Supreme Court: Obama Can’t Make Notre Dame Obey Pro-Abortion Mandate

3/9/2015 – The Supreme Court has weighed in on the lawsuit Notre Dame filed against the HHS mandate compelling religious groups and businesses to pay for drugs for their employees that may cause abortions.

After a lower court dismissed the lawsuit, today the Supreme Court ordered the lower court to reconsider its ruling that denied a Catholic university the freedom to follow its faith.

Previously, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Miller Jr. dismissed the suit, claiming that Notre Dame is sufficiently protected by a very narrowly-drawn religious exemption in the mandate — that pro-life legal groups say does not apply to every religious entity. Then, a three-judge panel from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision on a 2-1 vote.

In appealing that decision, the University of Notre Dame brought its request to the Supreme Court — saying the lower court decision made it the only nonprofit religious ministry in the nation without protection from the HHS mandate. The Supreme Court’s ruling today vacates the entire lower court decision forcing Notre Dame to comply and the 7th Circuit must now review its decision taking into consideration the entire Hobby Lobby case upholding that company’s right to not be forced into compliance.

The Obama administration has relied heavily on that lower court decision in other courts around the country, arguing that it should be able to impose similar burdens on religious ministries like the Little Sisters of the Poor.

By Steven Ertelt – Life News –

Christian Florist Defies State Attorney General

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has offered florist Barronelle Stutzman a deal: She can cater to same-sex weddings or she can stop doing weddings altogether.

Of course, there’s always a third option: She can go out of business.

Ms. Stutzman, the 70-year-old owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington, is opting for none of the above.

“Your offer reveals that you don’t really understand me or what this conflict is all about,” Ms. Stutzman said in a letter to Mr. Ferguson. “It’s about freedom, not money. I certainly don’t relish the idea of losing my business, my home, and everything else that your lawsuit threatens to take from my family, but my freedom to honor God in doing what I do best is more important.”

Ms. Stutzman rejected Friday a settlement agreement offered by Mr. Ferguson that would have required her to pay $2,001 in damages and legal fees after a judge ruled last week that she violated state law by declining to provide services for a same-sex wedding.

“My primary goal has always been to bring about an end to the Defendants’ unlawful conduct and to make clear that I will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” Mr. Ferguson said in a statement….

Kristen Waggoner, the Alliance Defending Freedom lawyer representing Ms. Stutzman, said the settlement offer was unacceptable because it would require the florist either to “surrender her freedoms or violate her conscience.”

“Barronelle has always had the option to just stop doing weddings,” Ms. Waggoner said in an email. “The settlement offer offers nothing she hasn’t had the right to do from the beginning. The point is that she must forgo all weddings, the part of her craft that she loves, or violate her conscience.”

Ms. Stutzman has said she has hired gay employees and served any number of gay customers over the years, but her Christian beliefs prevent her from participating in a same-sex wedding. Such services would include “custom design work to decorate the ceremony, delivery to the forum, staying at the ceremony to touch up arrangements, and assisting the wedding party,” the Alliance Defending Freedom said in a statement.

One of the men who sued her, Robert Ingersoll, had been a client for nearly a decade, she said….

By Valerie Richardson – The Washington Times –

Baker Investigated For Refusing To Serve Anti-Gay Client

As Western Journalism has previously reported, a bakery in Oregon was investigated by state authorities – and eventually forced to close – because its Christian owners opted to refuse an order for a lesbian couple’s wedding cake.

The scrutiny grew from a complaint filed by the prospective clients and grew into a national story evoking emotions from those on both sides of the issue. Similar accusations have subsequently been levied against Christian-owned businesses throughout the country.

Recent reports indicate that the same standard used against the Oregon bakery is now being implemented by a man who wanted a Colorado business to make a cake critical of homosexuality.

When Bill Jack, who founded the group Worldview, asked Azucar Bakery to fill an order for a Bible-shaped cake featuring two men holding hands and the phrase ‘God Hates Gays,’ the shop’s owner immediately refused….

Marjorie Silva said of the work order….‘No way. We’re not doing this. This is just very discriminatory and hateful.’”

According to Jack’s complaint, however, it was the bakery – not his cake design – that revealed true discrimination.

“I believe I was discriminated against by the baker based on my creed,” he said. “As a result, I filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights division.”….

Many of those who stood up for the rights of Christian bakers to refuse a pro-gay order maintain their position that a business owner should not be forced to violate his or her personal convictions.

“This is a free speech issue,” explained Focus on the Family’s Jeff Johnston, “and we support freedom of speech.”

He went on to conclude that “this baker should not be required to create a cake with a message that goes against her conscience.”

By B. Christopher Agee – Western Journalism –