anti-discrimination laws

Planned Parenthood Vs. Religious Liberty

As we told you last week, this Friday, the Virginia State Board of Health will vote to finalize permanent safety standards for Virginia’s abortion centers. Since the start of the effort to finally bring some level of health and safety to these facilities, the largest entity in the abortion industry — Planned Parenthood — has claimed that upgrading their facilities to meet minimum safety standards would be too costly. I guess it's all about where you spend your money.

Interestingly, today, the people of North Dakota will vote on an amendment to their state constitution that protects religious liberty and would ensure that faith-based organizations that faithfully and effectively provide services to the poor, needy, underserved and orphaned are not discriminated against by the state.

And guess what organization is the largest single financial contributor to the opposition to the amendment?

Planned Parenthood. To the tune of $1 million!

To put that in perspective, the ACLU has given one-tenth that amount and the largest individual donation from an actual citizen of North Dakota is $1,000.

NARAL, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and other radically secular and pro-abortion groups are also working to oppose religious freedom, but not nearly to the level of Planned Parenthood. Of course, Planned Parenthood has a budget of over $1 billion (a third of which comes from you, the taxpayer) to throw around.

Unfortunately, it appears unwilling to spend some of that money toward improving health standards at its abortion centers in Virginia, or elsewhere, but instead are spending it on opposing religious liberty.

This effort exposes Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry as being just as anti-religious liberty as their leftist friends. One of their primary targets has been faith-based pregnancy resource centers that offer alternatives to abortion, real support for women in crisis, and life-affirming counseling. They are the biggest threat to the abortion industry's bottom line, and Planned Parenthood has sought to shut these facilities down all over the country, including here in Virginia.

Interestingly, opponents have also argued that the amendment would allow "conservative church entities to opt out of anti-discrimination laws and other legislation intended to advance the public good" (anti-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation). Yet, we've been told over and over again in Virginia by supporters of so-called anti-discrimination laws that churches and religious organizations are safe and not their target.

Not that we believed them.

Please pray for the people of North Dakota today as they vote on this important — and precedent-setting amendment.

Policy Issue 4, Defending Values: Special Rights For Homosexuals

This is the fourth in a series of five policy statements on issues that will come before the 2010 General Assembly. The third, regarding constitutional government, can be found here. Each statement covers one of The Family Foundation’s five areas of principle. We will post the fifth issue by early next week.

As with every General Assembly session, the usual suspects will show up promoting legislation that The Family Foundation believes would be harmful to the family or to the values that we share. Of particular note this year, there again are several bills that attempt to extend special rights to homosexuals based on their lifestyle choice.

In the aftermath of Congress passing and President Obama signing legislation that added sexual orientation to federal hate crimes laws, there is legislation that would do the same in Virginia. As we argued against the federal extension, this is a solution in search of a problem. There is absolutely no evidence anywhere that crimes against homosexuals are not being prosecuted, which was the original point of hate crimes statues.

There also is an effort to add sexual orientation to anti-discrimination laws, both for state government and localities’ hiring practices. This annual attempt at "gotcha politics" is of course intended to make anyone who opposes it appear discriminatory. Elected officials often are quizzed on whether or not they discriminate against homosexuals as if that should be a question on the employment application. Unfortunately for proponents, one of their biggest allies — The Washington Post — admitted in an editorial recently that there are "thousands of gays in state government." There is absolutely no need for this legislation and no evidence of any discrimination given the lack of claims from these thousands.

Also this year, there are additional attempts at expanding so-called domestic partner benefits. Several years ago, despite our warning that such a change would open a floodgate, the General Assembly passed legislation that allowed some businesses to contract with health insurance companies to grant benefits outside of the longstanding standards of "blood, marriage or adoption." Those standards were always intended to encourage and support marriages and families. Since then, there have been several attempts at expanding this loophole to life insurance, and there will be new attempts this year as well. Already, we’ve seen outgoing Governor Tim Kaine’s blatant political attempt to change state regulations in this area, knowing that the final decision maker will be Governor-elect Bob McDonnell. Unfortunately, in the General Assembly, when the principles of families and business compete, the family is often the loser.

Finally, in what will likely amount to a waste of everyone’s time, there is legislation seeking to repeal the Marriage Amendment passed by the voters in 2006. This bill will be introduced despite the fact that more 30 states now have marriage amendments and three statewide candidates that supported the Virginia Marriage Amendment won landslide elections in November.

We will be ever vigilant watching for other legislation that undermines our values and impacts our families. We will be at the capitol every day during session advocating on your behalf and against harmful legislation, and chronically it all here.

He's Back! Conservative Brit Again Says What American Conservatives Should

In March, British EU Parliament Member Daniel Hannan became an instant international hero (see here) to millions of conservatives, a modern day Brit Patrick Henry, when he told the emperor — Prime Minister Gordon Brown — he had on no clothes, and told him publicly and to his face. Not only did he speak "Truth to Power" as the trite lefties say, he did it with courage, conviction and unapologetically. But what caught so many Americans' attention was that his theme was universal and how apt his message was for an America drifting toward European socialism. But not only socialism in economics, but socialism in the government mandating societal behavior codes and the extinguishing of freedom under the guise of stamping out hate or discrimination, most of which is perceived at best and contrived at worst, for the pretext of government usurpation of individual rights. 

It's the same model for government intervention in separating you from your hard-earned money and the shackles that creates — i.e., the economy can't work so we will take it over and make it work, for you, dear citizen. Never mind the new restrictions, it's all the good of the whole.

Now, watch this recent speech by Hannan, and substitute "Hate Crimes bill" or "FOCA" or "restrictions on medical professional conscience protections" in place of references to the proposed EU "anti-discrimination law" and you'll see Mr. Hannan is spot on. Again. Again, we ask, where is the American conservative who will say these things?

EU MP Daniel Hannan may be the world's leading voice for conservatism and human liberty. His words resonate regarding so many of Washington's newfound liberal initiatives. Will America heed Hannan's call not to follow European socialism? Does the reference to "leaving it up to judges" sound familiar?