The Department of Justice is saying that children do not need—and have no right to—mothers, reports The Justice Department’s argument on the superfluity of motherhood is presented in a brief the Obama administration filed in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, which challenges the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that amended California’s Constitution to say that marriage involves only one man and one woman. The Justice Department presented its conclusions about parenthood in rebutting an argument made by proponents of Proposition 8 that the traditional two-parent family, led by both a mother and a father, was the ideal place, determined even by nature itself, to raise a child. The Obama administration argues this is not true. It argues that children need neither a father nor a mother and that having two fathers or two mothers is just as good as having one of each. “The [California] Voter Guide arguably offered a distinct but related child-rearing justification for Proposition 8: ‘the best situation for a child is to be raised by a married mother and father,’” said the administration’s brief submitted to the court by Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. “As an initial matter, no sound basis exists for concluding that same-sex couples who have committed to marriage are anything other than fully capable of responsible parenting and child-rearing,” the Department of Justice told the court. “To the contrary, many leading medical, psychological, and social-welfare organizations have issued policy statements opposing restrictions on gay and lesbian parenting based on their conclusion, supported by numerous scientific studies, that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are as likely to be well adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents.”

Other news:

  • Public opinion on marriage for gay and lesbian couples has shifted with almost unprecedented speed since California voters banned such unions in 2008, reports That shift could influence the Supreme Court, in particular Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and possibly Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., as it decides whether to uphold Proposition 8 in coming months. Defenders of Proposition 8 also cite the change in public opinion, but argue it is a reason for the court to stand aside. Because there is a great national debate over gay marriage, and some states are changing their laws, the court has no need to intervene, they said. Andy Pugno, general counsel for the Proposition 8 proponents, said it was “very disappointing” that the Obama administration had urged the court to strike down the voter initiative. “The president has impugned the motives of millions of Californians,” he said, “and disregarded the rights of each state to decide for itself whether to redefine marriage.” If the court were to adopt a version of an “eight-state solution,” it would allow most states to decide for themselves, as Pugno advocates—at least for now. The eight-state solution argues that because California and seven other states—Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Rhode Island—already have given gay couples full legal rights, there is no justification for denying them a right to marry. But it is also true that if the justices decided discrimination against gays violates the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws, that same argument eventually could be used to invalidate the remaining state laws against same-sex marriage. The justices might be particularly willing to do so if the majority of states already had acted. Meanwhile, reports a growing push to get Republicans to alter their position on same-sex marriage could put some of the party’s major donors and political strategists in conflict with social conservative activists who make up a large part of the GOP at the grassroots level.
  • Christians need to intensify their prayers for the Supreme Court in the countdown days to its deliberations on same-sex marriage later this month, said Frank S. Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee, Baptist Press reports. The court is set to hear oral arguments in March on the two cases that will either lead to the legalization of gay marriage nationwide or affirm the rights of legislators and voters to protect traditional marriage. It will consider the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 March 26 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act March 27. California voters passed Proposition 8 in 2008 by a margin of 52-48 percent. The amendment stated, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” It reversed a California Supreme Court ruling that had legalized gay marriage. A district court later declared the law established by the voter-initiated amendment unconstitutional. That court’s decision was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, paving the way for it to be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court. DOMA passed both houses of Congress in 1996 with wide bipartisan support—342 to 67 in the House and 85 to 14 in the Senate. President Bill Clinton signed it into law. Two years ago, President Barack Obama instructed the Department of Justice no longer to defend this federal law. Congress has stepped in to defend its constitutionality.
  • A group of liberal students at the University of New Mexico tried their best to get Chick-fil-A kicked off campus because they claimed the eatery made them feel “unsafe,” reports The students even took to theatrics, such as crying and hyperventilating, before a vote was held on whether the restaurant could stay or not—despite a majority of students having no problem with them on campus. Gay students claimed that they even felt threatened by the mere sight of students and faculty carrying bags with the Chick-fil-A logo on them. However, UNM student Tess Henderson told station KRQE that her friends who work for Chick-fil-A were trained to treat each and every customer with the utmost respect, regardless of who they are. In the end, the student union board voted, 8-3, that the chicken franchise could stay at UNM. Protests are nothing new to the restaurant. In early 2012, some New York University students unsuccessfully tried to get them kicked off campus for their “anti-gay agenda.” Students at North Carolina’s Elon University successfully won their bid to eject the restaurant, with the student government voting 35-11 to ask the food vendor to replace them. Several other attempts were also made around the country. However, the media failed to report on conservative students flocking to defend Chick-fil-A, who called their peers “hypocrites.” “I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that these liberals want free speech unless it’s speech against something they believe,” Ralph D’Elia, a senior at the University of South Florida, told The College Fix back in September. The petition, which was started by an assistant professor at the university, received considerable backlash. The effort failed. At almost every college a petition was circulating, students rushed to defend the restaurant.
  • A major voice in the conservative Christian movement has expressed his concern over the falling birth rates of American families in a recent opinion column, The Christian Post reports. James Dobson, founder of the Colorado Springs–based Focus on the Family and of the radio broadcast Family Talk, wrote about his concerns last week for the Green Bay Press Gazette. “Americans are realizing they are facing a demographic nightmare that has been looming in other Western nations for decades. For the first time in history, fewer American babies are being born while the number of senior citizens is growing,” wrote Dobson. “Men and women have a right not to procreate, but serious consequences emerge when an increasing percentage of couples choose barrenness. A nation can reach a tipping point from which it cannot recover. America is not there yet, but that appears to be where it is headed.” In his column, Dobson compared the forthcoming “demographic nightmare” for the United States to that of present problems facing nations like Russia, France, and Japan. “If the human population continues to wither, it will have shocking implications for nations, economically, politically, culturally, socially and spiritually. Every dimension of life will be impacted. Medical plans will fail. Pensions will not be sustainable,” wrote Dobson.
  • DePaul University has punished a student for publicizing the names of fellow students who admitted to vandalizing his organization’s pro-life display, reports The student, Kristopher Del Campo, has been placed on probation after being found responsible for multiple conduct violations, including one that absurdly brands the publication of the names as “disorderly, violent, intimidating or dangerous.” The Foundation for Individual Rights In Education (FIRE) has intervened in his case.
  • Mitt Romney believes he would be doing better than Barack Obama as president. In his first interview since the election, Mitt Romney spoke about the disappointment of not winning, sequestration, and what went wrong with his campaign, The Christian Post reports. “When I look at what’s happening right now, I wish I were there. It kills me not to be there, not to be in the White House doing what needs to be done,” Romney said on Fox News Sunday. Romney believes that the sequester and the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, also known as the “fiscal cliff,” presented a “once in a generational opportunity” to put the nation on a path to prosperity, in which “America could lead the world for the next century.” That opportunity is being squandered, Romney complained, “by people who are more interested in a political victory than doing what’s right for the country. . . . The hardest thing about losing is watching this critical moment, this golden moment, just slip away with politics.” Obama is campaigning, rather than demonstrating the leadership needed to solve the nation’s problems, Romney added.
  • There’s been an uptick in tensions between Egypt’s Muslims and Christ-followers, reports Mission Network News. The alleged conversion of a 36-year-old Muslim teacher lies at the heart of recent unrest. She’s been missing for several days and was reportedly seen outside a church in southern Egypt with a Christian friend. When police used force against hundreds of Muslims trying to overtake the church last week, the crowds pushed back, resulting in over 10 injured officials. While the divide dates back to Biblical times, Egypt’s Christians and Muslims have been increasingly at-odds since Mubarak fell from power two years ago. National instability adds another layer of anxiety. “Things are going down and there’s no real vision, and the people in Egypt are very angry. It’s very bad,” says a representative of IN Network in Egypt. He says many Egyptians who voted for Morsi this summer have now turned against him. “[Morsi] gave a big promise, and said that he had a great plan to change things in Egypt to move the economy and . . . he gave many promises,” Mike says. “But now it’s about six months since he took over and the people find out that he didn’t have a plan. He’s not qualified to lead the country, and there’s no stability. The people are depressed and it’s a big disaster.” How’s it affecting the Church? “Because of the pressure and because they are not sure about the future, there is a spirit of prayer arising in all the churches,” he explains. He says it’s also serving to bring churches into a new spirit of unity. “The churches are going to a new season,” says the representative. “We’ve never experienced this before, so we need to train the leaders of the churches.” IN Network is equipping pastors to “reach an ever-changing Egypt. . . . Hundreds of church leaders are equipped with training and the skills they need to reach their communities for Christ.”
  • Officials at a Florida college ordered a group of students to shut down a Bible study they were holding in the privacy of a dorm room because it violated the rules. The incident occurred at Rollins College in the midst of a campus battle over whether religious groups that require their leaders to follow specific religious beliefs are violating the school’s non-discrimination policies. Four students affiliated with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship were holding an informal Bible study in the common area of a dorm suite. Midway through the study, a resident hall assistant entered the room and asked the student leading the study to step outside. “He was told they were no longer allowed inside the dorm—even with the express consent of the students to do Bible studies,” said Greg Jao, InterVarsity’s national field director. “They said it was because InterVarsity was no longer a registered student group on campus.” A Rollins spokesperson told Fox News that the rule was simply a miscommunication. “No group is allowed to hold meetings in the common space of residence halls,” the spokesperson said. “A fraternity was recently in violation of this as well, and they were asked to meet elsewhere—so it was not just InterVarsity.” The well-known Christian ministry was de-recognized as an official campus organization after they refused to comply with the college’s non-discrimination policy.
  • Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute has expressed concern over young people in Christian churches, citing an interview involving a young woman who is a Christian and recent graduate of Howard University’s nursing program. “During the course of the interview, she told us a number of things that I think are critical for the church to hear.” One was increasing numbers of young people who either identify as homosexual or affirm homosexuality. “We are losing our youth on the issue of homosexuality, which will ultimately erode their respect for the authority of Scripture on other issues and accelerate the erosion of sexual morality, family integrity, children’s rights, parental rights, speech rights, and religious liberty as they become our culture-makers. . . . I visit the websites of theologically orthodox churches and see churches offering Zumba and Pilates classes, cupcake-decorating parties, and weight loss classes. Isn’t it at least as legitimate and more important for the church to equip its flock to understand the specious arguments used to normalize homosexuality as it is to lead them in the ways of Zumba? Why don’t churches offer seminars, workshops, or classes that teach people how to identify fallacious arguments and refute them on the critical issue of homosexuality? . . . If the church does not counter the corrosive cultural messages and prepare Christians to think, speak, and act rightly, who will? How pernicious do the ideas have to become and how young the children to whom these ideas are taught before the church will become angry (which, by the way, is a biblically justified sentiment)? . . . If the teaching pastors in every theologically orthodox church had been proclaiming that homosexual acts are abhorrent to God and that such a thing as ‘homosexual marriage’ cannot exist, and if our pastors had been teaching their members how to understand the images and ideas they encounter, and if they had been teaching by example what Christians should be doing, I don’t think we’d be here today. Most churches today bear a striking resemblance to the German Evangelical Church during Hitler’s reign of terror, but we have even less reason for our cowardice since we don’t yet face imprisonment. The German Evangelical Church acted in ways virtually all Christians now view as ignoble, selfish, and cowardly. Some pastors argued that a ‘more reasonable tone would be more honoring to those with different views.'”