Joe Ortwerth's
 Jeff City Update
Missouri Family E-News April 6, 2009
Iowa High Court
Efforts to destroy the institution of marriage in our country are now hitting close to home.  The Iowa Supreme Court has decreed that it is redefining marriage in that state to include relationships between individuals of the same gender.  Iowa is the latest state where high court judges have invented a constitutional "right" to marriage for homosexual and lesbian "couples."  Iowa lacks a provision in its constitution like that in Missouri which declares that marriage by its very definition is the union of a man and a woman.  Efforts to pass such an amendment for consideration by Iowa voters have been stymied in the Iowa Legislature.    It can be expected that same-sex individuals will go to Iowa to get "married," and then return to Missouri demanding that their so-called marriages be recognized.  Missouri's Constitution, state statutes, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act would foreclose such claims, but that will not keep homosexual activists from trying to get their way in court.  Please be praying in particular for Chuck Hurley, my counterpart in Iowa, the Executive Director of the Iowa Family Policy Center.  He will be leading the effort to reverse the Supreme Court decision.  Pray that he may know the Lord's peace in the midst of this intense battle, and that the people of Iowa will respond to his appeals to stand up for God's design of the family and the marital relationship. We will have more on this issue in future editions.
Day of Truth Slated for April 20th
Organizers of the national Day of Truth have scheduled Monday, April 20th, for this year's observance. The Day of Truth is set aside to counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda in public
schools.  Participating students express an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective.  The Day of Truth was organized by the Alliance Defense Fund as a response to the Day of Silence promoted by the so-called Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Educational Network.  On that day, students are encouraged not to speak to anyone all day to show support for homosexual behavior.  Students who participate in the Day of Truth wear specially designed T-shirts and pass out cards to fellow students that say in part:  "I'm speaking the Truth to break the silence...It's time for an honest conversation about homosexuality.  There's
freedom to change if you want to."  For more information about the Day of Truth, visit the website at www.dayoftruth.org 
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Federal Court Clears Way for Pro-Life
License Plates
Missouri residents are now able to purchase license plates with a pro-life message as a result of a favorable decision in federal court.  The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a federal district court decision that the state of Missouri must issue specialty license plates to interested citizens with a "Choose Life" message.
A non-profit organization called Choose Life of Missouri had applied to the Department of Revenue in June of 2005 for approval of such plates.  The group had submitted the names of 200 people desiring to purchase such plates as required by law.  The application was reviewed by the Legislature's Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight to ensure compliance with the law.  At that time, two pro-abortion senators, Joan Bray and Rita Days, objected to the plates, and the application was denied. 
The federal appeals court has ruled that the actions by Senators Bray and Days and the full committee amounted to viewpoint discrimination, and was thus unconstitutional.  "The Joint Committee can still review and approve or deny specialty plate applications based on the criteria provided;  it simply cannot deny an application based on the viewpoint of the speaker...", the court stated.   The court further concluded that the messages communicated on specialty plates are private speech, not government speech.
The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a religious liberty legal organization, represented the Choose Life of Missouri group.  ADF argued that the joint committee's action violated the Choose Life
group's rights to free speech, due process, and equal protection under the Missouri Constitution. 
"The state shouldn't discriminate against pro-life organizations for their beliefs," said ADF attorney Joel Oster, who argued the case.  "We are pleased with the 8th Circuit's decision to recognize the unconstitutionality of the state's approval process and look forward to the inclusion of Choose Life in Missouri's specialty license plate program."
The District Court agreed with ADF that the license plate approval process was unconstitutional becasue it gave Missouri officials "unbridled discretion to restrict private speech..."  The District Court ordered the Department of Revenue to issue the plates.  The Attorney General appealed, and  8th Circuit has now rejected his appeal.  It is unlikely that the matter will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, since other federal appellate courts have issued similar decisions.
"Choose Life" license plates are now available in eighteen states.  Three other states have approved such plates, and are in the process of developing and issuing them.
Choose Life of Missouri says it will use the funds raised from the specialty plates to further the efforts of not-for-profit adoption agencies, crisis pregnancy centers, and maternity homes.  The group says it will also use the revenues generated to finance pro-life education efforts and pro-life messages in the mass media.
For more information about how to apply for a Missouri "Choose Life" plate, you can visit the website of Choose Life of Missouri at www.chooselifemissouri.org.  You can purchase the plates online.
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