3 - Romanian marriage amendment invalidate due to insufficient turnout
Residents of the eastern European nation of Romania were scheduled to go the polls recently to vote on a constitutional amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman. But, according to a report on the WORLD Magazine website, the vote did not reach the threshold necessary to allow the referendum to be recognized.
More than 90 percent of Romanian voters supported defining marriage in the constitution as the union of one man and one woman, but election officials said just 20.41 percent of eligible voters participated, short of the 30 percent required for the referendum to be valid. The nation’s constitution currently defines marriage as between “spouses.” It does not allow civil unions, nor does it recognize same-sex marriage from other countries.The WORLD article states that: "the Orthodox Church, which backed the referendum, called the vote 'a partial success which calls us to hope and work more.'" The country's president supports same-sex marriage, and, according to the article, "said the country should tackle the issue further with 'a mature approach and openness to dialogue.'"
2 - Cake bakers receive favorable court ruling in U.K.
There was a resounding court ruling recently from the U.K. Supreme Court in the case of Ashers Bakery, which, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom website, is "a Christian-owned business in Northern Ireland that politely declined to create a custom cake with the slogan 'Support Gay Marriage...'"
ADF Senior Vice President, U.S. Legal Division Kristen Waggoner, who had "argued the Masterpiece Cakeshop case before the U.S. Supreme Court," is quoted as saying:
“The UK Supreme Court recognized that artists and other professionals don’t discriminate when they object ‘to the message, not the messenger.’ The court also affirmed the fundamental freedom of Ashers Bakery’s owners to decline to express through one of their cakes ‘a message with which they deeply disagreed.’ In the U.S., Alliance Defending Freedom represents many creative professionals—like Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Barronelle Stutzman of Arlene’s Flowers, Carl and Angel Larsen of Telescope Media Group, and Blaine Adamson of Hands On Originals, just to name a few—who all draw that simple line: They serve all people but do not express messages that conflict with their deeply held beliefs."The U.K.'s Coalition for Marriage states on its website:
This is an emphatic victory for free speech. Five of the UK’s top judges have ruled that the law cannot compel someone to endorse a message with which they fundamentally disagree.
This ruling was vital, not just for the McArthur family who own and run Ashers bakery, but for business owners across the UK.On the website of The Christian Institute, General Manager Daniel McArthur is quoted as saying:
“We’re delighted and relieved at today’s ruling. We always knew we hadn’t done anything wrong in turning down this order. After more than four years, the Supreme Court has now recognised that and we’re very grateful. Grateful to the judges and especially grateful to God.
“We’re particularly pleased the Supreme Court emphatically accepted what we’ve said all along – we did not turn down this order because of the person who made it, but because of the message itself.”The site noted that it was a unanimous ruling and that, "Senior judges accepted arguments put forward by The Christian Institute over the last four and a half years."
1 - American pastor held in Turkey freed
Great news out of the nation of Turkey, where American pastor Andrew Brunson had been ministering for over 20 years. He has spent the better part of the last two years either in prison or house arrest. And, early Friday, a Turkish court reaffirmed the charges against him - and then set him free. The pastor is now back in the U.S.
A CBN News story quotes Pastor Brunson: "My entire family thanks the President, the administration, and Congress for their unwavering support. This is the day our family has been praying for – I am delighted to be on my way home to the United States."
The story states that:
Before the court hearing, US Vice President Mike Pence said the release of Pastor Brunson has been a priority for the Trump administration.
"Our administration has made very clear that we will continue to stand strong until Pastor Andrew Brunson is free and back home in the United States with his family and with his church," Pence said.The article said that:
Turkey accused Brunson of participating in a 2016 coup to overthrow the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Pastor Brunson was facing up to 35 years in prison if convicted...of espionage, but those charges were dropped Friday.CBN News reports that Brunson visited the White House on Saturday and met with President Trump in the Oval Office. The article says:
Brunson prayed for the commander-in-chief in the Oval Office saying, “I ask that you give him strength. I ask you to protect him.. make him a great blessing to this country and fill him with your wisdom and strength.”