October 07, 2008

Amendment 2 vs. Religious Liberty?

Today I stumbled across the website for the group Florida Clergy for Fairness.  The group claims to be a coalition of "religious leaders from a broad spectrum of faith traditions."  How true that statement is, or how many of them there are, I don't know.  But I found their position statement interesting.

The statement echoes a concern voiced yesterday in a comment to an post on the subject.  The concern is that it is not government's place to define marriage for us and that to do so restricts our religious liberty.  We should get to choose who to marry, right?  As the position statement explains, "It is surely not the government’s role to prefer one religious definition of marriage over another, much less to codify such a preference in the Florida Constitution."

I'd suggest that the "religious liberty" argument is misplaced. The Amendment, if passed, will not prevent anyone from participating in any type of religious ceremony.  Even under the Amendment, homosexual couples can hold ceremonies.  They can even call them "wedding ceremonies."  They can make whatever commitments to each other they like, they can put those commitments into a legal structure.  They can tell their family, friends and loved ones that they are married.  The Amendment does not change that.  It merely solidifies that the State of Florida will only treat one form of union as marriage, but does not require anyone else to behave any differently.

As for the allegation that it is not the role of government to define marriage, I'd suggest that the government must define marriage.  In fact, it does so already.  Why?  Because government issues benefits and requirements to married couples to encourage and stabilize marriage.  We can debate whether or not government should do this, but currently it does.  As a result, when government attempts to issue those benefits and impose those requirements for married couples, it must identify those couples.  Who is married?  Who can be married?  We need a definition.

Further, we need a definition solidified in the state constitution because, as we have seen across the country and even in our own state, activist judges have sought to impose their own definitions and preferences over those contained in state law.  The Amendment will place this definition beyond the reach of judicial tyranny.

To argue that it is not the place of government to define marriage, to identify those to whom government issues certain benefits and requirements, is silly.  We can and should debate whether those benefits of marriage should be extended to homosexual couples, but arguments like this one add nothing to that discussion.

October 01, 2008

Crist is 2 for 2 on Florida Supreme Court Justices

Just over a month after his fantastic selection of Charles Canady, Jr. to join the Florida Supreme Court, Governor Crist hit another home run.  Today Crist announced that he is naming Judge Ricky Polston to fill another vacancy on the Court.  Judge Polston is currently a judge on Florida's First District Court of Appeals in Tallahassee and he is a judge committed to the interpretation of law as opposed to the creation of law by judicial activism.

I have to admit, upon his election I had some major concerns with the types of judges Governor Crist would appoint, but with his selection of Judge Polston, and he previous selection of now Justice Canady, he has my full trust on the issue.  With two more current Justices hitting the forced retirement age this year, Crist will get to select another two Justices for the Court.  This means that within the first few months of 2009, Governor Crist will have selected a majority of the Court and based on his first two picks, that is a very, very good thing.

September 10, 2008

Activist Judge Spits in Face of Standing Law, Orders Adoption by Homosexual

Judge David Audlin of the Monroe County Circuit Cort has decided that a openly homosexual man may adopt a child for whom he has served as a foster parent.  In doing so, the Judge ruled that Florida's Adoption Statute, which prohibits adoption by homosexuals, is unconstitutional.  The order has not yet been released, but when it is you can be sure we'll have an analysis of it here.

The ruling is in complete contradiction to standing law.  Obviously, the ruling attempts to strike down a state law, created and passed by the legislature, the body we actually elect to make and redesign law.  However, the ruling also flies in the face of a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit (which includes Florida) holding that the restriction against adoption by homosexuals in Florida's Adoption Statute is, in fact, constitutional.  The 11th Circuit's decision in  Lofton v. Secretary of the Dept. of Children and Family Service was handed down in 2004.  Clearly, this judge has a political agenda which he is advancing as his ruling flies in the face of well established law in our state.  Yet another judge who fancies himself as King.

(PEER Review tackled the issue of adoption by homosexuals in 2006)

The ruling also provides yet another example of the need for the Marriage Amendment.  The truth is that there is an activist agenda to force both homosexual adoption and homosexual marriage into law in this state.  The activists are acutely aware that it would be near impossible to force this change through the legislature, so they turn to their only available resource, activist judges.  Rather than allowing YOU to have a role in the democratic process by electing legislators with whom you agree, they seek to circumvent that process, eliminating the voice of the citizens of Florida completely.  By seeking such ruling through an activist judiciary they attempt to force a change in the law which is would not be passed otherwise.

That is their plan, again, for both adoption and marriage by homosexuals.  With a constitutional amendment solidifying marriage as one man and one woman we will eliminate this avenue of forcing law on our state by circumventing the democratic process.

The ruling also exposes one of the principle arguments of the opponents of the Marriage Amendment; that the amendment is unecessary as we already have a state statute which prohibits homosexual marriage.  The Florida statute prohibiting adoption by homosexuals didn't stop judge Audlin's ruling attempting to strike down the statute.  I guarantee that Florida's Defense of Marriage Act will face the same fate without the Florida Marriage Amendment.

I can predict that Judge Audlin's decision will be appealled to the Florida Appellate Courts, and probably to the Florida Supreme Court over the next couple years.  How those courts will rule, I can't even guess.  But if it is in line with standing law, they will uphold the statute.

In the meantime, each of us can do our party to preserve the traditional family by voting YES on the Amendment 2, the Florida Marriage Amendment, in November.

September 05, 2008

Amendments 5, 7 and 9 Cut by Florida Supreme Court

The Florida Supreme Court has removed from the upcoming election Amendments 5, 7 and 9.  Only the orders have been issued, no opinion as of yet, so I'll reserve judgment on whether the basis for the removal was good.

What I do want to point out is that the decision on all 3 of these amendments was 7-0, meaning all the justices agreed.  The amendments cut include the voucher amendment, a property tax cut amendment, and an amendment allowing state funding to aid religious groups.  Remember Justice Bell and Cantero, the much lamented Jeb Bush appointees to the Florida Supreme Court?  The Conservative plants who would do anything to support Republican or Conservative ideology?  Both of them voted to remove the amendments from the ballot despite the fact that all three play a major role in the Republican policy efforts for our state.  I'll have more to say when the opinions come out, but what I anticipate they will show is that a good judge, as opposed to an activist judge, is willing to rule in line with the law every time, rather than attempting to uphold a political agenda by judicial mandate.

September 16, 2007

It's Ok to lie about abortion

If you're pro-choice anyway.

The Supreme Court of New Jersey has ruled that it’s OK to lie to women about the state of their pregnancy while they are deciding to have an abortion.

New Jersey’s supreme court has just decided that, as far as state law is concerned, an abortionist can give false information to a woman trying to decide whether to have an abortion.

Is there a “baby in there”? That’s what Rose Acuna wanted to know from her obstetrician-gynecologist. She was six to eight weeks along at the time. “Don’t be stupid. It’s only blood,” the physician, Sheldon Turkish, allegedly replied. (Turkish argues that he probably said, “It’s just tissue.”) So, three days later, Acuna went ahead with the abortion.

Turns out it wasn’t “just tissue.”

There's a few personal stories and additional information at Patterico's Pontifications.
 

April 19, 2007

Gonzalez v. Carhart: What Did We Win Anyway?

Most Conservatives will tell you that partial birth abortion is a bad thing.  The name gives us a glimpse of what the procedure is actually like.  However, it doesn't even begin to grasp the terrifying nature of the details of the procedure. 

Justice Kennedy's majority opinion in yesterday's decision quotes a section of testimony given to the Senate Judiciary Committee about what the procedure is like.

"Here is another description from a nurse who witnessed the same method performed on a 26½-week fetus and who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee: “‘Dr. Haskell went in with forceps and grabbed the baby’s legs and pulled them down into the birth canal. Then he delivered the baby’s body and the arms—everything but the head. The doctor kept the head right inside the uterus. . . .“‘The baby’s little fingers were clasping and un-clasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out, like a startle reaction, like a flinch, like a baby does when he thinks he is going to fall. “‘The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby went completely limp. . . . “‘He cut the umbilical cord and delivered the pla-centa. He threw the baby in a pan, along with the placenta and the instruments he had just used.’”

Of course, the other method of partial birth abortion skips the whole sucking the baby's brains out through a tube part and has the doctor simply crush the baby's head.

This is what we won against yesterday, and what liberals, on and off the Court have been and continue to defend.

Silence On The Court: Why Justices Roberts and Alito Should Worry Conservatives

Score one for the good guys.  The US Supreme Court upheld a federal law banning partial birth abortion.  The opinion is an compelling read for anyone interesting in the subject, on either side of the issue.  The most intriguing part of the decision, however, is in what is not said.  And it is what is not said that could have major ramifications on the abortion debate in the near future.

Hopefully, I've gotten your attention.

Continue reading "Silence On The Court: Why Justices Roberts and Alito Should Worry Conservatives" »

January 16, 2007

Religious Freedom: Public Square

The next area in the battle for religious freedom we will examine are what I term "Public Square" cases.  These are cases which involve the display of religious items of symbols as well as cases involving religious speech.

A_soledadcross_1 The biggest battle recently has been over this little guy.  This is the centerpiece of a Korean War Memorial in San Diego, CA.  The ACLU has been going batty over it and have been attempting for some time now to have it removed.  Again, the Alliance Defense Fund and the Liberty Legal Institute has flown into the rescue.  It seemed as though the ACLU was going to succeed in their effort until the monument was transfered to federal control.  The 9th Circuit Court ruled last week that as a result of the change in control the case brought by the ACLU is moot.  This will also make it more difficult to bring future actions against the memorial.

This case is but the tip of the iceberg in a long series of cases to remove any type of religious symbol from any displays or monuments remotely connected with any level of government. 

The US Supreme Court has handed down a number of decisions related to religious displays addressing everything from the ten commandments to holiday displays.  The result is a complex web of court decisions which allow religious displays in some contexts but not others.

Continue reading "Religious Freedom: Public Square" »

January 02, 2007

Did Romney Create Same-Sex Marriage?

A WorldNetDaily article today has drawn attention to a group of Massachusetts activists that have claimed that Massachusetts Governor and 2008 presidential candidate (as of tomorrow), Mitt Romney, actually created same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.

The argument is essentially that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health which held that restricting marriage to heterosexual couples was unconstitutional under the Massachusetts Constitution is, in fact, unconstitutional.  Supporters of this view have taken the Court's recent decision in Doyle v. Secretary of the Commonwealth holding that it does not have the power to force the state legislature to take a constitutionally required vote on the state's marriage amendment confirms this view that the Court cannot impose same-sex marriage on the state.  As a result, they claim, Romney effectuated an unconstitutional order of the court and Romney in fact created same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.

I begin by saying that technically, I agree.  But the reality of our current system of jurisprudence prevents the application of such a textualist view and binds those with executive authority to carry out the will of the court.   

Continue reading "Did Romney Create Same-Sex Marriage?" »

October 30, 2006

democrats Change Their Tune on Negron/Foley Notices

On Friday the First District Court of Appeal reversed the decision by a Circuit Court Judge to prohibit signs in polling placing informing voters of the Negron/Foley change.  The notices proposed by the Division of Elections may go up.  The well reasoned opinion by my friend Judge Wolf provided the comprehensive review of the Florida Election Code which the Circuit Court lacked.  But the decision isn't what I have found interesting, it has been the response by democrats.

On the Florida democratic Party website you will find this release:

"The Florida Democratic Party accepts the court's ruling, which distinguishes between the wrongful partisanship of the Secretary of State and the nonpartisan recommendation of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections.

"We thank the court for ruling on the case expediently.  We will not appeal."

The impression that democrats are now trying to leave you with is that they weren't opposed to the idea of the notices, just the first notice proposed by the Secretary of State which would only have Negron and Foley's names listed, and not the other candidates in the race.  But that simply isn't true.

The original pleading filed by the Florida democratic Party and Karen Thurman as the chair was filed two days after the Division of Elections clarified that the notices should include all of the candidates names.  Further, in the actual pleading itself they specifically cite the revised notice, including the names of all of the candidates, and claim that it is a violation of the Florida Election Code.  The first attack they made was not against the initial proposition by the Secretary of State, it was against the very notice that the First District ruled was valid.  They weren't opposed to only the proposed notice with only the Republican names, they were opposed to any notice which would allow voters to make an informed decision.

Joe Negron's opponent, Tim Mahoney now says:

"I want to have an uncontested election." and "I'm fine with the court's decision."

Really?  This is the same guy who called the Circuit Court decision a "victory for Florida voters."  Wouldn't a reversal of that "victory" be a loss for voters?

Don't be fooled by the rhetoric, the democrat party was completely opposed to those efforts aimed at informing voters of the Negron/Foley change because the status quo presented them with an advantage.  Despite the change in tune, this was never about preventing bias as Thurman claims, or protecting voters as Mahoney claimed, this was strictly about preventing people from voting for a Republican candidate.

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