conscience protections

McAuliffe Dealt Setback: Senate Upholds Conscience Protection!

Earlier today, the Democrat-controlled Senate defeated Governor Terry McAuliffe's amendment to SB 330, an amendment that would have seriously weakened conscience protections included in a bill providing for the licensing of genetic counselors. The vote was 23-17 with Democrat Senators Chuck Colgan, Phil Puckett and Chap Petersen joining all 20 Republicans in protecting the right of conscience. The Family Foundation would like to thank Senators Steve Martin (R-11, Chesterfield), Dick Black (R-13, Leesburg), and Tommy Norment (R-3, Williamsburg) who stood and spoke in opposition to the anti-conscience amendment. Special thanks goes to Senator Tom Garrett (R-22, Louisa) who articulated the legal liabilities of the amendment and to Senator Bill Stanley (R-20, Franklin) who questioned the patron of the bill, Senator Janet Howell (D-32, Reston), regarding the genesis of the amendment. Senator Stanley asked Senator Howell if she was comfortable with the initial language of her bill which passed the Senate 38-0. The considerably far-left senator responded that she was "perfectly comfortable" with the conscience clause language the way it was prior to the governor's amendment.

Continuing to prove how out of touch he is with mainstream Virginia, Governor McAuliffe showed today that he is also out of touch with even the most "progressive" leaders of his own party. He bowed to pressure from the ACLU and Planned Parenthood and was reminded by the 23-17 vote that his radical agenda will not be approved even in the Senate simply because he has a "D" behind his name.

The passage of SB 330 without the governor's anti-conscience amendments is a great benchmark for conscience rights in Virginia. If genetic counselors can be protected from being forced to violate their conscience, it follows that all other professions should receive equal protection. Today's vote proves that the freedom of conscience is not a right-wing issue or even a Christian issue — it is about freedom of conscience for all.

We are also very appreciative of our colleagues at the Virginia Catholic Conference, which again worked so hard with us over the past several days on this amendment, as well as the representatives of the genetic counselors who were willing to work with us to protect the conscience rights of their clients. Thanks, also, to all of you who contacted your senators to vote no on this significant legislative action. It does make a difference and your voices are heard.

T-Mac Chili eating

Governor McAuliffe will have to chew on this legislative defeat.

Uncle Sam Sheds A Tear: A Bill Of Particulars In An Updated Declaration

In the previous post, we asked that you stand with us for freedom as we are in a perilous time for our freedoms unlike that which most living today have ever seen in our country. The direction of our country — persistently high unemployment, record numbers on  government assistance, a new wave of permanent underclass, economic shambles, ever expanding government control over all aspects of our life, an unprecedented mandate to purchase something or get thrown into a government program and penalized monetarily, incomprehensible national debt, loss of freedoms and conscience protections, religious liberty gutted, marriage redefined, values under assault — is not exactly that for which our Founders pledged their "lives, fortunes and sacred honor."  The litany — which could make for the bill of particulars in an updated Declaration of Independence — is enough to make Uncle Sam cry. In fact, he is. Our good friends at Let Freedom Ring produced this video recently showing Uncle Sam distraught about our current plight. Wrote LFR President Colin Hanna:

This 4th of July, as we commemorate our Declaration of Independence and the patriots who fought to secure our remarkable experiment in freedom, there is a cloud forming over our national celebration. The Obama Administration is weighing us down with a crippling national debt and ever-greater government control over our economy.

To convey this loss of freedom in a poignant yet light-hearted way, we are releasing a video showing Uncle Sam symbolically shedding a tear. ...

We can do better than an America that brings Uncle Sam to tears. The spirit of our Founders still lives in the hearts of 21st century patriots, but if we take freedom for granted, we'll eventually lose it. If we keep it at the heart of our national consciousness, we will remain the land of the free.

Uncle Sam and the Founding Fathers wouldn't recognize much about America today.

Governor McDonnell Signs Religious Liberty Protections

Governor Bob McDonnell yesterday signed into law one of The Family Foundation's highest legislative priorities for 2012 — conscience protections for faith-based child placement agencies (SB 349 and HB 189). With the governor's signature the bill becomes law on July 1. The law provides strong, explicit conscience protections for adoption and foster care agencies, ensuring those agencies cannot be forced to violate their beliefs, nor punished for following them when placing children. It also means that birthparents and prospective adoptive parents can continue to choose agencies that share their values.

Please click here to thank Governor McDonnell for signing the legislation.

Also, please send a note of thanks to the patrons of the legislation. Both Senator Jeff McWaters (R-8, Virginia Beach) and Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-15, Woodstock) withstood the hysteria of the homosexual lobby, its defenders in the legislature and their bullying tactics to see this legislation through. They deserve a great deal of appreciation for standing firm during a difficult battle — one where opponents attempted dozens of amendments that would have watered down the bill and used misleading rhetoric to describe the legislation. These are not easy battles to fight, and legislators who are willing to stand tall and carry these important pro-family bills must receive our gratitude (not only now, but during the session, as well, when the heat is the hottest). It's not easy to pass a bill of this magnitude, much less in its first year, but 93 out of the General Assembly's 140 legislators voted for legislation.

Click here to send a thank you note to Senator McWaters (SB 349).

Click here to send a thank you note to Delegate Gilbert (HB 189).

Faith-based child placement agencies do incredible work helping children and families, and have done so for decades.  Unfortunately, because of these ministries' belief that children should have both a mom and a dad, homosexual activists unsuccessfully tried to shut them down last year through the state's regulatory process. This tremendous victory for religious freedom comes as we witness the Obama administration's unprecedented attack on the free exercise of faith in the public square and, in fact, is forcing religious institutions into actions contrary to their beliefs. As a result of this legislation, Virginia has shielded regulations with a stature and will be one of only two states to provide conscience protections for faith-based child placement agencies. We hope that our victory will serve as a model for other states.

We also would like to express our appreciation to our friends at the Virginia Catholic Conference for their tremendous advocacy on this issue, as well as leaders from numerous faith-based organizations across Virginia who came to Richmond multiple times to testify, strategize and provide wise counsel regarding their marvelous work.

Governor McDonnell's signing of this important legislation is a tremendous victory for religious liberty and an affirmation of the critical role faith-based organizations play in providing hope and security for thousands of children and families in Virginia. The governor and the General Assembly have recognized the importance of ensuring these agencies continue to do the marvelous work they have done for decades.

Regardless of the assertions of opponents, this legislation does not in any way change current law regarding who can adopt in Virginia; it simply confirms that faith-based agencies will not be discriminated against by the state simply for acting according to their faith principles. While the media will likely parrot the false claims of legislators and opponents to this new law, the truth is that this bill simply protects the status quo. We thank Governor McDonnell for his support of this legislation throughout the process and for signing it into law (click here to send him a note of thanks).

 

Number To Know

As the vote to nationalize the health care industry (and one-sixth of the U.S. economy) nears a potential August deadline, or certainly sometime in the fall after the summer recess, we thought you'd like to have a phone number at the ready — the U.S. Capitol switchboard number. Here it is:

202-224-3121

Keep it handy. Better yet, use it now to call your representative and Virginia's two senators. Let them know what you think of the proposals that will raise your taxes, ration health care, lower medical standards and quality, involve government bureaucrats in your medical decisions, lead to premature deaths of our older citizens, use your hard-earned tax dollars for taxpayer funded abortions, drive out of the profession doctors and nurses who will be stripped of their conscience protections, and take away your health care freedoms.

Here's a tip: When calling, first look up the name of the lawmaker's legislative affairs director and ask for that person. The more they hear it, the better the reporting to the lawmaker, and the better the elected official will understand the grassroots.

Another tip: Don't only use this number for the government takeover of health care and the restrictions on your freedom. Use it to express your constitutionally protected right to petition the government — and your duty as one of faith to make known Godly principles — to contact Virginia's Washington representatives to oppose all of the administration's freedom-limiting and government control bills now under consideration in Congress.

If you prefer e-mail, click here for the link to the Web site Contacting The Congress, which will direct you to the appropriate e-mail addresses for your representative and senators.