homosexual couples

Only One Week Left: Help Protect Rights Of Faith Based Child Service Agencies!

There is a lot going on right now in Virginia: An ever earlier presidential race, an earlier than ever U.S. Senate campaign, a vitally important State Senate election only five weeks form now, a phenomenal annual gala this Saturday, not to mention spectacular early fall weather in which to experience great Virginia festivals. But there's something vitally important to add to the check list that won't take long and which you can do from the comfort of your home computer.

There is only one week left in the 30 day re-opened public comment period regarding a proposal that would allow the government to discriminate against faith-based child placement agencies by forcing them to adopt children to homosexuals despite their deeply held faith beliefs and principles. This not only is discrimination, it violates conscience protections and religious liberty.

More than 1,000 people have commented so far. Have you?

If you have yet to do so, please contact the Virginia Board of Social Services and urge them to reject the proposed regulation that would discriminate against faith-based child placement agencies by forcing them to put children up for adoption to homosexual couples — or cease to perform their mission of helping children.

In April, the Board 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 child placement agencies by forcing them to adopt children to homosexuals. Despite having nearly two years to make their case through the regulatory process, organizations like Equality Virginia and the ACLU claimed that the Board's decision to not include the discriminatory language was done so without adequate information.

After losing the vote in April, Equality Virginia and the ACLU threatened to sue if they did not get an additional public comment period. During the initial public comment time, more than 1,000 Virginians commented on the proposed regulations, with only around 30 in favor. This compares to the average of less than two dozen comments typically received for any proposed new regulations!

In Virginia, individual homosexuals already may adopt and there are public and private agencies that facilitate those adoptions. Adding discriminatory language to the regulations would not increase the number of children being adopted into homes. In fact, it would decrease adoptions by forcing the majority of private child placement agencies, which are sectarian, to cease fulfilling their mission or violate their faith.

This proposed regulation also places undue restrictions on birth mothers and consequently adoption agencies. Within the confines of an adoption conducted through a private agency, a birth mother is due the freedom to choose an adoptive parent of the same religious convictions so that her child may be raised accordingly. Consequently, private adoption agencies are deserving of the ability to screen adoptive parents based on the agency's beliefs or the beliefs of their birth mothers.

Please contact the Board of Social Services by following the instructions below and urge it to reject any regulation that discriminates against faith-based child placement agencies.

» Click here.

» Click "Enter a comment."

» Type "Preserve religious freedom" in the subject line.

» Type and submit your comments.

Points to consider incorporating into your comments:

» On April 20, the State Board of Social Services correctly upheld the fundamental right of faith-based child placement agencies to continue their great work of helping children and families without governmental intrusion into the practice of their faith.

» Faith-based child placement agencies have a right, under federal and state law, to make decisions that are consistent with their religious beliefs, including their beliefs about marriage and family life. This right must be respected and preserved.

» Many birth parents and prospective adoptive parents hold these beliefs as well, and they have every right to work with agencies that share their values.

» Forcing agencies and individuals to choose between following their own values or following the proposed discriminatory regulation would be an unprecedented violation of religious freedom in Virginia. Religious liberty is foundational to our Commonwealth and our country.

» Faith-based agencies provide vital services to our communities. They must be allowed to continue the great work they are doing.

Virginians Support Same-Sex Marriage? Not So Fast . . .

The Sunday before Election Day 2006, a Richmond Times-Dispatch headline screamed that polling showed the Marriage Amendment campaign had tightened. The poll said that the amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman was supported by a slim 49-45 percent margin. That was the closest poll we had ever seen on the issue. Two days later, the amendment passed by a 14 point margin, 57-43 percent. How could the T-D poll have been so wrong just two days prior to the vote?

Polls taken over the years on the definition of marriage have wavered more than Tim Kaine on gay adoption (remember, running for governor in 2005 he opposed homosexual couples adopting, but now he's in favor of it). For example, Gallup polling on the issue of homosexual marriage went from 46 percent support in 2007, down to 40 percent in 2008 and 2009, but back up to 44 percent in 2010. So it doesn't surprise me at all that a Washington Post media poll of 1,000 people has found that, according to the Post, "Virginians are closely split on gay marriage" — and that the rest of the state's mainstream media ran with it.

But are they really?

The truth is that polls have been overwhelmingly disconnected from reality when it comes to the issue of homosexual marriage. One need look only as far as the 31 states that have had the issue put to the voters, and in every case the traditional definition of marriage has won, including California.

The longer I am involved in politics, the more dismissive I have become of most media polling. Many experts believe that, particularly on the issues of abortion and homosexuality, a lot of people tell a pollster what they think the pollster wants to hear. On the issue of same-sex marriage, while a few media polls indicate that people support it, in the 31 states where it has gone to the ballot the people have overwhelmingly rejected it. One might tell their neighbor they are open to homosexual marriage, but when the reality is in front of them in the voting booth, traditional marriage still resonates instinctively, intuitively, justly . . . morally.

Social issues such as abortion and homosexuality have dynamics at play that I don't think can be measured with simple media polling. Asking 1,000 people a simple question doesn't generally get to the core of complex issues. It makes for interesting editorial page fodder, but I doubt too many people take it seriously, except for the so-called "progressives" who will no doubt champion the media poll and bring the issue before the next General Assembly. I suspect some will even attempt to make it a campaign issue (funny, I thought it was all about the economy).

But I also find it interesting that the same "progressives" reject professional (not media) polling that shows an overwhelming number of Virginians support school choice. You see, polling can work both ways, which is why no one should base their beliefs or agenda on it. Sure, professionally done, in depth issue polling can provide insight, but hastily done media polls done over a weekend for the mainstream media isn't something I want to base any policy decision on. I certainly wouldn't want to base the future of our children on it.

Mr. Schapiro's Problem Is That Governor McDonnell Has No Problem

The Richmond Times-Dispatch's very opinionated chief political reporter, Jeff Schapiro (who doubles as a columnist and online pundit), must have had a writer's block problem recently. How else to explain his pulling out the tried-and-true "anti-gay" attack on a social conservative? But seemingly out of nowhere, Mr. Schapiro's latest video commentary at timesdispatch.com goes after Governor Bob McDonnell for his alleged "gay problem," reciting votes and actions thoroughly vetted by the voters themselves who have never rejected Mr. McDonnell at the polls. Mr. Schapiro even dredges up the "thesis" and a crude question once asked to the governor when he was a candidate. The spark that ignited Mr. Schapiro was the recent vote by the Social Services Board that rejected proposed regulations to allow homosexual couples to adopt children, which would have forced private and religious affiliated charitable services to comply with a rule that compromises their consciences and beliefs, or close down. The problem with Mr. Schapiro's problem with Governor McDonnell is that the governor has no problem. He may want him to have a problem so much that he manufactured one, but no one is paying attention. It's a right and just policy, popularly supported and, by the way, the law.

In fact, although the board retains a majority appointed to it by liberal former Governor Tim Kaine, it approved standards that omitted the original same-sex couple requirement by a lopsided 7-2 vote. No matter how often certain media (ahem, WRVA* in Richmond) misreported the issue as taking away a right (they never had), it's no problem for officeholders to defend the sanctity of the traditional family. It may be a problem for Mr. Schapiro to understand that, but a gratuitous attack over a contrived problem on Governor McDonnell is only a problem for Mr. Schapiro to resolve.

* Not only did the station misreport the issue over a 2-day period, a producer chimed in on a locally produced show to call pro-family supporters "bigots."

Bills Undermining Marriage On Senate Floor This Week!

Tomorrow at noon, the full Senate is scheduled to take up two bills on the floor that would undermine marriage in Virginia and, we believe, may violate Virginia's Marriage Amendment.

Please contact your senator now and urge him or her to vote NO on SB 1121 and SB 1122. To call his or her capitol office, click here. To e-mail him or her, click here.

SB 1121, patroned by Senators Donald McEachin (D-9, Richmond) and Mark Herring (D-33, Leesburg), would permit local governments to extend health and life insurance to "any other person" as agreed to by the insurer and the local government. Included in "any other person" would be domestic partnerships between non-married hetero- and homosexual couples. In essence, this bill creates domestic partner benefits for local government employees.

A second bill, SB 1122, also patroned by Senator McEachin, would allow the state to expand benefits in state government to cover domestic partners. The fiscal impact statement done by the state admits this saying the bill . . .

could create an increase in costs paid by state agencies, state employees, and retired state employees under the state employee health insurance plan. The provisions of this bill may allow coverage to be offered to extended family members and other non-related individuals not currently covered.

The cost to the state (and consequently the taxpayer) to these bills may not be determinable by the state, but we can guarantee that the creation of this new entitlement will be extraordinarily costly for you and your family. At a time when the state can't even pay its full commitment to Virginia Retirement System and is struggling to make ends meet, the Virginia Senate is about to pass legislation that will bury the state in insurance costs.

While the legislation is "permissive," and doesn’t require that benefits be offered, this legislation is obviously the next step in the progression toward domestic partner benefits in Virginia. The long-term consequence of this legislative track goes beyond finances to a threat to religious liberty. Eventually, private employers will be forced to provide these benefits against their will in order to be eligible for government contracts. We have seen this progression elsewhere and many other states are eliminating faith-based providers from contracting with them for this reason.

According to the state constitution:

Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage.

Insurance long has been recognized as a benefit of marriage in our Commonwealth. This legislation would create a "class of persons" and assign them a benefit of marriage.