Liberty Watch

Pharmacists challenged for refusing to dispense 'Plan B' Pill
Four Illinois pharmacists have sued the U.S. drugstore chain Walgreen Co., saying they were wrongly terminated for refusing to dispense the "morning-after" contraceptive pill known as Plan B, Reuters reported. The pharmacists, represented by the American Center for Law and Justice, argue that the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act entitles them to opt out of procedures they object to on moral grounds. Walgreen spokesman Michael Polzin said the four were not fired but placed on unpaid leave and offered jobs in other states, Reuters said. Elsewhere, Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Fogelman said the company planned to comply with a Feb. 14 Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy ruling requiring Wal-Mart to carry the Plan B pill. Before the ruling, only Illinois stores carried the drug.

Appeals Court OKs Home Worship Service
A federal appeals court ruled in January that a Florida county's land-use ordinance could not be used to prohibit an Orlando rabbi from holding worship services in his home. Rabbi Joseph Konikov filed suit in May 2001 and again in February 2002 after receiving code violations for holding prayer and worship meetings in his home and being charged $50 per day for continuing the meetings. Although the district court initially ruled that the Orange County ordinance was permissible, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit found the ordinance to be unconstitutionally vague and in violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, said the Alliance Defense Fund, which represented Konikov.

Advocacy Groups Continue to Push for Ban on Gay Marriage
The Florida Coalition to Protect Marriage announced in February that a nearly yearlong effort to allow Florida citizens to vote on a state constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage fell short of the necessary 611,009 petitions, Baptist Press (BP) reported. The coalition said it will continue the petition effort in hopes of getting the amendment on the 2008 ballot. The petitions signed before the Feb. 1 deadline will remain valid for four years, leaving the coalition 155,000 more petitions to gather before 2008, BP said. So far, 19 states have amended their constitutions to maintain traditional marriage, and four others will be voting on similar measures this year, the news service reported.

Atheist Seeks to Remove 'In God We Trust' From U.S. Currency
Atheist Michael Newdow filed a lawsuit in November seeking to prevent the U.S. government from printing the phrase "In God We Trust" on future coins and paper money, arguing that it violates the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the Constitution, CNS reported. Previously Newdow sought to remove the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance. Though his first attempt to revise the Pledge was dismissed on a technicality, he sued again, and that case is pending. Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), said Newdow's lawsuit must be taken seriously, but the ACLJ is prepared to defend the national motto, even if it goes to the Supreme Court, CNS said.

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