LGBT

Fundraising Off Of A False Fear

When the General Assembly convenes tomorrow, there will be at least one social issue that the media and the radical secular left will be promoting — adding sexual orientation to the Commonwealth's "non-discrimination" laws. While spun by groups like Equality Virginia as simply allowing "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) Virginians to be who they are, have a more secure financial future and build stronger families," changing the Commonwealth's current law to be even more expansive than federal protections brings a host of problems to Virginia. Current Virginia non-discrimination laws mirror federal law for a variety of reasons, including court precedent. In Virginia, evidence that discrimination against homosexuals is taking place in state government, or anywhere for that matter, is less than compelling. According to the Department of Human Resource Management, which tracks allegations of discrimination, from 1992 forward there were 24 registered complaints based on sexual orientation, amounting for fewer than 2 per year. Among these 24 complaints in an 18-year period, not all complaints can be assumed to be founded. In fact, from July 1, 2009 – March 9, 2010, only three complaints of sexual orientation discrimination were filed; and as of the March date, none had been deemed "founded."

Even The Washington Post admits that . . .

thousands of homosexuals work in state government.

Testimony on this kind of legislation in past General Assembly sessions has essentially been about a "fear" of discrimination, a fear not based on actual incidents of discrimination. Sadly, much of that fear is fueled more by the scare tactic fundraising efforts of groups like Equality Virginia than it is by reality. Unfortunately, while Governor Bob McDonnell has made it expressly clear that discrimination in his administration will not be tolerated, and evidence of discrimination is non-existent, some homosexual state workers live in fear because of the rhetoric of homosexual rights groups. In fact, a few weeks ago, Equality Virginia sent out a fundraising e-mail alert focusing on our opposition to adding sexual orientation to "non-discrimination" laws.

Unfortunately, recent incidents across the nation have exposed the agenda of militant homosexual rights groups as being about far more than "equality" or "stronger families." It is very clear, after viscous rhetorical attacks on businesses that simply adhere to a traditional view of family structure, the attempted public humiliation and job discrimination against people who simply sign petitions that support marriage amendments, or the attempt to force faith-based ministries that help families and children to abandon their beliefs about family structure, there is far more to the "non-discrimination" effort that meets the eye.

While theoretically, the General Assembly will attempt to avoid "social issues" at the bequest of political pundits and the media, it will be interesting to see if those same media types and pundits label the "non-discrimination" effort as "distracting" and "divisive" social issues that should be avoided. Regardless, we will stand up to the hateful rhetoric of the secular left and encourage the General Assembly to maintain our current law.

What’s Next for Same-Sex Marriage Advocates?

Proponents of same-sex marriage are quick to claim that all they want is "marriage equality." Nothing more. They’ll be content if they can just have "equality." But we all know that reality doesn't end there. In recent weeks, same-sex advocates have finally begun to admit it themselves. Published only days ago in a New York Times piece, Stanford Law Professor Ralph Banks, asks:

What now of the two remaining criminal prohibitions of intimate relationships: incest and polygamy? Even as same sex ... relationships are accepted, Americans are now imprisoned for incest and polygamy. ... Over time, our moral assessments of these practices will shift. … Should a state be permitted to imprison two cousins because they have sex or attempt to marry? Should a man and two wives be permitted to live together as a family when they assert that their religious convictions lead them to do so?

Just the rantings of a left-wing professor? No. Professor Banks' words actually have proven to be prophetic (see ADF's Jordan Lorence at the Christian Post blog, here). Just days after the governor of New York signed its same-sex marriage bill into law, a man in Utah, along with his four wives, were inspired to file a lawsuit challenging Utah's polygamy ban, stating, "We only wish to live our private lives according to our beliefs."

Just equality, right?

Homosexual rights advocate Dan Savage goes even further and continues the marriage muddling, arguing, "We aren’t wired for monogamy." He tells the New York Times magazine that America needs a more "realistic" view of marriage and that it's the LGBT community's responsibility to bring "open relationships" to the definition of marriage — to create an environment that's "more forgiving of the occasional affair." Savage's "It Gets Better" homosexuality campaign targets children and teenagers and is promoted by homosexual groups as an "anti-bullying" project to be used by public schools.

John Corvine, professor at Wayne State University, is heading in the same direction as Professor Banks and Mr. Savage. Reflecting on the same-sex marriage debate in New York, Professor Corvine writes:

It’s worth remembering that polygamy is quite "traditional," even biblical. It is no more logically connected to one side of this debate than the other. The truth is that New York granted same-sex couples marriage rights not because of a radical idea, but because of an old-fashioned one: when two individuals commit to a lifetime of mutual love and care, it's good to support them — or at least get out of their way.

When we stray from the God-given confines of marriage, where do we draw the line? How is it fair to term one meandering relationship "recognized" without validating the other variations? Where does it end?

Same-sex advocates have no intention of declaring victory in New York and calling it quits. The goal is not to advance "equality." The goal is to redefine marriage until existing sexual norms are no longer in existence. Counterfeit forms of marriage cheapen and undermine real marriage. The union of a man and a woman in a committed marriage is the foundation of a stable society. Traditional marriage and family are too important for society to experiment with to advance a political agenda.

Social science and history concur: men, women and children are more likely to succeed emotionally, financially, and educationally within a two-parent, mother-father, married family. Marriage, properly defined, matters. Regardless of the agenda of left-wing advocates, The Family Foundation will continue to fight to protect the definitions and institutions of marriage and family in our Commonwealth.

General Assembly Issue Five: General Assembly Liberals Take Page From Lady Gaga Playbook

This is the fifth in a series about key issues facing the 2011 General Assembly, which starts January 12. Issue One, Life Defined And Protected, was posted Tuesday; Issue Two, Eliminate ObamaCare Induced Abortion Funding In Virginia, was posted Wednesday; and Issue Three, Restoring The Balance Of Power, was posted Thursday; and the fourth, Transparency Isn't Just A Word, was posted Friday.

Richmond's liberal political class appears to have completely missed the message of the voters in Virginia concerned about over spending and joblessness. Instead, taking a page out of the Harry Reid-Lady Gaga playbook (see Film Industry Network blog), they plan on making homosexual issues their top priority (see Richmond Biz Sense) the coming General Assembly session.

Building on what they view as "momentum" from the lame-duck Congress' vote to repeal the military's "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy, Democrat leaders will focus their energies on passing legislation that would give special protections to homosexuals, not just in state government hiring as they tried in the past, but in all hiring — public and private — across Virginia.

This fulfills the dream of the ACLU's Kent Willis who said last year:

We hope this is only the beginning, and that [it] will inspire legislators to finally pass a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in both private and public sector employment. (Emphasis added.)

This blatant attack on religious freedom would pose a threat to every church, faith based ministry, adoption agency, school and charity in the commonwealth. No longer content with an incremental approach, it appears that Virginia liberals want it all and they want it now.

Of course, we are confident that their legislation will go no further than it did last year. The fact is that there is no evidence of broad discrimination against homosexuals taking place in Virginia. Even The Washington Post admitted that there are "thousands of homosexuals" working in state government. Proponents of the measure can point to one —just one — case where someone filed suit that they were fired because of their "sexual orientation," but even that case has been disputed.

According to one of the nation’s leading homosexual activist leaders and recent Obama appointee to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (approval for her nomination took place in the late night final hours of the lame duck Congress), Chai Feldblum:

There can be a conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty, but in almost all cases sexual liberty should win. I'm having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.

Those who advocate for the advancement of sexual behavior protections in our law have little or no room for those who have religious convictions on those issues. In her paper, Moral Conflict and Liberty: Gay Rights and Religion, Feldblum, who authored the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), argues quite openly that it is the primary goal of this political movement to elevate (either through legislation or the courts) homosexual orientation to moral equivalence with heterosexual orientation, and to do so at the cost of religious liberty. She admits in her assessment of the clash that:

We are in a zero-sum game: a gain for one side necessarily entails a corresponding loss for the other side, (but) in making the decision in this zero-sum game, I am convinced society should come down on the side of protecting the (sexual) liberty of LGBT people.

So there you have it, the true motivation behind the so-called "non-discrimination laws." It is to discriminate against people whose faith teaches that homosexuality is wrong.

What's Tim Kaine Been Up To?

If you are interested in what former Governor Tim Kaine has been up to since he left office in January, below is a truncated version of a letter sent to DNC members recently. Let's just say he's taking a lot of "pride" in his work. The letter was sent for Mr. Kaine by Organizing for America, President Barack Obama's nationwide community organizing group, which is an official "project of the Democratic National Committee." The president also declared June "Gay Pride Month" (see CBN News).

From: Tim Kaine

Subject: Share your voice this Pride Month

Friend -

LGBT Americans have helped build the Democratic Party into what it is today. And, as a leader of the party, I'm proud of our role in the struggle for equality.

That's why it's important to me — and to the future of this party — that we hear from you.

Take a moment to share your thoughts with us this Pride Month.

At times the pace of progress has not been as fast as some — myself included — would like. And, while equality cannot be achieved overnight, the President and our Democratic leaders in Congress have made important strides over the past 16 months to address barriers that LGBT Americans face.

- Last year, we passed the Matthew Shepherd & James Byrd, Jr., Federal Hate Crimes Act — which expanded the definition of hate crimes to include sexual orientation and gender identity and became the first federal law to provide protections for transgender Americans.

- In April, the President issued a directive, making critical changes to federal regulations and allowing gay and lesbian Americans to make medical decisions on behalf of their partners.

- And now we are on the verge of living up to President Obama's pledge to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The House just passed historic legislation to end this discriminatory policy, and the full Senate is getting ready to vote in the coming months.

But we are not satisfied. And we are not finished.

We must remain committed to making greater strides toward the fundamental American principle of equality.

Make your voice heard:

http://my.barackobama.com/PrideMonthVoices

Thanks, and happy Pride Month,

Governor Tim Kaine

Chairman

Virginia News Stand: April 19, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations The Mostly All Virginia Edition

Today's News Stand is all Virginia, for the most part. Even The Weekly Standard'sMary Katherine Ham's feature on the use of the Internet by GOP campaigns has a lengthy portion devoted to the expertise in which Governor Bob McDonnell's campaign used new technology to find and target voters. We have a round-up of Tea Party Day across the commonwealth. Commentary also has a Virginia ledger today, with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's opinion piece making National Review Online.

News

Va. public broadcasting funds in peril (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Roxann Robinson to run for Nixon’s delegate seat (BearingDrift.com)

At UVa, Justice Scalia warns of scholars’ agendas, biases (Charlottesville Daily Progress)

How do LGBT people fare in the area? (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Think tank says Virginia budget raises taxes on poor (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Black Baptist pastors criticize McDonnell’s policies (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Tea-party supporters rally in Richmond (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Hundreds of Tea Party activists rally in downtown Norfolk (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Election plans brewing for Roanoke Tea Party (Roanoke Times)

Tea Party activists sh0w frustration at local rally (Charlottesville Daily Progress

Lynchburg tea partiers sound off on Tax Day (Lynchburg News & Advance)

Cuccinelli: I’m fighting for Constitution (Lynchburg News & Advance)

Cuccinelli opines that taxes and fees can be embedded in the state budget (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Will Marshall run for U.S. Senate in Va. again? (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

National News

Obama extends hospital visitation rights to same-sex partners of gays (Washington Post)

No hooking up, no sex for some coeds (CNN.com)

Analysis

Tea-party influence could cut two ways (Tyler Whitley/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Tea partiers in two camps: Palin vs. Paul (Politico.com/Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Techno-GOP (Mary Katherine Ham/The Weekly Standard)

Commentary

Unconstitutional Mandate: Virginia’s Obamacare lawsuit is about more than just health care(Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, III/National Review Online)

McDonnell is tarred by missteps (Jeff Schapiro/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Family Foundation Response To Governor McDonnell's Executive Directive On "Sexual Orientation"

The following is an excerpt from a statement I released today concerning Governor Bob McDonnell's recent "Executive Directive" regarding "sexual orientation." For the full statement, including several examples of "sexual orientation" conflicting with religious liberty, click here. For a PDF of the entire statement, click here. Below, you will find links to sourced research studies, a legal analysis and an action item.

Response to Governor McDonnell's Executive Directive No. 1 

The reactions to Governor Bob McDonnell's recent decision to issue an "Executive Directive" that includes "sexual orientation" as a protected class in his administration's hiring decisions have been varied. While some, including the Commonwealth’s largest homosexual political group, Equality Virginia, who advocated for the policy change, have praised the Governor, they have also expressed disappointment that the Directive didn’t go far enough. Others have questioned why the Governor issued the Directive at all. Many are confused about its implications.

News outlets that increasingly have less print space for substance, only address the surface-level point of "discrimination." It is not acceptable, however, for thoughtful, forward-looking policy organizations to limit their review of the Directive in this manner.

At issue is not, in fact, the simple question of whether the Directive's undefined label of "sexual orientation" disqualifies one for a state job or requires special compensation/treatment in state employment. Instead, nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation, whether enshrined in law or implemented through internal constructs, and regardless of their legal weight, highlight the inevitable and unavoidable clash between the unalienable fundamental right of religious liberty and the postmodern era of sexual freedom. It is a clash that isn't taking place simply in the realm of ideas, but in courtrooms across the country, affecting the lives of everyday Americans. Potentially, there is no greater threat to our Constitutionally protected right of conscience, and as importantly the right to exercise our faith publicly, than that of the continued advancement of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) "rights."

And perhaps no one has put this battle more succinctly and honestly than respected Georgetown University Law professor, lesbian, LGBT activist and Obama nominee to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Chai Feldblum, who stated:

There can be a conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty, but in almost all cases sexual liberty should win. I'm having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.

Those who advocate for the advancement of sexual behavior protections in our law have little or no room for those who have religious convictions on those issues. In her paper, Moral Conflict and Liberty: Gay Rights and Religion, Feldblum, who authored the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), argues quite openly that it is the primary goal of the LGBT political movement to elevate (either through legislation or the courts) homosexual orientation to moral equivalence with heterosexual orientation and to do so at the cost of religious liberty.

She admits in her assessment of the clash that, "we are in a zero-sum game: a gain for one side necessarily entails a corresponding loss for the other side," but "in making the decision in this zero-sum game, I am convinced society should come down on the side of protecting the [sexual] liberty of LGBT people."

* * * * * *

In responding to Governor McDonnell's Directive granting protection to LGBT people seeking employment or who are currently employed in his administration, Kent Willis of the ACLU takes Feldblum's statements to their logical conclusion:

We hope this is only the beginning, and that the Governor's example will inspire legislators to finally pass a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in both private and public sector employment. [Emphasis added]

Willis' may be the most honest statement thus far. As both Willis and Feldblum clearly articulate, there is no religious liberty interest that can withstand the interest of LGBT people to self-identify and express their identity publicly.

» To contact the Governor and express your concerns about his decision, please click here.

» For more on the potential legal ramifications of Governor McDonnell's Directive, click here for Alliance Defense Fund's analysis.

» For more information on the impact of nondiscrimination policies on traditional marriage laws and amendments click here for a Heritage Foundation Backgrounder.

» For more information on the impact of same sex marriage on religious liberty click here for a Heritage Foundation Backgrounder.