marriage

Federal Judge Decision To Redefine Marriage In Virginia More Of Political Show Than Legal Decision

As we're sure that you are aware by now, a federal judge in Norfolk, assisted by our newly-elected Attorney General, has ruled that Virginia's Marriage Amendment, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman, is unconstitutional. This judge ignored the will of more than a million Virginia voters who ratified the Marriage Amendment by more than 57 percent in 2006, as well as ignoring the state's interest in protecting a timeless institution designed for the well-being of children. The timing of Judge Arenda Wright-Allen's decision, rushed for release last night just prior to Valentine's Day, reeks of political show, making her ruling less a legal argument and more a press release. It's disappointing that a federal judge would so blatantly expose her personal political agenda at the expense of not just marriage, but our entire social fabric.

The question is, what can you do to help?

Please consider writing a letter to the editor of your local paper. It is imperative that the voices of those who believe in natural marriage are heard above the din of talking heads and commentators who will revel in this judge's decision.

Our e-mail system allows you to write a letter online and then it will send it to the editor of your local paper with the click of a button. You don't need to look up e-mail addresses or editors' names . . . it couldn't be much easier.

We have included some talking points that you can use when crafting your letter below. For more background, here is a link to an op-ed TFF President Victoria Cobb wrote in last Sunday's Richmond Times-Dispatch. Please put these into your own words and send your letter off right away. It is too easy to think, "I will do it later" and never get around to it. Thank you for taking action and standing for marriage!

» One federal judge should not disenfranchise the votes of more than one million Virginians.

» The state's only primary interest in marriage has always been the well-being of children, not the love-lives of adults.

» Social science proves that children do best in a home with a mom and a dad.

» Judge Wright-Allen has politicized her decision by rushing it out the night before Valentine's Day.

» The decision by the judge on the issue of marriage is not based on any of the facts of the case, any of the evidence presented in hearings, or any of the truth surrounding the state's interest in marriage.

» This decision will open the door for polygamy and other forms of "marriage" which will continue to degrade the God-ordained institution of marriage.

» Freedom of religion and speech are already being threatened in states that have recognized same-sex "marriage."

» Attorney General Mark Herring took the unprecedented step of siding with the plaintiffs in this case against the Virginia Constitution he took an oath to uphold.

Family Foundation Responds To Marriage Amendment Decision (Video)

STATEMENT BY VICTORIA COBB, PRESIDENT OF THE FAMILY FOUNDATION OF VIRGINIA, CONCERNING RULING IN BOSTIC V. RAINEY

Regardless of one's stance on marriage, the people of Virginia were disenfranchised by this ruling as our voice and our vote that amended our Constitution have been rendered meaningless by a single federal judge with the assistance of our own Attorney General.

Protecting a timeless institution for the well-being of children was the will of the overwhelming majority of Virginians and this ruling denies this important state interest as it places the desires of adults over the outcomes of children. The state has no interest in affirming the love lives of its citizens, but it does have an interest in protecting children — it's only interest in marriage.

The timing of this decision certainly calls into question Judge Wright Allen's objectivity. This rushed release just prior to Valentine's reeks of political show, making her ruling less a legal argument and more a press release. It's disappointing that a federal judge would so blatantly expose her personal political agenda at the expense of not just marriage, but our entire social fabric.

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This video is from our press conference this morning regarding the federal judge's decision to strike down Virginia's Marriage Amendment:

marriage ruling news conf

Correcting The Left's Vocabulary: It's Really A War On Babies

The so-called "War On Women," as most contrivances from the Left, is more aversion to the truth than reality. That is to say, when it finds itself losing an issue among the public, it resorts to straw men, fallacy, fantasy, demonization and redefinition. As the great Walter Williams would say, let's look at. First, what war? Are women being killed, beaten or even imprisoned? To call a policy difference a war disrespects all those who wear the uniform, many of whom are women. Straw men, fallacy and demonization: Check.

Second, it degrades the very people they say they represent (as if all women think the same way): Fallacy: Double check; fantasy, check.

Third, and most important, it redefines the issue. Just as the Left has redefined the 6,000-year-old meaning of marriage, it has redefined war. War, of course, implies death. Yet, who dies during an abortion? The baby! Redefinition: Checkmate!

Surely, a bit of a woman's soul dies as well, as women who have come to regret their abortions universally testify. That is undeniable, but a different story, and one the abortion industry won't ever tell or address. Ignore rather than redefine. Ignore: add to the list.

How about irony? This really comes under fallacy, but let's be charitable. One statement you hear at pro-abortion rallies or during testimony at General Assembly committees is that "we need to follow the science," implying that conservatives are rubes who don't understand or believe in scientific evidence. Huh? Then why exactly is the Left against ultrasound bills? Oh . . . wait . . . oh! It's because the science proves that it is a living baby! Irony: Game, set and match.

Speaking of science, here's the truth about who this war is being waged on. To them — the unborn babies, some 16 million in the U.S. alone since the deplorable early 1970s Roe v Wade decision — there really is death and destruction, and the truth is spoken by a doctor of all people, someone who knows science:

BenCarson War On Babies

 

The real war is on babies. #WarOnBabies!

 

Defend Your Vote: Contact Attorney General Mark Herring!

In an unprecedented decision with long-reaching consequences for the rule of law, and within days of swearing to defend the constitution and laws of Virginia, Attorney General Mark Herring has broken his oath by not just refusing to defend Virginia's marriage amendment, but joining the case in opposition to the constitution. He won't even appoint outside counsel to defend the commonwealth as is the procedure when an attorney general cites some type of conflict.

Please click here to contact Attorney General Herring and ask him to defend the Virginia Constitution and if he is unwilling to do so that he appoint outside counsel to defend the law.

As attorney general, Mark Herring's primary duty is to defend the laws of the commonwealth. Courts have long ruled that laws of the commonwealth are presumed constitutional until determined otherwise through a judicial proceeding. That means the burden is on the person challenging the law to demonstrate that it is unconstitutional. Attorney General Herring is flipping that long-settled legal precedent on its head by not only refusing to defend the marriage amendment, which is presumed by courts to be constitutional, but to affirmatively challenge its constitutionality.

Attorney General Herring points to his predecessor's decision not to defend the constitutionality of a state law passed last year as precedent for his action. But there are significant differences between the cases. Former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli did not affirmatively challenge the constitutionality of the law and second, he appointed outside counsel to defend the law on behalf of Virginia, as is customary when an attorney general either objects to the law, has a conflict, or the Office of Attorney General lacks expertise in the matter under review. Virginia law takes into account that there may be times where it is not practical or economical for the attorney general to defend the laws of the commonwealth. In those circumstances, Virginia Code §2.2-510 authorizes the attorney general to appoint outside counsel.

Instead, Attorney General Herring unilaterally decided — "after conversations with friends and family" — that Virginia's constitutional amendment defining marriage is unconstitutional. He said he also based his decision on last summer's Supreme Court rulings regarding marriage, but neither of those rulings invalidated state marriage amendments. Simply put, the attorney general of Virginia has no constitutional authority to determine for himself that a law or amendment is unconstitutional. That is for the courts to decide.

His decision today disenfranchised more than one million Virginians who legally voted for the Marriage Amendment in 2006, and left them unable to defend themselves in court.

The decision by the Attorney General Herring is not surprising, but it is disappointing and frightening. It's disappointing that he wouldn't be clear about his intentions on this issue while campaigning for the office. More importantly, it's frightening that politicians such as Attorney General Herring feel that they can pick and choose which aspects of the constitution they deem worthy to defend and apply. Whether one agrees with the Marriage Amendment or not, the idea that more than a million Virginia citizens can be left defenseless by the attorney general after legally voting for an amendment that he himself supported is chilling.

ACTION: Contact Attorney General Herring and ask him to defend the Virginia Constitution or, if he is unwilling to do so, that he appoint outside counsel to defend the law.

Click here to e-mail him

Or

Call his office at (804) 786-2071

#Distraction: Family Foundation Reaction To Today's Pro-Abortion, Homosexual Rights News Conferences

Late this morning, two groups of liberal General Assembly legislators held Capitol Square news conferences heralding their agendas. At the first one, Democrat Senators Donald McEachin and Adam Ebbin, and Democrat Delegate Patrick Hope, promoted the so-called "Equality Agenda" (i.e., homosexual rights). At the second, the so-called Women's Health Care Caucus (i.e., the pro-abortion caucus), led by Democrat Delegates Kaye Kory, Jennifer McClellan and Vivian Watts, and Senators Barbara Favola  and McEachin (he does get around) echoed the abortion industry's taxpayer-funded-abortion-at-any-time-for-any-reason talking points. Family Foundation of Virginia President Victoria Cobb issued the following statement in reply with an ad lib comment by yours truly:

Fewer Americans are working today than at any point since the Carter administration; but instead of focusing on jobs and the economy, liberals in Virginia have introduced nearly 20 bills dealing with sex and abortion. The Left's attacks on marriage, religious liberty and parental rights won't be distracting enough for Virginians to notice they don’t have jobs (or have lost their health insurance), but they could undermine Governor Terry McAuliffe's claims that he wants to work across party lines and avoid divisive issues.

We've always heard the General Assembly has more important things to do than consider divisive "social issues," especially when there there are so many kitchen table problems to solve. That said . . . can anyone say #distraction?

The Pols Are Out And So Are Their Grades: American Conservative Union Releases Virginia General Assembly Scorecard

The General Assembly wrapped up its 2013 business, officially, April 3, at the conclusion of the "Veto" session. Since then, a flurry of scorecards have been released by several organizations, including the Family Foundation's late last week. Usually released throughout the year to coincide with fundraising galas, elections or other events, many organizations this year dropped their ratings in advance of the Republican Convention this weekend and the June Democrat primary. Today, the American Conservative Union released its third annual Virginia General Assembly Scorecard (click here for complete results). The ACU, founded in 1964 by a coalition of prominent national conservative organizations, is known for its annual Congressional Scorecard, considered the "gold standard" of Congressional ratings. In 2011, it decided to take that success to the state level, with a goal of annual rating all members in each of the 50 state legislatures. That year, it graded five, Virginia being the first of those (this  year it will score 20). Consequently, the General Assembly is the first to be scored three times — more firsts for the Old Dominion.

The ACU Scorecard offers three awards: Defender of Liberty Award, for those who score 100 percent; the ACU Conservative Award for those who score above 80 percent, and the not-so-coveted True Liberal of the Commonwealth Award for those who get a zero — and there are a few of those. However, the number of members in both chambers who scored 80 or higher dropped precipitously, with some who have reputations as conservative stalwarts not even even getting to 80 percent.

The reason? Not only were there several immensely important and substantive votes this year on significant policies with massive ramifications, they were voted on multiple times. For instance, the tax increase bill (HB 2313) was voted on three times (scored twice). An ironic twist is that the House budget, which normally rates as a support because of its pretty tight spending parameters and policy language, was opposed by the ACU when it came out of conference committee with the Senate, specifically because the rejection of the Medicaid expansion was stripped out. That also got a second vote because of a gubernatorial amendment. The Obamacare health insurance exchange also made the list and several conservatives got nicked on that, as well.

The ACU Virginia Scorecard is not only the most comprehensive one of its nature in Virginia — complied annually, with more than 20 floor votes on everything from spending, taxes, education reform, securing voting rights, second amendment rights, religious liberty, right to work, life and marriage, and all else that make up the conservative agenda, it's one the most comprehensive state scorecard in the country, as many legislatures, especially part-time ones, rarely let so many significant votes get to the floor. The ACU only scores floor votes and does not score unanimous or immensely lopsided votes, nor partisan votes, with the exception of significant policy shifting bills.

In a statement released today by the ACU, its Chairman Al Cardenas, said:

On behalf of the American Conservative Union, I am pleased to announce the winners of our 2013 State Legislative Ratings for members of the Virginia General Assembly. For 40 years ACU has set the gold standard for Congressional ratings, and we are now able to offer that same level of transparent information to the voters of Old Dominion so they can hold their elected officials accountable at the state level as well. In our third year rating the Commonwealth, we applaud conservatives in the Virginia General Assembly who continue to fight against higher taxes, against Obamacare and for the rights of the unborn.

The ACU's philosophy in its scorecard system is to track . . .

a wide range of issues before state legislatures to determine which issues and votes serve as a clear litmus test separating those representatives who defend liberty and liberal members who have turned their backs on our founding principles — constitutionally limited government, individual liberty, free markets, a strong national defense and traditional values. The votes selected for our Virginia Legislative Ratings were chosen to create a clear ideological distinction among those casting them.

The Defenders of Liberty Award winners are:

Delegates Rob Bell, Ben Cline, Scott Garrett, Todd Gilbert (TFF Legislator of the Year Award winner), and Margaret Ransone; and Senators Tom Garrett, Jr., Mark Obenshain and Ralph Smith.

ACU Conservative Award winners are Delegates Richard Anderson, Richard Bell, Kathy Byron, Mark Cole, Barbara Comstock, John Cox, Mark Dudenhefer, Matt Fariss, Peter Farrell, Greg Habeeb, Chris Head, Tim Hugo, Sal Iaquinto, Steve Landes, Jim LeMunyon, Scott Lingamfelter, Bob Marshall, Jimmie Massie, Jackson Miller, Randy Minchew, Israel O’Quinn, Brenda Pogge, David Ramadan, Roxann Robinson, Nick Rush, Beverly Sherwood, Lee Ware, Jr., Michael Webert, Tony Wilt, and Tommy Wright, Jr.; and Senators Richard Black, Steve Newman, Richard Stuart, Bryce Reeves, Steve Martin, Bill Stanley, Jr., and Ryan McDougle.

The highest scoring Democrats were Delegates Johnny Joannou and Joe Joe Johnson at 73 and 64 percent, respectively. The both  topped some Republicans, such as Delegate Chris Jones, who scored only 60 percent. Delegate Jones wasn't alone. Speaker Bill Howell only managed to match Delegate Joannou. Senate Republicans saw similar slippages. For example, Senators Jeff McWaters and Frank Ruff, who had scored at least 80 in the first two scorecards, dropped to the low 60s. Majority Leader Tommy Norment and Senator Harry Blevins, who retired recently in mid-term, scored 60 and 57 percent, respectively. Senator John Watkins rated a dismal 48 percent.

Last year, more than 70 Republicans from both chambers scored 80 percent or higher. This year, only 45 did.

The members who earned the True Liberal of Old Dominion Awards are Delegates Delores McQuinn and Roslyn Tyler; and Senators Kenneth Alexander, Janet Howell and Linda Puller.

A Perspective That Spans The Tiber To The James

It's about time! Finally, after years of encouragement to do so, today our friends at the Virginia Catholic Conference added a blog to its social media mix. (See its first post, by Associate Director Michael Lewis, on the adoption by the General Assembly of Governor Bob McDonnell's "Veto Session" "Hyde amendment" that bans taxpayer funded abortions in the Obamacare insurance exhchange). It's a good thing, too. There are few more passionately dedicated to the causes of Life, Marriage and Religious Liberty  than our colleagues at the VCC. They are an invaluable ally in the culture wars not only inside Mr. Jefferson's Capitol, but well beyond the gates of Capitol Square. It's an intelligent bunch, as well, and we look forward to their perspective on the crucial issues of the day. According to its announcement of the blog's launch:

Our goal for "From the Tiber to the James" is to provide engaging, thought-provoking posts — respectful of our reader’s busy lives — about why and how we do the work we do, and how our readers can become more involved in advocacy on behalf of the common good.

Attuned readers will not miss the symbolism of the blog’s name: our Faith traces its past, present and future to the Vatican on the banks of the Tiber River. Our daily work — living in the public square — takes us to Virginia’s capital, on the shores of the James.

We look forward to what From the Tiber to the James will add to the public policy debate in the already thriving Virginia Blogosphere. Another culturally conservative voice can always be useful but, in this case, we're confident it will far exceed that basic standard.

The fight to win souls precedes any legislative victory. In this new age of instant digital media, where information is spread at the speed of a few thumb presses, it's important for advocacy organizations to arm themselves with as many assets as possible — and our side has been behind. It's about more than "spreading the word" on Facebook and Twitter (as important as that is). After all, there must be compelling content to spread on Facebook and Twitter. So, it's really about thoughtful, grounded, rational perspective based in something considerably larger than human vanity that resonates even with hearts of stone well before the yeas and nays consistently affirm our foundational principles. 

Congratulations to the Virginia Catholic Conference. We hope you visit From The Tiber To The James as often as we will.

Please Plan To Participate In The National Day Of Prayer On May 2

Our nation is in a crucial time and in serious need of prayer. We face grave challenges on every front and most of all, the spiritual front. We're sure you sense the peril that we, as a country, are in as never before. Even as our nation deals with the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Boston, the deep ideological divisions in our nation remain. Faith-based institutions are being forced to fund abortions, our national debt continues to skyrocket while cities are going bankrupt, pornography is running rampant on the Internet and we are potentially one Supreme Court vote away from making same-sex "marriage" the law of the land. But we are not as those who have no hope. Our hope is in the Lord, the maker of Heaven and Earth.

This is a reminder that the National Day of Prayer is coming up on Thursday, May 2. It's a day when Americans will gather together to pray that God will grant us mercy and send us the help we need to turn our nation back to Him. The theme this year is "Pray for America." The Scripture that that the organizers have chosen to highlight this theme is Matthew 12:21:

In His name the nations will put their hope.

While we will continue to work hard to ensure that the Virginia General Assembly passes laws that protect life, marriage and our religious liberty in the commonwealth, we are convinced that only through the Lord will our state and nation be saved. Please consider finding a local gathering and participating this year. For your convenience, click here to visit the National Day of Prayer official website. There, you can find locations of announced events as well as other useful information. Click on the "Events" tab to find a prayer gathering near you.

The National Day of Prayer is an important time for us to stop and recognize our need for the Lord as a nation. We all know what a critical time this is. Let us not neglect the One who can deliver us from the dangers that await us if we fail to act.

Protect Your Church Against Homosexual Activist Litigation

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.

Tomorrow Is Almost Here: The Election Is In Your Hands

What seems like one of the longest presidential campaigns in history comes to a conclusion tomorrow (we hope!) as Americans go to the polls. Pundits and prognosticators are predicting a close election, with Virginia being one of the states that the experts believe is still hanging in the balance. As national Christian leaders remarked last week, one state — Virginia — can determine the outcome of the entire country's future. Does that motivate you to vote and get others to the polls? I know I don't have to tell you about the importance of tomorrow's vote. Obviously our nation is in a tenuous place, morally and economically, and whether or not one election can change our course or not remains to be seen, but we have a clear choice between presidential candidates on both moral and economic issues. For weeks, The Family Foundation Action has worked to ensure that pro-family, pro-life voters are identified, educated and mobilized. I know pastors around Virginia have been encouraging their congregations to vote the principles of life, marriage and religious liberty when they make their decisions tomorrow.

If you haven’t yet, please review our 2012 Presidential and U.S. Senate Voter Guide at vavotes.net and be sure that your friends and family have seen it as well. I believe it presents very clearly where the candidates for President and the U.S. Senate stand on issues that are important to you and me.

Please remember the new voter ID requirements in Virginia. You can learn more about what you need to bring with you to vote at the State Board of Elections website. Also, if you have any doubt about your polling station's location, please click here to find it. It's important that you show up at the right place! Polls are open from 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Remember also that there are two state constitutional amendments on the ballot. The Family Foundation Action supports both. Question 1 would protect property rights and limit the government’s power of eminent domain. You can read more about this amendment by clicking here and here.

Question 2 is a technical change to the constitution regarding when the General Assembly’s veto session is held during years when veto session falls on a religious holiday.

Everyone who walks into a voting booth tomorrow will "vote values." The question is whether they will vote for the things they value or the things God values.

The answer is now in your hands.

 

Paid for by The Family Foundation Action and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

 

Gala Update: 24 Hours And Counting To Get Your Tickets

Tickets are still available for The Family Foundation of Virginia Annual Gala, but you need to act quickly! Fox News contributor and AFR Talk Radio host Sandy Rios will emcee and former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum will be the keynote speaker. Mr. Santorum is known for his courage to stand for life, marriage, family and faith whatever the cost — personal or political. He has consistently and eloquently fought the battle in the public arena, often by himself. His inspirational and motivational story is sure to increase the level of enthusiasm and momentum we now have here in Virginia to further the pro-life, pro-family, traditional values movement. Here's a sample of Mr. Santorum's dogged defense of the traditional family and saying what many are afraid to admit: That stable, traditional families are the foundation of a stable, civil and prosperous country.

 What the politicians won't say: The truth — that traditional families are the key to a stable, civil and prosperous country.

We hope to see you Saturday evening for a spectacular evening of food, fellowship and discussion. Tickets and information are available online by clicking here or by calling The Family Foundation at (804) 343-0010. But hurry. The Gala is just a few days away and there’s no time to wait!

Gala Update: New Santorum Book Autographed And Discounted; Fox News Contributor Sandy Rios To Emcee

This Saturday, Rick Santorum will personally sign a copy of his new book, American Patriots, for you. We even have the book for a discount off the list price — only $15! But you need to register right now for The Family Foundation's Annual Gala, where he will be the keynote speaker. More than 1,100 pro-family Virginians will be uniting to show the liberal mainstream media we're not discouraged by their cooked polls.

Family Foundation Gala keynote speaker Rick Santorum explains the fundamental connection between the traditional family and marriage with the economy and everything else.

We also are pleased to announce that Fox News contributor Sandy Rios will emcee the Gala. Host of Sandy Rios in the Morning on AFR Talk, Mrs. Rios writes for The Daily Caller, Townhall.com and Real Clear Politics, and has appeared on a number of conservative talk shows, including The Sean Hannity Show, The Glenn Beck Show and The O'Reilly Factor. She is a past president of Concerned Women for America.

Family Foundation Gala emcee Sandy Rios on Fox News defending unborn life and refuting taxpayer funded birth control against liberal myths. 

We hope to see you Saturday evening for a spectacular evening of food, fellowship and discussion. Tickets and information are available online by clicking here or by calling Candace at The Family Foundation at (804) 343-0010. But hurry. The Gala is just a few days away and there's no time to wait!

Attorney General Cuccinelli Defends Federal Marriage Law

The attack on the definition of marriage is never ceasing. So neither is our work. In late May, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, covering Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire and Puerto Rico, ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act, legislation protecting the definition of marriage that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton, was unconstitutional. The decision by that court threatens not only the federal DOMA, but the definition of marriage, both constitutional and by statute, in 42 states. The decision has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Earlier this month, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli joined 14 other state attorneys general in filing an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to review the First Circuit's decision. Because the Obama administration refused to uphold its responsibility and defend and enforce federal law, the U.S. House of Representatives assumed the legal defense of the statute.

Amazingly, when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Obamacare last spring, President Obama, who once taught constitutional law, said federal courts did not have the right to strike down duly enacted laws by Congress. (What other laws are there?) But he is quite selective in interpreting his own peculiar constitutional interpretations. A year earlier, he instructed his Justice Department to cease its defense of DOMA, in essence asking the courts to declare it unconstitutional. (In fact, his declaration was so outrageous, a federal judge in another case, demanded the U.S. Attorney arguing it, to produce a brief from the Justice Department explaining if the Obama administration believed in the concept of judicial review.)

In the amicus brief, the 15 attorneys general present decades of law and legal precedent pertaining to the states' interest in benefiting heterosexual marriage because of children:

The choice to promote traditional marriages is based on an understanding that civil marriage recognition arises from the need to encourage biological parents to remain together for the sake of their children. It protects the only procreative relationship that exists and makes it more likely that unintended children, among the weakest members of society, will be cared for. ...

This ideal does not disparage the suitability of alternative arrangements where non-biological parents have legal responsibility for children. But these relationships are exactly that — alternatives to the model. States may rationally conclude that, all things being equal, it is better for the biological parents also to be the legal parents, and that marriage promotes that outcome.

Thomas Messner of the Heritage Foundation puts it this way:

Individuals marry based on various private interests. The public interest in marriage, in contrast, is based directly on the role that marriage plays in creating and raising the next generation. Same-sex marriage breaks the essential connection between marriage, children, and the mothers and fathers who create them.

Same-sex marriage also puts the law on the wrong side of reality by claiming that marriage is something other than what it is: the union of husband and wife. Many kinds of relationships are meaningful and valuable to the individuals involved and even to the broader public. But that does not make them marriages. It is not irrational or bigoted for the law to recognize that marriage is a unique kind of relationship deserving a unique kind of status.

Virginians, understanding the preciousness of marriage and its integral role in the raising of children, voted to add an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage in 2006. But the fact that same-sex marriage advocates are 0-30 at the state ballot box is no deterrent to their aggression, and has in fact fueled their anti-religious fervor. The Family Foundation will continue to stand in the gap with those elected officials who stand for marriage and religious liberty to ensure that your values are protected.

"Equality NOT Tolerance"

One needs a translator to understand the Left. After all, in order to "transform" America into something Americans intuitively are against, it has to obfuscate its aims. That's why taxes become "contributions" (even though they are not voluntary), government spending becomes "investments" (although an investment is done with personal money to get a return, not someone else's money for a pet project), marriage's natural and instinctive understanding gets twisted into something unrecognizable, and family becomes any combination of people you want it to be. In a way, then, as disturbing as the video below is, it's nice to know some extreme leftist activists are being truthful.  They no longer are content to preach "tolerance" — while actually meaning intolerance toward those with whom they disagree and demonizing as "haters" those with different opinions. No, the people below have cut to the chase. They admit they don't want tolerance. They want "equality" (meaning special rights reserved unto themselves). They also equate prayer with "hate."

This video is courtesy of the National Organization of Marriage and was shot shot earlier this month outside a Chicago Chick-fil-A where a Catholic priest simply prayed the Rosary while the Gay Liberation Network spewed its vile against the restaurant chain. The protesters soon surrounded the priest and . . . well, you'll see the rest.

Prayer means hate, according to these extremists from the Gay Liberation Network. Who demonstrates hate in this video?

"Compromise"

Language is of utter importance in life. It is how we convey to family, friends, co-workers and everyone else everything from the mundane but necessary to entertaining stories to important tasks at work to essential words of life and love to those special to us. Words do mean things. It is no different in a political and cultural context. How words are conveyed motivate, inspire and convince minds to points of view. But it's a lot different if words that have been understood to mean a thing certain, that have a standard essence can be distorted are redefined. It changes the entire debate, which is exactly what the Left wants, because it can't get what it wants in a straightforward debate. It recognizes that America is a center-right nation and the only way to advance its agenda is to transform the meanings of well understood and traditional terms.

"Marriage" is the most recent and prominent example. It is desperately trying to change what historically and culturally is universally recognized as a union between one man and one woman to devalue the foundation of civilization itself. But not only is the redefinition of words necessary for the adoption of the Left's ideas, it is the precursor to enforcing its intolerance.

It isn't only words of immense cultural importance, such as "Marriage." No word is too unimportant for the Left to redefine — it also has it in for such seemingly innocuous words such "compromise." That is the word the Obama administration used when it said it was changing its authoritarian Obamacare mandate that religious institutions provide contraception and abortion insurance coverage for their employees in contravention of their religious beliefs and First Amendment rights, to a new authoritarian mandate, with different wording, that left the slimmest of exceptions to avoid providing for such insurance.

The "compromise" stated that not institutions with a religious-only mission could avoid the mandate — presumably, the churches themselves. But the federal government would be the arbiter of that — religion defined by the government. (Separation of church and state, anyone? The hypocritical Left.) However, institutions administered by churches, such as hospitals and schools, would not be allowed to exempt themselves from the mandate.

Some "compromise." First, there is no compromise. The policy is virtually the same. Secondly, to compromise, it takes more than one party. But the Catholic Church, whose Bishops by and large endorsed Obamacare with what it thought was conscience clause and Hyde Amendment-type protections, and other concerned organizations, nor their Congressional allies, were brought in by the White House for discussions. It was a "compromise" with itself to provide misleading cover for the policy aims it knows are unacceptable.

That's why yesterday, 43 Catholic colleges and organizations, some of which already said they will cease providing health insurance or shut down the vital services they provide, filed a lawsuit against the administration (see Jill Stanek's in-depth report here). (By the way, some of these institutions previously announced they will end health care coverage because they can't afford the exorbitant rate increases affected by Obamacare. Obamacare — if it doesn't get you by increased costs, it will get you by authoritarian mandate.)

There's more information about the lawsuit here, from The Virginia Catholic Conference and here, from the Catholic News Service.

Religious liberty has never been a favorite of the Left. How can it be? The Church stands against moral relativism, the basis for modern liberalism. There are no standards or absolutes according the Left. That is, until, it redefines "standards" and "absolutes."

Tomorrow Is Primary Day!

Tomorrow is primary day in Virginia.  There are only a few, but these elections will determine several of the nominees from both parties to run for the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate in November. Primaries normally are held in June in Virginia, but because this is a redistricting year, primary day was pushed back to give the General Assembly time to draw new districts (and for Governor Bob McDonnell to sign into law after he vetoed a blatantly partisan Democrat Senate plan first sent to him), as well as wait on Justice Department approval as per The Voting Rights Act. We encourage all Virginians who live in a district with a primary to make an informed decision and vote tomorrow. With more and more decisions made at the state level to combat the increasing encroachment of the federal government, as well as the perennially important issues such as life, marriage, school choice, parental authority, property rights, religious liberty, transparency and government reforms, having principled conservative leadership at Mr. Jefferson's capitol is more important than ever. Turnout is expected to be very light — less than 10 percent — so each vote will carry more weight and be more decisive.

There are several hotly contested primaries, especially for various Senate seats around the commonwealth, particularly on the Republican side — most likely due to the perceived momentum it has after the last two elections cycles where it cleaned up statewide offices and congressional seats. The political atmosphere is not unlike four years ago when Democrats came out of the woodwork to seek nominations to run against a wounded Republican brand, itself having been manhandled in the 2005 and 2006 elections. Democrats subsequently won the Virginia Senate from the Republicans as well as the state for Barack Obama and a U.S. Senate Seat in 2008. 

Are we in for  symmetrical reversal? It all starts tomorrow. 

If you are not yet aware if you have been redistricted into a new House or Senate district and if there is a primary where you live, below are links to today's primaries.  If you are unsure of which district you live in, click here and fill out the required information or call your local registrar. Polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Voting is at your regular precinct polling station.

Democrat Primaries – House and Senate

Democrat Primaries – Local

Republican Primaries – House and Senate

Republican Primaries - Local

We make no predictions about tomorrow or even November, except for this: If the Democrats retain control of the Virginia Senate, it will mean, according to the Mainstream Media, that President Obama is well on his way to reelection. If the Republicans win, it won't gain a headline outside the Commonwealth's borders.

Reminder: Day Of Prayer Tomorrow In Williamsburg, New Parking Information

Please join us tomorrow, June 1, as we unite in Colonial Williamsburg for another year with concerned citizens from Hampton Roads and across the Commonwealth to call out to God to restore our nation to its Judeo-Christian principles and heal our land. The event commemorates the historic action taken by Virginia leaders more than 225 years ago in the same streets when they found themselves in need of God's intervention. On June 1, 1774, the Virginia House of Burgesses called a Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer as American colonists called out to the Lord to intervene during the crisis that followed the British closing of Boston Harbor. Today, our foes are much different, but they are just as real. Whether the attack is on life, on marriage or on religious liberty, we know that there are real threats to our freedom, liberty and prosperity.

The Family Foundation is joining with an ad hoc group called Virginians for Liberty asking the Lord to have mercy on us and heal our land. Please see respected historian David Barton address this very important event in the video below.

We will assemble at the Colonial Capitol on Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg promptly at 8:00 a.m. and walk to Bruton Parish Church where prayers will be offered along with some 18th-century hymns. This will cover several blocks, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. We will finish promptly at 9:00 a.m. Bring a U.S., Virginia or Christian flag and wave it as a symbol of your devotion to this cause.

After consulting with officials in Williamsburg, we encourage you to park either in the surface lots or the parking deck adjacent to Merchants Square, right next to Colonial Williamsburg. A previous recommendation, to park near Bassett Hall, is not available to the public. Merchants Square is more convenient to where we will conclude our prayer walk, making the walk back to our cars shorter.

Historian David Barton speaks to the importance of this important event: the one 225 years ago and the one tomorrow.

Family Foundation Action Report Cards Due Out Soon: See How Your Legislators Voted, Order For Free To Distribute

It won't be long before school is out and students will receive their final grades. Our sister organization, The Family Foundation Action, is preparing to issue its own grade report — its 2010-2011 Virginia General Assembly Report Card. This bi-annual compilation grades all senators and delegates in the General Assembly on their pro-family voting record over a full two-year General Assembly cycle, and is released to coincide with the next General Assembly election, which is this November. It provides voters every legislator's voting record on issues relating to life, marriage, religious liberty, parental authority and constitutional government based on a wide range of key bills and Family Foundation priority legislation. The Report Card has become a favorite of individuals and churches across Virginia and is one of the commonwealth's most anticipated political documents and will be available by mid-May. They will be available to order free of charge for distribution at churches, schools or community groups. To be among the first in the state to receive the Report Card, click here to go to our order page, complete the form and they will be sent to you directly from the printer. Please consider placing your order before May 15 to ensure you receive your Report Cards in a timely manner. This also helps The Family Foundation Action by allowing it to prepare for Winning Matters 2011 (more on that in a future post) rather than the fulfillment and shipping of hundreds of orders.

This is another critical election year in Virginia, as all 140 seats in the General Assembly are up for election. It will be the first time in four years (when it elected a new majority) that the Virginia Senate has faced the voters, giving Virginians the opportunity to determine whether or not they like the direction the state Senate has taken since 2007.

Our Founding Fathers knew that an educated electorate was essential to good government. This has never been truer than it is today. Be sure to order enough Report Cards to have some extra for your friends, family and work associates.

Recalling The House Of Burgesses: A Call To Prayer In Colonial Williamsburg

Mark your calendar for June 1 as we again gather in Colonial Williamsburg with concerned citizens from Hampton Roads and across the commonwealth to call out to God to restore our nation to its Judeo-Christian principles and heal our land. (See picture from last year's event.) On June 1, 1774, the Virginia House of Burgesses called a Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer (see proclamation at CW's web site) as American colonists called out to the Lord to intervene when the British closed the harbor at Boston. Today, our foes are much different, but they are just as real. Whether the attack is on life, on marriage or on religious liberty, we know that there are real threats to our freedom, liberty and prosperity.

The Family Foundation will commemorate that important prayer event on Wednesday, June 1, in the historic colonial capital, with the ad hoc group Virginians for Liberty, to ask the Lord to have mercy on us and heal our land. See the video below to see historian and WallBuilders founder David Barton briefly recount the historic event and explain how to participate in this very important event. After watching it, please share it or this blog post's link with your friends, family members and especially your pastor. We have a similar video available that is designed to be shown in churches during worship services and will make that available to any church that would like to show it to their congregation. If your church does not have the ability to download and show the video, we can also make a DVD copy available for viewing.

We will assemble at the Colonial Capitol on Duke of Gloucester Street promptly at 8:00 a.m. and walk to Bruton Parish Church where prayers will be offered along with some 18th century hymns. This will cover several blocks, so wear comfortable shoes. The event will end at 9:00. Bring a U.S., Virginia or Christian flag and wave it as a symbol of your devotion to this cause.

Parking can be confusing around Colonial Williamsburg. There is a parking lot near Bassett Hall, 522 Francis Street East, which is very convenient to the Capitol. For more information or questions, please call Roger Pogge in our office at 804-343-0010 or e-mail him at roger@familyfoundation.org. We look forward to seeing you there.

A Call to Prayer

Colonial Williamsburg

Wednesday, June 1, 8:00 – 9:00 a.m

Ignite A Moment Into A Movement!

You and I have an incredible opportunity. But we must act fast. It's an opportunity to fan the embers that remain from the elections into a flame that burns for generations to come on behalf of the values you and I share. It's an exciting opportunity. But it requires that you respond before the end of the year in order to fully capitalize on it. It's called The Family Foundation’s "Ignite" plan. It's a long-term plan to ignite an enduring cultural transformation in Virginia. It's designed to ensure Virginia’s pro-family movement doesn’t "go home" thinking the election results are enough to stop those who work to undermine the timeless values you and I share. It's designed to turn the moment that was the 2009 and 2010 elections into a movement that takes back lost ground in the areas of life, liberty, marriage and family.

Click here to download a copy of the plan. As you’ll see, it focuses on The Family Foundation's work in critical areas where culture-defining battles are fought. It strategically focuses on the areas of overlap in order to create synergy and, ultimately, maximize the impact of The Family Foundation's work.

Before you download the plan, though, I want to share with you a real blessing: In order to get us off to a strong start in implementing this plan, a small group of The Family Foundation's donors have offered to match every contribution The Family Foundation receives before December 31 — up to $25,000!

That means every donation made to The Family Foundation before December 31 will be doubled automatically. A $20 contribution becomes $40; a $50 contribution becomes $100! That’s why I hope you'll consider making a contribution today. Click here to make a secure online contribution.

Ignite may well be the most important plan The Family Foundation has ever undertaken, and the matching gift is an incredible opportunity to get it off to a really fast start.

You and I both know the people and organizations who work to undermine the timeless values we share are not going to "go home" just because they’ve had a couple bad elections. History shows us losing elections only serve to motivate them — and not just for the next election. Those who work against the principles The Family Foundation advocates are likely to become even more aggressive in training new leaders, pushing radical legislation, preparing voter education programs, and much more.

Simply put, if you and I don't start immediately working to build on the momentum of the 2009 and 2010 elections it won't be long until we end up right back where we started.

Like you, I want to build on our past victories because there is so much more to be done. From adding to past pro-life victories to reestablishing our religious freedom to bringing school choice to Virginia, we have many victories ahead! And the Ignite plan will play a big role in realizing them. But we need you today.

So please, take a few minutes to review the plan today. Thank you for your loyal support. I’m excited about the future and look forward to working with you to ignite an enduring cultural transformation in Virginia.