traditional marriage

The Marriage Debate: Family Foundation On The Air!

The Family Foundation of Virginia is the point organization when it comes defending marriage in Virginia. I have a friend who is very disengaged politically and even he called me to say that he saw our name "all over the place" when news broke that Attorney General Mark Herring decided not to defend Virginia's Constitution. "All over the place" is an apt phrase. We were quoted nationally as well as throughout Virginia regarding the controversy. Whether it was a local publication in Ohio or the Associated Press, The Family Foundation was the point organization for the media to get the view point of those who defend traditional marriage.

Just today, as we organized a rally outside the Norfolk federal courthouse, where a hearing was held on the constitutionality of Virginia's Marriage Amendment, news organization after news organization interviewed our president, Victoria Cobb. Here's a sampling you may want to listen to:

Washington Watch With Tony Perkins

Sandy Rios In The Morning (February 3 podcast)

Sandy Rios In The Morning (Live, February 5 broadcast)

More Coverage on CBN

Proposed Constitutional Amendments Killed Quickly In House Sub-Committee

In a kind odd of legislative twin-killing, the House Privileges and Elections Sub-Committee on Constitutional Amendments offed two proposed state constitutional amendments this morning. Governor Bob McDonnell's proposal to restore voting rights to certain felons, HJ 539, carried by Delegate Greg Habeeb (R-8, Salem), took the first hit, even with Ken Cuccinelli, making a rare Attorney General witness appearance before a sub-committee, in favor. The first hint that the resolution was going down, before a packed General Assembly Building Fourth Floor West Conference Room, with interested persons spilling well out into the hallway, was when the sub-committee rolled all proposed resolutions on the subject, including Delegate Habeeb's, into HJ 535, patroned by Democrat Delegate Charniele Herring of Alexandria — saving the large Republican majority from killing a Republican governor's legislation. ("Rolling" is a consolidation of similar bills into another existing bill to streamline a committee's meeting agenda.)

In this case, Delegate Herring's version became the resolution of record and, therefore, as the third ranking House Democrat, much more favorable to the sword. It died on a 6-1 vote to "pass by indefinitely" with one of the two sub-committee Democrats (Delegate Johnny Joannou of Portsmouth) voting with the GOP members. Sources indicate that many Republicans not only had serious policy questions about the content of the proposal, but took exception to a lack of notification by the governor — they heard about it for the first time Wednesday night during his State of the Commonwealth Address.

HJ 665, meant to repeal Virginia's Marriage Amendment, and patroned by Delegate Scott Surovell (D-44, Fairfax), met a similar fate, but for different reasons. On policy, the conservative sub-committee completely disagreed with Delegate Surovell's rationale, no amount of time for discussion would've mattered, and there was no need for parliamentary disguises. The people have spoken on this one and at least three-quarters of the states are in agreement — trying to portray maintaining the definition of traditional marriage as "extreme" is disingenuous at best. The sword fell swiftly via voice vote with only Democrat Algie Howell of Norfolk opposing the motion to pass by indefinitely.

Same-Sex Marriage – The New Fix To Boost The Economy?

Marriage is good for the economy. Wedding invitations, photographers, bakeries, florists … if you've recently paid for a wedding yourself, you cringe at the thought of how much you just stimulated the economy. But when University of Pennsylvania professors Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers say that marriage is economically favorable, they mean something entirely different. Professors Stevenson and Wolfers in yesterday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch Op/Ed opine that same-sex marriage is beneficial for the economy … and not in the flowers and invitations kind of way.

Stevenson and Wolfers claim that marriage between man and wife has "evolved" over time. No longer does "separate roles, separate spheres and specialization" define a well-run family institution, but rather they claim we have entered an era in which "washing machines, dishwashers and microwave ovens have reduced the value to the family 'firm' of employing a domestic specialist." And with no need for a "domestic specialist" comes a change in the constitution of marriage. Marriage has become a canvas for the pursuit of pleasure and shared enjoyment or "hedonic marriage" as Stevenson and Wolfers term it.

Enter same-sex marriage.

Stevenson and Wolfers argue that modern "hedonic marriage" doesn’t need a breadwinner and a "domestic specialist," it doesn’t allow for a "nurturer" and a "disciplinarian," it wasn't purposed for procreation or child-rearing, and it definitely doesn’t require one man and one woman. With the purpose of pleasure-seeking, these professors argue that man and man can accomplish this just as well as man and woman.

If the purpose of marriage is as they say it is, then yes, I’ll agree that any combination of two, and why not three or four or five people, can pleasure-seek as well as any other combination. But the fallacy of their argument is the purpose of marriage.

Marriage is a lifelong union between one man and one woman, an institution of God and a foundation for civil society, a strong social order providing a vehicle for long-term economic development and security within society, and a safety net for men, women and children. An abundance of social science shows us that men, women and children benefit economically, physically and emotionally from a stable, traditional two-parent marriage and family. If we want a thriving economy, we have to have thriving, two-parent, mom and dad, families.

Additionally, "domestic specialists" are not as obsolete as Stephenson and Wolfers would have us believe.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 5 million stay at home moms in the year 2010. Before the recession, a stay at home mom was present in 24 percent of married couples with children under the age of 15. As a side note, the disdain expressed in this Op/Ed over the "domestic specialist" reminds me a bit of the comment Democrat Strategist Hilary Rosen made in reference to Ann Romney being a stay at home mom who "had never worked a day in her life." No matter how specialized and sanitized dishwashers become and no matter how many attachments are included with the latest vacuum, technology will never replace the real work done by stay at home mothers (or dads for that matter). Childrearing and the needs of a child have not changed one bit in all these years over which Stephenson and Wolfers have claimed that parenthood and marriage have "evolved."

Finally, explain to me the following. Polling shows that a large majority of people still long to be married. A vast majority state that marriage is an important life goal of theirs. According to Forbes magazine, the percentage of the American populace that has ever married is 80 percent — still incredibly high. So if we've really moved on from the days of "Ozzie and Harriet" and the 2.3 kids and the white picket fence, and if marriage is just legalized pleasure as Stephenson and Wolfers presume, why do people continue to long for marriage? Is traditional marriage really as obsolete as these professors paint it to be?

If marriage in modern society is nothing more than a legal union for sensual gratification, then true, biblical marriage has been cast aside for ages. But therein lies the catch. From the very foundation of the world, marriage has been a God-ordained institution dedicated to productivity and the establishing of stability in society. To call marriage "hedonic" is an arbitrary statement and shows a lack of understanding of the institution as it was designed and intended.

Media Seeks TFF's Opinion On President Obama's Political Coming-Out-Of-The-Closet

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.

Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing Tomorrow Morning On DOMA, TFF Allies To Testify, Attend If Possible

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow morning to discuss S.598 — a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (read the bill here). Approved in 1996 by 84 percent of Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, DOMA defines marriage as between one man and one woman, and protects states such as Virginia from being forced to accept another state's recognition of same-sex marriages. Both the House and the Senate have introduced bills to repeal DOMA and President Obama has called DOMA unconstitutional. His Justice Department decided, in the middle of the legal process, to stop defending DOMA in court, a radical shirking of constitutional responsibility to defend the laws of the country when challenged. The defeat of these repeal DOMA bills are crucial to the stability of God-ordained, traditional marriage as the bedrock of our society.

Several excellent scholars will testify in favor of keeping DOMA, all allies all of The Family Foundation: Tom Minnery (executive director of CitizenLink), Austin Nimocks (senior legal counsel for Alliance Defense Fund, see excellent blog post on marriage, here), and Edward Whelan (president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, see the written testimony he will present tomorrow). If you live in Northern Virginia, and if it is at all possible, please attend the hearing tomorrow morning to show your support for DOMA. Because of the anticipated size of the crowd, the hearing has been moved from the Dirksen Senate Office Building to room 216 of the Hart Senate Office Building. Although the hearing begins at 10:00 a.m. attendees need to be in line no later than 8:00 to get a sea. We ask those who cannot that you keep Tom, Austin and Edward in your prayers as they defend for us the definition of marriage. (The proceedings may very well end up on C-SPAN and/or archived its web site.)

It's "Gay" Marriage, Stupid!

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.

American Voters On Same-Sex Marriage: Not So Fast!

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.

While Some May Want A Truce On Social Issues, Governor McDonnell Says Press On

While some Republicans, in Virginia and nationally, think the time has come and passed on "social issues" (i.e., preserving life and marriage), and that elections can be won only from the "center," Governor Bob McDonnell has some news for you. Social issues matter and they are worth the fight. Charlottesville television station NBC29's RichmondReport conducted an interview (read here) with the governor and posted the video online today. He was asked if there should be a "truce on social issues," perhaps in response to Indiana governor and potential GOP presidential candidate Mitch Daniels, who created headlines last year when he said there should be a "truce" on social issues (i.e., throw in the towel, traditional marriage supporters and pro-lifers). Last week, Governor Daniels reiterated that position unapologetically in The Hill.

Equally unequivocal, Governor McDonnell said that while people tend to think first about jobs and fiscal issues during a tough economy, there are certain issues that must always be discussed because they go to the core of our founding, most especially life. He added that issues regarding the family are a significant aspect of public policy and government has a place in looking for solutions to problems affecting families and in making them stronger.

From the interview:

I believe that’s very much what the focus ought to be on right now, but to say we’re not going to discuss any social or values issues because they’re controversial, I don’t think is the right thing to do. ...

There are (issues) regarding life and marriage and family that there are public policies that I think the government needs to set. ...

No truce here, carry on: Governor McDonnell affirms the importance of life, marriage and other "social issues" in public policy that some politicians prefer to ignore.

Stop Hating, Start Debating Part II

Yesterday, we commented on the far left Southern Poverty Law Center's aspersions on more than 150 organizations that stand for traditional marriage. Today, we share some thoughts on the subject of Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. In a letter to supporters, he wrote:

The surest sign one is losing a debate is to resort to character assassination. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a liberal fundraising machine whose tactics have been condemned by observers across the political spectrum, is doing just that.

The group, once known for combating racial bigotry, is now attacking several groups that uphold Judeo-Christian moral views, including marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

How does the SPLC attack? By labeling its opponents "hate groups." No discussion. No consideration of the issues. No engagement. No debate!

These types of slanderous tactics are not limited to a handful of Christian groups. They have been used against voters who signed petitions and voted for marriage amendments in all thirty states that have considered them, as well as against the millions of Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement.

This is intolerance pure and simple. Elements of the radical Left are trying to shut down informed discussion of policy issues that are being considered by Congress, legislatures, and the courts. The SPLC has even admitted that their goal is to censor our views in the media.

We need you to stand with us. Please visit StartDebatingStopHating.com, and join with other national leaders and me in telling the radical Left it is time to stop spreading hate-charged rhetoric about individuals and organizations simply because they disagree with our ideas. Our debates can and must remain civil — but they must never be suppressed.

Remember, if they can silence pro-family organizations, they will attempt to use pressure and the power of government to target pastors and citizens like you who publicly stand for traditional principles.

This is the standard operating procedure for the Angry Left. Having nothing to offer but government control over people's lives, it demonizes anyone and any group of people who stand for traditional values, because those values are grounded in liberty and freedom which is antithetical to its aims. It's too much to ask, but if those in the Mainstream Media, who pontificate about the coarseness of our politics, didn't legitimize attack machines such as the SPLC, the political discourse in this country would improve the next day.

What is sad about the partnership of radical leftists and the MSM is that what they accuse values voters of cheapens the charge against those who actually engage in those behaviors. It's crying wolf. The fact that this partnership cares not about that reveals its sincerity in exposing true hate and harm at the expense of advancing their radical agenda.

Far Left SPLC Tries To Smear Pro-Family Organizations; Time To Stop Hating, Start Debating

We all remember the rhyme "sticks and stones," and those of us in the pro-family movement are certainly used to being called just about every name in the book. So the recent attack by the far left Southern Poverty Law Center (see Christianity Today) on Americans who believe in the sanctity of human life and traditional marriage certainly doesn’t bother me — but it does reflect the desperation of the far left. Unfortunately, SPLC and other leftist organizations have gone as far as urge that pro-family spokespersons, such as the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, be denied the opportunity to be guests on national news programs. In response to the SPLC's labeling of pro-family organizations and leaders as "hate groups," The Family Foundation has joined with nearly 150 other national and state organizations to denounce the SPLC's attack and call for a civil debate on the merits of the issues.

Name-calling reveals a lack of strength and character — and of valid arguments. By dismissing debate and dialogue, SPLC and its liberal funders simply are avoiding having their assumptions challenged.

The Family Foundation and the other pro-family groups that have signed on to the response welcome the debate. We have the truth, the facts, on our side. To read more about the response, go to startdebatingstophating.com. You also can sign onto the response at that site (and share this link to encourage others to do so).

We are proud of our association with Focus on the Family, The Family Research Council, the Alliance Defense Fund and the other nearly 40 Family Policy Councils around the country! It is indeed sad that the divisions in our country have brought us to the point where believing that marriage as we have always known it — between a man and a woman — is viewed as hateful. It is even more distressing that there are organizations working, literally, to silence voices that carry the pro-family, pro-life message.

We are blessed with tens of thousands of people across Virginia who support The Family Foundation and our pro-family message! You and I know that our principles, our values, make society stronger and more stable. That is a message that will not be silenced!

Historic Elections: But Why?

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.

Incredible, Yet Predictable: Prop 8 Decision Dissected By Ed Meese

Here's a peek inside U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling that declared unconstitutional California's Prop 8 (Marriage Amendment) by former U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese (now at The Heritage Foundation). Unfortunately, as incredible (in the literal sense of the word) as Judge Walker's decision was, it was predictable given that it was agenda driven and not based on the law, precedent, legal standards of evidence or any hint of sound reasoning.  So egregious, in fact, that the most liberal appeals court in the land, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, earlier this week issued a stay of his ruling to at least January. On Tuesday, Mr. Meese wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post that concisely dissects the many incorrect paths Judge Walker took to his conclusion (read here). More precisely, he shreds them. Here is an example:  

Regardless of whether one agrees with the result, structurally sound opinions always confront binding legal precedent. Walker's is a clear exception because the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken on whether a state's refusal to authorize same-sex marriage violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment. In 1972, Baker v. Nelson, a case over whether Minnesota violated the Constitution by issuing marriage licenses only to opposite-sex couples, was unanimously thrown out on the merits, for lack of a substantial federal question. 

That is, to say, the feds have no say in states role in regulating marriage. In addition, the judge ignored factual evidence submitted by Prop 8 attorneys, while — again, incredibly — making up his own evidence. Writes Mr. Meese:

Despite voluminous evidence and common sense pointing to the contrary, the judge also declared that opposite sexes were never part of the "historical core of the institution of marriage"; "evidence shows conclusively that moral and religious views form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different than opposite-sex couples"; traditional marriage is an "artifact"; and, also without reference to the monumental evidence to the contrary, that it is beyond "any doubt that parents' genders are irrelevant to children's developmental outcomes."

These assertions appear in the opinion's "findings of fact" section, yet they are not facts. These "findings" derive from arbitrary and capricious non-analysis and are forcefully contradicted by evidence in the court record. No appellate court should allow the ruling to stand.

Judge Walker than implies that opponents of same-sex marriage are bigots — a big, bold, italics, underlined highlight to what is an agenda-policy statement, rather than a legal ruling. As Mr. Meese points out, that means:

President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the majority of members of Congress and the 7 million Californians who voted for Proposition 8 are all bigots who have "no rational reason" to oppose gay marriage.

Mr. Meese's op-ed is a good read on the law that lay people can understand and which we commend to you. It also sounds like a firm outline on which the decision's appeal should be made.

Calling A "Truce" On Social Issues?

Today, as we watch an out of control federal government spend our children's futures into fiscal oblivion, as we watch our own president ignore constitutional principles, and as we watch the greatest expansion of government in our lifetimes and the corresponding loss of freedom it brings — aren't the issues you and I care about, as your teenagers might say, "so yesterday"? I mean, we hear it all the time. From media pundits and politicians — even politicians who used to be one of us — we hear the new mantra that there are "more important issues that need to be dealt with," such as the economy, jobs and our security. However, abortion and traditional marriage — "family values" — are divisive distractions from what really matters.

Just recently, yet another political leader, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels — a "pro-family" Republican mentioned as a presidential candidate — urged us to "call a truce" (see Hot Air) on family issues until the nation's economic problems are solved. After all, aren't we all worried about the economy? Isn't making sure we have jobs so we can feed our families more important right now than so-called "social issues"? (See Weekly Standard.)

That is certainly what the political class in Richmond and Washington want us to think. And wouldn't it be so much easier for them if they didn’t have to be "distracted" by issues that they deem less important than the economy? So, how do I, the president of The Family Foundation, respond to that? Why do I believe our mission is more important than ever and that you need to be a part of that mission?

While there is no doubt that reinvigorating our economy and getting Americans back to work is a high priority, the way to do that is not government programs and giveaways. It is strong families that provide the foundation for financial success (study after study proves it, read here). Let's be frank — no matter how good the economy, our nation is in peril if we continue to ignore God's principles of justice for innocent life and family.

I am increasingly discouraged by what I see around me in our culture and, in particular, the increasing hostility toward religious faith in the public square. Our religious freedom is facing a crucial challenge. I honestly believe that our right to practice our faith — to exercise our religion and voice our opinions in matters of public policy — is in danger. There are a lot of people and groups that want us to shut up and go away. But I can promise you, The Family Foundation is not going away.

We have been here for a quarter of a century and we will be here for another quarter century with your continued help and activism. We are going to continue to fight for values-centered public policy — laws based on our values — regardless of our opponents. We are going to continue to fight for lower taxes, less government, education freedom, strong marriages and, yes, for the unborn, even when it's uncomfortable for the political class.

It isn't our job to make politicians comfortable. It's our job to hold them accountable.

Respond To Governor Kaine's Same-Sex Benefits Proposal

Winning elections is one thing. But the real work is the constant vigil to ensure that those who got elected follow through on their promises and platforms. With a sweep of pro-family statewide officials and a wider majority in the House of Delegates after November’s election, it would be easy to sit back and watch. However, late last week Governor Tim Kaine (contact), already intent on creating mischief  for the incoming administration by proposing tax increases in the new budget he will introduce before he exits office, lobbed a grenade into the room when he announced his intention to expand health care benefits for state employees to include not only same-sex partners, but anyone living in a house with a state worker. A peculiar legacy indeed, but he's leaving office as he came in — promoting tax increases and special rights for homosexuals just as he did in his first week in office, despite campaigning to the contrary. Already, the state’s largest homosexual "rights" lobby, Equality Virginia, is actively promoting the change.

While expanding benefits to same-sex relationships is a clear violation of the Marriage Amendment passed by Virginia voters just three years ago, it is obvious that Governor Kaine has no intention to abide by it. Currently, only spouses and children are eligible for state health care benefits. Because these types of benefits have traditionally been "benefits of marriage," expanding beyond marriage violates both the spirit and the language of the Marriage Amendment. Health benefits have been tied to marriage for decades because the state understands it has a compelling interest in benefitting and encouraging marriage —ultimately because children benefit the most from marriage. As the vast majority understood in 2006 when 2.1 million of us voted in favor of the Marriage Amendment, we need to protect and elevate traditional marriage for our children’s sake.

Attempts at expanding this beyond marriage makes any and all relationships equal to marriage, thereby undermining that foundational institution. Interestingly, the "Notice of Intended Regulatory Action Agency Background Document" that announces the regulation change makes several astonishing claims, such as saying the proposal "should have little impact on the family or family stability."

Really? By allowing non-married couples the identical benefits as those who are married, does that not make marriage less necessary? The notice also claims that the only "alternative" to the proposal is nationalized health care, such as the current Congressional proposals.

Kaine’s plan, as proposed, borders on the ludicrous. It would seemingly allow a recent college graduate who gets a job with the state to add any and all of his or her housemates to his or her health insurance.

One of the most influential proponents of this type of domestic partner benefits has been the presidents of Virginia’s taxpayer funded colleges and universities, claiming that they can’t bring qualified professors to our college campuses because other states offer such benefits. Yet, only 16 other states currently offer such benefits.

While the proposed benefit expansion will ultimately be decided upon by Governor-elect Bob McDonnell, who expressed reservations about it due to possible costs, proponents of the policy claim that there will be no cost to the state. However, such an expansion of benefits, certainly will increase the cost of health insurance for the state and consequently, Virginia taxpayers.

But don't think you can't do anything about this: There is a public comment period until midnight December 23, where the Department of Human Resources Management is seeking your opinion.

Please contact the Department of Human Resources Management by clicking here. 

Once on the site, click "Enter a comment" and express your opposition to Governor Kaine’s proposal.

Virginia News Stand: November 18, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations Who's Controversial Now?

Our top story's headline is misleading and is an excellent example of media bias. The abstinence-only speaker invited to a Henrico County high school is not causing controversy. She was invited and people may or may not attend. No student or parent said a word. It is 10 teachers and two outside groups — radical pro-abortion and homosexual advocacy organizations — who got wind of it and raised a stink. So, who's being controversial?

On another front, Governor Tim Kaine now is staking his legacy to pre-K. It will be anything but that, but what's amazing is that even as he shuns the liberal tag, he takes credit for a large expansion of government in the face of a backlash to that philosophy. Accordingly, Delegate Kirk Cox (R-66, Colonial Heights), the majority whip and senior member of the Appropriations Committee, broached eliminating it today on a Richmond radio station. Good for him.

Nationally, James Pethokoukis of Reuters uncovers a backdoor method Congressional Democrats and President Obama hope to raise taxes by three trillion dollars! It's a very short, but revealing, read. Also of note, the Washington Post published a lengthy feature on Family Foundation friend Bishop Harry Jackson, who has become, perhaps, the nation's leading defender of traditional marriage. Very much worth the read.

Finally, in news that must horrify liberals (other than an abstinence-only speaker at a high school) a CNN poll has found that 61 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funded abortion, 51 percent oppose allowing insurance policies to cover abortions, and — sit down for this liberals — between 63 and 73 percent oppose legal abortions under any circumstance except for the 2 percent of abortions done each year in the cases of rape, incest and when the mother's life is endangered. No wonder they're reduced to protesting abstinence speakers.

News:

Abstinence-only speaker stirs controversy (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Virginia budget outlook poor; shortfall could grow (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Va. might have to cut $2.9 billion more by '12 (Washington Post)

Kaine cites pre-K success during his term (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Hamilton case ignites calls to overhaul ethics rules (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Allen tax plan backed by Crusade (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Analysis:

Is Obama planning a $3 trillion income tax increase? (James Pethokoukis/Political Risk Blog Reuters.com)

National:

CNN Poll: 61% Oppose Tax-Funded Abortions, 63%  Oppose All or Most Abortions (LifeNews.com)

Internal Results of CNN/Opinion Research Poll on Abortion, Health Care (CNN/Opinion Research)

Seeking to put asunder (Washington Post)

D.C. vote on gay marriage denied (Washington Times)

AP Turns Heads for Devoting 11 Reporters to Palin Book 'Fact Check' (FoxNews.com)

Voter Registration Deadline This Monday Afternoon!

This coming Monday, October 5, is the last day to register to be eligible to vote in the November election. If you are not registered, or if you have recently moved, be sure to go to your local voter registrar’s office and register to vote. You may also download the Virginia voter registration from the State Board of Elections’ Web site by clicking here. All eyes are on Virginia and New Jersey this November, as the only two states with statewide elections. The outcomes will be crucial and it is vital that your voice is heard. Will Virginia continue down the path of secular progressivism, the seeds of which are being planted by the Obama Administration, or will we say, "enough is enough," and return to the proven principles of freedom, respect for life, traditional marriage and smaller, limited government? We are blessed in this nation to be able to choose our governmental leaders. We must do all that we can to ensure that we elect men and women who understand that the greatness our nation is in its Judeo-Christian foundation and that we must uphold those principles if we are to remain a great nation.

If you already are registered to vote, make sure your friends and family members also are registered. Offer to take them to the registrar’s office or help them download the registration form (you can also register at places such as libraries and the DMV). If possible, hold a voter registration drive in your church this Sunday.

Four years ago, the Attorney General’s race was decided by just 360 votes. Every vote counts!

In addition, the military deadline is approaching as well! If you are a Virginia resident serving in the military outside of the commonwealth or have a son or daughter deployed who needs to register, military personnel may use the Federal Post Card Application to register to vote and apply for an absentee ballot both at the same time. The application must be received by the local registrar by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 5. There is a provision for these to be faxed or e-mai as well as through the U.S. Postal Service. For more information, click here for the Virginia State Board of Elections page on the military.

Register Online For Family Foundation Gala Featuring Mike Huckabee!

Tickets for The Family Foundation of Virginia's 2009 Annual Gala, featuring keynote speaker Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate, and current host of his own show on Fox News Channel, now are available online!

To purchase tickets, sign up for sponsorships and find other details online about this marquee event, click here to visit our Web site.

Space is limited so sign up now before tables and seats fill up!

The Gala is Monday, October 26, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. A private sponsors reception and photo line with Governor Huckabee will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m. Suggested dress is business attire. Sponsorship benefits for the various levels include seats at Governor Huckabee’s table, a photo with him, a private reception and autographed books.

Click here for complete details.

Mike Huckabee is the host of the number one rated weekend cable hit, Huckabee, on the Fox News Channel. Known for his strong stand in defense of the unborn and traditional marriage, he is a former Baptist minister who ran for and won elected office. He is the embodiment of everything the angry far left in our nation hates — a combination of church and state!

There is a discounted group rate available at The Richmond Marriott-Downtown, for out of town guests who wish to stay overnight. The hotel is located directly across the street from the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Please call the Marriott at (804) 643-3400 and mention The Family Foundation Annual Gala for more information.

For questions, more information or to register by phone, please call The Family Foundation office at (804) 343-0010.

It's Huckabee!

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that the keynote speaker for The Family Foundation's 2009 Richmond Gala will be the former Governor of Arkansas, candidate for President, and currently a FOX News commentator Governor Mike Huckabee!

Governor Huckabee, the host of the number one rated weekend hit Huckabee on the Fox News Channel, is known for his strong stand in defense of the unborn and traditional marriage. A former Baptist minister that ran for and won elected office, he is the embodiment of everything the far left in our nation hates — a combination of church and state! 

I can't tell you how excited we are that Governor Huckabee will be joining us for the annual Richmond Gala, Monday, October 26. The dinner will be at 7:00 p.m. and a private sponsors reception and photo line beginning at 5:30 p.m.

We've moved the Gala up from previous years to accommodate Governor Huckabee's schedule, and we hope you will be able to come to Richmond to join us for what promises to be an incredibly motivating evening just a week before this year's crucial elections.

Details for the evening are being finalized, but invitations will be in the mail soon!

The invitation will include details of the sponsorship benefits including the private reception, photo line, and autographed book by Governor Huckabee. A discounted hotel group rate is also being negotiated for people desiring to spend the night in Richmond. 

So please mark your calendar today and plan to be in Richmond the evening of Monday, October 26, to hear Governor Mike Huckabee at The Family Foundation's Richmond Gala!

VEA/NEA Endorse Policy Contrary To Virginia Law At The Expense Of Education

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."

Obama Defends DOMA And The Legislative Process, Angers Homosexual Activists

Who recently said that marriage between one man and one woman is the "traditional and universally recognized form of marriage"? If you guessed Carrie Prejean, who lost her Miss California crown last week (see Fox News) — after pageant officials said she could keep it — for speaking out in favor of traditional marriage, or some right-wing Christian fanatic you are . . . wrong. However, if you guessed Tony West — Ding! Ding! Ding! You win.

Who's Tony West? He is the United States Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division and he filed the legal brief defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act in federal court June 11 (see here). The Obama administration, in fact, is asking the federal court to dismiss the case, brought on by a "married" homosexual pair.

Now, major homosexual special interest groups are going ballistic, with a leader of one blasting the president in a personal letter (see Wall Street Journal). Not only that, but the New York Times is steaming mad, too. The poor president can't get a break. 

In the brief, the administration sounds as right-wing crazy as the 57 percent of Virginians who voted for our Marriage Amendment, unintended consequences and all:

In allowing each State to withhold its recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, Congress was merely confirming longstanding conflict-of-laws principles in a valid exercise of its express power to settle such questions under the Full Faith and Credit Clause. That Clause ensures that each State retains the authority to decline to apply another State's law when it conflicts with its own public policies. DOMA is fully consistent with that constitutional principle, as it permits States to experiment with and maintain the exclusivity of their own legitimate public policies — such as whether that State chooses to recognize or reject same-sex marriages. Similarly, in relation to plaintiffs' purported "right to travel" claim, DOMA simply does not impinge upon anyone's ability to travel among the States. Again, it merely permits each State to follow its own policy with respect to marriage.

Although the administration says it wants to repeal DOMA legislatively, it also says that while it is still the law, it is constitutional, and must be defended. Admittedly, this position is surprising coming from a president who, as a law professor, said restraints had to be put on the Constitution (hear for yourself) and believes in courts making policy rather than inerpreting the law, but it is refreshing — and correct — nonethesame.

It's also fun to see liberals disillusioned with their "anointed one" whom they unceasingly, thoughtlessly adore. A little wedge on the left is never bad.

Now the Obama administration has itself in a pretzel, not only casting doubt on his sincerity on homosexual "rights" (he's abandoned other promises as well), but establishing a precedent for defending laws it disagrees with by abandoning its advocacy of judicial activism. That said, we doubt it has established a pattern, but will still watch whether the administration continues this intellectual honesty regarding the proper roles of the legislative and judicial branches.