Advancing Religious Liberty
12/31/12 at 11:40 AM 0 Comments

At Christmas, Remembering Five Critical Victories We Shared in 2012

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Author: Alliance Defending Freedom President, CEO, and General Counsel Alan Sears

The close of another crowded year at Alliance Defending Freedom gives us pause for thanks – for you – and cause for abundant praise, as we reflect on God’s incredibly generous blessings to this ministry, and rejoice in your faithful, prayerful support for our work over the last 12 months.

Out of the dozens of crucial victories God has given us this year, five stand out as definitive examples of the impact your gifts have enabled us to make on America’s legal landscape … and on you and your family’s future.

First, just last week, we received word of a nation-shaping victory in the Julea Ward case. For several years and in several courts we’ve been fighting for the religious freedom of this academically exceptional Eastern Michigan University student, who was expelled from the EMU counseling program after she inquired whether she should refer a potential client to another counselor because the counseling he sought conflicted with her religious convictions.

EMU has now agreed to settle the lawsuit, in the face of a ruling earlier this year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit which stands intact. As part of the settlement, the university has agreed to pay Ward a sum of money to settle her claims and to remove the expulsion from her record. (Our thanks to Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco, and to Steven M. Jentzen, one of our nearly 2,200 Allied Attorneys, who acted as local counsel in the case.)

We’re also especially thankful for our success in representing the Newland family’s Hercules Industries, a Colorado company that is resisting the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate. On July 27, the U.S. District Court for Colorado issued an order halting enforcement of the mandate against them – a mandate requiring them to provide coverage of life-ending drugs for their employees – until our lawsuit on behalf of the family is completed.

This was the first-ever judicial order blocking enforcement of the abortion pill mandate, and a ruling with enormous implications for the religious freedom of people like you all over America. As noted in our brief to the court, “the mandate disregards religious conscience rights that are enshrined in federal statutory and constitutional law,” and violates the First Amendment through “its massive inapplicability and its discrimination among religions.” (Our attorneys have now obtained a similar ruling on behalf of Tyndale House Publishers.)

And finally, as I noted in this column last week, we rejoice that the U.S. Supreme Court has at last elected to review the constitutionality of both the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s marriage amendment. The Court’s decisions in these cases may well determine whether Americans like you will decide the definition of marriage (through either direct vote or your elected officials) … or whether judges will do that for you.

Between them, these five cases represent crucial wins and pivotal turning points in the defense of religious liberty, rights of conscience, the sanctity of life, and the definition of marriage in America. The still-ongoing cases involving the mandate and the marriage cases are also among our most urgent prayer needs in the new year.

Christmas, of course – when God gave of Himself His Son to redeem and save us – is a time for both remembering and looking ahead. As we at Alliance Defending Freedom remember your faithful prayers and support in 2012, please join me in giving thanks for all that God has done, and in seeking the Lord’s continuing blessings on our best efforts for His glory in 2013.

This post originally appeared here.

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