Primary Day Is Tomorrow: What To Do?

Tomorrow is primary day in Virginia. But there was a little problem on the way to Super Tuesday: Only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul qualified for the ballot via Virginia's petition process. Write-ins are not allowed, which means no Newt or Rick. With all that as backdrop, who are you voting for — and why? Let us know. Is it because you like one of the candidates, resigned that one will be the nominee, or will you vote for one to stop another in lieu of your preferred candidate not making it on the ballot? Or, will you not vote at all, either out of protest or disinterest? Or will you go to the booth and not pull the lever, which will record a voter on the registrar's rolls, but not a vote — a protest vote of none of the above.

Even with a limited field, then, there are choices. There have been lots of rumors of subterranean voter plots, although we haven't heard of any organized movement. Disinterest, if anything, seems to lead the unofficial polls. The remaining field of four has inspired only modest interest in primaries where all were on the ballot. So with only two of them on the ballot in Virginia, and almost no campaigning or advertising here to excite the base, activity has been almost non-existent. Some voters, who previously expressed disappointment in the field and intention not to vote, now say with so many delegates at stake to nominate someone to run in the most important election in our lifetime, will vote.

It may not be the most exciting times in Virginia presidential political history — the biggest splash may have been an appearance last week by a non candidate, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who drew a record crowd of 1,800 people at House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's annual breakfast (see Richmond Times-Dispatch and WTVR.com) — but the ironic permutations of tomorrow's vote make it no less interesting.

Let us know what you intend to do. Leave your comments here or join the conversation on our Facebook page. 

Board Votes To Delay Adoption Regulations 30 Days, But No Change Is Expected

The Virginia Board of Social Services yesterday voted to delay the implementation of recently approved adoption regulations under the threat of costly litigation from the ACLU and Equality Virginia (see The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot). In a not unexpected decision, the vote will allow for 30 days of additional comment, beginning September 12. As we noted yesterday, however, with Governor Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli opposing the old proposed regulations on several grounds, opponents will only succeed in dragging out the process longer and perhaps set the stage for a legal action challenging Virginia law. In April, the VBSS voted 7-2 to adopt new regulations for Virginia's private adoption services. The regulations approved did not include a proposal that would have discriminated against faith-based adoption agencies by forcing them to adopt children to homosexuals. Despite having nearly two years to make their case through the regulatory process, organizations such as Equality Virginia and the ACLU claimed that the decision to not include the discriminatory language was done so without adequate information (see the AP via wral.com).

After losing the vote in April, Equality Virginia and the ACLU threatened to sue if they did not get an additional public comment period (see The Richmond Times-Dispatch). During the initial public comment time, more than 1,000 Virginians commented on the proposed regulations, with only around 30 in favor. On average, proposed regulations receive less than two dozen comments.

At yesterday's meeting, a host of representatives from the homosexual lobby spoke in favor of the additional comment period (see Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog). Some of the speakers honestly stated that they believed allowing homosexuals to adopt should take precedence over the religious liberty rights of faith-based organizations.

When the comment period is opened we will encourage you to make your voice heard on this important issue. It is clear that homosexual groups intend to use the additional 30 days to get as much publicity as possible. We must make sure that the Board of Social Services hears from Virginians who believe in religious liberty.

Admin's notes: Family Foundation staff is quoted in every cited link in the post above. Please click those links to read further. In addition, we were cited on the National Organization For Marriage Blog (click here).

Also, Family Foundation Vice President for Policy and Communications Chris Freund was featured in coverage from WTVR/CBS6 in Richmond (immediately below) and on Charlottesville's WVIR/NBC29 (click this link)

30 days more. The homosexual lobby and ACLU couldn't wait to slow down the process. 

A Shocking Day: Chief Justice Hassell's Untimely Death, Webb Won't Run For Re-election

I was in the Senate Finance Committee this morning watching, thankfully, two good bills, which may lead to some much needed tax reform, fly through. The committee agenda was short, normal right after "crossover," and only six bills were heard, all passing on unanimous voice votes. Can't be much simpler than that. At what should've been a quick bang of the gavel to dismiss, committee Chairman Chuck Colgan (D-29, Manassas) made the announcement, the first one in public as it turned out: Former Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leroy Hassell, Sr., died, unexpectedly, at age 55 (WTVR.com). He previously stepped aside as chief justice, but remained on the court.  Governor Bob McDonnell ordered that the flag of the commonwealth be flown at half-staff on all local, state, and federal buildings and grounds (WTVR.com). New Chief Justice Cynthia Kinser was scheduled to be sworn in officially this week. There is no word on the status of that ceremony at this point. She will be the first woman Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice.

(Updated 4:45 p.m.: The governor has ordered that flags be flown at half-staff until his burial on all local, state, and federal buildings and grounds in Virginia. Additionally, Justice Hassell will lie in state in the Virginia State Capitol prior to burial. See his official statement honoring Justice Hassell)

Chief Justice Hassell was the first black person to serve in that position. He was a native Virginian, and proudly so. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli included this 2003 quote in the Richmond Times-Dispatch in his statement honoring Mr. Hassell:

I do not wish to serve, however, because I happen to be black. Rather, I desire to serve because I am a Virginian by birth who has a strong affection and love for the commonwealth and its people.

He will be missed. He was a man of great faith, intellect, warmth, stature and humility.

Later in the morning, a bombshell e-mail from a political consultant friend: U.S. Senator Jim Webb will not run for re-election in 2012 (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog). Though not totally unexpected, the timing (through no fault of Senator Webb) was strange, so soon after the sad news about Justice Hassell. Mr. Webb had not actively engaged in fundraising and many thought from the beginning he would term limit himself, given the flukish nature of his election — and a possible Defense Secretary appointment in a potential Obama second term.

Now, the attention turns to who the Democrats will nominate. Early speculation ranges from everyone from former Governor Tim Kaine and Terry McAuliffe (if he can be pulled away from running for governor) to former Congressmen Rick Boucher and Tom Periello, to Krystal Ball, who unsuccessfully challenged Republican Rob Wittman in the first district last year.

Same-Sex Couple Denied Family Membership At Richmond Gym

Here's some interesting news that's come to light today. Apparently, a few days ago, a same-sex couple tried to get a family discount at Richmond-based American Family Fitness, a company of eight fitness centers in Richmond and Fredericksburg, and growing, with expansion plans in other markets in the state. The couple was denied. The reason? According to what a company membership official told the blog, gayrva:

We just base the memberships and guidelines on what Virginia state law calls a family – a woman and a man, a husband and a wife. At this present time, we don’t have that because it’s not in the writing of what a family is. 

Furthermore, a location manager told the same blog that the policy has been in place for years. To be clear, the two women were not disallowed from joining. They only were denied the chain's family discount. In fact, they previously had a family membership, let it lapse, and were trying to renew it when the situation came to the manager's attention. The manager admitted that some situations slip by them, but per the company's rules, one of the women and her child received the discount, while the other woman joined as an individual.

Now, another clarification: American Family does not claim that state law requires its policy, only that it is guided by what the commonwealth's laws define as a family. We believe WTVR-CBS6 will produce a report on this on one of its newscasts tonight, as it has asked for, and received, a statement from The Family Foundation.

American Family has taken a stand it has every right to take. Stay tuned.

It's Getting So Close, You Can Taste The Tea

Time is getting near for the various Tax Day Tea Parties across Virginia (and the nation). Click here to get all the times and locations and the link to the Virginia Tea Party Web site (we've updated the thread to include the most recent information we have). Meanwhile, to stoke your patriotic fires, here are two promotional videos, one each for the Richmond and Lynchburg events. The voice on the first one is WRVA-AM/1140 talk show host (and Glenn Beck substitute) Doc Thompson. He'll attend the Richmond Tea Party. In addition, a third is a news report about the Richmond event from WTVR-CBS/6.