A coalition of groups seeking to overturn Washington State’s same-sex marriage law received twice as many signatures as would be needed to have a referendum for November. Preserve Marriage Washington collected about 242,000 signatures to get the referendum on marriage definition put on the November ballot; the minimum number of valid signatures needed was approximately 120,000. Joseph Backholm, chairman of PMW, told The Christian Post that the cause for the success rate for this signature gathering was the grassroots effort launched. “We had more than 1,500 churches and more than 5,000 individuals involved in the signature collection effort,” said Backholm. “We know those trying to redefine marriage are highly motivated, well organized, and well-funded. We expect to have to work very hard and will need the involvement of every common sense conservative in Washington State.” The signatures gathered were turned in on Wednesday to the Secretary of State’s office in Olympia. While there is still a verification process, many recognize that the sheer number of names all but guarantees the matter will be decided by voters come November. “We believe this is a good indicator of a tremendous amount of support in Washington for marriage,” said Backholm. “We also expect that Washington will join the other 32 states who have voted on this issue and conclude that marriage is a union between a man and a woman.” In February, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state. With her signature, Washington became the seventh state in the country to approve same-sex marriage.
- Planned Parenthood has teamed up with the Los Angeles Unified School District to offer services to teenagers who live in an area where the teen pregnancy rate is high, reports onenewsnow.com. Dr. George Delgado, medical director of Culture of Life Family Services, says students can visit the clinic for birth control, pregnancy tests, counseling services, and screenings for sexually transmitted disease. “Many Americans are now realizing that Planned Parenthood is not a virtuous organization, but is, in fact, an integral part of the medical abortion complex in this country,” says Delgado. “Their marketing plans actively seek to bring in teen customers who will get on birth-control pills or other contraceptives, have those contraceptives fail, and then ask for abortions.” The Roosevelt High School on-campus clinic offers services to teens without parental consent. “To create or maintain a clinic that allows teens to be treated without their parents’ knowledge or consent clearly jeopardizes and seeks to weaken the parental-teen relationship,” the COLFS medical director contends.
- A South Carolina high school has reversed course and allowed its student of the year to cite a Bible verse in her graduation speech Saturday, reports The Christian Post. Provost Academy South Carolina, an online public charter school, had previously told Michal “Mariah” Kirby, 16, that she could not use Proverbs 13:4 in her speech. But after receiving a letter from the Alliance Defense Fund, which argued that school officials were violating her First Amendment rights, the school gave Kirby the green light to “deliver her speech as written.” “Public schools should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas, and that includes individual student expression contained in a graduation speech,” said ADF Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco in a statement Friday. “School officials have wisely decided to allow Mariah to include the proverb, and we hope other schools will follow their example in acting quickly to respect the constitutionally protected rights of their students.”
- While many previous donors to President Obama’s campaign are choosing to sit on their wallets this time around over a faltering economy and lingering war in Afghanistan, the president has found newly motivated donors within the homosexual community, notes The Christian Post. Since publicly announcing his support for same-sex marriage in May, several celebrities who are gay or support gay marriage have forked over large sums of money for Obama’s reelection efforts. While Obama has received substantial support within the LGBT community in recent weeks, their support was seen as lukewarm during the president’s first campaign when he said marriage was “a union between a man and a woman.” Now that Obama has publicly embraced same-sex marriage, the motivation within the gay community has skyrocketed.
- A group of conservative bloggers will no longer tolerate being “SWAT-ed,” as they are taking legal measures, reports onenewsnow.com. The ACLJ is representing bloggers like Ali Akbar and others from the National Bloggers Club who are being harassed and intimidated because of their investigations into the history and funding of radical liberals. ACLJ’s Jordan Sekulow explains it goes beyond threats against the bloggers and their families. “These SWAT-ting incidents have been aimed at people like Erick Erickson from RedState.com, where someone calls the police and says there’s been a crime, some kind of crime at your house, and it ends up being a SWAT team because they talked about shots being fired or murders happening,” Sekulow details. In other words, false 9-1-1 calls are made to compel police to invade the bloggers’ homes. Ali Akbar, president of the National Bloggers Club, has been threatened for his work on the same subject, even though his information about radical liberals and their wealthy supporters is factual. “When he started talking about this story, his mother’s house ended up online on another liberal website,” the ACLJ attorney reports. “And then he received a letter from an attorney with the Velvet Revolution organization.” Basically, Akbar was told to stop blogging on the subject or be ready to face a lawsuit. ACLJ is now providing free legal representation to the conservative bloggers. Meanwhile, Senator Saxby Chambliss Jr. (R-Georgia) is calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the SWAT cases and determine if any federal laws have been broken. In a letter to the attorney general, Chambliss writes, “Any potentially criminal action that incites fear, seeks to silence a dissenting opinion and collaterally wastes the resources of law enforcement should be given close scrutiny at all levels. Regardless of any potential political differences that may exist, threats and intimidation have no place in our national political discourse.”
- A New York City principal has pulled the plug on patriotism by preventing students from singing “God Bless the USA” at their graduation, reports Fox News. The decision has sparked fireworks at a school filled with proud immigrants. Greta Hawkins, principal of PS 90, the Edna Cohen School, will not allow kindergarten students to belt out the beloved Lee Greenwood ballad, also known as “Proud to be an American,” at their moving-up ceremony. Five classes spent months learning the patriotic song, which skyrocketed in popularity after the 9/11 attacks and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It was to be the rousing finale of their musical show at the June 20 commencement. The kids, dressed up for their big day, would wave tiny American flags, which, as the lyrics proclaim, “still stand for freedom.” But Hawkins marched in on a recent rehearsal and ordered a CD playing the anthem to be shut off, staffers said. She told the teachers to drop the song from the program. “We don’t want to offend other cultures,” they quoted her as explaining.
- The number of active-duty service members committing suicide is increasing at a dramatic pace this year, reports CBN.com, citing new statistics from the Pentagon. Department of Defense statistics reveal that 146 military men and women took their own lives in the first 148 days of this year. That’s a 17 percent increase over the same period in 2011 and a 24 percent increase over 2010. Reasons for the increase are not clear, but studies have suggested combat exposure, post-traumatic stress, prescription drug abuse, and financial problems are contributing factors. Army data also suggest soldiers with multiple combat tours are at greater risk of committing suicide, although a substantial number of suicides are committed by soldiers who never deployed.
- The news of dead people “voting” in various primaries has been all over the news since the first primary in January. Thousands of dead people have “voted” in this year’s primaries, with many more still appearing on the active voter registration lists, reports godfatherpolitics.com. It occurred in New Hampshire and Florida. In response to allegations of possible voter fraud involving dead people and non-citizens who are registered to vote, Ken Detzner, Florida secretary of state, began cleaning up the voter registration lists in his state. During the process, he found that 53,000 dead people were registered to vote throughout the state. Detzner issued instructions to have them removed from the voter rolls along with any persons identified to be non-citizens. When the news reached Washington D.C., “the Democratic controlled Department of Justice,” says godfatherpolitics.com, ordered Detzner to stop purging the voting records. Former DOJ attorney J. Christian Adams used to work in the voting section of the DOJ. Now writing for PJ Media Adams, he says that the DOJ order is beyond the legal powers of the DOJ or any other federal agency. He commented, “Panic has set in in this administration over the last four weeks because of polling numbers showing things do not look good. So the Justice Department, it appears, has responded accordingly by using the power of the federal government to force states like Florida to keep illegals on the voting rolls [and] to do other things in other states on voter ID, like South Carolina, to really attempt to ratchet the election in their favor.” “Plans for voter fraud seem to be the only reasonable explanation,” says godfatherpolitics.com.
- The Obama Administration hosted a health care town hall last week that was intended to focus on Obamacare’s impact on women’s health. Top Obama Administration officials participated, including Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The discussion was said to be heavy on emotion and light on the details of Obamacare’s provisions—and surprisingly lacking in the gender specificity it was supposed to address, says blogheritage.org, which summarized some adverse effects it would have on women: (1) Decreased choice. The task force’s recommendations for doctors and patients have become requirements on insurers and employers that could lead them to cover only services that are required of them. (2) Higher premiums. (3) Increased dependence on government and its bureaucrats. (4) Violation of religious liberty.
- On the heels of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s history-making recall victory, the governor of nearby Indiana, with his own record of curtailing union benefits, suggested public-sector unions are past their prime and should be abolished, reports Fox News. “I think, really, government works better without them,” Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told Fox News Sunday, when asked whether public-worker unions should even exist. Daniels had cracked down on collective bargaining for state workers as soon as he took office in 2005, six years before Walker and his GOP allies in the state legislature started down the same path, triggering a backlash that forced him to stand for election this past Tuesday. Walker made history as the first governor to survive the recall test, beating Democrat Tom Barrett. Daniels said that vote should send a message about the problems with public-sector unions. “I think the message is that, first of all, voters are seeing the fundamental unfairness of government becoming its own special interest group, sitting on both sides of the table,” he said. The push-back on union benefits extends far beyond Wisconsin. In California, voters in San Diego and San Jose just backed ballot measures to curtail retirement benefits for city workers. Speaking on CBS’s Face the Nation, Walker said he thinks his victory is a sign that Americans want “people willing to take on the tough issues” in his state and “across the country.”
- The school board in Erie, Ill., has voted to remove a homosexuality-affirming picture book titled The Family Book from its elementary school library, reports The Illinois Family Institute. Further, it has voted to remove all materials created by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, a partisan advocacy group committed to using public schools, including elementary schools, to advance their moral, political, and ontological beliefs. The IFI called the action “wise and courageous.” “Educators, parents, and other taxpayers,” said IFI in response, “need to understand that treating homosexuality as equivalent to heterosexuality does not reflect a neutral ideological position. Treating homosexuality as equivalent to heterosexuality is a leftist position. Believing that homosexuality and heterosexuality are morally and ontologically equivalent is a controversial, unproven belief that public schools—particularly elementary schools—have no ethical right or obligation to promulgate. Leftists try to make the case that including books that treat homosexuality positively reflects ideological neutrality and balance since there are already so many books that depict heterosexuality positively. But that argument is based on prior acceptance of yet another Leftist assumption, which is that homosexuality is simply the flip side of the sexuality coin. It’s not. Homosexuality is a disordering of the sexual impulse.”
- Last week, congressional leaders had to again call Attorney General Holder to testify, looking for answers on Operation Fast and Furious, reports the ACLJ: “President Obama’s Justice Department secretly allowed guns to be illegally given to Mexican drug cartels as part of a program that led to the death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent and hundreds more in Mexico; but more than a year later, we still don’t have answers. What do you call that? A cover-up. The American people deserve the truth from Obama’s DOJ. The DOJ misled Congress on its role in the program, and Attorney General Holder refuses to turn over documents and answer questions from congressional investigators. Here is how Congressman Issa [R-Calif.], who is leading Congress’s investigation, summed it up: ‘You don’t lie to Congress, and then lie about lying to Congress and then lie about knowing you lied to Congress and then not fire the people who did all of that and have it be anything but a cover-up.'”