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ADF Clients Enjoy Crucial Wins in Appellate Courts Across the Country

By Alan Sears posted on:
October 17, 2017

“You win some, you lose some,” the old saying goes – but it’s never that simple or fatalistic for Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and our allies. For us, every case we represent is about people … and about ideas with profound implications for the future of life, marriage, families, and religious freedom in America.

A better adage for attorneys, perhaps, is “it ain’t over ’til it’s over.” The back-and-forth, ups-and-downs of our nation’s legal system sometimes encourage, sometimes frustrate … but always keep us mindful of the potential for victory at the next legal level, and hopeful for new opportunities to make our client’s case and keep crucial doors open for the Gospel. For instance:

  • In mid-July, a federal court issued a permanent injunction in favor of Illinois-based Tyndale House Publishers and its owners, who had challenged the Obama administration’s abortion-pill mandate in court. The mandate forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy financial penalties through the Internal Revenue Service.

    The injunction means the government cannot enforce the mandate against Tyndale House.

    “Americans should be free to live and work according to their faith without fear of punishment by the government,” says ADF Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. (ADF attorneys are representing Tyndale and litigating numerous other lawsuits against the mandate.) “That includes Bible publishers, who should be free to do business according to the book that they publish.”
  • On July 24, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the city of Houston has to repeal – or put to a citizens’ vote – a city ordinance that, among other things, would likely grant people of both sexes access to all public restrooms. Although citizens had raised enough signatures to force a public vote on the measure, city leaders had refused to comply. (These same officials also attempted to subpoena the sermons and communications of the so-called “Houston 5” – a quintet of local pastors who were particularly outspoken in their opposition to the ordinance.) 

    “Public officials should not be allowed to run roughshod over the right of the people to decide these types of issues, especially when the citizens of Houston clearly met all the qualifications for having their voices heard,” says ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley, one of the attorneys who represented the Houston 5. “The city was bent on pushing through its deeply unpopular ordinance at any cost. The Texas Supreme Court has rightly rectified this wrong.”
  • On August 11, a New Mexico Court of Appeals reverseda lower court ruling that had legalized doctor-prescribed death.

    “This court was right to reverse the lower court’s decision, which had invented a so-called right to doctor-prescribed death,” says ADF Litigation Counsel Catherine Glenn Foster. (ADF attorneys filed an amicus brief in the case, on behalf of eleven state legislators and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations.) “Suffering patients need compassionate care and quality medical treatment, not encouragement to commit suicide – and especially not through doctors who pledge to ‘do no harm.’”

Sadly, not all appellate decisions are so favorable. In July, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit overturneda district court’s order that had temporarily stopped enforcement of the Obama administration’s abortion-pill mandate against four Christian universities in Oklahoma– Southern Nazarene University, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Oklahoma Baptist University, and Mid-America Christian University. (ADF attorneys have filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court, asking the Court to review the case.)

And earlier this month, a Colorado Court of Appeals upheld a decision by the state’s Civil Rights Commission penalizing a cake artist who, because of his religious beliefs about marriage, declined to use his artistic abilities to create a cake celebrating a same-sex ceremony (the same-sex couple ultimately obtained the rainbow-themed cake they wanted for free from another bakery).

ADF attorneys are considering an appeal in that case, as well … seeking, as always, ways within the legal system to stand for those who are standing on the abiding truths of the Bible. Please be in prayer for all of our clients and their lawyers, as well as for those who will hear and weigh their cases in the days to come. Truly, “it ain’t over ’til it’s over” – and for those who serve an eternal God, every ending is just the beginning.

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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