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Supreme Court of the United States

Across the U.S., Key Victories for Marriage, Life, and Religious Freedom

By Alan Sears posted on:
October 17, 2017

So much that is so dark and wrong is happening all around us this summer, in the U.S. and around the world – so much violence and misinformation and political maneuvering and upheaval. And all of it with the potential to impact our lives, our children, and our churches.

In these days, it’s easy to lose sight of the hope that sets those who believe in the ultimate triumph of God’s truth apart from those who bank on the world and its power brokers. That’s why it’s so crucial to look for the wins – the victories, large and small, that remind us our God is working all around us and using us to make a difference for His glory. 

Amid the legal maelstrom that has engulfed marriage in recent years, last week’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court was a wonderful breath of fresh air. The high court put a hold on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit’s 2-1 decision against Virginia’s marriage amendment while the case, Bostic v. Schaefer, is appealed to the high court. (ADF attorneys represent Prince William County Clerk of Court Michèle B. McQuigg in defense of the amendment.)

“Virginians deserve an orderly and fair resolution to the question of whether they will remain free to preserve marriage as the union of a man and a woman in their laws,” says ADF Senior Counsel Byron Babione. “By granting our request to place a hold on the 4th Circuit’s decision, the Supreme Court is making clear, as it already did in the Utah marriage case, that it believes a dignified process is better than disorder. The Supreme Court acted wisely in restraining the lower court from implementing a ruling of this magnitude before the high court has a chance to decide the issue.”

Another great victory came in Iowa, where a district court last week upheld an Iowa Board of Medicine ban on Planned Parenthood’s “webcam” abortions – a despicable (and dangerous) process that allows a physician at a remote location to prescribe abortion pills to patients in a clinic by video link, without even examining a woman or offering her any personal medical follow-up. (Women who have post-abortion complications are directed to consult an urgent care facility or their personal physician.) Iowa is now the 17th state to ban webcam abortions.

“Planned Parenthood and other abortionists should be accountable to basic medical standards,” says ADF Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton. “At the very least, that includes a licensed professional meeting personally with women who are considering such a serious, potentially life-altering decision. For that reason, the court was right to uphold the Board of Medicine’s rule, which places the health and safety of mothers ahead of the profits Planned Parenthood obtains through webcam abortions. The fact that Planned Parenthood went to court to ensure they could continue to profit from these kinds of abortions is a great indication of where its priorities lie.”

More great wins: Louisiana College’s victory over the Obama administration’s abortion-pill mandate on August 13 puts the number of ADF wins against the mandate at 20-0.

And another ADF client, Conestoga Wood Specialties in Pennsylvania, received a district court order on August 14 against the mandate as a result of its June 30 victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell.

In its ruling against the mandate in Louisiana College v. Sebelius, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana called the government’s claimed attempt at an accommodation for non-profit religious organizations like Louisiana College “a subterfuge.”

“All Americans should oppose unjust laws that force people – under threat of punishment – to give up their freedom to live and work according to their beliefs,” says ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “In the case of Louisiana College, it simply wants to continue to operate as a Christian college as it has since its founding in 1906. The court did the right thing in striking down the mandate as it applies to the school’s health insurance coverage and in identifying the flaws in the administration’s so-called ‘accommodation’ of religious organizations, which, as we’ve said all along, is no accommodation at all.”

Even in these often dark days, those who believe in God’s truth, and in the sanctity of life and marriage, have cause to rejoice and give thanks for His grace and mercies, in equipping ADF attorneys and our allies to win back lost legal ground and preserve “the blessings of liberty” for you and your family. Please join us in praying for more of these victories, and for even greater protections for life, marriage, and religious freedom in America.

Alan Sears

Alan Sears


Alan Sears served as founder of Alliance Defending Freedom, building on his experience as longtime leader of the organization to strengthen alliances, forge new relationships, and develop ADF resources.

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