In today’s News:
Wedding business wins
Faced with a federal lawsuit, Cuyahoga County has agreed to a proposed court judgment filed Friday that allows a Cleveland-area minister and wedding business owner to operate consistent with her belief that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. In July, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed suit on behalf of Kristi Stokes and her business, Covenant Weddings, to challenge a law that the county now agrees cannot be used to force her to use her ministry and business to officiate and compose homilies, vows and prayers for same-sex weddings even as she continues to officiate and promote weddings between one man and one woman. As part of the agreed-upon proposed judgment, the county will not enforce its law — which threatens fines of $1,000-$5,000 per violation, depending on their frequency — against Stokes or other ministers because Stokes’ business is not a place of public accommodation and because she and other ministers should not be forced to act contrary to her religious beliefs.
Mississippi asks Supreme Court to rule on abortion
The first female attorney general of Mississippi urged the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to allow her state to protect unborn babies from abortions, at the very minimum, after the first trimester. Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch asked the high court to consider the 15-week abortion ban earlier this summer. On Thursday, she filed a supplemental brief with arguments based on another abortion case that the Supreme Court ruled on in June, CBS News reports. The 2018 Mississippi law prohibits abortions after 15 weeks except when there are risks to the life or physical health of the mother, or fatal fetal anomalies. Based on state health records, about 200 unborn babies between 15 and 20 weeks are aborted every year in Mississippi. However, the state has not been allowed to enforce the pro-life law because of a pro-abortion legal challenge.
State officials shut down a Christian school
A Michigan county shut down a Christian school Thursday night, accusing it of violating a state and local health department mask mandate and other protocols. Libertas Christian School, a private, nondenominational Bible-based school with more than 265 students in Hudsonville, was officially closed down by the Ottawa County Health Department before classes could be held on Friday. Last Sunday, the school filed a lawsuit against the state and local health department, challenging the state’s mask mandate. That led the health department to issue additional cease-and-desist orders, later culminating in the school’s closure. While two teachers who work at the school had tested positive for covid-19, both recovered and were cleared by their doctors to return to work. Similarly, two students had tested positive for the virus, having contracted it off the school’s premises, and were cleared by their doctors to return to school. As of Friday, there have been zero covid-19 positive cases among faculty and students, according to updated records on the school’s website. The school’s attorney, Ian Northon said that since last Sunday the county has been calling a teacher to demand that she hand over the names of pupils in her second-grade class, and even threatened her with “imprisonment.” Douglas van Essen, a lawyer for the Ottawa County Health Department, said the health department never threatened the teacher.