Sunday, October 26, 2014

The 3 - October 26, 2014

In this week's edition of The 3, my week-in-review feature, there is emerging news from the country of Nigeria, where a militant group has apparently kidnapped more young ladies, even though there had been talk of some sort of ceasefire.  Also, there is confusion in the case of 2 Idaho wedding chapel operators who have refused to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.  And, another Federal judge has upheld a law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

3 - Boko Haram abducts 25 more girls against backdrop of possible truce

News has surfaced this week that militants suspected to be part of the Boko Haram terrorist group have reportedly kidnapped at least 25 girls in an attack on a remote town in northeastern Nigeria, even against the backdrop of talks on freeing over 200 other female hostages they seized in April. This is according to a report on the Irish Times website, referenced by, which points out that Boko Haram terrorists already have nearly 200 girls in captivity that were abducted from a school in Chibok on April 14.  In this recent attack, the militants reportedly came late in the night and forced all of the women and girls to go with them; the older women were later released but 25 girls were kept captive.

Nearly a week after the government announced a ceasefire deal with Boko Haram, which it said would include the release of the girls kidnapped from the secondary school in Chibok in northeastern Nigeria in April, there is still no sign of them being freed.

Talks to release the schoolgirls have been reportedly been taking place in secret between the government and a Boko Haram representative in the capital of Chad, N’Djamena.

John Kwaghe, who witnessed the most recent attack and lost three daughters to the abductors, was quoted as saying that, “We are confused that hours after the so-called ceasefire agreement has been entered between the Federal Government and Boko Haram insurgents, our girls were abducted by the insurgents...We urge the government to please help rescue our daughters without further delay, as we are ready to die searching.”

2 - Wedding chapel operators who refused to do gay wedding may be exempt from city's anti-discrimination law

Even though the Idaho marriage amendment defining marriage as one man-one woman, was struck down by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently, the owners of a wedding chapel in Couer d'Alene refused to marry gay couples, citing their religious beliefs.  Furthermore, it was thought that they could be in violation of a city non-discrimination ordinance.

But, according to, things may be going in favor of chapel owners.  This past Thursday, the interim executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho, Leo Morales, said he won’t pursue legal action because the chapel owned by Donald and Evelyn Knapp, the Hitching Post, only provides religious services and is exempted from the local ordinance. He said the ACLU would reconsider its stance if the chapel were to offer secular services, such as providing flowers or cakes, or holding nonreligious ceremonies.

Alliance Defending Freedom spokesman Greg Scott said that Couer d’Alene police had called the couple on Thursday to investigate a possible violation of the city’s 2013 anti-discrimination ordinance after a complaint from someone who had requested a same-sex ceremony and was refused. ADF filed a lawsuit against the city on behalf the Knapps.

Keith Erickson, a city spokesperson, said, "As a religious organization, they are exempt from our anti-discrimination law. They are for-profit...We’re asking them to dismiss this federal lawsuit. It has no merit because the ordinance doesn’t apply to them.” However, city attorney Mike Gridley had written to the ADF earlier this month saying, “If they are operating as a legitimate not-for-profit religious corporation then they are exempt from the ordinance like any other church or religious association.”

Meanwhile, ADF said the Hitching Post is not a nonprofit religious organization like a church, but rather is a religious for-profit limited liability company like a Bible publisher.  

So, whether or not the Knapps are exempt remains to be seen - one thing that is clear:  the Knapps will not be performing same-sex ceremonies at their wedding chapel.

Recently, Stuart Shepard of CitizenLink discussed this case and other topics.   You can listen to it or download it here.

1 - Puerto Rico Federal judge upholds traditional marriage

This past week, according to the WORLD Magazine website, U.S. District Court Judge Juan Pérez-Giménez upheld the constitutionality of the 1902 Puerto Rico marriage statute defining marriage as one man and one woman, following a challenge by five homosexual couples. The couples’ attorney said they would appeal.

In his opinion, Pérez-Giménez wrote that heterosexual marriage was essential to society and related concern that changing the definition of marriage opens the door to legalizing polygamous and incestuous relationships.  He said, "Ultimately, the very survival of the political order depends upon the procreative potential embodied in traditional marriage...Those are the well-tested, well-proven principles on which we have relied for centuries.”

As WORLD notes, the Puerto Rico judge's decision stands out among others by about two dozen judges on the U.S. mainland who overturned state marriage laws following the 2013 landmark Supreme Court ruling U.S. v. Windsor.  In his opinion, Pérez-Giménez said U.S. judges overturning state marriage laws wrongly interpreted the high court's Windsor decision, which struck down a federal provision that denied some tax, health, and veteran’s benefits to legally married gay couples. The ruling did not, however, declare gay marriage legal on a national scale.  He wrote that Windsor was a bolstering of states’ rights.

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