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Religious Conservatives Plan Major Alito Push

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Religious Conservatives Plan Major Alito Push

by Doreen Brandt, 365Gay.com Washington Bureau

Posted: December 31, 2005 - 12:01 am ET

(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Saying Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito would uphold "traditional marriage" religious conservatives announced a nationwide satellite broadcast to churches and homes on the eve of Alito's Senate confirmation hearings.

The program will originate at the Greater Exodus Baptist Church in Philadelphia.

Scheduled speakers include U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R.-Pa), Rev. Jerry Falwell and James Dobson of Focus on the Family.

Santorum who has White House aspirations in 2008 is one of the sponsors of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Falwell and Dobson are longtime opponents of LGBT civil rights.

The Jan. 8 program, "Justice Sunday III: Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land," follows two previous gatherings designed to rally support for conservative positions on abortion, gay marriage, prayer in public schools and other issues.

The earlier events were held during the Senate showdown over judicial filibusters in April and before Chief Justice John Roberts' confirmation hearings in August.

Democrats and LGBT groups accused speakers of trying to impose their religious views on the country.

Alito's nomination is opposed by Lambda Legal, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays among others.

In announcing its opposition earlier this month Lambda accused Alito of putting his personal political agenda above the Constitution. (story)

The organization said that it had studied Alito's past rulings and writings and believes he is not qualified for a lifetime position on the nation's highest court.

"Unfortunately, what our analysis reveals is that Judge Alito has a political agenda different from that required of members of the judiciary," said Lambda Legal executive director Kevin Cathcart in a December 12 statement.

President Bush announced announced Alito's nomination to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in October (story)

Alito, 55, has been a strong conservative voice in his 15 years on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He has been dubbed ``Scalito'' or ``Scalia-lite'' by some lawyers because his judicial philosophy invites comparisons to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

In 2001, Judge Alito authored a decision in Saxe v. State that declared unconstitutional a public school district policy that prohibited harassment against students because of their sexual orientation or other characteristics.

The policy focused on harassment that had the purpose or effect of interfering with a student's educational performance or creating and intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

Alito reasoned that the policy was unconstitutional because it could cover what he called "simple acts of teasing and name-calling."

But as a law student the now conservative Alito argued that discrimination against gays in hiring ''should be forbidden." (story)

©365Gay.com 2005

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