Washington Post

Taking A Stand

On Monday afternoon, the House of Delegates passed a bill by a vote of 65-32 that would give legislators "standing" in federal court to defend the laws of the Commonwealth not defended by the attorney general. The bill, HB 706, patroned by Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-15, Woodstock), was introduced well before the unprecedented decision by Attorney General Mark Herring to not only not defend Virginia's Marriage Amendment, but to join the case in opposition to the commonwealth. During floor debate, Democrats continued to misrepresent Attorney General Herring's actions, claiming that it is similar to that of former Attorneys General who did not defend a state law. But in those cases, as is customary in Virginia, the attorneys general in question appointed outside counsel to represent the state; otherwise, the governor appointed counsel. The Code of Virginia allows the attorney general to refuse to defend a law where there is a conflict of interest or economic considerations, and is not unusual.

What is unusual is an attorney general who refuses to defend the state constitution, refuses to appoint outside counsel and, further, joins the case in opposition to the constitution. That's unprecedented. Since Governor Terry McAuliffe refuses to act as well, Virginians are without statewide counsel. It's akin to a defense attorney refusing to defend his client and, instead, walks across the aisle and joins the prosecutor. It's dereliction of duty, purposefully negligent and unethical.

No Democrat during the debate, or anyone anywhere for that matter, has yet pointed to a case where this has ever happened. House Democrats refused even to acknowledge a difference between not defending a law and joining the plaintiff's lawsuit against the commonwealth.

Joining the Democrats in misrepresenting the actions of Attorney General Herring are most of Virginia's newspaper editorial boards. The lack of objective and clear reporting on the issue reveals not simply partisanship, but a pathological obsession with advancing the cause of same-sex marriage at any cost. Apparently, attacking Virginians as hateful bigots simply because they believe that marriage should be reserved for a man and a woman for the benefit of children isn't enough; secular liberals in office and on the editorial pages have to lie about anything related to the issue as well.

Luckily, some are standing up for the rule of law. A Washington Post op-ed from Colorado Attorney General John W. Suthers makes a compelling case for attorneys general defending laws they view as unjust because in their role as chief legal officer of states, they shouldn't have "litigation veto" over laws legally adopted.

Photo: Attorney General Herring, defend our laws!</p><br />
<p>Sign the Petition: http://bit.ly/1fmnerl</p><br />
<p>Like & Share!</p><br />
<p>For more ways to contact AG Herring, visit www.familyfoundation.org/ag_marriage

Mark Herring: Upholds his hand, but not the Virginia Constitution.

Cuccinelli Working Hard, T-Mac Hardly Working

One of the many bipartisan knocks on Democrat gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe — aside from his many scandals — is that being a non-Virginian, he doesn't know Virginia, its traditions, its history or how its government works. Apparently, he doesn't know what Virginians expect from candidates, either. Despite the closing in the polls, McAuliffe has cooled off his campaign schedule — no media interviews, a canceled press conference, a skipped event with college students and no campaign events the last few days except for his Obamacare celebration rally with President Barack Obama. Meanwhile, Republican Ken Cuccinelli has round-the-clock events up to election day on Tuesday with national conservative stars such as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, capped by a Monday night rally with former Congressman from Texas and libertarian Republican icon Ron Paul, the former presidential candidate at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

Here's Ben Pershing from The Washington Post:

Ken Cuccinelli II is planning a frenetic schedule with a handful of big-name Republican surrogates as the race for Virginia governor draws to a close. Terry McAuliffe, by contrast, is mostly staying out of sight aside from a pair of high-profile events.

The differing strategies illustrate the pecking order as the hard-fought contest nears its end. Cuccinelli (R) is consistently trailing in the polls and can’t afford much of an advertising presence on the airwaves, so he’s counting on word-of-mouth and media coverage from live appearances to stay afloat.

McAuliffe (D) is nursing a lead and has the cash to keep up a steady drumbeat of ads, giving him little incentive to expose himself to the press more than necessary. Cuccinelli is planning to do multiple daily events around the state from Friday through Tuesday. His itinerary includes events Saturday in Spotsylvania and Prince William counties with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and appearances in Warrenton and Culpeper Monday with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). And former representative Ron Paul (R-Tex.) will join Cuccinelli in Richmond on Monday evening.

McAuliffe’s campaign has said that he will appear at a rally with President Obama on Sunday afternoon at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, and he will join forces with Vice President Biden on Monday morning in Annandale to kick off a day of canvassing.

McAuliffe has announced no public events for Thursday, Friday or Saturday. His campaign has not responded to requests for comment about his schedule.

On Wednesday, McAuliffe wrapped up a four-day campaign swing with former president Bill Clinton, but he did not take questions from the media at those appearances. McAuliffe has done a handful of individual interviews, but aside from a brief gaggle following last Thursday’s debate in Blacksburg, he has done no other media availabilities in the past three weeks.

Is McAuliffe taking Virginians for granted? Has he started measuring the Governor's Mansion's drapes and called the moving trucks? Virginians don't appreciate that, something McAuliffe would know if he knew Virginia.

 

Look Who's Joined The Pro-Life Movement

Thanks to the Internet and the tools of the Digital Age, the Secular Left no longer controls messaging. The era of the 6:30 national network broadcast news and the New York Times and Washington Post framing the national discussion are over — in fact, has been for a while. That means the Secular Left's dishonesty, inconsistency and hypocrisy get exposed daily, and done so in ways more illustrative and vivid as to make the point 1,000 times more powerful than a 1,000 words ever could. It's provided the hall in which the pro-life message could resonate and educate, especially with America's youth, who are increasingly pro-life. Please see this as one shining example that demonstrates the Secular Left's love of trees more than unborn babies. Here, thanks to our friends at LiveAction.org, is another clever and insightful play of how the Secular Left values "the environment" at the expense of innocent human life:

Photo: Look who else is pro-life!

Save who? This image must confuse the heck out of the pro-abortion side. 

If there's any doubt about the nature of nature, read how a dog befriended a toddler with Down Syndrome (LiveAction Blog). Maybe the Secular Left is on to something. Maybe the animals are smarter than the humans.

McAuliffe Opposes Abortion Center Safety Measures Supported By Gosnell's Lawyer!

Hand it to Terry McAuliffe. He won't back down. Not to the abortion industry. Not even to the point of being more pro-abortion than convicted baby murder Kermit Gosnell's lawyer. Even former President Bill Clinton, of whom McAuliffe is one of the biggest of FOBs (Friends of Bill) wants abortion "Safe, legal and rare." But McAuliffe has drawn a stark contrast between himself and a super majority of Virginians and Americans at large — even those who support abortion, but recognize the abomination it has become in abortion centers, such as the "Houses of Horrors" run by Gosnell and others. Last week, the Susan B. Anthony List released a statement describing the extreme position McAuliffe has taken on abortion center safety standards and how even Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for the recently convicted Gosnell, who said his client suffered from the "baby factor," supports oversight of abortion centers and certain restrictions on their procedures. Here is the entire news release:

Terry McAuliffe Opposes Abortion Clinic Regulations Supported by Gosnell Attorney

Jack McMahon Says He Supports Increased Regulation of Clinics, Late-Term Abortion Limit

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week Jack McMahon, defense attorney for convicted murderer and late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell, told FOX News' Megyn Kelly that he supports increased regulation of abortion clinics as well as a ban on abortion past 16-17 weeks in order to forestall crimes like those Gosnell committed. In light of McMahon's statements, Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) President Marjorie Dannenfelser blasted Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe's opposition to increased health and safety standards for the Commonwealth's abortion facilities.

"Weeks of graphic testimony detailing the horrors and conditions inside Kermit Gosnell's Philadelphia abortion clinic was enough to sway even Gosnell's own attorney,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “If McMahon can agree that women going into abortion facilities must be treated with basic dignity and respect, why can't Terry McAuliffe? Virginia women are increasingly disturbed that a politician who seeks to represent women would oppose such elementary efforts to protect our health and safety.

“Kermit Gosnell isn't alone. More than 80 violations were discovered inside Virginia abortion facilities last year. Unsafe, unsanitary conditions — not to mention barbaric abortion practices — continue to be exposed nationwide. Shame on McAuliffe for refusing to join the General Assembly and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in standing up for Virginia women. Women deserve better than his extreme abortion ideology.”

Last month, McAuliffe's campaign was asked by the Washington Post to confirm or deny that he supports “a platform of abortion on-demand at any time, for any reason, paid for by Virginia taxpayers,” including “sex-selective abortion, late-term abortion, partial-birth abortion, and abortions on teenage girls without parental consent — all paid for by Virginia taxpayers.” McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin declined to comment to the Post.

The SBA List has compiled an ever-expanding fact sheet on abortion industry negligence and brutality toward women and children occurring nationwide.

Terry McAuliffe: Too extreme for Bill Clinton; too extreme even for convicted killer Kermit Gosnell's attorney!

Gosnell: Exception Or Rule?

Twelve Philadelphians are now meeting to determine the fate of America’s most notorious abortion "provider," Kermit Gosnell, after weeks of hearing evidence alleging he murdered hundreds of born-alive babies and at least one woman. As we await the verdict, the conversation surrounding his "house of horrors" has centered around the question of whether or not Gosnell is an anomaly in an otherwise safe and health care-focused industry, or if the abortion industry has more Gosnells that simply have yet to be discovered. Obviously, the abortion industry and most in the mainstream media would have us believe that Gosnell is an aberration caused more by the lack of government (taxpayer) funding than unmitigated inhumanity and evil (what, you thought they'd actually admit the guy is evil?).

But facts surrounding that case, and the pattern that is developing in many states regarding the abortion industry's lack of concern for health and safety, not to mention its utter lack of recognition of human dignity and worth, have to lead any reasonable, thoughtful American to wonder just what the truth might be. Given that representatives of Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation knew what was happening inside Gosnell's clinic, knew of the despicable conditions and rumors of the murders, and did absolutely nothing about it, reasonable people should be questioning the abortion industry's claims.

We certainly know the media isn't going to do it for us.

Yesterday, the pro-life group Live Action released videos from two abortion centers, one in Washington, D.C., and one in New York City, that show doctors at those facilities admitting that they would do nothing to save the lives of born-alive babies, babies who are living, breathing human beings. This comes on the heels of disturbing testimony by a Planned Parenthood representative in Florida who, before a legislative committee, essentially defended euthanasia on the basis that the decision to keep a new born baby alive is "between a woman and her doctor."

Do these incidents represent the true philosophy of the entire abortion industry? Are they so callous to all human life that even those babies already born are viewed as disposable waste, nothing more than "products of conception" that can be flushed down a toilet or run through a garbage disposal? Do they care so little about the women that enter their facilities that they will keep quiet even when they know about horrifically unsanitary conditions that put lives at risk?

And perhaps worse, how can these incidents not elicit any kind of outrage from the public, let alone politicians? Or is it that the reality of what the abortion industry is really about forcing people to ask questions about their own "pro-choice" attitudes that they really never wanted to have to ask? Uncomfortable yet?

In Virginia, the abortion industry has been quick to dismiss Gosnell. Mind you, we have yet to hear anyone within the Virginia abortion industry, its defenders in the General Assembly, candidates for statewide office, or editorial pages utter a single word of criticism. Hysterical in all other ways, the Virginia abortion industry's silence on Gosnell is deafening. But maybe they know something we don't. After all, abortion operators like Steven Brigham and Diane Derzis — both of whom operate facilities in Virginia — have long records of health and safety violations in other states, and have had abortion centers closed by public health officials and their medical license revoked or suspended. Their abortion centers here, under inspections that were part of the emergency safety standards under the 2011 abortion center legislation, were found to have dozens of health and safety violations.

Are there Gosnells in Virginia? No one outside the abortion industry really knows. Virginia's facilities had weeks to clean up their act before announced inspections last year, after going two decades with no oversight at all. Despite the warning, nearly 300 deficiencies were found. And while the media continues to whine about construction standards, it remains silent on the blood stained patient tables, unsterilized equipment, expired drugs and untrained staffs. What was happening in those places before health inspectors gained access is anyone's guess.

Earlier this week the editorial writers at the Washington Post put to ink their tears over the closing of one abortion center in Virginia, allegedly because its owners don't have the money to upgrade the facility to meet Virginia's new health and safety standards. They were horrified at the thought that one out of 20 abortion centers is closing. Incredibly, the Post labeled the clinic a "victim," while the same newspaper for weeks did all it could to intentionally ignore the hundreds of true, human victims of Kermit Gosnell. The disconnect from basic humanity rendered in that dichotomy tells us all we need to know about how incapable too many in the media are at recognizing evil, at seeing human victims in the faces of tiny babies murdered at the hands of a profiteer.

God help us if the public feels the same way.

"Tebow Bill" In Senate Committee Tomorrow: Urge Support Of Fairness For Homeschoolers

Facing its biggest legislative challenge, not unlike the last-minute, game-on-the-line-drive some young athlete who would benefit from the bill may one day lead, HB 1442, the often-called "Tebow Bill," will be considered tomorrow in the Senate Education and Health Committee. The bill would assist home school students in participating in public school sports and is a top priority for The Family Foundation.

Please click here to see if your senator is on the committee and urge him or her, or other committee members, to vote in favor of HB 1442!

The legislation, patroned by Delegate Rob Bell (R-58, Charlottesville), would break down barriers that prevent home school students from playing public high school sports by prohibiting localities from joining the Virginia High School League, a pseudo-state/private entity that regulates public school sports. Under the provisions of the measure, localities would not be able to contract with VHSL if they don't allow home school students to participate. Half the states in the nation have some type of measure that provides opportunities to home school students to participate in public school sports.

Remarkably, yesterday, even the liberal Washington Post editorial board came out in favor of the "Tebow Bill"! Last year, the New York Times reported on the bill, and quoted school officials in other states who expressed the same fears the VHSL now mimics when their legislatures debated similar legislation. But after the law took affect, they found their fears misplaced. Polling done earlier this session by VCU's Commonwealth Educational Policy Institute showed that nearly two-thirds of Virginians support fairness for home school students in participating in public school sports. This mirrored our own poll, one year ago, done by Mason-Dixon.

Last year, a similar proposal was defeated in Ed and Health by one vote. If you can attend the meeting to show support, please be there promptly at 8:00 a.m. Though the bill could be heard anytime that morning, seating is limited so you want to be there on time! A crowd of supporters, particularly home school families, can make a big difference!

In essence, all we are asking for is a chance for home school kids to try out. This bill doesn't force any home school student to participate in any activity. It simply requires that the Virginia High School League allow home school students to try out for sports teams or public schools can't contract with VHSL. The bill also requires home school students who participate to meet the disciplinary requirements and allows for families to be charged any fees associated with participation. Local school systems could also add requirements.

The children of families who pay taxes that support the local public schools and are part of our communities, continue to be denied the ability to try out for an activity that they are funding for the simple reason that they are home schooled. This discriminatory practice must end.

Opponents such as the VHSL, the Virginia Education Association and the Parent Teacher Association, are doing all that they can to prevent this bill from passing. It's late in the game and your help is needed. Your voice is critical to the success of this bill.

Surprise! Washington Post Endorses "Tebow Bill," But Says Dems Control Va. Senate; Bill In Ed & Health Thursday!

Miracles do happen. Witness this: The Washington Post this morning editorialized in favor of the "Tebow Bill" after years of opposing it. Coincidentally, the bill, HB 1442, patroned by Delegate Rob Bell (R-58, Albermarle), will be in the Senate Education and Health Committee this Thursday (follow the link for committee members and their contact information). The committee vote is expected to be close. Will the Post's endorsement help the cause? Anything can happen at the General Assembly and it usually does. In fact, surprises are the norm. Not to have one would be the surprise.

Here's the telling sections from the Post's editorial:

It is clear, though, that the group entrusted with helping to make those determinations needs to revisit rules that have become too rigid. Local school districts that want to include home-schooled students are barred from even trying. ...

The bill . . . was improved this year to spell out that any decision about the participation of home-schooled students would be left strictly to local school boards. Even with that local option being made clear and other provisions to guard against abuses, the bill, faces an uphill battle in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

The current ban against home-schoolers is the result of long-standing policy set by the Virginia High School League, which governs interscholastic sports and other activities in Virginia's more than 300 high schools. ... No doubt the issues are complicated and, for many, emotional. But 26 other states have managed to allow home-schoolers to play sports, either by right or through local option, with apparent success. In Virginia, elementary and middle school students participate in public-school activities with no problems.

Alas, even as the Post, finally sees the merit in a common sense bill that we support, it engaged in wishful thinking, stating that the Democrats control the Senate.  But we'll trade that for another miracle Thursday.

Quote Of The Day: Aunt Esther Speaks Again

As I wrote yesterday, as entertaining as General Assembly committees and floor sessions can be, the media quotes and social media output from members can be every bit as noteworthy. That was the case last week when the Aunt Esther of Virginia politics spoke up to the Washington Post about the session's most contentious issue. Senator Louise Lucas (D-18, Portsmouth) got wind that some House colleagues in the Legislative Black Caucus were considering supporting the Senate Republican redistricting amendment to the House's technical amendments bill that was supposed to iron out only certain deficiencies in the most recently redrawn legislative districts. She proceeded to verbally whip her wayward friends back in line just as Aunt Esther would hammer Fred Sanford with her Bible after one of his acid-tongued insults. After all, we can't have independent thinking in the LBC.

Said the senator to the Post, in true Aunt Esther flamboyance, figurative Bible raised, ready to slam down on unsuspecting heads:

I’m hot as a pot of fish grease about this. I’m hoping that they’re not going to be so naive as to bite that bait.

As it turned out, the amendment was scuttled yesterday in the House when Speaker Bill Howell ruled it non-germane to the underlying bill. Whether or not that action actually brings "peace in the valley" is another question. But we know, for the time being, Senator Lucas is feeling much better.

Hands Off My Home, My Church, My Business: Be A Founder And End Eminent Domain Abuse, Vote YES On Question 1!

The proposed state constitutional amendment to protect Virginians from the abuse of eminent domain is the most important Virginia Constitutional amendment to limit government power before the voters in years. Ratifying it with a YES vote tomorrow will limit the size, power and scope of state and local government. A government that knows no bounds in taking property can take anything, including  the freedom to worship, to work and to live. Opponents of the amendment have made so many absurd accusations about the amendment's affects, if passed, it's hardly worth dignifying them. One, in a Washington Post editorial recently, said it would be "corporate welfare." Wrong! Corporate welfare is what we have now, with local governments taking private property on the cheap and giving it to developers to build big box stores and malls.

In the same breath, we're told by local governments that the amendment will stifle economic development, for the very reason it won't be able to provide the real corporate welfare (i.e., it won't be able to take land and turn it over cheaply to rich corporations). Isn't government supposed to be the guardian of the little guy? In fact, the best way to spur economic development is to ensure that risk takers and job creators will be able to develop and build their own businesses on their own land without the fear that one day the government will seize it for something it determines will be of better use.

Perhaps the most incredible charge is that the amendment will force higher taxes. Huh? That's a rich argument coming from local governments, which can't wait to hit its citizens with every new fee and tax it can conjure up. All of sudden, these governing bodies, which use our tax dollars as is to lobby against our interests and rights at the General Assembly, are concerned with our tax burden. They claim the amendment's just compensation clause will drive up the costs of acquiring land when a taking truly is necessary. So, what local governments are admitting is that have been cheating their citizens all these years by not paying them the true worth of their lands! In truth, this amendment will make governments choose their projects wisely, prioritize and hold down costs.

The amendment will do four things, only one of which is in the current statute — which itself can be watered down by a future General Assembly if not protected by the strength of the constitutional amendment:

1. It elevates owning property a "fundamental right" which is an elevated status of law in court. It gives the citizen more protection and the condemning authority a higher standard of proof.

2. It offers just compensation, not only for the land taken (barely covered in current Virginia law), but also compensation for lost business expenses and profit, as well as for lost access to a business in the cases where the government alters a property's entrance which causes the loss of business.

3. It allows only for the taking of such land that is needed. This prevents local governments and state agencies from taking excess land for a project and sitting on it then selling it later for a profit, leaving the landowner in the cold.

4. Most importantly, the amendment will prohibit the taking of land for anything other than a true public use — a school or a road, for example — something that the entire public needs and can use, and prohibits the taking of land to give to a private entity. It protects farmers, suburban land owners, small and family business owners, churches (which don't pay taxes and whose properties are jealously eyed by economic development departments always looking to increase tax revenue to grow government), to the inner city home owners, who too often have been victimized by displacement by redevelopment and housing authorities that think they know better what to do with the homes than the owners.

This amendment is important and fundamental to our rights. Virginia's Founders — Madison, Jefferson, Henry, Mason, Washington — enshrined property rights as a basic right of liberty to own property without fear of its confiscation by a despotic government. Unfortunately, over the decades, it's been stripped out. Here is a rare opportunity to restore our liberties and for generations to come, a chance to be a Founder of sorts.

Here are two short videos. In one, Bob Wilson, President of Central Radio in Norfolk, who is being hounded by the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority to give up his business for an Old Dominion University commercial plaza, explains the injustice of eminent domain. In the second, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, explains his support of the amendment, what it does and why its ratification Election Day is important (see Virginia Social Conservative Blog).

Urgent: Prayer Request For Shooting At Family Research Council

We have just learned that a security guard at the headquarters of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., was shot this morning. Few details have been made available, but several media report that the guard is in stable condition. Please pray for the security guard, his family and the staff at FRC, and give thanks for the first responders who have professionally and securely handled the situation.

You can read more about this incident here at the Washington Post.

The Family Foundation is proud to be a partner with FRC, one of the premier pro-family organizations in the nation.

Candidate Kaine's Marriage "Pirouette"

North Carolinians overwhelmingly voted one week ago to define marriage as between one man and one woman in their state constitution. The same day, Virginia U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine was asked about his position on the issue. Kaine’s answer was anything but clear. In fact, his obfuscation led the National Journal to label his attempted response “policy pirouettes" (see Shane Goldmacher at Hotline On Call blog). Kaine said:

The number one issue is should committed couples have the same legal rights and responsibilities and the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. I believe in the legal equality of relationships. Is it marriage, is it civil unions, is it domestic partners? I kind of let that one go.

The crowd and reporters kept pressing, but Kaine remained steadfastly vague. His remarkable press session is chronicled here at the Washington Post's Virginia Politics Blog by Ben Pershing.

In 2006, then Governor Kaine publicly opposed Virginia’s marriage amendment, going so far as to campaign against the measure that eventually passed with 57 percent of the vote. Just a few months before, while a candidate for Governor, Kaine gave The Family Foundation Action the following response to a candidate survey question about the measure:

I have long supported Virginia law that declares marriage to be between a man and a woman, and I support a Constitutional amendment.

Incredibly, just days after being sworn in as governor, Kaine reversed his support for the ballot measure and urged the General Assembly to keep it off the ballot. (The legislation calling for the measure passed the 2005 General Assembly but had to pass again in 2006 to be placed on the ballot.)

At one point during the press availability last week, Kaine indicated that "marriage" is little more than a label, saying, "I think the labels actually get in the way of the issue."

But marriage isn't the only issue on which Kaine has shifted since running for governor in 2005. Relatedly, at that time, he told The Family Foundation and the media that he opposed homosexual couples adopting, but supported Virginia law allowing homosexual individuals to adopt. Late in his administration, however, he introduced a regulation that would have prohibited child placement agencies from considering homosexual behavior at all when choosing parents for adoption. Last year, he said that unmarried homosexual couples should be able to adopt if a judge determined it was in the best interest of the child (contrary to the Virginia Constitution and statute).

One has to wonder why Kaine continues to dodge the question if opinions on the issue of marriage are shifting — as constantly asserted as fact by same-sex marriage supporters and mainstream media. Of course, while progressives insist that Americans are shifting in their opinion on the definition of marriage, they are 0-31 when it comes to marriage amendments at the ballot box. Candidate Kaine knows that.

Conveniently in 2005, Kaine invoked his Catholic faith in response to his position on the death penalty. No mention of Church teaching on this issue. Hmmm. Our guess, however, is that whatever he says on the issue while on the campaign trail doesn't really matter. History has proven that Tim Kaine's position is likely to change as soon as Election Day is over.

Media Seeks TFF's Opinion On President Obama's Political Coming-Out-Of-The-Closet

The unintended consequences of President Obama's coming out of the political closet to tell everyone what we already knew — that he supports homosexual marriage — we're in the news! Family Foundation of Virginia President Victoria Cobb was interviewed by WRIC-TV (see below or click here), the Richmond Times-Dispatch (click here) and the Washington Post/AP (click here) about the president's declaration and its impact on the dynamics of the presidential campaign in Virginia, seen as a key swing/battleground state in this November's election, and WWBT-TV ran a statement TFF issued on its 11:00 newscast (click here). It reads:

President Obama is busy pandering to his dwindling base in an election year. It's the sign of a desperate candidate.

In the WRIC report, Delegate Joe Morrissey (D-74, Henrico), just can't contain his glee. He hasn't smiled so broadly or been this giddy since his law license was restored last week. Offering different perspectives are Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13, Manassas) and Victoria.

But if President Obama is being so courageous, as some on the left in these (and other) media reports are saying, why didn't he come out before the North Carolina vote Tuesday, where Tar Heels passed its Marriage Amendment by a 61-39 margin. (It also bans civil unions.) After all, he won North Carolina in 2008 and the Democrats will have their convention in Charlotte. Leading from behind, once again. Never was a man so brave where risk was so unapparent. No wonder he's so loved.

Also interviewed on WRIC is Governor Bob McDonnell, who has an interesting take. While he is continues to be for traditional marriage and supportive of Virginia's Marriage Amendment, he agreed with the president in one respect. He said marriage should be a state issue, not a federal one. Hmmm. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney thinks there should be a federal Marriage Amendment. Does this affect his Veepstakes candidacy?

Ahhhh. Good to see Delegate Joe Morrissey smile again. He didn't have much reason to during the General Assembly this winter.

Targeting Of ALEC Proves Far Left Is Out To Silence Conservatives Not Only On "Social Issues"

Many probably hoped that after the General Assembly left town for a few weeks, cooler heads would prevail and the left's hysteria would settle down a bit. Those of us who have been around here very long recognized just how unlikely that would be. So now it's House Speaker Bill Howell (R-28, Fredericksburg) who is in the cross-hairs of the far-left and their media allies. At a press conference this week regarding Virginia's high business climate rankings, the liberal machine continued its attacks on anything conservative. Now, the new attack line in Richmond is that Republicans are part of some kind of vast conspiracy of ideology and policy being led by a stealth-like corporate organization with a scary name: the American Legislative Exchange Council. After the press event's formal question and answer period ended, a liberal with something called ProgressVA approached the Speaker and  pushed him on his comments. Speaker Howell responded in a way for which he apologized yesterday.

You can read more about the exchange here at the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot and here at Bearing DriftBut the real story is the left's concentrated attack campaign on ALEC. Why was a representative of ProgressVA at the press conference in the first place? Previously, it issued a half-truth laced "report" on ALEC given credence by the Mainstream Media, especially the Washington Post.  In reality, it is a propaganda piece, not unlike NARAL's "study" on Pregnancy Resource Centers two years ago, which the MSM also jumped on. See a pattern here?

Despite the "report," ALEC reports its activities on its comprehensive website — hardly secretive. As with any other think tank, it provides state legislators with research, legislative concepts and model legislation, but from a distinctly conservative perspective. ALEC was co-founded in 1973 by conservative icon Paul Weyrich. In recent months, though, the far-left and its media allies have set their sights on ALEC and its corporate sponsors, bringing with them the hysteria and bullying that seems to drive American politics these days. Within hours, corporate sponsors of ALEC, such as Coca-Cola and McDonald's, caved faster than the Susan Komen group did to Planned Parenthood.

Writing at Bearing Drift, our friend Norman Leahy succinctly captures the absurdity of it all:

A shoddy report combined with sloppy reporting followed up by badgering questions and even more sloppy reporting. No wonder Howell was frustrated. 

I think the real entity owed an apology here is ALEC — by the WaPo, ProgressVa and the assorted nitwits who insist that the Speaker is engaging in a Somme-like offensive on women.

You may be asking yourself, why does this matter?

Frankly, the only crime that ALEC has committed is to formulate, organize and propagate conservative ideas and assist legislators in seeing those conservative principles put into practice. But in the age of Obama, doing so is viewed by the MSM and the far-left (redundant, I know) as a threat to the American way of life. Conservative discourse has become something that must be silenced. There was a time when the battle of ideas was at the heart of who we are as Americans, and was the very freedom the Founders fought and died (as did subsequent generations) to ensure would exist. Those days are gone.

That's why you should care. We expect the far-left to do all in its power to silence religious conservatives for reasons that go way beyond politics, but now it's going after the most a-religious of conservative organizations with the same hatred and ferocity. It's no longer only about "social issues" — it's about simply being conservative and our right to organize, advocate and promote our principles. The left fears our ideas, cannot defeat our ideas, so it must silence our ideas.

If anyone in Richmond thought the battle this past session was only about ultrasounds and adoption, they were sorely mistaken. It is about all of our conservative beliefs and whether our culture will even allow them to be spoken of. If you don't understand that, you don't understand just how extreme the far-left has become.

Urge Support Of Abortion Center Safety Regulations

Late Friday afternoon, the Department of Health released its proposed regulations for Virginia's abortion centers. The regulations are now available for public review by clicking here (scroll to page 25). The Board of Health will vote on the proposed regulations at its meeting September 15.

It is imperative that you contact the Board of Health and urge them to pass the regulations!

While we understand that this is only the first step in a long process, we believe that the regulations presented to the Board of Health by medical experts at the Department of Health would sufficiently improve the health and safety of Virginia's abortion centers.

The proposed regulations would improve the health and safety standards by providing for regular and unannounced inspections of abortion centers. Until now, abortion centers operated outside the mainstream of the medical community with little or no state supervision. The regulations also require standards regarding medical personnel like requiring that the doctor stay on premises until a woman is actually ready to be discharged, improved sanitary conditions, and emergency equipment for cardiac arrest, seizure, respiratory distress and other critical medical situations. Abortion centers would also have to be built, or improved within two years, to meet medical standards appropriate for the procedure. If these regulations threaten Virginia's abortion centers, one has to wonder just how bad things have been. Abortion centers will also have to report deaths of patients resulting from abortion procedures.

Of course, the abortion industry has responded with hyperbole, misinformation and fear tactics (see Washington Post). Planned Parenthood and NARAL are urging pro-abortion Virginians to contact the Board of Health to vote against these reasonable, common sense measures. They are well motivated and unified in their opposition to any and all regulations. It is essential that the Board hear from pro-life Virginians!

It is important to remember that the abortion industry just this year rejected legislation that would have required only licensing, inspections and emergency equipment. It is clear from its rejection of that legislation and these common sense regulations that they oppose any and all efforts by the Commonwealth to ensure women's health and safety in their abortion centers. Their predictable and short sighted response reveals that they do not take the health of women in Virginia seriously.

Please contact the Board of Health and please forward this information to as many of your pro-life friends as possible! The Board of Health needs to hear from you. It is important that our e-mails to the board be reasoned and thoughtful. Let's leave the harsh rhetoric to the supporters of the abortion industry.

Anyone wishing to submit written comments for the public comment file may do so by mail, e-mail or fax to Joseph Hilbert, Director of Governmental and Regulatory Affairs, 109 Governor Street, Richmond, VA 23219, or 804-864-7022 (fax); or e-mail by clicking here. Written comments must include your name and address. In order to be considered, comments must be received by the last day of the public comment period, which is September 15.

Not So Pretty In Pink

As summer draws to a close, and November's crucial state Senate elections approach, pro-abortion groups are recognizing that their long term control of the all-important Senate Education and Health Committee may soon slip from their grasp. Ed and Health, referred to by Planned Parenthood in a recent email as its "saving grace," has, according to committee member and Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, killed nearly 80 pro-life bills in recent years (see Washington Post). Anyone who has attended an Ed and Health meeting knows how antagonistic some committee members can be to pro-life advocates. All of which would explain NARAL and Planned Parenthood's recent endorsements of Ed and Health Chairman, Senator Edd Houck. Now, Planned Parenthood is organizing phone banks throughout September and October to drive out abortion supporters in Senator Houck's district. Houck, a Democrat, faces a challenge from Republican Bryce Reeves. In a recent e-mail Planned Parenthood encouraged the "power of pink" to help get Senator Houck reelected.

As chair of Ed and Health, Senator Houck has voted against every pro-life measure brought before the committee, including legislation allowing women to view an ultrasound prior to their abortion and reasonable abortion center safety regulations.  When regulations finally passed the General Assembly this year Senator Houck referred to it as "A terrible tragedy." To pass the bill, we had to use legislative maneuvers to bypass Senator Houck's committee.

To his credit, Senator Houck has directed the atmosphere of the committee in a professional way during his tenure, quite the opposite of former committee chair Russ Potts, who publically relished killing pro-life bills and ridiculing pro-life leaders. Instead of using the sledgehammer approach of Russ Potts, Senator Houck prefers using a scalpel. The results are the same, it's just less painful.

It seems clear that pro-abortion groups are planning to spend a lot of money and do all they can to keep control of the Education and Health Committee. They've already placed staff in the field and now are working to protect pro-abortion candidates. Pro-life Virginians need to be aware, just as pro-abortion advocates are, that the future of pro-life legislation in Virginia hangs in the balance this November.

Paid for by The Family Foundation Action.

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. 

Lawsuit Threatened In Adoption Regulations Battle

Today, the Virginia Board of Social Services is scheduled to consider a request by several homosexual activist groups to reopen its decision to protect the rights of private, faith-based adoption agencies. In April, the VBSS approved new regulations for adoption agencies that did not include a proposal that would have forced private, faith-based adoption agencies to adopt children into homes with co-habitating, unmarried couples. Unfortunately, homosexual activist groups are not satisfied with the nearly two-year regulatory process and 30-day public comment period already undertaken and are petitioning the VBSS for an additional 30 days of public comment, thus requiring a second, unnecessary vote. Oddly, groups like Equality Virginia and the ACLU that today are advocating for more public comment were silent for nearly two years as the regulations, stealthily proposed by former Governor Tim Kaine, went through the process. After losing the vote (7-2) in April, they suddenly are very interested in more time and another vote. Now they are threatening a costly, frivolous lawsuit if they don't get their way. It's also odd that they talk a lot about freedom, but they have no forcing private institutions into policies that run counter to their believes. Apparently, religious liberty isn't a freedom they choose to protect.

During the earlier comment period, only an approximate 30 of the 1,000-plus public comments were favorable toward adding restrictions on faith-based charities (see Washington Times). In 2002, the last year for which data is available, nearly 80 percent of adoptions in Virginia were facilitated by private organizations, nearly half of which are faith-based. Adding the restrictions advocated by Equality Virginia and the ACLU would seriously threaten the well-being of thousands of children awaiting adoption. Similar actions have forced charities to close their doors to children and families in other states.

Sadly, it appears that these organizations are more interested in advancing their political agenda than helping vulnerable children. Punishing the organizations that handle 80 percent of the adoptions in Virginia to advance a political agenda is punitive and harsh. The Board of Social Services, as well as the overwhelming majority of those in the public who commented, saw that and rejected the proposed regulation.

The Family Foundation will monitor the meeting today and comment if necessary. Regardless of the VBSS' decision on opening the public comment period again to avoid an unnecessary lawsuit, we don't anticipate a change in the final vote. The majority of Virginians have spoken in the previous public comment period, Governor Bob McDonnell has committed to protecting faith-based agencies (Richmond Times-Dispatch), and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (Washington Post) has made it clear that the proposed restrictions are unnecessary. Equality Virginia and the ACLU may get their press conference and media exposure, but we will fight for the children and families as well as religious liberty.

ObamaCare On The Verge Of Providing Free Birth Control At The Expense Of Basic Freedoms

Forget for a moment the fiscal and health policy irresponsibilities  — of which there are plenty — of ObamaCare (trillions of dollars in more debt and health care rationing, to name only two of the largest). Let's just say government can wave its magic wand and make every decision with twice the wisdom of Solomon, we need do nothing but accept the beneficence of a big, all-knowing central authority, and life ran smoother than marbles on glass. That still doesn't address the absolute authoritarian rule ObamaCare empowers the federal government through unelected bureaucrats and political appointees — more than 1,000 "shalls" granted to the  Secretary of Health and Human Services alone. One of those powers is to force health insurance companies to provide coverage of certain procedures and at what cost (but the administration says it believes in capitalism). Some of that came down the pipe last week when the Institute of Medicine, the health policy arm of the National Academy of Sciences, released its recommendations on women's preventative health care to HHS. The understanding, of course, is that this was to deal with diseases and illnesses, you know silly, the things that make you sick. Stuff that can make you die or limit or incapacitate you. Things that aren't of choice.

But for some reason it wasn't a surprise when the IOM classified pregnancy as such and recommended to mandate insurance companies not only provide for contraception coverage, but offer it free — not even a co-pay. For those who eventually enroll in the government's insurance plan, that means the taxpayers will pick up the tab for birth control. Never mind the fiscal implications. Never mind even the health implications. What about conscience protections? Pharmacies, doctors, insurance companies, hospitals and the like who are morally opposed to contraception will be forced to provide it? What about employers at institutions, such as churches, who are opposed to contraception? No exceptions. We're all going to pony up for this if it becomes official (see Sister Mary Ann Walsh in the Washington Post's Views on Faith blog).

The Left already is soft pedaling this (if not demagoguing opponents). But we're not talking only about the occasional six pack of condoms. The IOM broadly defined contraception to include certain abortifacients. Abortion, we were told, would not be part of ObamaCare. Speaking of ObamaCare lies, check out the lies (not just y the administration about what the law will or won't do) but the lies used to sell the bill to the public (which still didn't buy it) as thoroughly sourced and documented by Michelle Malkin. But this administration never ceases to work around the will of the people and its legislative representatives. It rules. It doesn't govern. This isn't a subtle policy change, but an unprecedented, abrupt circumnavigation of decades of bipartisan agreement.

Here is how Chuck Donovan details it at The Foundry blog:

The IOM recommendations on preventive medicine not only would include a “full range” of contraceptives but would also stipulate that the contraceptives be offered without co-pays and exempt from deductibles —preferential treatment not accorded other procedures or prescription drugs. The term contraceptive is impressively flexible, including sterilization and devices and drugs that are known to have a mode of action that includes causing an abortion early in pregnancy. Among the latter is a new drug called ulipristal, or Ella, which is characterized as a morning-after pill, but it can actually work days after conception by “preventing attachment to the uterus,” as a promotional video from the manufacturer describes it.

Read the full post here. Meanwhile, in Virginia, Planned Parenthood wants the policy right here, right now. Hear it roar in this CBS6 piece which also features Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb. How ironic that those who cynically call for "choice" are clamoring for a policy that infringes on the economic, financial and conscience freedoms of companies, taxpayers and citizens of faith.

Free birth control? No problem. First, we will control your decisions.

It's Only A Matter Of Time

In just the past few years, nearly half a dozen states have voted to make it legal. Public polling on it has reversed and a majority of Americans (including a large majority of Virginians) now are in support of it.

It is one of the most important civil rights issues of our day.

What is "it" you ask? With all the media coverage and hyperventilation over New York's legislature voting to approve homosexual marriage, you would think that is the answer. But it is not.

"It" is actually school choice, the opportunity for school children to attend the school that best suits their educational needs. Yet, compared to the nearly daily media articles, plethora of news editorials and nearly constant television news cycle coverage of one state's legislature passage of same sex marriage, you wouldn't know that school choice is expanding far faster and is vastly more popular.

Wonder why?

It's quite simply. The political and media elites that are foaming at the mouth over same sex marriage, because they support it, aren't so fond of the idea that parents ought to choose where to send their children to school.

While homosexual organizations and proponents were celebrating their "victory" in New York, we began receiving media calls asking for comment about how that vote affects Virginia. Interestingly, when Pennsylvania passed school choice, no one called. When Arizona passed school choice, no one called. When Florida passed school choice, no one called. When Indiana passed school choice, no one called. When Wisconsin passed school choice, no one called.

When we released polling that indicated 76 percent of Virginians support education freedom, not a peep from the news media.

So let's take the same sex marriage message of some in the media and homosexual advocates to its logical conclusion: because one state, New York, has passed homosexual marriage, it's inevitable that all other states will follow suit. Because one recent media poll indicated that a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage, it's only a matter of time before it's legal everywhere. Because homosexual groups claim it's a "civil rights" issue, there can be no logical opposition.

If that's true, then I expect our Commonwealth's most ardent opponents of school choice, homosexual rights advocates such as Delegate David Englin (D-45, Alexandria) and Senator Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield), to carry the banner for education freedom very soon. After all, if one state has made it law and one poll says it's popular, well then, there's nothing anyone can do to stop it! I expect the editorial pages at the Washington Post, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Roanoke Times and Norfolk Virginian-Pilot to beat the drum for education choice any day now!

Yeah, I'm not holding my breath either.

If NBC's Pledge Omission Sounds Familiar, Maybe It's Emulating The President

During yesterday's coverage of the U.S. Open golf championship, NBC, if it hadn't already, proved it was all in for the secular progressive agenda. It's one thing to slant news reporting toward a political party (not to mention the vitriolic MSNBC, which we won't, since no one watches it). Still another to use a news department to promote the crony capitalist agenda of the parent conglomerate. Yet another to use the entertainment division to champion certain causes and candidates. But corrupt the sports division? That's really sad. Apparently, now, no division inside the once proud peacock is exempt from towing the all encompassing leftist secular line. Jordan Sekulow has a good analysis at the Washington Post's Religious Right Now blog, here. In what it called an attempt at promoting "patriotism," the network opened its coverage with a video of children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, coupled with scenes of military personnel and great moments from the tournament's past. One slight problem — it omitted the children saying "under God." Oops! Make that two problems — it did it twice! The outcry was instant and furious, so much so that only a couple of hours later NBC issued a rare live, on-air, same-event apology. Of course, it was excuse laden . . . you know, the good intention "patriotism" angle and the inevitable editing mistake. Right. Editing mistake. An editing mistake on a specially produced video for a major sporting event, that just happened over the same passage not once, but twice? Sure . . . and Anthony Wiener had his Twitter account hacked (which many in the same media at first believed).

There's more, though scarcely reported: Not only was "under God" removed, but in one of the two instances, "one nation, indivisible" was removed — creating a secular progressive anthem that we are not one people united by certain principles, history, ethic and ideal, but rather a collection of special interests groups, each aggrieved in some way shape or form, a Balkanized society with each group looking for its leg up at the expense of another.

But it's worse than NBC using its vast communication apparatus to whitewash American culture under the double speak of promoting patriotism. If this type of "accident" seems familiar, perhaps it's because it has come from the top, from the candidate NBC championed in 2008: President Barack Obama telling an audience in Indonesia last December that the American motto is E pluribus unum (Out of many, one), when, in fact, it is "In God We Trust." Then there is this, from last September, when he omitted "Creator" from a passage of the Declaration of Independence.

While at first it seems these instances are nothing more than fodder to ridicule incompetence, it runs through a much deeper, serious layer of who we are and what some in our country would rather we be. Never mind the truth.

Patriots without purpose, as NBC would have us believe.