Chesapeake

Homosexual Agenda Bills Pass Senate, Hit Roadblock In House Today

The past 24 hours have been good for Virginia’s homosexual lobby, at least in the Virginia Senate, where two key legislative initiatives passed. But there also is positive news for values voters in the House of Delegates. Yesterday, the Senate passed SB 66, legislation that would add sexual orientation (and "gender identity or expression") to the state’s non-discrimination in hiring laws (see Richmond Times-Dispatch). Despite no evidence being presented anywhere in the process that discrimination is taking place, the bill passed 23-17, with one Republican, Fred Quayle (R-13, Suffolk), joining all 22 Senate Democrats who favored the measure.

Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg) argued against the bill during the floor debate, adding the fact that should this bill become law, the Commonwealth would open itself up for extensive litigation by those who claim they have been discriminated against regardless of their job qualifications.

Today, SB 451, legislation that would allow local governments to offer domestic partner benefits, and patroned by Senator Mary Margaret Whipple (D-31, Arlington), passed the Senate 26-14. This took place despite the fact that this legislation could have a significant fiscal impact on the Commonwealth through increased Standards of Quality funding. Republican Senators Quayle, John Watkins (R-10, Midlothian), Harry Blevins (R-14, Chesapeake), and floor leader Tommy Norment (R-3, Williamsburg) joined the 22 Democrats.

These bills still must be vetted in and voted on in the House. We encourage you to contact your delegates to defeat these unnecessary bills. If you do, we are quite hopeful that these bills will not find equal favor there.

In fact, earlier this evening, a House General Laws Sub-committee defeated HB 1116, mirror legislation to SB 66. It was patroned by Delegate Adam Ebbin (D-49, Arlington). The vote was 5-3 with Delegates John Cosgrove (R-78, Chesapeake), Bill Carrico (R-5, Galax), Ed Scott (R-30, Culpepper), Todd Gilbert (R-15, Woodstock), and Rich Anderson (R-51, Woodbridge) voted against the bill. This indicates that SB 66 has little hope for success in the House.

HWI In The Morning

The first committee meeting on one of our priority bills was this morning in the House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee. The bill in question is HB 393, which would put only the slightest regulations on the very unregulated abortion centers — an annual inspection, licensure and a requirement to have life saving equipment on premises, such as a  defibrillator. Delegate Matt Lohr (R-26, Harrisonburg) is the patron. Even the General Assembly Building has defibrillators. If they are good enough for lawmakers, they should be good enough for women undergoing a very serious invasive procedure. The plain fact is, abortion centers — not "clinics" mind you, because clinics are where you go to get well — fly under the regulatory radar. Even podiatry offices are more regulated than abortion centers. It's the most hypocritical exemption in Virginia.

So, this morning, the bill was due to come before the full committee, bypassing the sub-committee as is the chairman's want for bills that have been debated for several years. Everyone knows the arguments, it receives large bipartisan support (hate to break that to you liberals), and, in truth, is largely uncontroversial — except for the most adamant abortion-at-any-cost ideologue. The last time this bill came before HWI, in 2008, it passed 17-5, with four Democrats voting in favor, including House Democrat Leader Ward Armstrong (D-10, Martinsville). But there was a problem on the way to the vote . . . Delegate Lionell Spruill (D-77, Chesapeake) objected to the bypassing of the sub-committee process, even though it went straight to full committee in 2008.

His reasoning? There are "four new members of this committee, Mr. Chairman, who have never heard this bill before." To which Delegate Spruill should know that three of them are for the bill. The chairman, Delegate Bobby Orrock (R-54, Caroline County), who replaced former Delegate Phil Hamilton, had the clerk explain the differences in the current bill from the 2008 version. Again, the fact is there are fewer proposed regulations in this bill than the 2008 version.

All this wasn't good enough for Delegate Spruill. So, Delegate Orrock acquiesced and held over the bill. He was to decide by tonight whether to send it to sub-committee or bring it back to full committee on Thursday, by which time, we hope Delegate Spruill will have had time to read the bill. Which is what he should have done in advance of the meeting. If, in fact, he is truly that concerned.

Welcome To Chesapeake, ACLU

Well, that didn't take long. Less than 24 hours after The Family Foundation and the Alliance Defense Fund provided legal information and a model prayer policy to city officials in Chesapeake, the ACLU of Virginia sent their own "opinion." 

And guess what — they are against public prayer!

Shocking, isn't? 

Using the same tired — and incorrect — arguments other ACLU chapters have used in losing court cases, the ACLU of Virginia is joining the "Freedom From Religion Foundation" in warning Chesapeake officials against praying at council meetings. 

The only problem is they are dead wrong. As usual.

We are actually thrilled to see the ACLU join the battle. After all, why wouldn't we want an organization that no reasonable, thoughtful person pays any attention to in the fight? I mean seriously, the more they talk, the more we're likely to win. 

But, for our friends at the ACLU, I'm going to write this slowly so even they can comprehend it: Sandra Day O'Conner who wrote the Turner v. Fredericksburg opinion the ACLU claims requires non-sectarian prayers, actually said in that opinion:

"We need not decide whether the Establishment Clause compelled the Council to adopt their legislative prayer policy because the Establishment Clause does not absolutely dictate the form of legislative prayer." 

Again, in the Pelphrey case which the ACLU lost badly using the same arguments, the Eleventh Circuit dismisses their claim that the U.S. Supreme Court in Marsh requires non-sectarian prayers saying:

"Although it upheld the policy of the [Fredericksburg City] Council, the Fourth Circuit expressly declined to hold that Marsh required a policy of nondenominational prayers."

Now, I know that quoting the actual words of the judges involved isn't really fair to the ACLU. After all, they clearly don't care what the courts actually say. But for everyone else, its simple. Government bodies have opened meetings with prayer since the beginning of the Republic and they can continue doing so, even including things like "God" and "Jesus" in the prayers.

This is getting fun.

Pastors Luncheon To Feature Bishop E.W. Jackson, Sr.

Tomorrow, Pastors For Family Values, the pastoral component of The Family Foundation, and the Capital Bible Seminary, will sponsor a Pastors Fellowship Lunch (RSVP info here) at 8001 Forbes Place, Suite 111, in Springfield. It will last from 12:00-2:00 p.m. There is no charge for the event, which includes lunch, but a reservation is required. All pastors are invited. The featured speaker is someone we are especialy pleased to have, one who will not disappoint anyone who attends: Bishop E. W. Jackson, Sr. He is the Founder of Exodus Faith Ministries, a nondenominational ministry headquartered in Chesapeake (and satellite church in Boston), as well as author of Ten Commandments To An Extraordinary Life — Making Your Dreams Come True, published in 2008.

Bishop Jackson has a wealth of varied, real life experiences that make him a rare resource of intellect and inspiration. After three years in the U.S. Marine Corp, he attended the University of Massachusetts-Boston, from where he was graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1975 after only three years, and was awarded the Phi Beta Kappa Key.

He was graduated from Harvard Law School in 1978 and also studied theology at Harvard Divinity School, and was licensed to preach by Ebenezer Baptist Church in Boston. After a successful professional career, including a 15-year law practice and work in the radio business — as host of a daily nationally syndicated program and founder of Boston's first and only all-gospel radio station — he moved to the nonprofit field.

In 1996, he took over "The Samaritan Project," a national outreach and racial reconciliation effort that distributed $500,000 to churches victimized by arson. In recognition of his national leadership, he was consecrated a bishop in 1998 and moved to Chesapeake to establish the headquarters for Exodus Faith Ministries, Int'l.

Bishop Jackson served both as a minister for the Boston Red Sox chapel services and as protestant Chaplain for the Boston Fire Department. He has taught Law at Northeastern University in Boston and at Strayer University in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake.

He and his wife, Theodora, are the founders of the Chesapeake MLK Leadership Breakfast which brings together hundreds people from the greater Chesapeake area to celebrate the life and ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They also are the founders of Youth With A Destiny, a nonprofit  organization dedicated to helping youth avoid drugs, gangs and violence through faith, education and positive activities.

He presently serves as a member of the Chesapeake Police Advisory Board, the South Norfolk Revitalization Commission and a Trustee of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce.

Bishop Jackson's media appearances include CNN's Talk Back Live, ABC's Good Morning America, ABC's Politically Incorrect, Hardball with Chris Matthews, C-SPAN's Washington Journal and National Public Radio. He also hosts his own radio program on WYRM-AM/1110 in Norfolk. His op-eds have appeared in newspapers around the country and he has been the subject of the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and many other publications.

Bishop Jackson will bring encouragement to the pastors attending the luncheon tomorrow, and is something surely not to miss, especially during these ambiguous times.  

Spending Transparency: Close To Two Major Victories, Keep Contacting Lawmakers

Spending transparency is one of our priority issues this session and the bills involved (SB 936 and HB 2285) have had a long and winding path thus far (as do most major reform efforts). Just as predicted, their paths are somewhat similar to eminent domain reform bills in 2007, with many twists and turns and near-death experiences. Although each committee vote has been non-controversial, the behind the scenes efforts have been exhausting to get it to that point, with great credit going to the two patrons — Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax) and Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Amherst), respectively, and their co-patrons, particularly Senator Chap Peterson (D-34, Fairfax) and Delegate Joe Bouchard (D-83, Virginia Beach). There has been tweaking of the bills to avoid the inexcusably outrageous and bogus fiscal impact statements which would have made the bills cost prohibitive to implement, especially in these tight budgetary times. (Fiscal impact statements once served a good purpose — cautionary breaks for lawmakers on new programs or government administrative expenses. Now they are used as excuses to stop much needed reforms.)

Each bill has gone through numerous committee hearings, amendments and substitutes, been reported and refered to money committees and the House version even was sent to a Senate committee the Senate version had no part of (see here). (As it turned out, HB 2285 was sent to the Rules Committeebecause the Auditor of Public Accounts comes under legislative directive, or some such governmentese, but still begs the question why SB 936 didn't go that route.)

All that said, we are closing in on major victories, but it's not time to let down our collective guard. A final push is needed from concerned citizens who believe the government has a serious obligation to shine the light on where our tax dollars are spent. 

SB 936 unanimously passed the House Science and Technology Committee only to have another obstacle thrown in its path — a trip to House Appropriations tomorrow. Committee members Bob Marshall (R-13, Prince William) and John Cosgrove (R-78, Chesapeake) tried to avoid the referral by asking for a vote to report straight to the House floor.

However, things look positive. Committee Chairman Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg) told committee members the bill had to be referred to Appropriations to be vetted for costs, but that she would inform Appropriations Chairman Lacey Putney (I-19, Bedford) there are no costs associated with this bill. Appropriations meets tomorrow afternoon.

Indeed, Auditor of Public Accounts Walter J. Kucharski and Joe Damico, deputy director of the Department of General Services, both testified that the bill, offered in its third form, would have no fiscal impact on the state budget. Amazingly, the Department of Planning and Budget attached a fiscal impact statement to the bill claiming its original and subsequent amended versions would cost state government between $1.5-$3 million in new equipment and software, man-hours, and more employees. One small problem: no one asked the departments involved (read this about impact statements).

Earlier in the week, HB 2285 emerged with unanimous approval in the Senate Rules Sub-Committee on Studies and now is in the full Rules Committee which meets at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. 

Spending transparency is an important issue (read here) for many reasons: good government, accountability, taxpayer protection and the like (read here). It also will give us a clearer window into how often, how much and for what reasons nefarious profit making groups such as Planned Parenthood get our tax money! We are very close to victory on a major priority this session. Let's not take it for granted.

Contact Rules Committee members here (HB 2285) and Appropriations Committee members here (SB 936).

Another Hurdle For Spending Transparency

Spending transparency (SB 936) cleared another hurdle today only to have another one thrown in its path — a trip to House Appropriations (click here for contact information), this Friday. However, things look positive. It passed on a 21-0 vote and in the House Science and Technology Committee late this afternoon, but then referred to the Appropriations. Delegates Bob Marshall (R-13, Prince William) and John Cosgrove (R-78, Chesapeake) tried to avoid the hurdle by asking for a vote to report straight to the floor. According to committee Chairman Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg), it simply is a safeguard measure — if a cost to it was discovered on the floor, the bill would die because Friday is the last Appropriations Committee meeting. Better for it to be vetted there, and amended if necessary.

However, Auditor of Public Accounts Walter J. Kucharski and Joe Damico, deputy director of the Department of General Services, both testified that the bill, offered in its third version today, would have no fiscal impact. Amazingly, the Department of Planning and Budget posted a fiscal impact statement claiming that the second version of the bill would cost these two departments and state government $1.5 million in new equipment and software, man-hours, and more employees. One small problem: no one asked the departments.  

It's no time to rest, however. SB 936 and HB 2285, patroned by Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Amherst), and which emerged yesterday with unanimous approval in the Senate Rules Sub-Committee on Studies and now is in the full Rules Committee (contact information here), should both be heard Friday in those committees. Contact members of both committees. We're very close to victory on a major priority this session. Let's not take it for granted.

Choose Life Plates Amendment Vote: Analysis Of The Yeas And Neas

Here's how they voted on the Cuccinelli floor amendment, which added Choose Life license plates to SB 817, the sale proceeds of which will benefit pregnancy resource centers:

YEAS — Colgan, Cuccinelli, Hanger, Hurt, Martin, McDougle, Newman, Norment, Obenshain, Puckett, Quayle, Ruff, Smith, Stolle, Stosch, Stuart, Vogel, Wagner, Wampler, Watkins (20).

NAYS — Barker, Deeds, Edwards, Herring, Houck, Howell, Locke, Lucas, Marsh, McEachin, Miller, J.C., Miller, Y.B., Northam, Petersen, Puller, Reynolds, Saslaw, Ticer, Whipple (19).

NOT VOTING — Blevins (1).

That's 18 of the 19 Republicans in the affirmative, with Senator Harry Blevins (R-14, Chesapeake), abstaining as is his want (he, apparently is not a fan of specialized plates and does not vote on any such legislation, just as he abstained in committee). Two Democrats, Senators Chuck Colgan (D-29, Manassas) and Phillip Puckett (D-38, Tazewell), joined the 18, while the remaining 18 Dems voted en bloc against. This is a perfect illustration of exactly how difficult it is to get even modest, middle ground life legislation through the House of Lords, err, Senate.

Interestingly, here is the vote on the bill itself, in its amended form (and where Senator John Watkins (R-10 Midlothian) earned the Trifecta Award for voting every which way possible: abstained in commitee, yes on the amendment — for which we are grateful — and no on the bill):

YEAS —Barker, Colgan, Cuccinelli, Deeds, Edwards, Hanger, Herring, Houck, Hurt, Lucas, Marsh, Martin, McDougle, Miller, J.C., Miller, Y.B., Newman, Norment, Northam, Obenshain, Petersen, Puckett, Quayle, Reynolds, Ruff, Smith, Stolle, Stosch, Stuart, Ticer, Vogel, Wagner, Wampler, Whipple (33).

NAYS —Howell, Locke, McEachin, Puller, Watkins (5).

NOT VOTING —Blevins, Saslaw (2).

This is where we get a sense of the true extreme, abortion-at-all-costs senators: Saslaw, Howell, Locke, McEachin and Puller. Not a vote between them for the amendment, nor the bill — which included a number of special plates designed to encourage tourism in different localities. They'd rather vote against the localities that would benefit than help avert abortions. For this gang of five, anything to do with life, even such a minuscule nod to helping crisis pregnancy centers, is an abomination. 

Questions for these senators: Do you agree abortion is a problem? If yes, then do you or do you not agree pregnancy resource centers contribute to solving the problem? If not, why not?

What Happened And How: "Choose Life" License Plates Pass Senate!

Here are the details of the shocking development on the Senate floor within the last hour which is bound to have the knickers of Planned Parenthood types in a twist and assorted liberals in an extended spot of bother, especially when cars with "Choose Life" license plates zip past them along the streets and byways of their tony precincts. Background: SB 801 was a bill patroned by Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax) that would have not only created "Choose Life" license plates, but would have sent part of its proceeds to pregnancy resource centers around Virginia. Unfortunately, the bill died on a 6-6 vote in the Senate Transportation Committee a couple of days ago when two Republican senators, Harry Blevins (R-14, Chesapeake) and John Watkins (R-10, Midlothian), abstained from voting.

Opposition: This was a simple commonsense bill. Even to people who claim abortion is a last resort and who claim to be for "choice" it should have been an innocent piece of legislation. But the pro-abortion opposition —which cannot tolerate even anything optional that promotes life —denounced the plates as political in nature, and thus not allowable by law. Further, a family practitioner attacked crisis pregnancy centers in her testimony. 

On the floor: When another license plate bill came up on the Senate floor a little while ago, SB 817, its patron, Senator Richard Stuart (R-28, Montross), asked the body to accept the bill's committee substitute (a pro forma procedure), and was so moved by the Senate. Then Senator Cuccinelli rose and offered an amendment to include the Choose Life plates.

Reaction: Immediately, Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield) asked the chair, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, to rule the amendment non-germane. However, the LG quickly replied that while he may have had an argument in the original bill, now that Senator Saslaw and the rest of the Senate had adopted the committee amendments — which expanded the bill to include a panoply of plates that the LG gladly rattled off — he had no case. Just like that, there was a vote on agreeing to the amendment and it squeaked by 20-19. One pro forma procedural vote later, the new bill passed 33-5.

Victory: We're still waiting for the LIS site to post the yeas and neas, but the parliamentary maneuvering here was spectacular and dramatic, not to mention the glee we had in seeing Senator Saslaw tied in knots by Senate rules! This also shows, at least as far as some legislation, the Senate GOP is more effective as a one-seat minority then they were as a majority, mostly because it forces them to stick together (at least sometimes) and they want to prove they deserve to return to majority status by flashing some conservative credentials. What would actually happen if they recaptured control is a question for another day. Right now, it's time to enjoy this and work for SB 817's passage in the House.

As Crossover Approaches, It's All To Play For

Tuesday is "crossover" day in the General Assembly, the day when work on bills from their respective chambers must be complete. The past two weeks have been long and intense, as you have been able to tell by reading this blog and by the number of e-mail alerts you've received. (If you don't receive our e-mail alerts, you should. They are informative, fun, fast and have received critical acclaim. People tell us that when they read them, they feel as if they were in the committee room. Click here to sign up.)   Several bills in The Family Foundation's bill profile were acted on recently. Here's an update:

SB 1270: Abortion Center Licensing Requirement (Support)

This legislation, introduced by Senator Jill Vogel (R-27, Winchester), would have required abortion centers to become licensed, have life-saving equipment in their facilities and submit to one yearly inspection. It was drafted to make abortion centers safer for the women who visit them. In fact, the original bill had numerous regulations, many of which pro-abortion activists claim are onerous and designed put these centers out of business. Anticipating this argument, Senator Vogel stripped down the bill to the three simple requirements listed above.

The fact is that there are several types of medical facilities that are much less invassive, such as podiatry centers; and altogether different types of facilities, such as puppy mills, that have much tougher regulations. Furthermore, all medical disciplines and specialities have oversight by peer review boards, with the notable exception of abortionists.

Finally, the pro-abortion side traditionally argues that the Board of Medicine regulates Virginia's abortion clinics. Fine. Senator Vogel presented SJ 276, which the Senate passed unanimously last year, that slams the Board of Medicine, citing a 1999 JLARC report, that discovered "the Board of Medicine  took too long to resolve cases, did not adequately protect the public from substandard practice by doctors, and did not handle medical malpractice cases adequately," among other charges. When confronted with its hypocrisy and the truth, the pro-abortion side did the only thing it could do — ignore it.

So, this bill, which seemed like a logical and bipartisan issue, failed in the Senate Education and Health Committee by a party line vote of 10-5. So much for "safe, legal and rare." Instead, in Virginia, abortion centers remain an exempted class, untouchable and protected by their overlords in the Senate. Read more about this issue here and see video of the Ed and Health hearing here.

SB 801: "Choose Life" License Plates (Support)

This legislation, from Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax), not only would have created "Choose Life" license plates, but would have sent part of the proceeds from the plates to pregnancy resource centers around Virginia. The bill was debated in the Senate Transportation Committee. Of course, the opposition denounced the plates, claiming they are political in nature and out of the purview for recognition.

Even more infuriating, a family practitioner unashamedly attacked crisis pregnancy centers in her testimony. The bill died in committee by a vote of 6-6 with Senators Harry Blevins (R-14, Chesapeake) and John Watkins (R-10, Midlothian) abstaining. Senator Blevins was in the room up until just before the vote and then walked out — leaving a "proxy" vote of "abstain" behind.

HB 2579: Informed Consent, Ultrasound Requirement (Support)

Delegate Kathy Bryon's (R-22, Lynchburg) bill would require abortionists to take an ultrasound and allow the woman to view it if she desires before having an abortion. The Family Foundation supports this bill not only because it would give women medically accurate information to aid their decision making, but also with hopes that more women would choose life after clearly seeing that life inside them. The House Courts of Justice Committee reported this bill 15-6. It now goes to the House floor.   

HB 2634: Providing Information on Fetal Pain

Another informed consent bill, patroned by Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Amherst), would require that a woman be told that her unborn child could feel pain during the abortion process and provide her with information on anesthesia for the child. Again, the House Courts of Justice Committee passed this bill 17-5, and the House will vote on it this week. See some of the sub-committee debate here.  

HB 1624, HB 1625, HB 1726, HB 2385, SB 945, SB 1247:  Legislation on "Sexual Orientation" (Oppose)

With homosexual rights advocates feeling emboldened by recent election victories, every effort has been made this legislative season to make sure that the term "sexual orientation" finds its way into Virginia code. It has been attempted in every form from group life insurance and housing discrimination, to making sure that it becomes a protected class under Virginia's human rights laws. Any incremental step they believe they can take, they will. Thankfully, we can report that all efforts to expand the homosexual agenda have failed thus far, with the exception of SB 945 (life insurance). 

These battles are far from over and other skirmishes over other issues undoubtedly will materialize. If ever it was all to play for, this year's second half is it.

When Do Liberals Love Big Oil?

If it's not the liberal enemy number one, "Big Oil" certainly must be in the Left's top five. But yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield) played not only played "Big Oil" cheerleader, but also Secretary of State in the Senate Finance Committee. Which leads to another question: When do liberals advocate military intervention? Senator Harry Blevins (R-14, Chesapeake) introduced SB 1545, which would force the Virginia Retirement System to divest of holdings in foreign companies that do business with Iran until it disarms it nuclear capabilities. Under U.S. law, American companies are barred from doing business with Iran, so there is no conflict there.

Senator Blevins had an expert foreign policy witness, who has advised the previous five presidents, and top pentagon officials and officers who clearly showed Senator Saslaw out of his depth. Saslaw kept asking how can lil' ol' Virginny, with $20 million worth of said investments, have any affect on Iran.

The expert said repeatedly, it isn't Virginia alone. It's 14 other states undertaking this measure, and about 30 other points in a comprehensive plan, almost all that the federal government must undertake. This was Virginia's piece, he said. Cumulatively, all 30-plus points would have an affect. Undaunted, the majority leader pressed him and deduced two points on his own, which he must think are brilliant:

1. We cannot divest of foreign companies doing business with Iran because about the only foreign companies that do business with Iran are oil companies such as BP and Royal Dutch Shell, and oil stocks are one of the few that are doing well. (Translation: Money over principle, always.)

2. The only way Iran will disarm its nuclear program is when Israel does it for them, citing its action against Iraq's nuclear plant in 1981 and a Syrian facility several months ago. (Translation: Better to put an ally's future at risk than for us to do the moral thing now.)

So, there you have it. Big oil bad, except when it's in the VRS investment fund; and military action good, but only if it's Israel doing the work we won't do. An interesting take, to say the least.

When Not Making History Is Good (Or, Watch The Libs Stumble All Over Themselves)

Earlier this evening, in House Room 2 in Mr. Jefferson's historic capitol, a House sub-committee defeated HB 1625, a major homosexual rights agenda item. The bill would have created sexual orientation as a protected class in housing discrimination laws by allowing local jurisdictions to carve out their own housing policies irrespective of the Commonwealth's current code. The House General Laws Sub-Committee on Housing, by a 4-3 vote, tabled the bill by Delegate David Englin (D-45, Alexandria), as amended. When he introduced the it before the committee Delegate Englin admitted previous incarnations of the bill were geared to sexual orientation. But he said his new bill was broader and protected no particular class of people.

Ironically, the broader aspects of the bill cost him votes from the liberal members of the sub-committee. Delegate Bob Hull (D-38, Falls Church) immediately brought up the difficulties and complexities this would present to the real estate industry in metropolitan areas composed of several jurisdictions. During the week, The Family Foundation lobbied members of the sub-committee on roughly the same lines, as well as the protected class argument. But the real unintended consequences — not imagined ones as our opponents conjure up — came when the representatives of the home building, apartment and real estate trade associations testified against the bill, citing the fact that it would create an unintended protected income class. In other words, homebuilders would have to accept HUD Section 8 housing vouchers and the like, and succumb to a host of prohibitive federal regulations.

Realizing that even his own caucus mates were deserting him, Delegate Englin said he would consider it "a friendly amendment to narrow the bill to sexual orientation," at which point the liberals on the committee, who opposed the bill on commonsense economic and governance grounds, stumbled excitedly all over themselves to make the motion. Delegate Hull beat them to the punch, and Delegates David Bulova (D-37, Fairfax) and Rosalyn Dance (D-63, Petersburg) quickly shouted a seconding motion. Speaking to the proposed amendment, Delegate John Cosgrove (R-78, Chesapeake) said, if approved, it would be the first time in Virginia history that sexual orientation would be made a protected class and therefore he could not support the bill. He motioned to table the bill and it was seconded, and the vote carried on a 4-3 party line voice vote. Joining Delegate Cosgrove were Delegates Bill Carrico (R-5, Independence), Bill Fralin (R-17, Roanoke) and sub-committee chairman, Glenn Oder (R-94, Newport News). 

So many committee meetings take place in the drab General Assembly building, so when one is in the ambiance of 200-plus years of history, where so much that has affected our nation has taken place, one wonders what type of modern history may be made. Tonight, as Delegate Cosgrove pointed out, we are happy the wrong type of history was not made.