Religious Freedom In Virginia Adoption Protected, Sexual Orientation Not

Late this afternoon, the Virginia Board of Social Services voted 7-2 to accept new regulations for adoption agencies that do not include formerly proposed non-discrimination protections for homosexuals. This is a victory for religious liberty and means that faith-based adoption agencies can continue serving Virginia's children and families without being forced to violate their faith principles. The previously proposed regulations that included sexual behavior protections were replaced by Commissioner of Social Services Martin Brown after it came to light that adding sexual orientation to protected status would have been in conflict with existing federal and state law, and the Virginia Marriage Amendment. The attorney general's office issued a letter to the board informing it of the conflict and, acting on that advice, as well as public comment, the commissioner made the appropriate changes.

At the board meeting, representatives from The Family Foundation, the Virginia Catholic Conference, Catholic Charities of Arlington, the Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists, America World Adoption and Bethany Christian Services testified against the original proposal that would have forced faith-based adoption agencies to either ignore their faith principles regarding marriage and sexual behavior or stop serving families and children. Organizations that serve children and families provided particularly compelling testimony. Andrew Brown, of America World Adoption, said that making sexual behavior a protected class would decrease the number of loving families available to adopt wanted, parentless children by forcing faith-based adoption agencies out of business.

However, the vote did not come without debate, beginning this morning with a failed motion to postpone the vote until August and ending late today with arguments by proponents of the sexual orientation language that they had not had enough time to review the new regulations. Representatives of Equality Virginia, the Gay Community Center of Richmond, Mothers and Others, and other groups argued that faith-based organizations should not be allowed to "discriminate" by following their beliefs. But homosexuals in Virginia can adopt — they must go through state or non-faith-based private agencies.

The most vocal proponent of homosexual protections was social services board member Trudy Brisendine, who made the argument that she had not had time to review the new regulations. This despite the fact that the previous proposal had been initiated by outgoing Governor Tim Kaine in December of 2009 and that regulations had been open for public comment since January. She asked, embarrassingly, at one point how a "child placing agency" is defined, requiring the board's legal counsel to point out that the definition was on page two of the proposal. It is certainly concerning that someone who has the power to vote on regulations that oversee “child placing agencies” doesn't know how they are defined or had not read the proposal thoroughly to know the term was defined — and at the beginning of the proposal no less. While her lack of preparation most likely won't make the news, imagine if that question came from a pro-family board member.

We thank the seven board members who voted correctly, the McDonnell administration and the attorney general for their attention to this matter, Commissioner Brown, and our pro-family partners who have worked tirelessly over the past several weeks on this important issue.

General Assembly Liberals Continue To Rail Against AG Cuccinelli's Legal Opinion

The House remains in session as of this post, but earlier liberal Delegates Joe Morrissey (D-74, Henrico) and David Englin (D-45, Alexandria) railed against Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's recently issued opinion that states the obvious — Virginia law does not single out homosexuals as a protected class and, therefore, its colleges and universities cannot offer anti-discriminatory policies for their protection. But why is their vitriol aimed at the AG? He's only quoting Virginia law as it reads. Delegate Adam Ebbin (D-49, Arlington), though not as vociferous as his colleagues, referenced ridicule on last night's Daily Show, as if a flippant cable comedy show is of the heft to dictate Virginia policy. Delegates Morrissey and Englin, however, struck a refrain that is the last resort of liberals-who-all-of-a-sudden-care-about-big-business: Virginia will lose corporate headquarters if this is allowed to stand!

Let's see: Unemployment is at record levels (despite a $787 billion "stimulus" program by the nation's smartest-ever-president), resulting in a lack of demand for products by consumers; we have massive, almost incomprehensible, third-world-like debt; unimaginable budget deficits projected for years; a lack of lending by banks; and, with so much liquidity in the system, the very real possibility that hyper inflation will ignite — somehow, we don't think Fortune 500 firms are arguing over Virginia's campus social policies. Furthermore, the delegates defeated their own arguments, citing that many of these companies have established their own policies regarding homosexuals. So why, then, would corporations be concerned about a policy concerning Virginia's public colleges? They are not. The opinion has nothing to do with corporations.

Furthermore, if these delegates are so concerned about creating jobs and attracting corporations to Virginia, perhaps they should take real job creating action and start cutting corporate taxes, stop raising taxes on individuals and families, and cut state spending and balance our budget. But the most perplexing aspect of the entire debate is that we've heard nothing over the last 10 years in Virginia but that "social issues" aren't important. Oh, really? To some, apparently, they are, and it's very convenient for liberals, who don't dare campaign on creating special protected classes of citizens, to criticize the attorney general simply for stating Virginia law while contriving "economic development concerns" in doing so.

AG Cuccinelli Follows Law, Liberals Rip Him Anyway

Late last week, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sent a letter to the state’s taxpayer funded colleges and universities informing them that, without General Assembly approval, they do not have the authority to issue non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation (see Washington Post). Apparently, the state’s public colleges and universities had issued such policies without the approval to do so (see Richmond Times-Dispatch). His opinion, initiated at the request of several interested parties, started a media firestorm. Essentially, the Attorney General, the office designated to instruct state entities on the law, told them to actually follow the law — Virginia law does not carve out discrimination protections for homosexuals, as it does for race, color, creed and national origin. But Democrat leaders and homosexual activists immediately pounced, calling Cuccinelli’s advice "hate," and vowed to revive legislation that died last week which would add sexual orientation to the Commonwealth’s anti-discrimination policy.

Today, several legislators literally screamed about the issue on the floor of the House of Delegates, all but accusing Attorney General Cuccinelli of hatred. They urged the House General Laws Committee to act on SB 66, which was defeated in sub-committee last week. However,  committee chairman Delegate Chris Jones (R-76, Suffolk) cancelled the committee's last meeting. As today was the last day for committees to act on legislation in order for them to get to the floor before session ends, the issue is dead, again, for this year.

It is quite interesting to listen to proponents of this major change in Virginia’s public policy. In three separate presentations before committees and subcommittees, advocates for making sexual orientation a protected class have admitted that 90 percent of Virginians don’t think there should be discrimination. They have admitted that the last three governors have had policies, either written or verbal, that they will not allow such discrimination. At no point has any actual evidence of discrimination been presented. Late last year the Washington Post editorialized that there are "thousands of homosexuals" working in state government.

Usually, the General Assembly passes legislation to remedy a problem. They often defeat legislation that, as is said, is a "solution in search of a problem." That is exactly the problem with this legislation.

So what is the goal? It really is not about discrimination. It is about government recognition — acceptance — of the homosexual lifestyle. Make no mistake, this debate is a serious one and it will have long term consequences, not just for state government, but private businesses and, ultimately, our Marriage Amendment. The goal is not anti-discrimination — it is forced acceptance of a lifestyle that many Virginians find antithetical to their faith.

The rhetoric in the capitol today was heated and not very tolerant. It seems that those who oppose creating a special class for homosexuals are hateful and bigoted, which is an easy accusation to make when you have no other argument and no ability to make your case.

40 And 50 Year-Old Deeds

Not surprisingly, in all the fuss over "the thesis" is the complete inattention given to Democrat gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds' flip flops on social issues. He's says he's not for abortion, but calls opposition to partial-birth abortion "extreme;" he was against "special rights" for homosexuals (his words in his own campaign ad), and now says anything but special rights for homosexuals is somehow discriminatory; and he voted for the Marriage Amendment twice in the General Assembly to place it before the voters, but now wants it repealed. We're waiting for the Mainstream Media to pin him down on this and/or for the senator to come clean on his own. After all, to paraphrase Senator Deeds himself, he didn't write these things when he was 34 — he wrote them, spoke them and voted them in his 40s and 50s.

Virginia News Stand: September 10, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations Setting Trends

The News Stand is back after a bit of a late summer break. After all, nothing happens this time of year, anyway, right? So, we're getting right back into it with a pretty large News Stand. Leading off is an interesting bit of news breaking about the Democrat gubernatorial candidate, Senator Creigh Deeds. Seems back in the day, oh, about 10 years ago, he wrote some of his own thoughts on homosexuals. Uncovered by The Weekly Standard and reported by our friends at Bearing Drift.

But that's not all. Senator "Not Going To Run A Divisive Campaign" seems to have some out-of-control staff in Hampton Roads. Bearing Drift, again, with the details. Is this negativity a trend?

In fact, we have been e-mailed some pictures of dirty tricks in Buena Vista during the Labor Day Parade and we hope to have them up today.

Bearing Drift also has an update on several House races — let's not forget the House campaign — with a report on a negative mailer (yes, a trend) and interesting polling numbers on a seat held by a liberal Democrat in a district the GOP carries in statewide races, but which it has not been able to find traction on at the House level. Almost given up on, unexpectedly, it's back in play. A GOP pickup there would be huge. At the least, the numbers might dictate a reallocation of campaign dollars by state Dems to protect an incumbent, which would hurt their chances in other targeted districts. (By the way, congrats to BD — it's the first blog to lead off the News Stand.)

Oh, other than that? How about the budget cuts by the DNC Chairman, Governor Tim Kaine? Furloughs and layoffs for state employees and education cuts. Is this what the unions voted for four years ago?

Nationally, actress Patricia Mauceri claims she was fired from her long standing role because of her objection to her character becoming homosexual; the new civil rights movement, education choice, is drawing more attention in dramatic ways (as rights movements usually do); and the Obama administration's health care "reform" numbers are torn apart by the AP. Commentary features the always great Walter Williams and a thought-provoking piece on self-hate by Lisa Fabrizio. Meanwhile, Michael Barone and Bobby Eberle check up what passes for truth by the POTUS as well as his arrogance. 


Deeds: "No Special Rights for Gays" (BearingDrift.com)

Deeds staff involved in sign defacement in Newport News? (BearingDrift.com)

Kaine: 593 layoffs, up to 15 percent college cuts (The Daily Press)

Kaine announces 593 layoffs, 2 prison closings, furloughs (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Virginia to lay off nearly 600, Kaine says (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

House Update: Amiral tied with Miller in 87th; Comstock, Hugo, Scalley, McConville, Hyland updates (BearingDrift.com)

Mathieson negative at Labor Day — must be desperate (BearingDrift.com)

Deeds campaigns at VUU; Minn.'s Pawlenty helps out McDonnell (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Deeds TV ad pegged to McDonnell's thesis (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Scrutiny Spreads to '03 McDonnell Remarks (Washington Post)

National News:

Soap Actress Says She Was Fired Because of Religious Beliefs (FoxNews.com)

Voucher advocates face up to police (Washington Times)

Opposition to Health-Care Reform Revives Christian Right (Washington Post)

Obama disapproval on health care up to 52 percent (AP/GOPUSA.com)


Be quiet America, Washington knows best (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)

The Convenient Fantasies Of President Obama (Michael Barone/GOPUSA.com)

FACT CHECK: Obama uses iffy math on deficit pledge (AP/GOPUSA.com)


Inflation And Deficits (Walter Williams/GOPUSA.com)

The Limits Of Self-Hate (Lisa Fabrizio/GOPUSA.com)

Obama and The Joker  . . . So Much More than a Poster (Bobby Eberle/GOPUSA.com)