Virginia history

Full Senate To Vote On Sexual Orientation Bills

Today, the Senate General Laws Committee considered two bills that are high priorities of the homosexual lobby in Virginia. One, SB 747, would add sexual orientation to the state's hiring policy of non-discrimination. In an 8-7, straight party line vote, the committee reported the bill to the full Senate. Testimony in favor of the bill varied from the usual members of Equality Virginia and homosexual state employees, to the Virginia Education Association (is this about educating "the children"?), a member of the AFL-CIO board and a Universalist Unitarian minister who stated that she represented, "I hope, all reasonable religions."  

Please click here to contact your Senator and urge him or her to vote no on SB 747! 

According to the Washington Post on October 30, 2009:

. . . state government, in which a 110,000-strong workforce undoubtedly includes thousands of homosexuals. ...

If testimony were to be taken at face value, one would believe that our state government operates under a "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy, where each of those thousands of employees would be fired when their orientation is discovered. However, no such policy exists and the facts confirm this. 

According to the Department of Human Resource Management, which tracks allegations of discrimination, from 1992 forward there have been 24 registered complaints based on sexual orientation. Among these 24 complaints in an 18-year period, not all complaints can be assumed to be founded. From July 1, 2009-March 9, 2010 three complaints of sexual orientation discrimination were filed, but as the March date, none were deemed "founded." Should this bill be successful, it would be the first time in Virginia history that sexual orientation would be elevated to a protected class in the law.    Thankfully, the committee did have the sense to defeat an even more comprehensive bill on sexual orientation non-discrimination. The bill, SB 797, would have added sexual orientation to Virginia's Human Rights Act, and in doing so, would potentially force faith-based organizations, religious daycare centers and schools to hire homosexuals against their conscience. While proponents claimed this would simply be a policy statement by the Commonwealth, everyone knows policy statements turn into judicial decisions, administrative regulations, and lead to future more detailed laws. The bill failed on a 7-7 vote, with Senator Chuck Colgan (D-29, Manassas) not voting.

With Signing Of Health Care Freedom Act, National Health Care Fight Moves To Virginia

As the General Assembly began in January, perhaps the most anticipated legislative debate was going to be over the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act. How would this legislation — written to exempt Virginians from the unprecedented individual mandate in the Congressional health care bill — be received after a huge conservative victory in the fall? After all, the campaign was seen as a referendum against the federal government’s increasing control of private business and individual lives. But could it clear the typically obstructionist Virginia Senate? The answer came pretty early in session when five key Senate Democrats joined all 18 Republicans to send it comfortably through to the House where it was met warmly — even 55 percent of House Democrats voted for it. Similarly, the House version made its way through both chambers later in session. It was all anti-climatic until the events of last weekend.

After Congressional liberals rammed through its government-run health care plan, despite overwhelming opposition across the country, and the subsequent White House gloating, all eyes turned to Virginia. Yesterday, Governor Bob McDonnell made it official with what had to be the most widely reported bill signing ceremony in recent Virginia history. With his signature, Virginia has exempted itself from the most significant portion of the new federal law. We congratulate Governor McDonnell, the General Assembly and the bill patrons for their hard work in making history and protecting Virginia families from the federal government’s burdensome overreach and constitutionally questionable actions.

The patrons and chief co-patrons responsible for this major success for constitutional principle are: Senators Jill Vogel (R-27, Winchester), Steve Martin (R-11, Chesterfield) and Fred Quayle (R-13, Suffolk); and Delegates Bob Marshall (R-10, Manassas), John O’Bannon (R-73, Henrico) and Chris Peace (R-97, Hanover).

Now, however, even more national attention is focused on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli as he defends this new law against the government takeover of our health care system. We thank him for his efforts and state and national leadership on this matter, as he does what he was sworn to do — defend Virginia law and the Virginia and United States Constitutions. He, as you can guess, is under a blistering attack from a loud, but determined, minority opposed to the Virginia law and his legal actions against federally run health care. You can support him by signing an online petition found here.

Finally, thanks to all of you who contacted your legislators and worked so hard to defend the founding principles of Virginia and the nation during this General Assembly session. As these uncertain economic times continue, more work will be required in the months ahead to restore our Founders’ vision.

Stat Of The Day (It Should Send The Educrats Running For Cover)

House Majority Whip and Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Delegate Kirk Cox (R-66, Colonial Heights) appeared on Richmond's Morning News with Jimmy Barrett this morning on WRVA-AM, with the Lee Brothers substituting for Barrett. Most of their questions focused on the budget and some of the myths promulgated by the left and certain media types. Delegate Cox was refreshingly candid and said he was tired of the whine coming from certain local government officials, especially when it comes to education funding. Thus, the Stat of the Day:

In Virginia, since 2000, while student enrollment in Virginia K-12 public schools has grown by 7.2 percent, state spending on same has increased 60 percent!

Okay. You know me by now. I can't stop there. Get this:

Two-thirds of the Virginia budget goes to K-12 public education and health and human services.

So much for the liberal charge about those mean conservatives in the House of Delegates who cut, cut, cut education whenever they can. The fact that Virginia has cut public education spending is a myth, plain and simple. There's about as much truth to the fact that public education funding has been cut as there was that we were in a deficit when Mark Warner shoved through the largest tax increase in Virginia history.

But the education establishment (the educrats) use every opportunity to kick, scream and cry about a lack of funding to block any type of reform possible. Worse, they try to block discussion of reform with General Assembly lobbyists paid for by taxpayers and teachers' dues. Thus, Virginia's worst-in-the-country-charter-school-law, which has been on the books more than a decade and resulted in a meager three charter schools (with a fourth on the way).

Now, after eight years, there's a new team in charge. Hopefully, that will be the catalyst for the truth finally to get equal billing with the myths — and for something positive to get done.

Click Here To Listen To The Entire Interview With Delegate Kirk Cox (5:45)

Senate To Vote on Sexual Orientation Bill Tomorrow!

Last week the Senate General Laws committee passed (see vote) legislation, SB 66, that will add sexual orientation to the state’s hiring policy of non-discrimination. If this bill is successful, it would be the first time in Virginia history that sexual orientation would be elevated to a protected class. The full Senate will vote (see contact list) on this legislation tomorrow! We urge you to ask your senator to vote against this unnecessary legislation.

While no one endorses discrimination of any type, there is absolutely no need for this proposal. In fact, according to the Washington Post, there are "thousands of homosexuals" working in state government. Both previous governors, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, signed executive orders against discrimination, and Governor Bob McDonnell has said publicly that his administration will not discriminate against homosexuals (see Washington Post). No evidence of discrimination was presented in committee when the bill was debated.

This is a solution in search of a problem. In addition, this legislation will open the Commonwealth of Virginia to costly litigation by people who fail to qualify for employment but sue the state based on this proposal. It also is a first step toward adding sexual orientation to private business hiring practice. We have seen in other states this gradual progression.

The bill also is impractical. To protect themselves against litigation, state agencies would have to begin asking job applicants about their sexuality, a clear invasion of privacy. State employment applications would have to be changed to include boxes to check for one’s sexual orientation, "actual or perceived," gender identity or expression.

Elevating sexual orientation to a protected class, despite the fact that homosexuality is not immutable, would create an entirely new level of protection — protection based on one’s sexual behavior. So, please contact your senator now and urge him or her to vote no on SB 66 — unnecessary legislation that elevates sexual orientation to protected status in Virginia law.

Virginia News Stand: October 28, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  No Obama Affect

Looks like there won't be much of an Obama affect in Virginia. Despite at least a month of radio ads, two weeks of television ads, two appearances by Veep Joe Biden, and now a second campaign stop (not to mention all that DNC cash) for Creigh Deeds, four more polls (Rasmussen, SurveyUSA, Public Policy Polling and VCU's Commonwealth Poll) show not just a McDonnell landslide, but an unprecedented GOP landslide sweep. (The only other GOP sweep in Virginia history, in 1997, featured a close lieutenant governor's race won by John Hager over L.F. Payne.) Not that Obama seems to care. His speech in Norfolk was less than Obamaesque and not particularly rousing on the senator's behalf, with deprecating humor about not wearing his tie straight and something about his hair. It seems the best the POTUS could do was call him "not slick." About the last question that remains is whether the pending landslide will result in appreciable Republican gains in the House of Delegates. 

Meanwhile, the media hits keep coming from our Annual Gala Monday night. See the national attention we received from CitizenLink.org in our top story below.

News:

*Gov. Mike Huckabee Speaks at Virginia Gala (CitizenLink.org)

McDonnell's lead grows (Public Policy Polling Blog)

VCU poll gives Bob McDonnell healthy lead (Decision Virginia Blog/NBC12.com)

Polls: Big GOP lead in Va., N.J. tight (Politico.com)

News7 Poll: Republicans hold double digit leads in statewide contests (WDBJ-TV/WDBJ7.com)

Virginia Governor: McDonnell Stretches Lead To 13 (RasmussenReports.com)

Polls: Big GOP lead in Va.; N.J. race tight (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Deeds reaches for 'Obama energy' (Washington Post)

Obama rallies for Deeds in Va. (Washington Times)

At Norfolk rally, Obama urges backers to boost Deeds (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Obama makes pitch for Deeds at Norfolk rally (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot

Attorney general rivals are worlds apart despite geographic ties (The Daily Press)

GOP adds $40,000 to Gear's re-election effort (The Daily Press)

Valentine, Garrett rack up campaign donations (Lynchburg News & Advance)

Your voting history could end up in the neighbor's mailbox (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Diradour drops bid to challenge Cantor (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Hate-crimes bill spurs some worry from religious groups (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

National News:

Debating gay marriage (Washington Times)

Watch This Now, Before It's Pulled!

Thanks to our friends at Bearing Drift who posted this earlier today, we now have the Mark Warner/Creigh Deeds television ad that the Deeds campaign pulled quicker than a Usain Bolt sprint. You see, it's all about Mark Warner saying Creigh Deeds will continue the policies he (Warner) started as governor and that Deeds believes in low taxes. Experts at M.I.T. can't calculate how many things are wrong with this ad. First, Warner raised taxes by the largest amount in Virginia history. Second, if you go by Deeds' previous ads, he's for lower taxes, which makes Warner's proclamation, shall we say, inconsistent, with his own policies as governor. But if you go by Deeds' media interviews and debate statements, he's for higher taxes. (See this post debate interview!)

Third, in case no one heard, Democrat Senator Edd Houck, one of the highest ranking budget writers in the General Assembly, wrote last week that no tax increase is necessary! (See here.)

Fourth, where's Tim Kaine? Off on another trip? (See video here.) Why won't Deeds use him in his ads?

No matter the answers to these questions, we highly recommend you watch this now. The Deeds campaign already pulled it off television. It only may be seconds before it's pulled from YouTube.

A still more confusing twist on Creigh Deeds' tax policy. At least this time, even he knows it's not too clear (see video), so he's pulled this ad from television.

"The Lieutenant Governor's Mansion"

This has been around has been around a few weeks, but if you haven't seen it, it's pretty funny, if not surprising, considering the source. Democrat Lieutenant Governor hopeful Jody Wagner, party to former Governor Mark Warner's underestimating tax revenues (creating the pretense for the largest tax increase in Virginia history) and to current Governor Tim Kaine's overestimating tax revenues (causing complete budgetary havoc and the reason for the largest Rainy Day Fund raid in Virginia history), thinks Virginia owns a Lieutenant Governor's mansion. (H/T Virginia Virtucon.) Perhaps the construction and maintenence costs are what threw off her budget projections. Thinking about it further, she'd make the ideal running mate for Terry McAuliffe, who wore Carolina blue to a U.Va. game and who has a proven interest in The Family Foundation (yuk).

Virginia News Stand: April 2, 2009

The News Stand doesn't have a large inventory today, but what we have is interesting as usual. The gubernatorial campaign is rolling along with Bob McDonnell and Terry McAuliffe continuing to get the headlines. Where are Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran? It's enough to prompt House Republican Whip Eric Cantor to call it for T-Mac already. Meanwhile, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich sounds the warning on President Obama's war on churches and charities, squeezing them out in favor of a care-for-all, omnipresent government. Speaking of McDonnell, he's promised to run the most technologically savvy campaign in Virginia history. It's a hard lesson Republicans have learned from Democrats who have outpaced them by far in use of the Internet via social networking and the like. But according to Rachel Alexander, there is a conservative tech revolution going on.

Speaking of revolutions, do they have tea or corn parties in Iowa? For all those gearing up for the various Virginia tea parties on April 15, you might want to read and view what went on in Iowa's legislature recently, where the Democrat House Speaker, Pat Murphy, tossed out taxpayers opposed to his tax increase plan. Ah, yes. Freedom of speech in the Age of Obama!

News:

McDonnell pledges support for business during campaign stop (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

McDonnell's gubernatorial campaign makes local stop (Winchester Star)

McAuliffe's Fundraising: High-Dollar, High-Mileage (Washington Post)

Does Cantor Really Think McAuliffe Wins? (TertiumQuids.com)

Ex-Lobbyist, Kaine Brother-in-Law, Among 4 Proposed For U.S. Attorney(Washington Post)

Analysis:

Web 2.0 and the New Conservative Revolution (GOPUSA.com)

National News:

Obama's 'war against churches and charities' (OneNewsNow.com)

When the American Tax Payer Becomes a Nuissance (GetLiberty.org)

Video:

Taxpayers Kicked Out Of Capitol During Tax Debate — Iowa (YouTube.com/KCCI-TV)

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.

Still More On Chaplain-Gate, From The Press Conference

This is the statement delivered by Family Foundation of Virginia President Victoria Cobb (see archived video) at last week's news conference regarding the Virginia State Police chaplains who resigned after ordered to stop praying in Jesus' name. More than a dozen pastors attended,  including ministers from our pastors outreach arm, Pastors For Family Values, and other organizations, as well as from various denominations and ethnic backgrounds, many of whom addressed the media as well. 

Remarks of Victoria Cobb, President of The Family Foundation of Virginia

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia states, "That all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." Today, thanks to the action of State Police Superintendent Flaherty (contact here) and its endorsement by Governor Tim Kaine (contact here), Thomas Jefferson's words are little more than ink on paper. Today, the words of the Statute for Religious Freedom that is the foundation for the tradition of religious liberty in our nation, rings hollow in the ears of a handful of Christian chaplains who have had their opinions in matters of religion diminished and their civil capacities affected simply because they refuse to silence their faith.

Unfortunately, expunging our Judeo-Christian heritage from the public square seems all too in vogue in 21st century America, with elected officials and their political appointees leading the way. In the name of tolerance, public faith is frowned upon. While we would hope that Virginia's rich heritage of freedom would insulate us from such discrimination, recent history proves this not to be the case.

The recent decision by Superintendent Flaherty and its subsequent endorsement by Governor Kaine is an act of anti-Christian hysteria based on a flawed decision by a three judge panel of the 4th circuit court that has yet to be upheld and is, in fact, in conflict with other circuit court decisions from around the country. 

The policy clearly violates the First Amendment protected rights of free speech and religious freedom. Requiring a Christian chaplain to effectively pray "to an unknown God" should frighten every American and Virginian regardless of their faith. Once again our sacred rights are being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. 

At The Family Foundation, we are urging our members and members of our pastor outreach arm, Pastors For Family Values, to contact Governor Kaine (contact here) and Superintendent Flaherty (contact here) to urge them to reinstate the religious freedom and free expression rights of chaplains by reversing their decision. The people of Virginia are responding. Today, you see before you several members of Pastors For Family Values who are also here to show support to the chaplains and to encourage that this policy be reversed.

In the meantime, The Family Foundation is working with attorneys from Alliance Defense Fund and members of the General Assembly to determine what legal or legislative remedies are available to us. While we would prefer that the governor and superintendent do the right thing, we will be prepared for them if they choose to entrench themselves behind this poor decision.

It is unfortunate that at a time when the commonwealth faces a $3 billion revenue shortfall because of poor planning, the governor's administration has found the time to restrict the religious freedom rights of state police chaplains.  Of course, this isn't the first time in recent years that a governor and his staff have chosen to try to reduce religious liberty rights or remove traces of our Christian heritage from our nation.

During the administration of Governor Mark Warner, efforts were made to remove the phrase "In the Year of our Lord" from official documents. In fact, today if you apply to be a Notary Public, you are given the option to have that simple phrase left off of your certification paperwork. One must ask, for what reason did Mark Warner choose to spend time while governor removing a simple Christian phrase from state documents? Perhaps it was motivated by his fear of the "Christian Coalition, right to lifers, and home-schoolers" who he once referred to as "threatening to what it means to be an American."   

Considering the challenges of being governor, it is disturbing that both governors Warner and Kaine have found the time, or their staffs have found the time, to attack religious freedom.

Virginians are growing tired of these attacks on public faith. Our commonwealth and nation are founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and no amount of revisionist history or politically motivated anti-Christian bigotry will erase the truth.

The Family Foundation urges the governor and state police superintendent to reverse this discriminatory policy immediately. We urge them to reflect on what it means to be a Virginian, to reflect on the responsibility they have to our Founding Fathers. Stand for religious liberty — true religious tolerance — and protect the rights of these chaplains.

Let The Special Tax Increase Session Begin!

We don't like saying we told you so, but we did (last week, click here). Governor Tim Kaine's "transportation plan" is nothing more than another massive tax-increase plan, as he will officially announce in a few minutes at the Capitol. Click here to see the Richmond Times-Dispatch's preview. If at first you don't succeed . . . try, try again to stick the taxpayers royally — as in the 2006 General Assembly when he, Mark Warner-like, broke his "no tax increase" pledge and proposed a whopper of one, topping his predecessor's 2004 largest-in-Virginia-history, $1.4 billion increase. So don't call the special session, to start June 23, a "transportation" session. Call it "The Tax Increase Session." Governor Kaine has got it all going on:   

  • A $10 increase in vehicle registration fees;
  • An increase in the state's auto titling tax from 3 percent to 4 percent;
  • A 1-cent regional sales-tax increase in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads (even though voters in those regions rejected that in referenda in 2002 and polls continue to show hostility toward them); and
  • A statewide increase in the grantors tax, a tax paid when you sell your house.

So let's see: Governor Kaine hits families for about $20 per year more, for the typical two-car family (on top of previous vehicle registration increases); increases the sales tax for people who want to buy a new (most likely, gas-efficient) car; make all goods more expensive with a sales-tax increase; and allow you to keep less of your equity when you sell your home, just as home values are dropping steadily while property taxes continue to rage upward. Plus, nowhere is there mention of (as he also promised in campaign 2005) a locking up of transportation funds which he has tried to divert before. Nice!

The governor really knows his economics. Even the Washington Post today quotes a study saying Governor Kaine's plan hurts the poor the most (click here). (It takes a study to know this? And whatever happened to the Democrats standing up for the working poor?)

Beginning tomorrow night in Northern Virginia and again Thursday in Hampton Roads, according to the T-D, the governor will host a series of town hall meetings across the Commonwealth. A preview? According to the T-D article, Kaine told "Perspectives" host Barbara Berlin of Richmond PBS affiliate WCVE:

"I'm expecting [lawmakers] to step up to the bar and do the right thing for Virginia."

So the "right thing" is for Virginia's hard-working families to suck it up one more time; take one for team during an economic slowdown; all so Governor Kaine can purchase his legacy at our expense? Why is the "right thing" always taking away our hard-earned income? We think, in a $78 billion budget, the right thing is to rearrange priorities, eliminate waste and end useless programs that, if cut, no one would miss. Then the governor could pave our beautiful state all he wants and leave us taxpayers alone.