If same-sex marriage became legal today, would your church and pastor be protected from lawsuits brought by homosexual activists? In June, the U.S. Supreme Court may decide that homosexual marriage should be a legal right in all 50 states, a decision that would threaten the religious liberty of all who support Biblical values. However, legal experts suggest there are several ways to protect your church from possible sexual-orientation discrimination lawsuits. Alliance Defending Freedom has published several suggestions and guidelines for what churches should add to their bylaws in order for them to protect their religious beliefs. ADF believes there are seven essential items every church should include in its bylaws, including a formal church membership policy and a statement about the church's religious beliefs regarding marriage. For more information, click here and share this information with your pastor and church leaders and even more details are available at the link in the first paragraph.
Is there any more proof needed that Christianity is the last "safe" institution to mock, belittle, ridicule or offend than this bilge from last weekend's Saturday Night Live? Imagine if it produced a segment that similarly demeaned Islam — or even a so-called "civil rights" movement, such as homosexual marriage. Of course, SNL produced this piece precisely because it is foundational Christian principles that are the bulwark against the cultural decay of abortion, redefinition of marriage, the infringement of parental rights and the like. Warning: This video contains foul language and very offensive scenes.
Cultural rot celebrated: Saturday Night Live takes glee in offending millions of Christians in this heinous, sacrilegious video
It is particularly mean in its intentional timing — the first weekend of Lent. One wonders where are those who preach tolerance? Or the people who never hesitate to lecture Christians for "forcing their views on everyone." Is this not a mammoth in-your-face-secularist-mud-pie, launched from the secular culture's most influential weapon — the mass (mainstream) media? Not only is no more proof necessary that Christianity is safe to offend (in fact, secularists believe it is good to offend Christians), there is no more proof needed on their double standard, either.
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.
The normal political diatribe for years, from politicians and pundits alike, has been that the focus of nearly every candidate and elected official is and ought to be the economy. No need to be "distracted" by or waste time on those pesky social issues. Usually, that line is thrown in the face of values voters who actually care about the culture. Seldom is it used against those whose "values" are different than ours. Remember another famous line, "It's the economy, stupid"? With New York's legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo recently passing and signing same-sex marriage into law (see Chuck Donovan at Heritage's The Foundry Blog), the claim by any liberal politician or pundit — or anyone else for that matter — that the focus is, and must be, on economic issues amounts to nothing more than blatant hypocrisy. After all, during an economic meltdown in a state bleeding jobs, in a state on the verge of economic bankruptcy, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor Cuomo and the entire legislature were "distracted" for days debating homosexual marriage. (Not to mention Congress and the Obama administration last December, during a lame duck session, ramming through repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy as unemployment continued to skyrocket.)
Simply put, the next time someone tells you that social issues are a distraction from what's really important, they must be forced to answer the question, "What about New York?"
In Virginia, as we approach this November's crucial elections, that question isn't just for us, it's for the candidates as well. After all, as liberals across Virginia celebrate New York's attempt at redefining one of God's most basic institutions, candidates for the House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate must be asked, "What about New York?"
Politicians, policy makers and pundits, academics and activists simply can’t have it both ways. If social issues such as homosexual marriage are a distraction from the important economic issues, then every candidate in Virginia — regardless of political party — must reject what has happened in New York. If taking weeks to debate the definition of marriage is a waste of time then every candidate in Virginia must be absolutely critical of their colleagues in New York.
Is the same-sex marriage debate a distraction from what’s important? Yes? Go ahead, and say so. Oh, and if it's not, feel free to run on that in Southside and central Virginia.
Virginians made it clear where they stand on the issue of same-sex marriage in 2006. While the ink on our state constitutional amendment is barely dry, we at The Family Foundation have attempted to focus on other issues in recent years, issues like strengthening traditional marriage — the best economic safety net there is — to ensure Virginia’s future economic strength. But with what happened in New York, we have little choice but to once again ask every candidate for office in Virginia, "What about New York?"
So, maybe the question isn't so much about the economy as it is about New York. We look forward to their responses.
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.
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.
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.
Recent news reports have celebrated Mainstream Media driven polling that suggests Americans are becoming more supportive of same-sex marriage. Proponents of redefining marriage have bludgeoned citizens through op-eds, letters to the editor and media appearances, making some who believe marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman wonder if homosexual marriage is inevitable (as we noted about New York earlier this week, for example). But a new, comprehensive, scientific poll, coupled with analysis of marriage amendment voting patterns, shows that a vast majority of Americans still believe in the traditional definition of marriage — by a wide margin. It found that 62 percent of Americans believe marriage is only between one man and one woman, with 53 percent strongly agreeing with that statement. The survey was commissioned by the Alliance Defense Fund and conducted by the nationally known public opinion research firm Public Opinion Strategies between May 16 and May 19.
Public Opinion Strategies Partner Gene Ulm, who directed the survey, said:
These numbers are not surprising. More than 63 million Americans in 31 state elections have voted on constitutional marriage amendments. Forty million Americans in all — 63 percent of total voters — have voted to affirm marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Look at that last statement closely. Sixty-three percent of voters in the nation have already voted in favor of traditional marriage, which reflects the percentage in the poll (see state-by-state voting chart). Regardless of what left-leaning media driven polls say, those voters have made their decision — and they support God's design for marriage.
Public Opinion Strategies is a nationwide firm that has provided polling for Fortunate 100 companies, NBC, the Wall Street Journal and NPR. According to ADF:
The survey was part of a broad and comprehensive effort examining American attitudes toward marriage. In addition to the national survey, the effort included 14 focus groups completed across the country.
Needless to say, this report should serve as an encouragement to all of us, and also remind us that we cannot be deceived by media reports that led some to believe that the marriage issue is lost. Indeed, we are the majority on this important, society defining issue.
But same-sex marriage advocates and their allies in the national media and government are not going to give up their relentless assault on marriage. Here in Virginia, where we've settled the issue of marriage in our Constitution, homosexual advocates are pushing their agenda through non-discrimination policies in state government, policies that are unnecessary, illegal, and threaten our tradition of religious liberty. While we've won the marriage issue, we must continue to be vigilant in our defense of our freedoms.
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.
The results of yesterday's elections are historic in many obvious ways. Unlike 1994, Virginians participated in making that history by turning over three liberal incumbent members of the House of Representatives (see Washington Post), including a 28-year veteran previoulsy thought unbeatable, someone who hadn't had a competitive race in years. So we congratulate three friends of The Family Foundation who won their races yesterday and are on their way to Congress:
» Congressman-elect Morgan Griffith (Newsweek's The Gaggle blog), a 100 percent TFF voter as a member of the House of Delegates;
» Congressman-elect Robert Hurt (Danville Register & Bee), a 91 percent TFF voter as a member of the Virginia Senate; and
» Congressman-elect Scott Rigell (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot), a donor to our organization.
In the 11th district, liberal incumbent Gerry Connolly has a narrow lead over conservative challenger Keith Fimian, a vote likely to be recounted (Wall Street Journal Washington Wire blog). Pending that outcome, eight of Virginia's 11 Representatives are Republican. We were pleased to participate in the voter education and get-out-the-vote efforts in these districts. Some of you may have received our GOTV phone calls over the weekend.
In some ways, though, the elections went beyond politics. While the national and state media focus on Congressional outcomes, something happened a bit below the surface that is even more historic — and perhaps longer term.
For example, at least 19 state legislative bodies, including those in Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Iowa, North Carolina and Ohio flipped partisan control to Republicans (John Hood at National Review's The Corner blog and Ryan Beckwith at CQ Politics' The Eye blog). In fact, the North Carolina Legislature is Republican for the first time since 1870. The Alabama legislature is Republican for the first time since 1876.
I don't tell you that to trumpet Republicans, but because our sister family policy council organizations inform us that many of those elected yesterday support pro-family policies. These organizations ran campaigns similar to our Winning Matters 2009 program and saw pro-life, pro-family candidates win across the board. More important than simply electing people of one particular party, citizens in these states elected pro-family conservatives.
Possibly more telling, voters in Iowa defeated three Supreme Court judges instrumental in imposing homosexual marriage on that state against the will of the people via judicial fiat (New York Times). It is the first time since judges have been on the ballot in Iowa (1962) that they have been defeated on Election Day. Once again, when the issue of marriage is put to the people, traditional marriage wins.
Now, the question is, will the message sent by the voters yesterday carry over into next year's crucial Virginia Senate elections? Will party leaders get the message that motivates voters and give us candidates that are unapologetically pro-life and pro-family? Will Virginia follow the lead of other states that brought wholesale change to their legislatures? Will party leaders endorse incumbents for the sake of "party unity" or listen to the voters? Time will tell if they truly got the message.
Perhaps the signature show on the leading news network on television is The O'Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel. Reviled by liberals and not often held in esteem by conservatives, Bill O'Reilly is nothing if not at least an interesting character. He certainly has legions of fans who watch his show and buy his books. But in this highly partisan time in our history, where almost everything on television, in movies, online and even on your phone is political, The O'Reilly Factor first got traction more than a dozen years ago not by discussing politics — which it does more than the political shows themselves — but by examining cultural issues. Mr. O'Reilly has a concern for the debasing of the culture and, long before Glenn Beck, exposed the destructiveness of secular progressives and gave voice to traditionalists who respect values long the bedrock of a flourishing American society that became the envy of the world. He wrote a best selling book, Culture Warrior, about it and even has a "culture warrior" test on his Web site. The questions look like they come out of a Family Research Council survey.
Inevitably, his show got sucked into the political gabfest, but he reserves a weekly segment called "The Culture Warriors" that examines the debasing of society. It used to be instructive. Now it's useless. Whereas his original analysts were adversarial to the muck in pop culture that penetrates the innocence of children or leads to deleterious behavior, the bubbleheads he now employs as "warriors" are nothing more than culture appeasers. One, Gretchen Carlson (a former Miss America and Richmond news anchor), recently said she agrees with homosexual marriage and wouldn't say if she agreed with abortion. Yesterday, her substitute, Courtney Friel, couldn't, or wouldn't, say if she thought a Web ad with eight- and nine-year-old children using the F-word was a bad thing and, if that wasn't peculiar enough, the other regular, Margaret Hoover (a "pro-choice Republican" who also favors same-sex marriage) said she thought the ad was "funny." Children using the "F-word" is funny?
To be fair, Mr. O'Reilly remains true to his convictions. But he strains credibility by giving people who agree with the debasement of society the largest platform in cable news to dismiss its adverse affects, a pair who often respond with a rhetorical yawn and a nothin' to worry about snub. It's like asking an actor to review his own movie. If he wants people to disagree with him and debate, fine. Let's have at it. But he should not bill this pair as something they are not, which gives cover to those who can't wait to think of the next outrageous ad to produce, the next redefinition of marriage, or the next excuse for abortion on demand. If a warrior is one who is opposed to something and willing to fight against it, it looks as if they have already redefined that as well.
On the issue of the kids saying the F-word, Friel pointed out that the parents were apparently okay with it: "The parents all gave permission, and they were on set." Hoover said that the kids cursing didn't bother her in the end: "At first I was offended, and then I realized it was a big joke. And I laughed. It was funny." The Factor didn't think it was appropriate for the children to be saying things like that: "I would not let my 9-year-old do that. No way."
Sometimes we find things that our opposition says or does that are just too revealing not to expose to the public at large. For example, NARAL's fascinating linguistic gymnastics. Now, an astounding admission from the NEA/VEA that confirms what we, and other education reformers, have said for years: That the VEA is about educators, not education. Unlike how the VEA poses, it is not about anything resembling education, much less improving it. Quite simply, the VEA is a union. Not a think tank. Not a "for the children" organization. The VEA is a union and is about union membership. But don't take our word for it. Here is an admission straight from the mouth of the NEA's retiring chief counsel, in 2009:
And that brings me to my final, and most important point. Which is why, at least in my opinion, NEA and its affiliates are such effective advocates. Despite what some among us would like to believe, it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children. And it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them, the unions that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees.
Pretty blatantly stated. But there it is: The NEA/VEA has one goal — the financial and professional betterment of its members, which in turn increases its power. If achievement of its goals requires advocacy for higher education standards or better classroom environments to achieve its union goal, it will pursue what it must. But don’t be fooled. Such advocacy is an inconvenient diversion to its accumulation of power and political goals.
To successfully dismantle the VEA's power in Virginia politics, we must defund it and alternative teacher organizations hold the key. One such alternative is Virginia Professional Educators, a professional organization that offers better insurance policies and other benefits without supporting liberal causes and candidates (click here for more information). As long as teachers continue to send dues to the VEA, it will continue to hire its 30-plus lobbyists in Richmond every year where they then proceed to undermine school choice efforts, push for higher taxes and, incredibly, involve itself in issues that have nothing to do with public education, such as promoting abortion and homosexual marriage. (Improving education? What's that?)
Self-assessments from our opposition are fascinating. Sometimes the honesty in their words is revealing. Take note of the deflated words delivered in an April 2010 speech by VEA President Kitty Boitnott:
This year, our [General Assembly] 'wins' are better measured by what we prevented from happening. ... the VEA has lost members in significant numbers this year due to a whole host of reasons . . . along with the external challenges of having few friends in high places, we have also been suffering from an internal malaise of sorts in many of our very own local affiliates. ... I do not believe that I overstate the case when I say that public education is under siege. It is being attacked at every corner, and there are those who would not only under fund public education . . . but they would dismantle public education in favor of alternative avenues. ...
By its own admission, teachers are wising up and leaving the VEA and, in turn, the VEA is feeling the heat. No longer is it advancing its leftist agenda at the expense of hard working, well meaning teachers. Instead, it's on the defensive. As we've said before, the VEA's worst nightmare — education freedom — is coming to Virginia. It's a matter of when, not if. The Family Foundation and our educational freedom allies are continuing to build a convincing case for school choice in Virginia. We will not relent until Virginia families are given the opportunity to freely choose the best educational option for their children.
One advantage I have as the Admin of a blog for an organization such as The Family Foundation is that we have thousands of well informed readers and supporters, many of whom alert me to noteworthy articles and subjects. There's so much out there, it's difficult to read everything, so to have a legion of supporting eyes and ears is superb. One great friend of ours, David Adams, gave me the heads up today on this post by Bill Pascoe on his In The Right Blog on CQPolitics.com about the supposed inevitability of legalized homosexual marriage in America (see here). Pascoe doesn't believe it is inevitable, but cites Ben Smith's post on Politico (here) where an unnamed Republican pollster said polling data proves the point: Those against same-sex marriage are old while those who support it are the young'uns. When the older crowd dies off (sooner rather than later under ObamaCare) the more tolerant and enlightened next generation will approve it.
Pascoe perceptively notes, however, that snapshot polling can't take into account how people change their thinking over the years and how events change their life perspective. For example, unmarried and care free college kids now may have one set of (misguided) beliefs, but when by their mid to late 20s, married and with two children of their own, think more like their mid to late 40s parents do now.
I would add to Pascoe's acumen that while younger voters may now agree with homosexual marriage, they vote in, comparatively, puny numbers. So the age group in general, as it matures, will see its voter universe expand. In that larger bloc undoubtedly will be people who don't approve of redefining enduring standards and truth. Others simply won't be driven by such issues whether they agree or don't.
As Pascoe concludes his piece:
The fact is, it's too early to tell how the aging/maturation/growing through life process will affect attitudes on this issue — the issue hasn't been around long enough for good research to have been completed, for a pollster to have followed a group of younger same sex marriage supporters as they grew older, to see if they maintained their support, or if it changed with the arrival of gray hairs and the squawks of children in the household.
It's at times like this I'm reminded of an old saw, usually misattributed to Winston Churchill: "If you're not a liberal when you're 20, you have no heart; but if you're not a conservative by the time you're 40, you have no brain."
Yesterday,we reported on the VEA's proud go-along at the NEA national convention endorsing same-sex marriage (see here). Instead of concetrating on issues that matter to teachers and improving education, the VEA has endorsed advocating a radical left-wing policy in contradiction of the Virginia Constitution and statutory law. The president of the VEA, Dr. Kitty J. Boitnott, responded to our post with a long comment on the thread stating that our take on the VEA/NEA position wasn't exactly what the convention meant with its lock-step adoption of the radical homosexual agenda. She goes on about "social justice." What any of this has to do with teaching clearly is beyond most parents' concerns for their children's education.
Not only is the homosexual marriage resolution contrary to the views of a majority of Virginians, she did not answer our concern about whether the VEA, with this policy position, now will encourage its member teachers to ignore the new traditional marriage guidelines to the Family Life Education curriculum. A true conflict of interest now is on the record.
Adopting a radical agenda contrary to Virginia law. Wasting time on matters completely non-germane to education. A significant conflict of interest.
We report. You decide. Below is the resolution:
NEA Representative Assembly New Business Items (NBIs) NEW BUSINESS ITEM E ADOPTED
"Resolutions B-13 (Racism, Sexism, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identification Discrimination) and I-13 (Civil Rights) set forth NEA's opposition to the discriminatory treatment of same-sex couples and its belief that such couples should have the same legal rights and benefits as similarly-situated heterosexual couples. The Legislative Program is in accord: NEA supports "obtaining, preserving, and strengthening basic civil and human rights under law," and specifically calls for "passage of a federal statute prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression." Section IV(b). In implementation of the foregoing policies, the Representative Assembly adopts the following action plan with regard to same-sex couples:
1. NEA will support its affiliates seeking to enact state legislation that guarantees to same-sex couples the right to enter into a legally recognized relationship pursuant to which they have the same rights and benefits as similarly-situated heterosexual couples, including, without limitation, rights and benefits with regard to medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, and immigration.
2. NEA does not believe that a single term must be used to designate this legally recognized "equal treatment" relationship, and recommends that each state decide for itself whether "marriage," "civil union," "domestic partnership," or some other term is most appropriate based upon the cultural, social, and religious values of its citizenry.
3. NEA will support its affiliates in opposing state constitutional and/or statutory provisions that could have the effect of prohibiting the state and its political subdivisions from providing the same rights and benefits to same-sex couples as are provided to similarly-situated heterosexual couples.
4. NEA will take such actions as may be appropriate to support efforts to (a) repeal any federal legislation and/or regulations that discriminate against same-sex couples, and (b) enact federal legislation and/or regulations that treat same-sex couples and similarly-situated heterosexual couples equally with regard to social security, health care, taxation, and other federal rights and benefits.
5. NEA recognizes that the term "marriage" has religious connotations and that same-sex marriages may not be compatible with the beliefs, values, and/or practices of certain religions. Because of its support for the separation of church and state and the right to religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, NEA supports the right of religious institutions to refuse to perform or recognize same-sex marriages.
The Executive Committee will monitor the implementation of this New Business Item, and keep NEA affiliates informed of actions taken to achieve its objectives."
Leading the news today is the LG campaign as Jody Wagner attempts to counter the obvious — that she underestimated state tax revenue when times were good (laying the pretense for Virginia's largest tax increase) and overestimated them when times were bad, necessitating budget cuts. She's not having much luck so far. Thus, as The Daily Press reports, the commonwealth prepares for yet another round of budget cuts.
A lot of the news today is national: The Alliance Defense Fund is engaged in legal battle with the FDA over the "morning after pill," state budgets have gaping holes (wasn't the "stimulus" supposed to solve that?), D.C.'s recognition of out of state homosexual-marriage now is in effect, the Obama's remain churchless months after leaving Jerry Wright's flock, and there's another push for a personhood amendment in Colorado.
We have a number of commentaries and some analysis today, as well. David Limbaugh looks at the hypocrisy of liberals who thought George W. Bush was "seizing" power, but remain silent on the absolute power grabs and usurpations of freedom by Barack Obama. Meanwhile, Matt Barber notes that Mr. Obama's massive fiscal deficit pales to his moral clarity deficit. We also have an AFA blog post about the censoring of a seventh-grader's pro-life t-shirt. Finally, in analysis, Cliff Kincaid explores the philosophical relationship between the president and Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, while Rebecca Grace and Elizabeth Delaney (of the Norfolk Examiner, which makes its News Stand debut) each debunk a myth — on homosexuality and "global warming," respectively.
Bolling, Wagner spar on finances (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
State agencies told to prepare for more cuts (Daily Press)
Hmmm. So You Say That How? (Washington Post)
Roanoke political parties ponder futures (Roanoke Times)
Christian legal group battles FDA over 'morning after pill' (OneNewsNow.com)
States Straining To Repair Budgets (Washington Post)
Married gays see progress in D.C. (Washington Times)
'Gay marriage' law takes effect in nation's capital (AP/OneNewsNow.com)
Obama's still church homeless halfway through 2009 (AP/OneNewsNow.com)
'Personhood' pushers at it again in Colorado (OneNewsNow.com)
King Barack? (David Limbaugh/GOPUSA.com)
Obama's moral clarity deficit (Matt Barber/OneNewsNow.com)
Seventh-Grader's Pro-Life T-Shirt Censored in California (American Family Association Blog)
Leading 'Progressive' Describes Obama-Chavez Axis (Cliff Kincaid/GOPUSA.com)
Countering the lie of same-sex attractions (Rebecca Grace/OneNewsNow.com)
One world controversy (Norfolk Examiner)
Yesterday we commented on the Family Life Education reforms passed by the General Assembly last winter and signed into law by Governor Tim Kaine. Of course, there are some out there who, undoubtedly, don't think these new laws are necessary. To those, I provide this: The National Education Association, at its national convention in San Diego this week, is considering a resolution offering its full support of homosexual "marriage."
Educator and conservative activist Jeralee Smith, co-founder of the National Education Association Conservative Educators Caucus, told OneNewsNow.com today:
. . . that the executive council has approved language that will throw the full support of the NEA behind same-gender marriage, homosexual adoption, and other issues surrounding the homosexual agenda.
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.
The NEA and its Virginia affiliate, the VEA, are among the biggest roadblocks to public education reform. They and their educrat allies would rather public education completely fail than change; indoctrinate rather than teach. Remember what we wrote yesterday — these FLE improvements are more reforms than laws. Now you know why they were needed.
We don't know if yesterday's ruling by the California Supreme Court is more of a reflection of it being the proverbial broken clock or a reflection of the chutzpah of the radical element there that wants to legalize homosexual marriage. In a rare victory for pro-traditional marriage supporters in a California court, the same Supreme Court that ruled unconstitutional the state's statute prohibiting homosexual marriage, refused to take up a legal challenge by pro-homosexual rights groups to strike the proposed Marriage Amendment from this November's ballot. The proposal is a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Who can blame them? Since activist courts so willingly and often flout the separation of powers and legislate from the bench to encase liberal policies that cannot be won through the legislative or ballot process, leftist groups reflexively go to court every time they disagree with a legally gained action. Or, in this case, against a group that simply has a different opinion and wants the people to vote on it. (Democracy? Horrors!) After all, this same court refused to stay its 4-3 decision striking down the marriage statute until the Marriage Amendment could be voted on in November, breaking precedent — precedent being something liberals say courts must always follow when it comes to Roe vs. Wade. (Any ramifications for Virginia? See what The Los Angeles Times says.)
So we have a group that fought successfully in court against the will of the people (the original ballot-passed traditional marriage law) and that wants to prohibit the democratic process (tried to block November's Marriage Amendment vote), all in favor of the will of four people in black robes (the justices in the 4-3 ruling).
Even though the proposed California Marriage Amendment survived its ballot challenge — opponents went to court even though the amendment met all legal requirements for ballot access under California law, including well more than the required signatures; in other words, chutzpah — there is a frightening issue here: What are opponents of traditional marriage afraid of? A little voting? That's not surprising. The left is the biggest suppressor of free speech in the country. Just think of this attempt to silence a vote the next, albeit much larger, step in their politically correct speech codes already inflicted on college campuses that stifle true debate. They've accomplished their dictatorship of thought in that arena, where only one opinion is allowed legitimacy, and now they are attempting to do it in the body politic.
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.