RAP Sheet

Utah Shows the Way on Gay Rights

posted on March 19, 2015

In The Wall Street Journal, William A. Galston writes that while Utah is one the most conservative and Republican states in the country, it has found a working solution to potentially divisive issue. The state has adopted several bills allowing same-sex marriage and banning discrimination, which have been met with approval Mormons. “[I]n a society which has starkly diverse views on what rights should be protected, the most sensible way to move forward is for all parties to recognize the legitimate concerns of others,” the LDS Church said in a statement.

Read at The Wall Street Journal

Can You Change a Woman’s Mind in the Walk Up to an Abortion Clinic?

posted on March 19, 2015

At The Atlantic, Diana Pearl writes on the increase in protests near abortion clinics after the Supreme Court struck down a law forbidding protestors standing too near to the clinic. However, there is no indication that protesters are now more effective at persuading women not to get an abortion. Pearl writes, “There’s no evidence that activists are succeeding in changing women’s minds. What is succeeding is the one thing the Supreme Court intended: People who believe abortion is murder are able to share that message with those who least want to hear it.”

Read at The Atlantic

Netanyahu Sweeps to Victory in Israeli Election

posted on March 18, 2015

The Washington Post’s William Booth reports, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party won a clear and decisive victory in Israel’s parliamentary elections, paving the way for him to serve a record-breaking fourth term as prime minister, according to an almost complete vote count Wednesday.” Though the White House pledged Tuesday to support whoever won the Israeli premiership, the reelection of Netanyahu is likely to displease both Iran and the Palestinian Authority.

Read at The Washington Post

Largest Presbyterian Denomination Gives Final Approval for Same-Sex Marriage

posted on March 18, 2015

In The New York Times, Laurie Goodstein writes, “After three decades of debate over its stance on homosexuality, members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted on Tuesday to change the definition of marriage in the church’s constitution to include same-sex marriage.” The departure of several conservative congregations from the church following a 2011 vote allowing gay and lesbian ordination may have enabled Tuesday’s change, Goodstein reports. Marriage is now defined in the church as being between two people.

Read at The New York Times

Jeb Bush, 20 Years After Conversion, Is Guided by His Catholic Faith

posted on March 18, 2015

In The New York Times, Michael Paulson explores the importance of faith to potential 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush. “Twenty years after Mr. Bush converted to Catholicism, the religion of his wife, following a difficult and unsuccessful political campaign that had put a strain on his marriage, his faith has become a central element of the way he shapes his life and frames his views on public policy,” Paulson writes. Now, as the Republican primary approaches, Bush’s faith also functions as an appeal to evangelical voters.

Read at The New York Times

Are There Win-Win Answers for LGBT Rights and Religious Conscience?

posted on March 18, 2015

At Deseret News, Dennis Romboy writes, “Utah’s path to newly passed legislation that combines LGBT rights and religious freedom might be more of a template for the nation than the law itself.” Tuesday’s legislation resulted from the combined efforts of policymakers, gay rights advocates, and the Mormon Church following a Supreme Court ruling against Utah’s Amendment 3, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The legislation is drawing national attention, Romboy reports, but its applicability to other states is unclear given Utah’s unique treatment of religious organizations.

Read at Deseret News

Democrats Block Anti-Trafficking Bill Over Abortion

posted on March 17, 2015

Erin Kelly of USA Today reports, “A bipartisan bill to strengthen penalties for human trafficking failed to advance Tuesday in the Senate as Democrats blocked the legislation over an anti-abortion provision.” The bill, which would create a fund for victims of human trafficking, initially enjoyed strong bipartisan support, but Democrats objected to the provision that prohibited the fund from assisting in an abortion. “If Democrats actually vote to filibuster a bill to help victims of modern-day slavery, I can’t imagine the American people will forget,” said Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Read at USA Today

Netanyahu Says No to Statehood for Palestinians

posted on March 17, 2015

The New York Times’ Jodi Rudoren reports, “Under pressure on the eve of a surprisingly close election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Monday doubled down on his appeal to right-wing voters, declaring definitively that if he was returned to office he would never establish a Palestinian state.” Netanyahu’s primary challenger, Isaac Herzog, supports a two-state solution, and has stated in his campaign that he would push to resume talks with Palestinian leaders. In an interview, Netanyahu said, “I think that anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state today and evacuate lands is giving attack grounds to the radical Islam against the state of Israel.”

Read at The New York Times

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