Key family issues hang in the balance in St. Paul, D.C.

Below is Chris Codden’s Column from the April 10th edition of the Saint Cloud Visitor

 

Assisted suicide, gender, sex trafficking and marriage are among topics getting attention from lawmakers and judges

These last few weeks have been very busy in both our nation’s capital and at the Minnesota Legislature. Many bills and pending rulings will directly impact the future of the family.

The issues of assisted suicide, safeguarding girls’ and boys’ bathrooms in school for their own gender, sex trafficking, and the state of marriage are all in the balance with either our legislators or the Supreme Court.

stpaulIn Minnesota, bills regarding assisted suicide and safeguarding girls’ and boys’ bathrooms were assigned to legislative committees. Since the Student Physical Privacy Act did not pass in committee, school districts like St. Paul can adopt policies in which teachers will not be allowed to separate students by gender and will be required to use a student’s preferred name and pronoun. It also gives transgender students access to the restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender preference.

For the physician assisted suicide bill, the Minnesota Senate Health and Human Services Committee held an “informational hearing.” While this bill may not be voted on during this legislative year, it does make it possible for it to be brought up later.

Throughout the United States, there has been an ever-increasing push to enact such laws. Five states have legalized assisted suicide: Oregon, Vermont, Washington and New Jersey through the legislative process, and Montana through the judiciary.

In New Mexico, according to a 2014 court decision, doctors who help terminal patients to die cannot be prosecuted under the state’s assisted suicide law. The appeal is still in process with a decision expected by the end of 2015. In Massachusetts, an assisted suicide bill was narrowly defeated in 2012. New York and California are currently considering bills to make it legal.

Congress and courts

On a national level, the bill regarding sex trafficking, which would boost the tools available to law enforcement to apprehend people involved in sex trafficking and provide funding for victims, has stalled.

The reason? The new funds that would be approved for the victims did not include funding for abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or the health of the mother. Similar prohibitions — known as the Hyde amendment — have been included in Congress’ annual spending bills. Abortion proponents have hijacked the bill, attempting to further their agenda of abortion on demand.

At the Supreme Court on April 28 the nine justices will hear two and a half hours of oral arguments on whether states can ban same-sex marriage. The case they will be hearing stems from four states: Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, which have laws declaring that marriage is only between one man and one woman.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, which includes the four states, became the only federal appeals court to uphold a ban on “same-sex” marriage. The Supreme Court’s ruling will be announced by June 30 and could be the defining moment for marriage and its definition.
Two tasks

As citizens, we have two important roles. First, it is imperative that we let our voices be heard. On both a state and national level, our representatives are just that — our representatives. Since their responsibility is to speak and act on behalf of the people who elect them, it is our responsibility to share with them our points of view.

For more information about Minnesota bills, go to www.mncc.org/actioncenter. On federal issues, visit http://cqrcengage.com/catholicbishops/home.

If we do not communicate with our representatives, then we should not be surprised by the outcome.

Our second task is to turn our hearts to prayer. Our bishops have called us to pray for the protection of life, marriage and religious liberty in our country.

“Prayer does not need to be complicated,” they said. “It is ‘a simple look turned towards heaven … a cry of recognition and love; embracing both trial and joy’ (St. Therese of Lisieux).”

Consider a weekly intention, such as a Hail Mary, a rosary, make a holy hour, Mass intention or another prayer that works for you.