civil unions

Virginia News Stand: April 30, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Close Of Business, April

It's almost like it's a holiday weekend — there's not much going on. Maybe it's a collective political sigh. After all, it's been an eventful week. So, today brings us more reflection on all of the good news on the cultural front as the media still can't get enough of it. Leading the News, again, is coverage of Governor Bob McDonnell's reversal of the Kaine administration's gag order on Virginia State Police chaplains not to pray according to their faith tradition. We're mentioned in both articles linked below.

News

*McDonnell reverses chaplain prayer policy (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

*McDonnell lifts ban on State Police troopers referring to Jesus in public prayers (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

VCU reaffirms nondiscrimination policy (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National News

Hawaii Lawmakers OK Civil Unions, Send Bill to Gov (AP/FoxNews.com)

Lawsuits target AZ law amid calls for boycotts (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Denver school district bans work travel to Arizona (AP/GOPUSA.com)   

Congress sets Puerto Rico statehood effort in motion (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Crist's defection could be gift to Democrats (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Feds open criminal probe of Goldman (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Palin wades into Minn. governor's race (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Okla. lawmakers want tougher immigration law (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Barack Obama, America's Selective Salary Policeman (Michelle Malkin/GOPUSA.com)

Strikingly Unpresidential (David Limbaugh/GOPUSA.com)

First, He Was a Community Organizer (Frank Salvato/GOPUSA.com)

Will 'Independent Day' Work? (Matt Towery/GOPUSA.com)

Superheroes and Slashers (Brent Bozell/GOPUSA.com)

Isabella And Lisa Miller Update: What's The Right Question To Ask?

The sad custody battle over a seven year-old girl took another turn on New Year’s Day, when Lisa Miller, the biological mother of Isabella Miller, failed to turn the child over to Lisa’s former lesbian lover despite a court order to do so. The details are probably familiar to you. Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins joined in a civil union in Vermont. They moved to Virginia where Lisa was artificially inseminated and gave birth to Isabella. Shortly after that, Lisa left the homosexual lifestyle and became a Christian. She has battled Ms. Jenkins over custody ever since. Jenkins bases her right as a "parent" on Vermont’s civil union law, but Virginia law and constitution do not recognize the civil union.

Regardless, courts in Vermont and Virginia repeatedly have sided with Jenkins, recently culminating with a Vermont judge’s order for Ms. Jenkins to receive full custody of Isabella, which was scheduled to happen January 1.

The circumstances of this case are as heart wrenching as they are frustrating. It is our belief that the courts have failed to apply the law correctly, relying on Vermont’s civil union statute over Virginia’s constitution and the federal Defense of Marriage Act that is supposed to protect Virginia’s marriage laws. Instead, judges at nearly every turn have ignored our law in favor of Vermont’s.

As I was interviewed about this story by CNN on Friday, and then saw its report, it became clear that the ruse that civil unions are not considered marriage is over. Throughout the story, which you can view here, CNN refers to the union as "marriage," at one point saying Lisa and Janet were "married in a civil union," and continuing to refer to Janet as a "parent" despite having no biological or legal ties to the child. One thing is for certain, the homosexual lobby’s attempts to portray civil unions as something less than marriage have been destroyed by their own words.

It’s interesting to note that I was asked over and over again by CNN about Lisa’s decision to "violate the court order," but I was never once asked about the judges in this case who over and over again violated Virginia law. Instead of asking about Lisa’s actions, we should ask how judges simply can ignore the parts of the law and constitution they don’t like in favor of other parts.

Finally, we need to continue to pray for Lisa, Janet — and perhaps most importantly Isabella — in this entire mess. It’s difficult to predict the effect this situation will have on Isabella’s future, but it’s hard to believe that it will be positive.

Told You So: VEA-NEA Say "I Do" To Same-Sex Marriage

Last week, we posted a commentary that related a breaking national news story to a previous post about two Family Life Education reforms we helped get passed and signed into law, and which took effect July 1. The national news story concerned the National Education Association convention, at which it and its member chapters — including the Virginia Education Association — considered adopting a resolution supporting homosexual marriage. Now, it's official. The NEA and its VEA subsidiary voted to endorse the resolution supporting national and state efforts to enact same-sex marriage, civil unions and domestic partner benefits. But the VEA Web site omits this resolution, while listing issues such as "reducing the dropout rates, properly managing charter schools, controlling infectious diseases in schools, providing resources for boosting teacher quality, protecting substitute teachers, and expanding opportunities for preschool education."

Apparently, when VEA delegation leaders were asked to support a resolution that took no position on same-sex marriage issues, they refused, saying that teachers in Virginia know the issues the VEA is involved with and support them.

Aside from this obnoxious presumption, this means every public school teacher member of the VEA is sending his or her dues money to efforts to bring homosexual-sex marriage to our nation and commonwealth, despite the clear decisions by the General Assembly and Virginia voters to protect marriage. (Remember, homosexual marriage is banned in Virginia by statute and the constitution.)

This latest NEA/VEA absurdity follows a long history of extremist liberal advocacy. Last fall the VEA made news when it urged teachers to participate in "Obama Blue Day" and encouraged voting age students to vote for Barack Obama for president.

It doesn't have to be this way. Pro-family teachers in Virginia have an alternative professional organization that provides similar resources as the VEA — some even better  — without the embarrassing political baggage:

Virginia Professional Educators offers better insurance policies and other benefits without supporting liberal causes and candidates. In fact, it doesn't support causes or candidates.

So, if you are a teacher who feels forced, coerced or peer-pressured to join or remain a member of the VEA, we urge you to look into VPE.

The only way to ensure the VEA is unsuccessful is to defund it. In several states, alternative teacher organizations affiliated with VPE have more members than those states' NEA branches.

As long as teachers continue to send dues to the VEA, they will hire the 40-plus lobbyists they send to Richmond every General Assembly session (not to mention allied organizations and educrat establishment), where they undermine school choice efforts, push for higher taxes, and seek to promote abortion and destroy marriage, rather than advocate for better education.

If you are a teacher, we implore you to either demand the VEA cease to advocate for these extreme causes or join an alternative organization. Last week we wrote this about the impending vote to support homosexual marriage at the NEA convention:

Not exactly what most parents expect from teachers. Most expect them to educate their children. Not indoctrinate them. If, in fact, the NEA goes on record supporting this nonsense, we will watch with a very interested eye as to how its Virginia members treat the new FLE marriage curriculum and whether the administration enforces its implementation as the law now says.

As you can see, we've already started. We hope all fair minded teachers will do the same.

Same-Sex "Marriage" In Iowa Decreed By State Court

But it couldn't happen here, right? That's why there was no need for a Constitutional Marriage Amendment in 2006. Sure. That's what the opponents said.  Unfortunately, as we've seen in Iowa today (see New York Times), and in various states where courts force "civil unions" or same-sex "marriage" on its citizens by arbitrary decree, constitutional amendments absolutely are necessary.

The fact is, we have a judiciary that is no more interested in interpreting law than it is in giving up their salaries. Rather, they think of themselves as super legislators, not needing the imprimatur of the electorate as the legislature does, which is where law is made, which is why legislators are elected and judges are not. But, who cares about that?

Even though representative democracy was what this country was founded on, to certain judges — such as the ones in Iowa, New Jersey and Massachusetts — the electorate and its representatives don't matter. If these judges don't like something, they decree it and hand it down from on high, what the people think and expect be damned. If this doesn't make the case for constitutional restraint through each state's amending process, nothing does. At least in Virginia we're safe . . . just as we told we needed to be.

California Values

Yesterday, homosexual activists and ultra liberal politicians in California finally got what they could never get through California's legislature or even its generous initiative and referendum system: the legalization of homosexual marriage.  How did they get it? In a state of 37 million people, four people made law for everyone else when the California Supreme Court ruled by a 4-3 vote that the state's Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. The law passed overwhelmingly by the voters in a 2000 referendum (Proposition 22 got 61 percent of the vote). Now four people have undone that. The dissenting justices wrote that to strike down the law was out of the court's jurisdiction and/or a violation of the separation of powers. No matter. Take what you want anyway you can get it. Who cares if the people and their elected representatives have no say?

The majority opinion, which reads more like an Equality Virginia press release than a legal document, argued that there is a fundamental right to "form a family relationship" regardless of one's "sexual orientation." In fact, they do not appear to put any parameters on what exactly a "family relationship" is, perhaps leaving that open to any of an assortment of behaviors. Although 26 states have constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage, the majority opinion said there is no "compelling state interest" that justifies preventing same-sex couples from marrying. So 26 states are wrong and these four judges are right. Sure.

The court argued that there is no difference between the "domestic partnerships" that the California legislature created, which grant all the rights and benefits of marriage, and marriage itself. The California Court actually has it right here. This is exactly what we argued in 2006 during Virginia's Marriage Amendment campaign — that so-called "domestic partnerships" or "civil unions" had to be covered by the Marriage Amendment because they are the same thing! (See The Richmond Times-Dispatch article about our reaction here.)

The California Supreme Court proved our point on this as well as on activist judges striking down statutes — the precise reason the Virginia M.A. was needed — to sustain our statutory laws. (See this interesting blog post from the Houston Chronicle.) One wonders where the homosexual activists in Virginia will find any legs for their arguments now (not that they had any to begin with).

Ultimately, the court conjured that it is unconstitutional for the state to deny the use of the word "marriage" to same-sex couples since they already enjoy all the rights and benefits of marriage through so-called "domestic partnerships." Such discrimination, the court said, could encourage same-sex couples to be treated as "second-class citizens" and deny them the "dignity" of the more "familiar and highly favored designation of marriage." The ruling now lays the foundation for same-sex marriage advocates to redefine marriage state-by-state, while pro-marriage and pro-family Californians haven't given up (click here). 

This decision to deny the right of children to have both a mother and a father is appalling.  It is not surprising, however, that the court found no difference between so-called "domestic partnerships" allowed by California and marriage itself. Regardless of what they are called — domestic partnerships, civil unions, or some other arrangement — any union that is given the rights and benefits of marriage is marriage, and undermines that institution. By determining that there is no difference between a so-called "domestic partnership" and marriage, the California Supreme Court validated what supporters of Virginia's marriage amendment said all along — we must have a Constitutional amendment that defines marriage and protects Virginia from another state's version of marriage — whatever they decide to call it.

In 2006, Virginians voted overwhelmingly to protect the definition of marriage, anticipating days such as this. Like California, our laws protecting marriage were at the mercy of the courts until Virginians were given the opportunity to amend the state Constitution to define marriage. Because of that vote, a handful of activist judges cannot toss aside thousands of years of human history and the evidence of social science that marriage between one man and one woman is best for society, families and children.

Regardless of the insanity caused by only four California judges, the law in Virginia is perfectly clear — we recognize that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, and that children deserve both a mom and a dad. Because of that, our children can rest easier.