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  • Backgrounder posted January 30, 2014 by Thomas M. Messner Religious Freedom and Marriage in Federal Law

    Legal recognition of same-sex marriage will increase the potential for conflicts with religious freedom. The majority opinion in the recent U.S. Supreme Court case United States v. Windsor intensifies these concerns by characterizing traditional marriage policy as a form of irrational prejudice.[1] Public policy should value, not condemn, those who uphold the ideal of a…

  • Issue Brief posted January 3, 2014 by Thomas M. Messner New Mexico Photography Business Seeks Supreme Court Review

    Elaine Huguenin is a photographer in New Mexico who declined to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony because creating images of that event would have violated her religious beliefs about marriage. A discrimination complaint was filed against Elane Photography, which is the photography business that Elaine Huguenin co-owns with her husband, Jonathan. On August 22,…

  • Testimony posted June 10, 2013 by Thomas M. Messner Reconciling Non-Discrimination Principles with Civil Liberties

    Public Comment Submitted on April 21, 2013 to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights by Thomas M. Messner Re:    March 22, 2013 Briefing on Reconciling Non-Discrimination Principles with Civil Liberties Dear Commissioners: On March 22, 2013, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights conducted a briefing on reconciling non-discrimination principles with civil liberties.[1] As…

  • Special Report posted June 19, 2012 by Thomas M. Messner, Edmund F. Haislmaier On Contraception Mandate, the Obama Administration’s Potential Proposed “Accommodation” Fails to Protect Religious and Moral Conscience

    On March 21, 2012, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (referred to herein, either individually or in any combination of these or certain other federal government sources, as the “Government” or the “Obama Administration”) published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) in the…

  • Backgrounder posted January 26, 2012 by Thomas M. Messner Protecting Religious Staffing by Religious Organizations: A Wise and Just Public Policy

    Abstract: Religious staffing by religious organizations is an established, baseline position in federal law that deserves continued support. Most fundamentally, religious staffing by religious organizations is socially desirable conduct that benefits individuals and society, not unjust discrimination that should be eradicated through law. In addition, protections for…

  • Backgrounder posted July 29, 2011 by Thomas M. Messner Same-Sex Marriage and Threats to Religious Freedom: How Nondiscrimination Laws Factor In

    Abstract: Proponents of religious freedom have firmly established that same-sex marriage threatens religious freedom in a number of ways. In response, some have argued that certain threats to religious freedom discussed in this context have more to do with nondiscrimination laws than with the legal status of same-sex marriage. This argument reflects certain realities.…

  • Commentary posted July 6, 2011 by Thomas M. Messner Freedom as a Bargaining Chip?

    What role did religious freedom play in the negotiations over same-sex marriage in New York, and what role should it play? During the legislative debate, we talked to religious-freedom expert Robin Wilson, and we’ve since explored the issue on National Review Online with Maggie Gallagher and Princeton’s Robert P. George. But focusing in on how religious freedom played out…

  • Backgrounder posted April 13, 2011 by Thomas M. Messner From Culture Wars to Conscience Wars: Emerging Threats to Conscience

    Abstract: Today, religious liberty issues are more complicated than simply freedom from government interference in religious worship or teaching. Threats to religious liberty and respect for conscience are emerging in the health care field, in the area of institutional religious freedom, and in the context of issues involving same-sex marriage and nondiscrimination…

  • Backgrounder posted July 20, 2010 by Thomas M. Messner Religion and Morality in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate

    Abstract : Some same-sex marriage activists might wish to exclude certain moral and religious viewpoints from the same-sex marriage debate. Evidence shows, however, that religion and moral argumentation are often harnessed in support of same-sex marriage. People of all faiths or no faith at all should be free to participate in the marriage debate and bring…

  • Executive Summary posted October 22, 2009 by Thomas M. Messner Executive Summary: The Price of Prop 8

    Support for Proposition 8, the democratically established marriage amendment in California, has come with a heavy price for many individuals and institutions that think that marriage should remain the union of husband and wife. Publicly available sources, including evidence submitted in a federal lawsuit in California, show that expressions of sup­port for Prop 8…

  • Backgrounder posted October 22, 2009 by Thomas M. Messner The Price of Prop 8

    Abstract: Supporters of Proposition 8 in California have been subjected to harassment, intimidation, vandalism, racial scapegoating, blacklisting, loss of employment, economic hardships, angry protests, violence, at least one death threat, and gross expressions of anti-religious bigotry. Arguments for same-sex marriage are based fundamentally on the idea that…

  • Backgrounder posted September 18, 2009 by Thomas M. Messner ENDA and the Path to Same-Sex Marriage

    Abstract: A significant body of evidence suggests that sexual orientation nondiscrimination laws like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) can function as important incremental steps toward same-sex marriage. This evidence, which shows how effective a step-by-step strategy can be for redefining marriage, provides substantial cause for individuals who…

  • Executive Summary posted September 18, 2009 by Thomas M. Messner Executive Summary: ENDA and the Path to Same-Sex Marriage

    Individuals who support marriage as the union of husband and wife have strong reasons to be concerned about nondiscrimination proposals like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). ENDA would elevate sexual orientation to a pro­tected status under workplace nondiscrimination laws. Proponents often argue that ENDA and simi­lar laws at the state and local levels…

  • Special Report posted January 13, 2009 by Thomas M. Messner, Jennifer A. Marshall Defending Marriage: A Memo to President-elect Obama

    I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. -Barack Obama, Saddleback Presidential Candidates Forum, August 17, 2008[1] I do not support gay marriage. Marriage has religious and social connotations, and I consider marriage to be between a man and a woman. -Barack Obama, Response to 2008 Human Rights Campaign Presidential…

  • Special Report posted December 16, 2008 by Ryan Messmore, D.Phil., Thomas M. Messner Protecting and Strengthening Religious Freedom: A Memo to President-elect Obama

    Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, William Jennings Bryan, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King--indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history--were not only motivated by faith but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their…