August 26th, 2009 by M. French

Press Release from the Alliance Defense Fund:

LACONIA, N.H. — An Alliance Defense Fund allied attorney filed motions with a New Hampshire court Monday asking it to reconsider and stay its decision to order a 10-year-old home-schooled girl into a government-run school in Meredith.

Although the marital master making recommendations to the court agreed the child is “well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising, and intellectually at or superior to grade level” and that “it is clear that the home schooling…has more than kept up with the academic requirements of the…public school system,” he nonetheless proposed that the Christian girl be ordered into a government-run school after considering “the impact of [her religious] beliefs on her interaction with others.”  The court approved the order.

“Parents have a fundamental right to make educational choices for their children.  In this case specifically, the court is illegitimately altering a method of education that the court itself admits is working,” said ADF-allied attorney John Anthony Simmons of Hampton.  “The court is essentially saying that the evidence shows that, socially and academically, this girl is doing great, but her religious beliefs are a bit too sincerely held and must be sifted, tested by, and mixed among other worldviews.  This is a step too far for any court to take.”

The parents of the child divorced in 1999.  The mother has home-schooled their daughter since first grade with curriculum that meets all state review standards.  In addition to home schooling, the girl attends supplemental public school classes and has also been involved in a variety of extra-curricular sports activities.

In the process of renegotiating the terms of a parenting plan for the girl, the guardian ad litem involved in the case concluded, according to the court order, that the girl “appeared to reflect her mother’s rigidity on questions of faith” and that the girl’s interests “would be best served by exposure to a public school setting” and “different points of view at a time when she must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of belief…in order to select, as a young adult, which of those systems will best suit her own needs.”

Marital Master Michael Garner reasoned that the girl’s “vigorous defense of her religious beliefs to [her] counselor suggests strongly that she has not had the opportunity to seriously consider any other point of view” and then recommended that the girl be ordered to enroll in a government school instead of being home-schooled.  Judge Lucinda V. Sadler approved the recommendation and issued the order on July 14.

“The New Hampshire Supreme Court itself has specifically declared, ‘Home education is an enduring American tradition and right…,’” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Mike Johnson.  “There is clearly and without question no legitimate legal basis for the court’s decision, and we trust it will reconsider its conclusions.”

Simmons filed his motions and supporting brief in the case In the Matter of Kurowski and Kurowski (Voydatch) with the Family Division of the Judicial Court for Belknap County in Laconia.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith.  Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

Note: Facts in ADF news releases are verified prior to publication but may change over time. Members of the media are encouraged to contact ADF for the latest information on this matter.

Thank God for the ADF. Who else would be able to fight cases like this which infringe on our religious and parental freedoms?

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May 22nd, 2009 by M. French

The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted down a same-sex marriage bill that had passed the Senate. The cause of the bill’s failure appears to be an amendment that would protect religious organizations from being required to perform same-sex marriages. According to Liberty Counsel:

Manchester, NH – By a vote of 188-186, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted down a same-sex marriage bill because it contained a religious liberty protection clause. The state Senate had previously passed the bill along party lines by a vote of 14-10. Governor George Lynch, who is opposed to same-sex marriage, said he would veto the bill unless it contained a religious liberty protection amendment. The amendment was added to the House version of the bill, and that is where it met opposition by an openly homosexual member of the House, who lobbied against the bill because of the amendment.

The religious liberty protection amendment would affirm the right of clergy and others affiliated with religious organizations to refuse to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. However, an openly homosexual state Representative, Steve Vaillancourt from Manchester, led the opposition to the bill because he was opposed to the religious liberty amendment and said the House should not be “bullied” by the Governor. Vaillancourt supports the prior version of the bill that did not provide protections for clergy. The earlier bill passed both chambers, but the Governor said he would veto the prior bill because it lacked the religious liberty protection amendment. There are not enough votes to override a veto by the Governor.

Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “The good news is that the same-sex marriage bill did not pass. The bad news is that some legislators want to force clergy to perform same-sex marriages. This bill failed to garner enough votes because it contained a clause designed to protect clergy and religious institutions from being forced to conduct same-sex marriages. This should be a wakeup call for people who cherish freedom. The same-sex marriage agenda being advanced is on a collision course with the values and freedoms shared by most Americans. This is clear evidence that the end game is to force clergy and religious institutions to not just accept, but to celebrate and participate in same-sex marriages.”

Gay activist Jeremy Hooper had this to say in response to Matt Staver’s comments:

The only thing that this is clear evidence of is the fact that WE. DON’T. WANT. THESE. UNNEEDED. RELIGIOUS. PROTECTIONS. BECAUSE. NO. GAY. ACTIVIST. — NO. GAY. ACTIVIST. — IS. SEEKING. FORCED. CHURCH. RECOGNITION. OF. OUR. CIVIL. MARRIAGES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s much the same way that religious people have never needed protections from the non-religious heterosexuals who have long utilized the civil marriage system. The church decisions, as always, are to be left to the individual sects, and the reform of church policy must come from within the same.

It has already been shown that the legalization of gay marriage will have an effect on religious organizations, thus the concerns that spurred the inclusion of these religious protections in the bill are not without warrant. Mr. Hooper said “the church decisions, as always, are to be left to the individual sects.” This is exactly what this clause is attempting to protect

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