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Archive for June, 2013

FRC’s Tony Perkins: Court ‘Carjacked’ Nation with Gay Marriage Ruling.

Supreme Court justices “carjacked the nation” with last week’s ruling on same-sex marriage rights, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said Sunday.

“We’re going to see a loss of religious freedom — it’s already happening,” Perkins said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “We’re already seeing bakers and florists and photographers forced to participate in same-sex marriages under the threat of law and even jail. I can’t think of anything that’s more un-American than that.”

He explained in states that have anti-discrimination laws, when a business refuses to provide services for a same-sex marriage because of religious reasons, the government can come in and sue them.

“They’re literally being sued by the government, not the individuals,” claimed Perkins. “And they’ve even been adjudicated in such places as New Mexico.”

Perkins said both of the court’s decisions, to strike down a part of the Defense of Marriage act that denies federal benefits and to dismiss a case on California’s Proposition 8, were “disappointing.”

The California case, though, was sent back to that state, so the case couldn’t be used to impose same-sex marriage on the whole nation, Perkins noted.

Perkins said that decision will buy some time for gay marriage opponents to gather some more support.

“It’s the reality that people will come face-to-face with over time, because right now same-sex marriage is limited to 12 jurisdictions,” Perkins continued. “And as more people see that their freedoms, the freedoms of parents to determine what their children are taught, to be able to live your life according to your faith, all of that’s at risk here.”

Also on Sunday, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy denied a request from Proposition 8 supporters to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses in California.

Former Solicitor General Ted Olson, who appeared before Perkins on the show, predicted the move.

Olson argued in favor of the same-sex marriage rulings before the Supreme Court, said he does not think Proposition 8 will be back.

“They lost in the district court, they lost in the court of appeals and they’ve lost in the United States Supreme Court. They lost in the California Supreme Court,” said Olson.

Olson is a conservative who served as solicitor general under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, but says there has been a shift in how same-sex marriage is viewed.

“Some Republicans have not yet come to understand that this is the right thing for all of our country to do,” he said. “But Republicans are changing, Democrats are changing. I think the day is going to come, maybe within just a few years, when the Republican party – just like the Democratic party – all Americans believe in equal treatment for all of our citizens.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Sandy Fitzgerald

McCain: Putin an Old KGB Apparatchik With Dreams of Restored Russian Empire.

The Edward Snowden case should reveal who Russian President Vladimir Putin really is, says Sen. John McCain. “He’s an old colonel KGB apparatchik and he dreams of the restoration of the Russian empire.”

McCain, R-Ariz., appearing on Fox News Sunday, said Putin’s refusal to hand over Snowden, who admitted to leaking national security secrets to the press, is “a direct slap in the face to the United States of America.”

Putin’s government also is funneling arms and assistance to the Syrian government while the United States is trying to help the rebels fighting them, McCain noted.

“They thumb their nose at us no matter what the issue is,” he said.

While McCain doesn’t want to see a return to the Cold War, he does think the United States should deal more realistically with Russia considering its recent actions.

“I think we’ve pushed the resent down to about 1955,” McCain said.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Greg Richter

Assange: Edward Snowden is a ‘Hero’ for Leaking NSA Documents.

NSA leaker Edward Snowden is a “hero,” and taking away his passport is a “disgrace,” as there will be no stopping publishing any more NSA secrets, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on “This Week.”

“Great care has been taken to make sure that Mr. Snowden can’t be pressured by any state to stop the publication process,” Snowden said. “The United States, by cancelling his passport, has left him for the moment marooned in Russia. Is that really what (the State Department) wanted to do?

Assange, speaking from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, said that every citizen has his right to citizenship, and a U.S. order to take away Snowden’s deprives him from his “principal component of citizenship” at a time when he has not been convicted of anything.
“There are no international warrants out for his arrest,” said Snowden. “To take a passport from a young man in a difficult situation like that is a disgrace.”

Assange said the Wikileaks legal team has been in contact with Snowden, who faces espionage charges in the United States for leaking information about the NSA’s internet and cell phone surveillance programs.

The Obama administration is demanding Snowden be sent back to the United States, and it is believed he is in transit zone of a Moscow airport. Russian President Vladimir Putin refused to send Snowden back, calling him a “free person.”

But Assange said that the information Snowden released shows “the people of the world and the United States that there is mass unlawful interception of their communications” that reach far beyond the Richard Nixon-era Watergate scandal.

“Obama can’t just turn around like Nixon did and said, it’s OK, if the president does it, if the president authorizes it,” Assange said.

The Wikileaks founder also slammed the Obama administration for its demands of other countries not to grant Snowden asylum, which included a phone call from Vice Presdient Joe Biden to Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa.

“Asylum is a right that we all have,” said Assange. “It’s an international right. Mr. Snowden has that right. Ideally, he should be able to return to the United States.”

Assange also said Snowden’s father, Lonnie Snowden has also asked if WikiLeaks was involved in the NSA leaks. He said his legal team has contacted the elder Snowden’s lawyer to put his concerns at rest.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Pope: Benedict Courageous for Resigning, Warns of Power.

Pope Francis says his predecessor, Benedict XVI, was courageously following his conscience when he decided to retire.

Benedict became the first pontiff in 600 years to quit the post when he resigned in February, paving the way for Francis’ election as pope two weeks later.

Francis told pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday that God made Benedict understand through prayer the step he had to take.

Benedict explained when announcing his intention to resign that he felt he didn’t have the mental and physical strength to continue as pontiff.

The rare resignation dismayed some traditionalists in the Catholic church. But Francis praised Benedict for following “his conscience with a great sense of acumen and courage.”

Pope Francis has told churchmen to shun the “logic of human power” as he tries to rid the Vatican‘s power structures of corruption and other wrongdoing.

Francis in a homily Saturday in St. Peter’s Basilica also warned his church of the “danger of thinking in a worldly way.”

The admonition comes a day after Italian authorities arrested a Vatican accountant in a probe of an alleged attempt to smuggle millions of dollars from Switzerland into Italy. In the latest scandal tainting the church, the Italian prelate is also under investigation in a separate money-laundering probe.

Separately, an Italian cardinal, Velasio de Paolis, told Rome daily Il Messaggero that the Vatican “must clean house,” adding Francis is right to pursue his anti-corruption campaign within church hierarchy.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Supreme Court Justice Denies Bid to Stop California Gay Marriages.

Same-sex couples in California rushed to city and county offices to get marriage licenses after a federal appeals court lifted a hold on the weddings following a June 26 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.


The one-sentence order by the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco drew a challenge from gay-marriage opponents, who said the appeals court acted prematurely. Justice Anthony Kennedy today rejected the challenge, letting marriages continue.

The first same-sex couple to be married in San Francisco City Hall since 2008 was Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, both plaintiffs in the court case against California’s Proposition 8. California Attorney General Kamala Harris performed the ceremony on a balcony overlooking the city hall rotunda.

“I now declare you spouses for life,” Harris concluded, to an outburst of cheers and applause.

With a 5-4 procedural ruling, the Supreme Court reinstated a judge’s order allowing gay marriages by concluding that the sponsors of Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative that banned gay marriage, lacked legal standing to appeal a trial judge’s order. California officials until now enforced Proposition 8, refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses even while opposing the ballot initiative in court.

Twelve other states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage, six of them in the past year.

DOMA Struck

The Supreme Court also struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that denied benefits to same-sex couples legally married in states that allowed it. The court stopped short of declaring a constitutional right for gays to marry, or even ruling directly on California’s voter-approved ban, as the justices considered the issue for the first time.

The decisions sustained the momentum that has grown behind same-sex marriage over the past decade. A Bloomberg National Poll released this month found that 52 percent of adults supported legalization, with 41 percent opposed. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

There were more than 130,000 married, gay couples in the U.S., according to estimates from the 2010 Census.

After the appeals court order, California Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, directed county clerks in the state’s 58 counties to immediately begin issuing marriages licenses to same-sex couples.

Power Challenged

The Proposition 8 sponsors said the appeals court should have waited until the Supreme Court issued a certified copy of the judgment in the case — something the high court typically doesn’t do until 25 days after its opinion is released. The 25- day period is designed to give the losing side time to seek rehearing.

The appeals court “was without jurisdiction to issue its order purporting to dissolve its stay,” the sponsors, led by former state Senator Dennis Hollingsworth, argued in papers filed with the Supreme Court.

Kennedy, who handles emergency matters from the San Francisco-based appeals court, made no comment in rejecting the request from the Proposition 8 sponsors to halt the weddings.

The appeals court decision lifting the ban was condemned by supporters of Proposition 8.

‘Outrageous Act’

“This outrageous act tops off a chronic pattern of lawlessness, throughout this case, by judges and politicians hell-bent on thwarting the vote of the people to redefine marriage by any means, even outright corruption,” Andy Pugno, general counsel for the Coalition, said in a statement.

Homosexual marriage is not happening because the people changed their mind,” Pugno said. “It isn’t happening because the appellate courts declared a new constitutional right. It’s happening because enemies of the people have abused their power to manipulate the system and render the people voiceless.”

Perry and Stier might have been beaten to their vows by another same-sex couple who received their marriage license from the Los Angeles County clerk’s office at 4:07 p.m. on June 28, spokeswoman Regina Ip said.

In San Francisco, Bobby Meadows, 40, and Craig Stein, 39, married each other on the balcony overlooking the City Hall rotunda. Meadows wore shorts and held a small bouquet of yellow, red and blue flowers. Stein wore jeans. The deputy marriage commissioner who presided over the ceremony hugged each as he handed them their marriage certificate.

Overwhelming, Awesome

“It’s amazing,” Meadows said in an interview. “I grew up never expecting to be able to do this in my lifetime, to announce the love for the man that I love. It’s overwhelming. It’s awesome.”

More than 18,000 same-sex couples got marriage licenses in California in the five months between a state Supreme Court ruling that gay marriages were legal and the 2008 passage of Proposition 8, which effectively overturned that decision.

The appeals court said in February 2012 that Proposition 8 violated the constitutional guarantee of equal protection by stripping same-sex couples of a right they once had — and that heterosexual couples would continue to possess.

The appeals court decision upheld a San Francisco federal judge’s 2010 ruling that Proposition 8 violated equal protection rights of gay and lesbian couples, and put the ruling on hold until the case had been appealed and argued to the U.S. Supreme Court.

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Reed: Liberal Arguments on Gay Marriage Suggest Obama’s a Bigot.

If opponents of same-sex marriage are bigots who discriminate against gays and lesbians, then they are also suggesting that President Barack Obama is a bigot, conservative leader Ralph Reed said during a spirited debate Sunday on “Meet the Press.”

Reed, who leads the Faith and Freedom Coalition, was pushing back against comments made by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow that opposing gay marriage is discrimination.

“Gay people exist,” Maddow said. “There’s nothing we can do in public policy that makes more of us exist or less of us exist. And you guys have been arguing for a generation that public policy ought to essentially demean gay people as a way of expressing disapproval of the fact that we exist. But you don’t make any less of us exist. You are just arguing in favor of discrimination.”

“I really can’t let that go,” Reed interjected.

“This suggestion that somebody wants to affirm the institution of marriage, that they’re ipso facto intolerant, by that argument Barack Obama was intolerant,” Reed said.

Maddow’s argument means that 342 members of the House and 85 members of the Senate, including Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and former President Bill Clinton “were intolerant and motivated by an animus and hatred for gays,” Reed said.

That’s the checklist of politicians who supported the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, parts of which were struck down this week by the Supreme Court.

But Obama’s opposition to gay marriage was more recent, 14 months ago. “Was he a bigot 14 months ago?” Reed asked.

Host David Gregory told Reed and former Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, the conservative leader of the Heritage Foundation, that “to oppose gay marriage is to deny dignity” and that the Republicans were “viewed in many quarters as being intolerant of gay rights.”

Legalizing gay marriage, DeMint replied, would “deny dignity to millions of Americans who for moral or religious reasons believe gay marriage is wrong.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Audrey Hudson

Schumer: House Will Pass Senate Bill by End of Year.

A broad coalition backing immigration reform will force reluctant Republicans to pass the Senate’s comprehensive bill by the end of the year rather than trying to pass piecemeal legislation, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., says.

Evangelicals, the Catholic Church, business, labor, farm workers and growers have backed the effort, said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., as the pair appeared together on Fox News Sunday. McCain said he has “never seen such widespread support” and that an overwhelming majority of Americans support the bill “once it is explained to them.”

Gowdy: Immigration Reform Needed, But Not on Schumer’s Timetable

Both senators are members of the Gang of Eight, four Republicans and four Democrats, which crafted the bill passed by the Senate 68-32 last week.

McCain said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has a tough job ahead convincing members of his party to pass the bill. Many, including Rep. Rand Paul, R-Ky., have said the bill is dead of arrival in the House.

Schumer disagrees.

“I know that’s not what they think now, and they’ll say, ‘Oh no, that’s not what’s gonna happen,’ but I think it will,” he said.

Boehner has a large number of Republican members who fear GOP primaries if they vote yes, Schumer said, but he believes the dynamic will change in the coming months. When they see the coalition backing the effort gaining steam, he thinks those same Republicans will act quickly.

The national Republican leadership will tell Boehner, “If you don’t pass a bill then we are going to be a minority party for a generation,” Schumer said.

Schumer said he also sees the move as possibly “one of the greatest civil rights we’ve movements ever seen. By the end of summer, a million people may take to the National Mall to call for passage, he said.

“And who’s going to be on stage?” he asked. “Not the usual suspects, but the bishops and the evangelicals and the business leaders.”

The issue isn’t going away, Schumer said. Supporters will be at town hall meetings of Republican Congressmen, visiting them in their offices, and showing up in the halls of Congress.

“We’ve seen the power of these Dream Act kids,” he said.

Piecemeal bills can’t pass, he said, because no Democrat will vote for a bill that doesn’t provide a path to citizenship, and about 40 Republicans have said they won’t vote for any immigration bill at all because they don’t want a conference committee that would work out a comprise bill.

“(Boehner) will have nothing or he’ll have the Senate bill, Schumer said. “And for some of these Republicans, the lesser of two evils is the Senate bill.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Greg Richter

Gowdy: Immigration Reform Needed, But Not on Schumer’s Timetable.

While he and fellow GOP members of the House of Representatives agree that the current immigration system is broken, they differ with their counterparts in the Senate on the details, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. says.

“Our framers gave us two legislative bodies, and I assume that they did it for a reason,” Gowdy said on Fox News Sunday. House members seek re-election every two years, as opposed to every six years in the State, on the theory that House members will be closer to the will of the people, Gowdy said.

Schumer: House Will Pass Senate Bill by End of Year

The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill 68-32 on Thursday, and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., predicted on Fox News Sunday that the Senate’s version will pass the House by year’s end because a diverse coalition of religious and business interests support it and because many GOP members don’t want compromise legislation that would be worked out between the two bodies if the House passes its own set of bills.

“I’m more interested in getting it right than doing it on Sen. Schumer’s schedule,” Gowdy said.

“I cannot sell in South Carolina a border security plan where the security comes after the legalization. I can’t sell a border security plan where (Homeland Security Secretary) Janet Napolitano gets to tell us the border is secure. I can’t sell a border security plan where the executive can turn on and off triggers for politically expedient reasons. Nor would I try to sell any of those plans,” Gowdy added.

The House has passed five stand-alone bills so far dealing with immigration, Gowdy noted, including one that allows state and local law enforcement to assist federal agents in enforcing immigration laws.

“That’s a nonstarter in the Senate,” he said.

Other bills included increasing visas for highly skilled workers, and a new program for agriculture guest workers.

Gowdy said the 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States are not monolithic, and shouldn’t be treated the same when it comes to legalization. Some, he said, are not even interested in becoming U.S. citizens.

“It would be curious indeed to force citizenship on someone who doesn’t want it,” he said.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Greg Richter

Hayden: Snowden Exposes Differences Between Privacy, Security.

Edward Snowden’s leaks about National Security Agency surveillance procedures have started a national debate about the balance between privacy and security while causing “significant and irreversible” damage, former CIA and NSA Director Gen. Michael Hayden said Sunday.

Hayden also told CBS’ “Face the Nation” host Bob Schaeffer Sunday that President Barack Obama should be taking more aggressive measures to bring Snowden back to the United States to face legal proceedings.

Story continues below video.

Obama said last week that he wouldn’t be using fighter jets to bring back Snowden, who leaked information about the NSA’s telephone and Internet surveillance programs to the international media.

But meanwhile, Hayden downplayed news from this weekend that the NSA’s surveillance measures also targeted European citizens.

According to information obtained by Der Speigel, a German publication, the NSA conducted online surveillance of European citizens and targeted buildings housing European Union institutions.

The information is in more secret documents brought out by Snowden. Spiegel reports a “top secret” 2010 document shows how the NSA attacked the EU’s diplomatic representation in Washington by installing bugs and infiltrating telephone systems.

Related: Europeans Confront Washington on Magazine’s Surveillance Report

“Other countries know that the U.S. does conduct espionage,” said Hayden. “Our Fourth Amendment is not an international treaty. Any European who wants to go out and ream their garments with regard to international espionage should look first and find out what their own governments are doing,”

Meanwhile, he said that the Internet means that “geography doesn’t mean what it used to,” and that he wouldn’t draw immediate conclusions about the latest Snowden leaks.
The Snowden scandal, though, has revealed the need to educate Americans more about what the government is doing.

“It’s lodged a national debate about the balance between government and the American public,” Hayden said. “In an ideal world, I keep everything secret, but I’m willing to shave points off my operational effectiveness to make the American people more comfortable about what we’re doing, otherwise they won’t let us do it in the first place … but democracies like ours don’t get to do something over a long period of time without national consensus.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Goodlatte: Senate’s Immigration Bill Full of ‘Defects’.

The immigration-reform bill passed by the Senate last week has “lots of defects,” including giving premature legal status to 11 million-plus immigrants, Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte said Sunday.

“We want to work with Democrats,” Goodlatte said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We want to work with [Rep.] Luis [Gutierrez] and others to do a bill, but not the Senate bill. The Senate bill gives legal status to 11 million people before it solves all the problems with securing the border, with e-verify, with entry/exit visa system and says, ‘We’ll take care of those later.’”

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said his goal is to solve “all three major problems” with immigration reform: improving it so it boosts the economy and creates more jobs; focusing on enforcement; and finding appropriate legal status for those who already have immigrated to the United States.

“There are lots of defects in the Senate bill that we don’t like,” Goodlatte said.

Appearing with Goodlatte on CNN, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said he fears the House will do so on a partisan basis, setting up the Senate bill to fail, the immigration proponent.

He warned against House Speaker John Boehner and the Republican-controlled chamber controlling the fate of much-needed immigration reform.

“Will he [Boehner] allow a small group, maybe even a majority of his caucus, to control the debate and the future of this issue?” Gutierrez asked. “If he decides to do that, we will then end in a stalemate and an impasse once again. Yes, the [House Judiciary Committee] chairman [Goodlatte] has a solution, but it’s not a bipartisan solution, so it’s a solution that’s going to lead us to nothing.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Amy Woods

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