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Religion Today Daily Headlines - March 1, 2013

Religion Today Daily Headlines - March 1, 2013

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Obama to Urge Supreme Court to Allow California Gay Marriage
  • Hundreds of Corporations Sign Supreme Court Briefs in Support of Gay Marriage
  • Phoenix City Council Abolishes Gender
  • Arkansas House Overrides Late-Term Abortion Ban Veto


Obama to Urge Supreme Court to Allow California Gay Marriage

President Barack Obama's administration will urge the U.S. Supreme Court to allow same-sex marriages to resume in California, the furthest step Obama has taken in favor of gay rights, an administration official said Thursday, Reuters reports. Thursday was the deadline for the administration to file a friend-of-the-court brief in a case that is due to be argued on March 26 regarding whether Proposition 8 -- California's 2008 voter-approved measure that defined marriage in the state as between one man and one woman -- is constitutional. In a brief submitted last Friday, the Obama administration also urged the Supreme Court to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman. The court will hear oral arguments on DOMA on March 27.

Hundreds of Corporations Sign Supreme Court Briefs in Support of Gay Marriage

Hundreds of major corporations from across the country have collectively signed on two Supreme Court briefs supporting gay marriage, the Christian News Network reports. Approximately 250 high-profile corporations and general business entities lent their name to an amicus, or "friend of the court," brief that challenges the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Among those included were Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Citigroup, Marriott International, Johnson and Johnson, Walt Disney, the Jim Henson Company, Twitter and the pharmaceutical company Pfizer. The document filed on behalf of the corporations asserts that DOMA "requires that employers treat one employee differently from another, when each is married, and each marriage is equally lawful." A second brief, signed by approximately 45 corporations, seeks to overturn California's Proposition 8, which sought to define marriage in the state constitution as between one man and one woman. The brief argues that the states that have banned same-sex marriage are harming workplace morale. Companies that signed their name to the brief include Apple, Morgan Stanley, Nike, eBay, Panasonic, Office Depot, Barnes and Noble, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Facebook.

Phoenix City Council Abolishes Gender

An ordinance passed Wednesday night by the Phoenix City Council forces the city's businesses, charities and churches to consider hiring transgendered people and requires them to recognize any gender expression, even if that means allowing a man to use the women's restroom, WORLD reports. The bill, which passed 5-3, claims to protect against discrimination based on sexual preferences in public accommodations, housing, employment and city contracts -- but it also treads on the religious freedom of business owners and organizations. "It creates a lot of potential situations that force people to violate their religious beliefs, businesses are open to frivolous lawsuits, and women and children are exposed to uncomfortable situations," said Aaron Baer, communications director at Center for Arizona Policy. Baer said these problems have already arisen in cities where similar policies have passed. In Olympia, Wash., a 45-year-old male college student was allowed to use a girls' locker room, where he exposed himself in front of young girls, and businesses in states like Oregon have been threatened with fines for refusing to serve homosexual couples. The ordinance includes a religious exemption, but the wording is weak and could be open to multiple interpretations, Baer said. Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who voted against the bill, worries the language "is so broad, the floodgates of litigation against businesses will be opened." He complained the bill was rammed through the city council without any input from the businesses and companies that would be affected.

Arkansas House Overrides Late-Term Abortion Ban Veto

The battle over abortion in Arkansas is far from over -- centering right now around the Republican-controlled House and Senate and the Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, CBN News reports. Beebe vetoed a bill Tuesday that would ban most abortions starting in the 20th week of pregnancy, but on Wednesday, the House overrode that veto 53 to 28. Only hours earlier, a state Senate committee approved a package of even tighter abortion restrictions. Seven states have enacted 20-week abortion restrictions, based on the argument that an unborn baby can feel pain as early as 20 weeks into the pregnancy.

Publication date: March 1, 2013