The Week in Review: Law and Atheism 1/3/13

Happy New Year!

upvoteMaryland celebrated with lots of weddings New Year’s Day as same-sex marriage became legal south of the Mason-Dixon line for the first time. There’s a Cardinal in Illinois, though, accompanied by his bishops, who is urging Catholics there to contact their state legislators in an effort not to let Illinois pass such a progressive law, though. Because Thomas Aquinas declared certain sexual acts to be “unnatural” in his Summa Theologica 750 years, ago, and because Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George apparently is unaware that homosexuality has been observed in hundreds of species in addition to humans, the Catholic Conference of Illinois firmly deviates from the inclusive teachings of Jesus on this one.


The more things change, like the year, the more things, like politics, stay the same.  Case in point: Determinedly Republican and deeply religious Texas hates abortion, and hates giving poor women access to birth control, so it has passed a law aimed at completely defunding Planned Parenthood. A new Texas law prevents any public funds going to any entity that provides any abortion services whatsoever. upvotePlanned Parenthood has sued, but a Texas judge has decided that, at least until a hearing on Planned Parenthood’s request for a temporary injunction can be held on January 11, Planned Parenthood will get no public funding at all. If the court also refuses to issue the temporary injunction January 11, nearly 50,000 poor Texas women who used Planned Parenthood’s services will have to find another doctor for their breast exams, cancer screenings, routine reproductive health care, and other health services. Rick Perry is ecstatic, naturally.  Planned Parenthood can decouple its abortion services from all other money it spends, as it has done elsewhere, but according to the Texas Attorney General, that’s not sufficient under this new Texas law. This lawsuit bears watching, and promises not to be over for probably another year. And that’s if there are no appeals.


In dueling decisions, the United States Supreme Court said that Hobby Lobby has to comply with the reproductive health requirements of Obamacare pending resolution of its challenge to that part of the law, but a Michigan federal judge says Domino’s Pizza doesn’t have to comply with the law under the same circumstances. These kinds of conflicting decisions are what will make the Supreme Court inevitably take up these cases in fairly short order. Hobby Lobby’s CEO says that its company isn’t going to comply no matter what, so will pay $1.3 million per day in fines pending resolution of the case. I wonder if additional fines for contempt of court will be added to the fines imposed by the health care law.


I know that gun control and atheism aren’t related, but ever since we took gods out of schools we’ve had all these school shootings and stuff. The Flying Spaghetti Monster just wants you to know:




Got a legal question? Email me at I’m a lawyer, but there’s only a 2% chance I’m licensed in your state. Whether I answer your question or not, sending me an email or reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. I’m on Twitter as @aramink, and you can see my regular blog at, where I write book reviews, ruminate on Life, the Universe, and Everything, and occasionally – frequently – rant about Stuff.

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