rather than going through the stringent legislative process required to place a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot for a vote, radical homosexuals have used the courts to nullify the vote of a majority of Wisconsin citizens as well as those in 26 other states.”

ImageWith a single stroke of a single judge’s pen, marriage has been turned on its head in Wisconsin, effective immediately.  Wisconsin Family Action anticipates a hearing on whether or not the judge will put a stay on her ruling.  It also hopes that Attorney General JB Van Hollen will file a timely appeal of this decision with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“The struggle to preserve and protect traditional marriage is far from over and will continue,” said Appling.  “A benighted judge’s ruling cannot change the fact that a marriage of one man and one woman is the healthiest, most prosperous, and most stable place not only for the man and woman but also for the children they may bring into the world.  Trying to destroy an institution that has served and prospered societies for thousands of years is the height of arrogance and a gross pandering to a well organized, well funded, very small minority who, rather than take this important issue to the people of Wisconsin, did an end run around the will of the people.”

Should we be doing yet another social experiment on children? Mom and Dad still best environment

From the desk of Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling:

What’s the best environment for children? That’s a question we had all better be paying attention to, especially lawmakers and other government officials. Our future depends on getting this one right.

It’s not really that hard of a question. People just don’t always like the answer. Social science research shows repeatedly and conclusively that the very best environment for children is to be brought up in the homes of their married moms and dads.

It really doesn’t matter what characteristic you look at. Children from intact mom-and-dad families do better than their peers in other household arrangements and avoid many of the problems that those children frequently encounter.

Children from married mother-father homes are less likely to experience poverty, do better in school, are more likely to finish high school, have better health, are less likely to be physically or sexually abused, are less likely to develop drug or alcohol addictions, are less likely to become sexually active at early ages, are likely to earn more, are more likely to go on for higher education, and are less likely to themselves divorce. That’s just a sampling of the conclusions social science again and again and again determines from their studies.

Extrapolating from this information, we can properly assume that children from intact, married mom-and-dad homes grow up, on average, to be good citizens, givers more than takers, strong contributors to their own families and communities, and skilled and good workers.

If government is concerned about anything, it should be concerned about the next generation of workers, taxpayers, leaders, entrepreneurs, creative geniuses, teachers and more. It’s the next generation that will one day pay the bills—and the debt—that government generates.

Apparently, however, government is willing to ignore the data that continues to pour in regarding what is best for children. Their policies and positions certainly would indicate that is the case. For instance, while no reliable study and data show that children brought up in the homes of two men or two women do as well as children brought up in the homes of married men and women, the government, including judges, keep touting that this household structure is just fine for children.

Some argue that given enough time, the data will change and will show what they want it to show—that children in same-sex households do just as well—or even better—than children in married mom-and-dad families. I don’t believe that reliable, reputable research will ever show that; but beyond that, I don’t think we should be doing yet another social experiment on children. Haven’t we learned the hard way from no-fault divorce?

I guess not since there continues to be an aggressive push to make all forms of households equal when it comes to children.

Mom and DadAt the State Republican Convention a couple of weeks ago, a resolution entitled “Family Values and Sanctity of Human Life.” In that resolution, there were some excellent statements made about life and about religious freedom. Also included was this statement: “Be it further resolved, that marriage between a man and a woman is the best environment to raise children and to teach them the values and morals required to maintain a free society.”

When the resolution came to the floor, a delegate rose and identified himself as being a representative from the Log Cabin Republicans, the pro-homosexual subset of the Republican Party. He wanted to amend this part of the resolution to say, “a household with two parents in a committed relationship is the best environment to raise children.” It’s pretty obvious what he was trying to do—have the party endorse same-sex relationships and same-sex adoption. An interesting debate ensued. Some rose to support this delegate’s amendment, but many others rose to voice their opposition.

Fortunately, in the end the amendment was defeated and the resolution was resoundingly passed and is now part of the Republican Party of Wisconsin’s official party platform. However, it’s the first time I know of where the Log Cabin Republicans were that visible and vocal at the convention and also the first time there has been an overt, from-the-floor attempt to change the state Republican Party’s position on this foundational issue. I’m grateful the majority of the delegates stood strong, recognizing that what is truly best for children, but I do consider this a shot across the bow that some in the state GOP are pushing hard for a very dangerous change to the party’s position.

What shows up in a party platform is meaningless unless those who are elected wholeheartedly agree and enact policies that strengthen, preserve and promote the kind of family structures that are truly best for our future because they are best for children.

ACLU: Attacking Marriage; Usurping the Process

From the desk of Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling:

The debate went something like this, Attorney one: “If the people of Wisconsin want to change the definition of marriage, they can do that if they want to. But right now they’ve made a decision, and it’s a wise decision to promote both sexes, the diversity of mothers and fathers in our families.  That’s not an unreasonable thing at all, recognizing that kids have mothers and fathers. That’s the decision they’ve made, and they’ve made since the beginning of their statehood; and the Supreme Court has affirmed that that is constitutional for them to do.”

Attorney 2’s response: “How long do we ask people in loving, committed relationships, raising children together already, to wait for fair treatment for recognition of their loving relationships? Do we ask the legislature, this legislature in Wisconsin which is very unlikely, to put that to the voters?  Do we ask them to wait for two separate sessions of the legislature, two-year sessions of the legislature and another vote….?”  

ImageThat was a virtually word-for-word repeating of the debate I listened to last week about the lawsuit that the ACLU has filed on behalf of four homosexual couples.  The lawsuit was filed in Wisconsin’s Western District Federal Court and alleges that the Marriage Protection Amendment that nearly 60% of the voters approved in 2006 violates the US Constitution. 

Beyond undoing the amendment, this lawsuit also asks the court to strike any gender specific language in relationship to marriage from our state statutes.  So, essentially, if the court agrees with the ACLU and these eight homosexuals, then theoretically, Wisconsin will have redefined marriage with the stroke of a judge’s pen. 

Now, I am not saying this happens at the first level of the judicial process. Typically what the judge does is make his or her determination and then, if the decision is an overturning of current law, will put a “stay” on the order, pending the case working its way through the appeals process.  The stay basically says nothing changes in the law until all appeal options have been pursued and a final decision rendered, usually by the US Supreme Court by taking the case and rendering a decision or by that court not taking the case and forcing the decision of the appellate court to stand.  However, it would still be true that marriage would be essentially redefined in the judge’s opinion.  All that stops that from happening is the judge being prudent and exercising the stay.  And the judge does not have to exercise that option.

ImageSo that brings us back to the debate between the ACLU attorney and the attorney defending our marriage protection amendment.  Basically what the ACLU attorney is saying is, “We don’t care about the rule of law.  We don’t care about the constitutional provision that dictates how we amend the state constitution.  We want what we want, when we want it and we’ll use whatever means we have to in order to get what we want.  We don’t care about children. We don’t care about religious freedom.  We want these loving and committed same-sex couples to have their relationships recognized and affirmed now.”

Quite honestly, there is no other reason for them to circumvent the rule of law in this situation than that they, like two-year-olds, are demanding their way right now. 

The Wisconsin Constitution says to amend the constitution, you need to pass the exact same resolution in the state legislature in two consecutive legislative sessions and then get a simple majority vote among the state’s voters on a statewide ballot.  It’s purposefully rigorous and time consuming. 

But those bent on redefining marriage for everyone have once again run to the courts hoping to avoid this prudent process and mostly hoping to avoid having to take their proposed redefinition of marriage to the people for a vote.

You should be appalled by this ACLU-led lawsuit. If you were one of the over 2 million Wisconsin citizens who voted for the amendment in 2006, you should be outraged that your vote could be negated by a single judge.  You should be alarmed that the rule of law is being blatantly ignored and bypassed. You should be very concerned about what this lawsuit could mean to you, to your family-owned business, to your religious freedom, to what your kids learn in the public school and more. 

Marriage is once again under attack in Wisconsin.  We urge you to pray and to stay informed.  Be prepared to talk knowledgeably and wisely about this issue with people in your sphere of influence, including your family members and your church leadership.  Much is at stake as these whining and demanding plaintiffs usurp the constitutional process to get their way. 

Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Amendment Under Fire; WFA President Responds

ACLU files lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s

Marriage Protection Amendment

“Keeping marriage between a man and a woman

is vital for future generations.”

-WFA president Julaine Appling

Via JSOnline:

Madison — Four same-sex couples sued Gov. Scott Walker and other public officials Monday in an attempt to overturn Wisconsin’s seven-year-old amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage.

The lawsuit, which Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen immediately pledged to fight, also seeks to block the state’s obscure “marriage evasion” law that makes it a crime for couples here to get married in another state if the marriage wouldn’t be recognized in Wisconsin.

>>>>>read more here

ImageWisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling responded today stating, “We aren’t surprised by this lawsuit; those determined to redefine marriage have challenged a number of marriage protection amendments in other states since the US Supreme Court struck down a portion of the federal Defense of marriage Act this past June.  We believe our marriage protection amendment language is strong and will withstand constitutional scrutiny.”

Appling further concluded that Wisconsin Family Action may become engaged in the fight with the ACLU’s lawsuit, just as it’s fought against same-sex “marriage” in the past. “WFA championed traditional marriage and worked hard to defend and promote it in the state. We would, at a minimum, do a friend of the court brief,” Appling stated, “Wisconsinites gave their opinions when they voted in favor of traditional marriage by nearly 60% in 2006. I believe that these voters expressed what they believed, what they wanted, and that they understood the amendment.”

Price of Christian Citizenship: Compromise?

ImageFrom the desk of Wisconsin Family Action/Wisconsin Family Council president Julaine Appling:

Last week, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled in a case that I believe will have significant repercussions across the country.  Here’s the background.

A husband and wife, Jon and Elaine Huguenin, own a photography company, Elane Photography—a family business—in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Jon and Elaine are committed Christians, attempting to live their faith in real life. They provide private sittings, weddings and other photography services. One day in 2006 two women came into their studio and wanted to talk about hiring Elane Photgraphy to photograph a wedding.  When it came out that it was a same-sex ceremony, Elane Photgraphy declined to take the event.

Per the Hugueins’ testimony, Elane Photography will photograph individuals who might be homosexuals, but they will not photograph a ceremony that publicly stands for something they totally disagree with. From their perspective, doing so puts their stamp of approval on the redefinition of marriage.  As Christians they believe God’s plan for marriage is inviolate and that attempts to redefine it are wrong.

Sometime after this incident, one of the two women seeking their services filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission.  The complaint alleged that Elane Photography, and by extension its owners, the Huguenins, violated New Mexico’s human rights law because they denied service to the women based on their sexual orientation.

New Mexico’s human rights law prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, sexual orientation and other protected classes in public accommodations. Public accommodations is defined as “any establishment that provides or offers its services…or goods to the public,”.

In 2008 the New Mexico Human Rights Commission ruled that Elane Photgraphy had violated the law by denying its publicly advertised services based on sexual orientation.  Eventually, the case made its way to the New Mexico Supreme Court. That court last week agreed with the Human Rights Commission and found the Huguenins guilty of breaking New Mexico’s human rights law.

In the crosshairs of this case is, of course, the Hugueins religious liberty. In this instance, their religious liberty was solidly trumped by New Mexico’s so-called human rights law.  The majority opinion in this case is sobering, but what was especially attention-getting is the concurring opinion written by Justice Richard C. Bosson.  Listen carefully to what this justice said: “…the Huguenins…now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives. Though the rule of law requires it, the result is sobering. It will no doubt leave a tangible mark on the Huguenins and others of similar views.

“On a larger scale, this case provokes reflection on what this nation is all about, its promise of fairness, liberty, equality of opportunity, and justice. At its heart, this case teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others. A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of our nation’s strengths, demands no less. The Huguenins are free to think, to say, to believe, as they wish; they may pray to the God of their choice and follow those commandments in their personal lives wherever they lead. The Constitution protects the Huguenins in that respect and much more. But there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life.

“In the smaller, more focused world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public accommodation, the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people. That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of the world. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship. I therefore concur.”

I hope you caught the essence here and I hope you are alarmed.  This justice who voted against the religious freedom of this company and its owners, said people of faith have to pay a price to be a citizen and that price is the compromise of one’s faith.  Further, this justice is clearly saying we can believe what we want as long as we keep it private but we don’t have the right to hold our beliefs in our businesses or maybe anywhere else in public. That may be freedom of worship, but that is not freedom of religion and that’s what the First Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees us.

The drum beat against religious freedom has gotten louder and faster.  Silencing our beliefs is part of what must be done to advance the liberal agenda.  What’s your religious freedom worth to you?

Alliance Defending Freedom Exposes NM Judge’s Decision as “Feature of Dictatorship”

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ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM COMMENT
August 22, 2013 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT MEDIA AND PUBLIC RELATIONS: (480) 444-0020 or www.adfmedia.org/home/contact

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Justice Richard C. Bosson

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence regarding the New Mexico Supreme Court’s decision Thursday in Elane Photography v. Willock, a case involving a photographer who declined to use her artistic expression to visually portray the story of a same-sex ceremony between two women who later sued after finding another photographer:

“Government-coerced expression is a feature of dictatorships that has no place in a free country. This decision is a blow to our client and every American’s right to live free. Decisions like this undermine the constitutionally protected freedoms of expression and conscience that we have all taken for granted. America was founded on the fundamental freedom of every citizen to live and work according to their beliefs and not to be compelled by the government to express ideas and messages they decline to support. We are considering our next steps, including asking the U.S. Supreme Court to right this wrong.”

Select excerpts from Justice Richard C. Bosson’s concurrence accompanying the court’s decision (p. 30):

“…the Huguenins…now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives. Though the rule of law requires it, the result is sobering. It will no doubt leave a tangible mark on the Huguenins and others of similar views.”

“On a larger scale, this case provokes reflection on what this nation is all about, its promise of fairness, liberty, equality of opportunity, and justice. At its heart, this case teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others. A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of our nation’s strengths, demands no less. The Huguenins are free to think, to say, to believe, as they wish; they may pray to the God of their choice and follow those commandments in their personal lives wherever they lead. The Constitution protects the Huguenins in that respect and much more. But there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life.”

“In the smaller, more focused world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public accommodation, the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people. That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of the world. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship. I therefore concur.”

  • Rasmussen poll: “85% Think Christian Photographer Has Right to Turn Down Same-Sex Wedding Job”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

 

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