Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Inside the ACLU's Pro-Illegal Alien Agenda

Liberty Counsel President Anita Staver recently participated in a lengthy interview on the Andrea Shea King show, with Hazelton, PA mayor Lou Barletta. The issues was the illegal alien problem in that city and the immigration crisis in America.

Andrea Shea King has posted some information on her "Radio Patriot" blog today, including the recorded interview.

There is also an important Petition to President Bush at www.libertyaction.org

Monday, August 20, 2007

CNN Presents: God's Warriors, Featuring Mathew Staver and Rev. Jerry Falwell

CNN visited Liberty Counsel, Liberty University and its School of Law recently as part of an extensive documentary regarding the effect of Christianity on politics, culture, and public life. CNN will debut "God's Warriors," a three-night documentary premiering tomorrow, which investigates three faiths: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Each faith is featured separately, from 9 to 11 pm ET, beginning with Judaism on Tuesday and ending with "God's Christian Warriors" on Thursday night.

"God's Christian Warriors" will lead off with the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder of Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty University, the world's largest evangelical university. Christiane Amanpour flew from London to conduct the interview, which was Rev. Falwell's last media appearance before he died on May 15.

Following Rev. Falwell are interviews with Mathew Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, and Megan and Mandy Chapman. Staver spoke about training a new a generation of lawyers, judges and policymakers to influence law and public policy from the perspective of a Christian worldview. He also spoke of Liberty Counsel's success defending religious freedom in the courts. Megan and Mandy were Liberty Counsel clients, whom Liberty Counsel successfully defended against the ACLU regarding graduation prayer. They both now attend Liberty University, and Megan is an intern with Liberty Counsel.

CNN spent eight days filming Liberty Counsel and Liberty University. One of the interviews with Dean Staver was done against the backdrop of the School of Law's unique Supreme Courtroom, where the central features reflect an exact replica of the U.S. Supreme Court.

CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour traveled to six countries on four continents with the intention of discovering how three major religions impact people's lives and the world around us. As Amanpour explains, "There are millions of people around the world who feel that their faith is being ignored - pushed aside - and they are certain they know how to make the world right. We cannot and should not ignore them. And, with this report, we've tried to explain them."

The Christian worldview animates everything we do. We are training a new generation of lawyers, judges, policymakers and world leaders to have a positive impact on law and policy. Our faith does matter. Silence and apathy are not an option. Prayer and action will change the culture for good.

Friday, August 17, 2007

California Supreme Court Considers Conflict Over State Defense Of Marriage Act

Today Liberty Counsel filed briefs at the California Supreme Court in the ongoing battle to protect marriage laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Liberty Counsel represents the Campaign for Children and Families (CCF). Opposing parties include San Francisco and several pro-homosexual groups. The California Supreme Court is expected to hold oral argument in this case early next year and could ultimately decide whether or not same-sex couples have the right to enter into same-sex "marriages."

The constitutionality of California's marriage laws was challenged more than three years ago. In February 2004 Liberty Counsel filed suit on behalf of CCF and its executive director, Randy Thomasson, to stop San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The court ruled that the mayor did not have authority to issue the licenses based upon his personal belief that the marriage laws were unconstitutional. Meanwhile, several same-sex couples and the city of San Francisco filed four separate lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the marriage laws. Those four lawsuits and Liberty Counsel's original action were consolidated and have gone through several court hearings and appeals, until finally reaching the California Supreme Court.

In this case, Liberty Counsel argues that the rights of married couples cannot be given to same-sex couples unless the California constitution is amended. California's Defense of Marriage Act, which was passed overwhelmingly by voters in 2000, means that same-sex "marriages" are not legally recognized in California, whether performed in state or out of state. Any other interpretation of the Act would violate both the Full Faith and Credit Clause and the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the United States Constitution.

Marriage is a universally recognized social institution, and not even the legislature can change the meaning of the relationship. Allowing same-sex couples to claim marital rights will destroy the unique institution that forms the bedrock of every civilized society.

Read the briefs in PDF format:

Supplemental Brief

Reply Brief

Monday, August 13, 2007

Renowned Constitutional Attorney Joins Liberty Counsel's Legal Team

Steve Crampton Becomes Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel

Stephen M. Crampton has joined Liberty Counsel as Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel. Crampton previously served for several years as Chief Counsel of the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Crampton has practiced constitutional and civil rights litigation since 1993. He has served as lead counsel in numerous cases, many of which have resulted in reported decisions in state and federal district and appellate courts. In his role as a policy advisor, Crampton has assisted in drafting legislation and advising lawmakers on constitutional issues at both state and national levels.

Crampton frequently speaks around the country on current events and social issues. He has appeared as a guest on nationally televised news programs on CNN, FOX News and MSNBC. He has been quoted in major publications such as The Washington Post, The Washington Times and the National Law Journal. He has authored columns appearing on Alan Keyes' RenewAmerica.com, WorldNetDaily.com, AFA.net, and ChristianWorldviewNetwork.com, among others.

Mr. Crampton received his law degree from the University of New Mexico, where he was a member of the Law Review. He is admitted to practice law in the states of Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and New Mexico, before every federal appeals court, and the United States Supreme Court.

Steve Crampton is a terrific addition to our legal staff. It has been a pleasure to collaborate with Steve on litigation, case strategy and policy issues for many years, but it is even more exciting to actually have him join the Liberty Counsel team. His presence will strengthen our already excellent litigation team.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Candidates Court Same-Sex Couples While Most Americans Oppose Same-Sex Marriage

The Democratic presidential candidates will reach out to homosexual and lesbian voters through an upcoming televised debate scheduled for August 9 on a cable network geared toward supporters of the same-sex lifestyle.

The Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual and lesbian rights advocacy group, will host the event along with Logo, a cable network geared to the homosexual and lesbian community. Early reports indicate that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator Barack Obama and John Edwards will participate in the debate in Los Angeles at 6 p.m. on August 9, which will air live on Logo.

One of the topics on the debate will be whether the candidates support same-sex marriage, adoption, civil unions and the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy for homosexuals and lesbians. The candidates' positions on these issues will determine not only which candidate the homosexual and lesbian voters will support, but will provide information for the majority of Americans who reject the radical homosexual agenda and support traditional family values.

Over the past year an increasing number of Americans have recognized that same-sex marriage should not be legalized. According to the most recent national survey released by the Pew Research Center, 57% of the public oppose same-sex marriage. Last year only 51% opposed same-sex marriage. The results clearly show that opinion is shifting. More and more Americans are supporting the centuries-old definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Additionally, the results of the survey showed that the majority also oppose so-called "civil unions," which is merely a different way of giving same-sex couples the benefits of marriage under a different name. The number of supporters for civil unions, which would give same-sex couples many of the same rights and benefits as married couples, dropped to 45%, the lowest it has been since 2003. Only 11% of the public say that same-sex couple parenting is good for society, while 50% say it is bad for society. The survey results are found in an 88-page Pew Research Center report that compiled interviews of over 2,000 randomly chosen adult participants.

Public support for traditional marriage will continue to grow as more Americans realize that the institution of marriage is the bedrock of our society and is necessary to support the healthy development of this Nation's families. Same-sex marriage is a misnomer. Rather than being a variant of marriage, it is the deconstruction of marriage and will unravel the family.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Judge Forces Idaho To Fund Estrogen Treatment for Man Who Thinks He Is A Woman

Federal district Judge Mikel Williams ruled on Friday that the Idaho Department of Correction must provide an inmate with estrogen therapy. The judge will consider continuing treatment when the issue goes to trial. The inmate believes that he is a woman trapped in a man's body. The man, who castrated himself using a disposable razor blade while in prison, demanded female hormone therapy. He also changed his name from Randall Gammett to Jenniffer Spencer. The man is serving a 10-year sentence for escape and possession of a stolen car.

After prison officials refused estrogen therapy, but instead offered testosterone therapy to replace the hormones lost to castration, the inmate sued, alleging he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment and other constitutional violations.

State officials said the inmate was in prison for several years before demanding treatment. In 2004, he survived an attempted suicide. Two months later he tried to castrate himself, failing in the first attempt but later succeeding. He was diagnosed with an unspecified sexual disorder and bipolar disorder.

Liberty Counsel is a nationwide legal organization with experience in litigation of transsexual legal issues. In June 2004, Liberty Counsel won a case on behalf of a Florida woman against the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which represented a woman who, after watching an MTV program and so-called "sex reassignment surgery," changed her name from Margo to Michael, began testosterone treatment, and then had a total mastectomy and hysterectomy. This person then wanted to be considered "male" for purposes of Florida's marriage laws. Although a trial court judge wrote an 809-page opinion claiming that gender is primarily a "state of mind," Liberty Counsel got the ruling overturned on appeal. The appeals court ruled that "the common meaning of male and female . . . [refers] to immutable traits determined at birth."

Hormones and plastic surgery do not change a person's sex, which is an immutable trait fixed at birth. Plastic surgery and hormone treatment to alter a person's sexual appearance is no more warranted than is liposuction for an anorexic. The state should not be compelled to fund so-called sex reassignment surgery, especially when such treatment is not widely accepted, is experimental, and has not been shown to resolve the disturbed mental behavior.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

School District Faces Federal Lawsuit for Stonewalling Religious Club

Today Liberty Counsel filed a federal lawsuit against the Gadsden City School District on behalf of Child Evangelism Fellowship of Alabama (CEF) and its director, Ed Solomon, because of the district's discriminatory treatment of CEF. The lawsuit asks that the district be required to treat CEF clubs on an equal basis with secular groups that have used school facilities. CEF staff made several written and oral requests to Gadsden City School Superintendent Rob Russell for a meeting about the club, but the superintendent refused to discuss the issue.

The district policy states that "organizations devoted to instruction of children or well-being of the community" shall be permitted to use district facilities so long as the applicant obtains permission from the principal and the superintendent. The policy does not contain any timelines, procedures or other free speech safeguards that are required by the Constitution.

District facilities have been used by various secular groups including Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Junior Achievement, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and Cub Scouts. In July 2004, CEF applied to meet after school with Bob Russell, the superintendent. The superintendent did not respond and refused to return calls. CEF then sent another written request in August 2005, and the superintendent ignored the request and refused to return phone calls. In September 2006, CEF send a third written request and made repeated phone calls to Mr. Russell, and he refused to meet with CEF representatives. He also refused to respond to emails. Earlier this year, CEF contacted Liberty Counsel for assistance. Even after Liberty Counsel sent a demand letter to Mr. Russell and the school board members, the district did not respond.

Good News Clubs are a free, nationwide, after-school program for children between the ages of five and twelve. At the meetings, trained CEF teachers present lessons from the Bible and teach children character development, moral values, interpersonal skills and respect for authority.

Liberty Counsel has been successful in helping CEF fight discrimination against Good News Clubs all across America. Many issues are solved without litigation, but Liberty Counsel does not hesitate to sue when school officials are unwilling to abide by the Constitution.

The history of this case illustrates why the policies affecting speech must have specific criteria and time limits, so that government officials are precluded from censoring speech by inaction or delay. Good News Clubs teach morals and character development from a Christian viewpoint, and they have been profoundly effective in changing the lives of young children for the better. Good News Clubs are good for students and good for schools. Public schools should be begging Child Evangelism Fellowship to start Good News Clubs.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Lawsuit Causes County To Reverse Course And Allow Religious Flyers in Parks

Yesterday, in response to a federal lawsuit filed by Liberty Counsel, Orange County officials agreed to not prohibit Shirley Snyder from distributing religious literature in the public parks. Liberty Counsel filed the lawsuit on July 20, after Snyder was stopped in Cypress Grove Park from passing out tracts about Jesus and a flyer announcing a church service.

A park official filed an affidavit in federal court yesterday stating, "If Shirley Snyder would like to distribute leaflets or other printed matter within Orange County Parks, she may do so within normal park hours of operation without prior approval from Orange County." The affidavit also showed that the Orange County Board of County Commissioners amended the Orange County Parks and Recreation Division's Rules and Regulations yesterday by removing the restrictions against literature distribution in the public parks. The former rules were unconstitutional because they required prior approval of the literature by the county.

The first hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for August 17 at 9:30 a.m. before Judge John Antoon II at the federal courthouse in Orlando. Although the County has agreed to allow Snyder to distribute literature in the parks in the future, the new policy does not undo the damage caused by the County's original literature ban. An opportunity lost is an opportunity that can never be regained.

The First Amendment guarantees that public parks and sidewalks in America will remain free and open to expression. Orange County should have known better than to ban religious literature from our public parks. Government officials have a responsibility to educate themselves about constitutional rights, so they don't have to learn their civics lessons in court.