Newlyweds and King Richard
National Marriage Week is complete, but our series on matrimony continues with Alessandro DiSanto, co-founder of Hallow, the hugely successful Catholic prayer app, who chats with us about his experience as a newlywed. Later in the episode (19:50), Andrew and Kara talk about the Oscar-nominated film King Richard, the story of Venus and Serena Williams, their father, and their family. Check out the new episode here!

Before that, in episode 83, we wrapped up our interview with JP DeGance of Communio, who is reshaping how parishes help keep married couples together. Later in that episode Kara joined to talk about The Godfather for its 50th anniversary.

Find previous episodes revolving around National Marriage Week here and share it with your friends!
The Truth Will Set Us Free
Bishop James Conley leads the Diocese of Lincoln and serves on the USCCB's Committee for Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth. He recently addressed efforts at the local level to change the understanding of the human person enshrined in law, which have been motivated by gender ideology. His charitable and truthful response is an example for all of us as we defend the dignity of the human person as an embodied soul.

Pastoral Framework for Marriage and Family Life
This national pastoral framework from the USCCB will assist dioceses as local pastoral planning and implementation continue to take place since the publication of Amoris Laetitia. "Called to the Joy of Love" provides guidelines for the pastoral accompaniment of married couples and families in every phase of life, drawing upon the teachings and recommendations contained in the apostolic exhortation.

You can buy a hard copy or download the PDF.
Same-Sex Attraction
One area the Pastoral Framework addresses in particular is the accompaniment of individuals experiencing same-sex attraction. Recent comments from a Church official in Europe have challenged Jesus's teaching on human sexuality, revealing an even greater need for the framework. Page 40 of the framework includes ways to accompany those who experience same-sex attraction (and their families) without rejecting the nuptial meaning of the human person as revealed by Christ. For more, be sure to check out episode 60 of the podcast for Fr. Philip Bochanski's view as Executive Director of Courage.
Legal/Policy Updates
Supreme Court & Wedding Vendors (Again) - On February 22nd, the U.S. Supreme Court granted review to the case of a Christian wedding website designer in Colorado who is unable to serve same-sex couples, 303 Creative v. Elenis. The Court decided it will look at the free speech elements rather than religious freedom, likely next term.

Congress's Agenda Abroad - The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Global Respect Act on February 9th, which would create additional means by which to ban foreign nationals from entering the U.S. who are deemed to have committed violations of human rights, based on "sexual orientation" or "gender identity."

Education upholds Religious Exemptions - The Dept. of Education's Office for Civil Rights dismissed a complaint against Brigham Young University, alleging discrimination against persons in same-sex relationships, on February 8th. The agency affirmed the university's request for assurance of its religious exemption from Title IX.

Teachers' Free Speech - The Virginia supreme court heard the case of a French teacher, Peter Vlaming, who was let go for declining to use students' preferred pronouns, on February 15th. 

Texas moves against "Gender Transition" for Minors - Following on earlier determinations, Gov. Abbott of Texas on February 22nd ordered the state's child protection agency to treat some medical "gender confirmation" procedures for minors as child abuse.

School Sports - Among several states with bills aimed at protecting girls' school sports from "transgender" male competitors, Georgia's passed a senate committee on February 9th, Iowa's passed its house on February 21st, and Indiana's senate advanced theirs on February 22nd. Some are limited to following birth certificates, which can still be changed to reflect a "gender identity." 

Other State Bills - On February 8th, a Virginia house committee rejected a proposed referendum to redefine "marriage" in the state constitution. A state senate committee, meanwhile, rejected a house-passed bill to provide religious freedom protections in the "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" nondiscrimination law on February 23rd. An amendment to the same effect remains in progress in the state legislature. The Vermont house passed a bill on February 15th to make it easier to change sex on birth certificates. A Colorado house committee passed a bill on February 22nd to streamline parental rights for same-sex couples obtaining children through IVF or surrogacy. In Alabama, the house passed a bill requiring students to use restrooms matching birth certificates on February 22nd; and a day later, the senate passed one to criminalize medical "gender confirmation" for minors. On February 25th, Florida's house passed its bill to restrict teaching of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" in schools. Arizona appears to be seriously considering a bipartisan "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" nondiscrimination bill that would impose gender ideology while providing limited religious carve-outs.

Local - Joining the growing number of municipalities that have provided an easy route for "LGBT" policy advancements, Lincoln, Nebraska, passed a "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" nondiscrimination ordinance on Valentine's Day, February 14th. On February 16th, the South Carolina state attorney general issued an opinion that Columbia's local ban on "conversion therapy" is likely unlawful.

International - Mexico issued its first "non-binary" birth certificate, after an activist law student won a lawsuit, on February 11th. On February 14th, Israel's health ministry banned "conversion therapy." Also in February, a court in Scotland ruled that the legislature did not have the ability to redefine "woman" to include "transgender women;" while another court ruled, however, that people can choose whatever sex they want in the census regardless of birth certificate.