Conservative Action Project: Protect Religious Liberty in America

ACRU President Susan Carleson joined with 57 conservative leaders to urge action be taken now to protect religious liberty in America.

WASHINGTON, DC (July 10, 2015)—On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court stripped more than 50 million Americans of their votes upholding marriage as it has been defined for millennia by diverse cultures, and faiths across the globe.

Marriage has long been a positive way for a man and a woman to share long-lasting commitment to each other and their children. Making marriage no different than any other adult relationship makes the marriage commitment less meaningful and easier to disregard.

But the impact of redefining marriage for the entire nation will reach far beyond the institutions of marriage and family. The court’s ruling fundamentally transforms the relationship between the American people and those in power. Justice Alito noted this reality in his dissent:

“Most Americans—understandably—will cheer or lament today’s decision because of their views on the issue of same-sex marriage. But all Americans, whatever their thinking on that issue, should worry about what the majority’s claim of power portends.”

The Court’s abuse of power is of such historic proportions that the conservative movement, and indeed every American who cherishes liberty, must now address the serious damage done to the cause of freedom and the very foundation of our civil society.

The loss of freedom due to the redefinition of marriage has already been seen in states across the country. State governments have unfairly punished and discriminated against Americans from all walks of life simply for living according to their beliefs in support of man-woman marriage.

Small business owners have been fined for following this belief. Last week, an Oregon Labor Commissioner ordered Aaron and Melissa Klein to pay a fine of $ 135,000 for declining to bake a same-sex wedding cake. The commissioner also imposed a gag order on the Kleins, ordering them to “cease and desist” discussing their case publicly. The order demonstrates that this assault on our most essential freedoms will not stop with the free exercise of our religion; it endangers the freedom of speech as well. States have even shut down longstanding adoption and foster care providers for not sharing the government’s view of marriage. These are only a few examples. By inventing a constitutional “right” to same-sex “marriage,” the Court has opened the door wide to more severe forms of discrimination against those who believe in natural marriage. The dissenting justices explain very clearly what we must now prepare for: a majority opinion that “will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.”

We commit ourselves to the work of ensuring that the government never penalizes or discriminates against anyone simply for believing what President Obama believed about marriage just three years ago.

The Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech, association, and religion for every American, but those freedoms will now collide with a Supreme Court ruling that places demands on Americans who continue to abide by the truth of marriage as the union of man and woman.

We call on Congress to pass the First Amendment Defense Act and for state legislatures to approve similar measures that stop the government from discriminating against those who believe in natural marriage. No individual should lose their tax exempt status, face disqualification, be fined, or lose grants or contracts for following their beliefs. A failure to enact these commonsense protections will only deepen the divide in our country which according to the latest polls is nearly evenly split on the marriage ruling. Penalizing those charities and organizations that believe in natural marriage could threaten and harm their ability to help millions of people. The time for action is now because when government forces Americans to violate their deeply-held beliefs, government itself threatens every fundamental freedom.

We stand united for the freedom to live according to one’s beliefs about marriage. And we will continue to speak courageously, and compassionately about the unchanging truth of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

The Honorable Edwin Meese III

Former Attorney General

President Ronald Reagan

The Honorable Becky Norton Dunlop

Chairman, CAP

Former White House Advisor, President Ronald Reagan

The Honorable Tony Perkins

President

Family Research Council

The Honorable J. Kenneth Blackwell

Chairman

Constitutional Congress, Inc.

Mr. William L. Walton

Vice President

Council for National Policy

Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin (Ret.)

Executive Vice President

Family Research Council

Mr. Alfred S. Regnery

Chairman

Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund

The Honorable Bob McEwen

Executive Director

Council for National Policy

The Honorable Colin A. Hanna

President

Let Freedom Ring, Inc.

Mr. Erick Erickson

Editor-in-Chief

RedState.com

Mr. Michael A. Needham

Chief Executive Officer

Heritage Action for America

Mr. L. Brent Bozell, III

Chairman

ForAmerica

Mrs. Susan A. Carleson

Chairman and CEO

American Civil Rights Union

Austin Ruse

President

Center for Family & Human Rights

Mr. Bill Dallas

CEO

United in Purpose

Rabbi Daniel Lapin

President

American Alliance of Jews and Christians

Everett Piper, PhD

President

Oklahoma Wesleyan University

Somers H. White CPAE, FIMC

Former Arizona State Senator

Grace-Marie Turner

President

Galen Institute

Floyd Brown

Western Center for Journalism

Dr. Rick Scarborough

President

Vision America Action

Mr. Herman Cain

President and CEO

Hermancain.com

Ralph J. Benko

Chairman

Center for Civic Virtue

Gary L. Bauer

President

American Values

Frank Schubert

President

Mission Public Affairs, LLC

Gary Marx

Senior Partner

Madison Strategies

Edward Whelan

President

Ethics and Public Policy Center

David W. Preston

Executive Director

Oklahoma Wesleyan University Foundation

Bradley Mattes

President

Life Issues Institute

Kevin Kookogey

Linchpins of Liberty

Nadine Maenza

Executive Director

Patriot Voices

Terrence Scanlon

President

Capital Research Center

Ron Robinson

President

Young America’s Foundation

Mario H. Lopez

President

Hispanic Leadership Fund

Charles J. Cooper

Cooper & Kirk, PLLC

Curt Levey

President

The Committee for Justice

Donna Hearne

CEO

Constitutional Coalition

Jerry A. Johnson, Ph.D.

President and CEO

National Religious Broadcasters

Ronald Cameron

Chairman

Mountaire Corporation

Ted Baehr

Publisher, Movieguide®

Chairman, Christian Film & Television Commission®

Kelly Shackelford, Esq.President, CEO and Chief Counsel

Liberty Institute

The Honorable James C. Miller III

Former Director of OMB

President Ronald Reagan

The Honorable T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr.

Former Domestic Advisor

President Ronald Reagan

Rebecca Hagelin

Member, Board of Directors

Family Talk

Mrs. Leslee J. Unruh

Founder

National Abstinence Clearinghouse and Alpha Center

Dr. Allen D. Unruh

Co-Founder

National Abstinence Clearinghouse

Mrs. Penny Y. Nance

President and CEO

Concerned Women for America

Morton Blackwell

Chairman

The Weyrich Lunch

Joel Anand Samy

Co-Founder and President

International Leaders Summit

Larry L. Eastland, Ph.D.

Former Staff Assistant

President Ford

Kirby A. Wilbur

Executive Director

National Journalism Center

The Honorable Donald J. Devine

Senior Scholar

The Fund for American Studies

John Taylor

President

Virginia Institute for Public Policy

Tom DeLay

Former Majority Leader

Richard A. Viguerie

Chairman

ConservativeHQ.com

Cleta Mitchell, Esq.

Joseph A. Morris

Morris & De La Rosa

(All organizations listed for Identification purposes only)

Download the Memo here. (PDF, 33kb)