Fairfax FLE Changes are "an Insult"May. 25, 2018
Yesterday I was at the Fairfax County School Board meeting. I was surrounded scores of Fairfax residents who came to speak up about the Family Life Education changes that are being recommended for students.
Some of the most drastic changes being proposed include:
1. Teaching that “sex is assigned at birth” rather than “biological.”
2. Instructing children about “PreP,” an HIV prevention drug that is designed for use by people engaging in anal sex.
3. Removing “Clergy” from the list of “trusted adults” that students can talk to about sex.
4. Moving part of the Family Life Education curriculum out of FLE and moving it to health class – so that parents don’t have the opt-out option for their children!
Not only are these ideas dangerous for students – teaching them things that are not in accordance with medical and scientific realities – but they are insulting to clergy and restrict parental authority.
Bishop Burbridge, the Bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese over Fairfax, said that it is “a great insult that our clergy who give their lives to serving young people and helping them do what is good and right might be removed from a list of someone who can be trusted. I take that as a personal insult.” He said, urging everyone in Fairfax to take action and contact the School Board. Hundreds have done so.
I am encouraged to see that so many people are concerned about this issue and are taking action. People throughout Fairfax are making their voices heard by sending e-mails with their concerns to the Public Comment address. That public comment period remains open on this topic until June 8th.
Not as many of those residents who want to protect children and teach them biological realities were present at the School Board meeting itself. Last night I was surrounded by close to 60 people dressed in purple and pink, waving rainbow flags, and holding signs that said, “Science supports LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum.”
Their arguments are not sound, and do not reflect what science clearly teaches about human biology and reproduction. This group, supported by FCPS Pride, often accomplishes their agenda through volume, not facts.
Their spokesperson made a comment to the School Board endorsing all of these recommended changes. He was supported by close to 60 people standing up behind him. He said that any opposition to the changes was being motivated by a “polished PR office in Richmond” (referring to me). He doesn’t believe that any Fairfax County residents actually care about these changes.
He’s wrong. Fairfax residents do care about what is being taught in public school. It is important that they show their concern by attending the next School Board Meeting on June 14th at 7:00pm at the Luther Jackson Middle School.
For more information on making public comments and attending the School Board Meeting, e-mail me at email@example.com or by calling 804-343-0010 extension 240.
United Against LARC FundingMay. 10, 2018
On Wednesday I was joined by our friends from the Virginia Catholic Conference, the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia, and the Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists at a Press Conference at the Capitol.
We stood united against the budget proposal creating a multi-million dollar "slush fund" for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. This is outrageous! The budget proposal is for a pilot program distributing Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (or "LARCs"), which may send millions of dollars to the abortion industry. These abortion providers will charge taxpayers huge amounts of money to insert these devices, some of which can cause abortions, and will prevent pregnancies up to ten years!
Currently Virginians give Planned Parenthood approximately $150,000 every year in funding for programs and for abortions in very limited circumstances. The proposals could increase that amount over twenty or forty times! This chart demonstrates how dramatic the increase could be under the current proposals.
“At a time when the entire budget is held up because healthcare dollars are scarce, launching a new pilot program administered by the abortion industry under the guise of caring for women ought to be an easy cut to make,” I said in the press conference.
Tanya Ewbank, a resident of Virginia Beach, also shared her moving testimony. She was forced into an abortion by the staff and abortion doctor, and she is sure that women in vulnerable positions will be pressured into these Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives. Her testimony is powerful. You can view the entire conference online now.
I concluded the press conference by calling on the Senate and House budget conferee members to immediately remove this program from the budget. You can join that demand by clicking the link below and writing to your legislators and asking them not to send millions of dollars to the abortion industry in Virginia.
Shields not SwordsMay. 07, 2018
Seldom do I find myself in agreement with James Parrish, the Executive Director of the LGBT advocacy group Equality Virginia, yet I have to applaud his characterization of The Family Foundation’s position in a recent speech he gave at the group’s annual dinner.
Speaking about two recently defeated bills that would have introduced the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” (or “SOGI”) into state law, according to The Washington Blade, “Parrish said the ‘only objective’ of the bills’ opponents — the Family Foundation of Virginia . . . — was ‘to keep sexual orientation and gender identity out of the code.’ ” He’s exactly right.
In opposing these recurring SOGI bills, making sure our laws are left alone truly is our “only objective.” Hence, he won’t hear us asking the legislature to direct the policy decisions of private companies, many of whom — as Equality Virginia is keen to point out — have adopted various internal SOGI policies relative to employment. He won’t find us disregarding the dignity of anyone, or seeking to inhibit any person from receiving what they are due. Our conviction about the sanctity and intrinsic value of every life compels our recognition that every individual is entitled to equal justice under law.
At the same time, we’ve noticed that whenever and wherever governments create special legal protections for traits that are neither static nor readily apparent to others (and therefore, impossible to define) — such as “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” — the only effect has been to create an open invitation for unnecessary and often-unfounded accusations, litigation, and discrimination against those who hold a different viewpoint. Nondiscrimination laws were designed to act as a “shield” of protection for those who, as members of a distinct class, experience widespread invidious discrimination and yet are politically-powerless so as to be unable to rectify societal mistreatment through other means. Unfortunately, the addition of SOGI to these laws has instead created a “sword” for some to attack others who disagree with their beliefs on human sexuality.
Since issues of sexuality so often carry deep and profound moral, ethical, and religious implications — particularly for followers of most of the major faith traditions — every place where SOGI has been given special legal status, people of deep religious faith become the flashpoint of a serious conflict and find themselves faced with the loss of their jobs, businesses, livelihoods, reputations, and more.
Just as Parrish stated, “[Equality Virginia’s] agenda is to make sure people can live authentic lives”, The Family Foundation exists to ensure that all people have the ability to freely and authentically live out – to “exercise” – their faith, even and especially when that faith counters the beliefs of the majority of society. In order for all people to live authentic lives, no one can be expected to check their faith-identity at the door when they enter the marketplace or their workplace. If one uses their artistic talent in their professional lives, as cake bakers, photographers and florists do, they must not be forced to participate in the celebration of something that violates a core tenet of their faith. They can’t set their faith aside for any one moment, because it’s who they are. It is this understanding of faith-identities that requires us to take every reasonable action to prevent the unnecessary and unjustified insertion of SOGI into our state Code – because, for countless people of sincere faith, governments are now using these laws as weapons to make it impossible to live their convictions.
Where Mr. Parrish and I part ways is in our view of the outcome of these bills. I am thankful that our legislature continues to resist annual requests to add SOGI to our laws, even as the House is under new leadership. Speaker Cox, like Speaker Howell before him, understands that Virginians of faith have been spared the destructive “sword-wielding” currently taking place in every state that opted to trade prudence for political pandering.
For the good of all concerned, we’d like to keep it that way.
(This piece was originally published as an Op/Ed in the May 5 edition of The Roanoke Times.)
Pursuing Godliness in CaliforniaApr. 30, 2018
A bill in California would ban “sexual orientation change efforts.”
There has been a lot of talk about California Bill 2943. The California Policy Council is working diligently to protect the people of California by preventing it from being passed. Focus on the Family, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Coalition, and David French at the National Review have all written clearly in opposition to this bill and about the consequences it would have on religious liberty. Dr. Russell Moore wrote a letter to Governor Gerry Brown urging him to oppose the bill.
This bill would be a violation of our Constitutional right of Free Speech as well as a violation of our Free Exercise of Religion. It would silence pastors. It would even threaten to bar the sale of books according to analysis from Alliance Defending Freedom!
I cannot improve on what they have written so clearly. So, rather than going over the text of the bill and its impact on religious leaders in California, I will write about its impact on men like me.
Men like me have sexual attractions for other men – in my case, since I was twelve years old. Men like me do not embrace those attractions, but instead “take every thought captive” and live in obedience to Christ. Christ calls us to live differently.
California’s potential law is based on the idea that “sexual orientation” is a fixed and immutable part of who we are. The law is nonsensical if you do not accept the ideological–and even religious–premise that our sexual attractions and romantic feelings are central to our identity.
I reject that ideological dogma. My identity is centered in the fact that I was created. My Creator determines my identity.
I am a man, made in the image and likeness of God. Sin has distorted that image, though, and I experience attractions which are not accurate reflections of the image of God.
Redemption from that sinful distortion was accomplished for me by Christ, who has changed my identity from “sinner” to “son.” I am a son of God through the work of Christ. That is my identity.
The underlying premise of this bill is based on a false understanding of our identity. Its effect is to totally prevent men like me from getting help from Christian pastors, speakers, and even from books. Of course, no one should be shamed or electrocuted because of who they are attracted to! That’s silly. But neither should they be banned from getting help in pursuing godliness.
Elders in the Church throughout history have encouraged younger men to be steadfast, resist temptation, and to flee from wickedness. Sometimes this encouragement has come in the form of Biblical counseling, attending conferences, or listening to a pastor talk at a special event about how to maintain sexual purity and grow in our love for Christ.
This bill continues to promote the false idea that one’s identity – as recognized by law – is based on “sexual orientation.” This bill directly conflicts with Christianity and is incompatible with religious liberty.
I’m very glad that Virginia’s Senate and House of Delegates defeated a similar bill this year. It represented only one of many attempts in recent years to insert the concept of “sexual orientation” as an identity into Virginia’s laws. There will be more attempts, and we at The Family Foundation will continue to oppose them.
Religious liberty must be protected, not merely as a principle, but because men like me need the support of the Church as I deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Christ.
Virginia's Planned Parenthood "Slush Fund"Apr. 26, 2018
You’ve already heard about many of the awful things Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry have been up to lately. Things like shocking video evidence of Planned Parenthood employees selling baby body parts for profit, shielding child predators, and over-billing Medicaid may come to mind. And of course, that doesn’t even include the abortion industry’s killing of nearly one million babies every year in America.
Unfortunately, Virginia’s House and Senate budgets currently include what I’ve dubbed a “slush fund” for Virginia’s abortion centers. Read more about it in my Op-Ed in the Lynchburg News & Advance.
ACTION: Contact your legislators now to urge them to stop millions in taxpayer funds from going to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood!
If there’s something that most Virginians can agree on, it’s that – regardless of how one views the issue of abortion – taxpayers should not be compelled to fund abortions or Planned Parenthood and other rogue entities whose primary purpose is performing abortions.
You would think by now there would be an obvious question in the minds of each and every one of our elected officials in Richmond: Why in the world would the state continue funding these entities – for any reason???
In 2016 and 2017, thanks solely to the House and Senate Republicans, the General Assembly did successfully “defund Planned Parenthood” with respect to all non-Medicaid state dollars. (The Obama administration had enacted a regulation preventing states from excluding abortion providers from Medicaid reimbursements. Within the past year, the Trump administration repealed that rule.) While the Governor later vetoed those bills, it is worth noticing that the House and Senate Republicans stood strong against taxpayer funds going to Planned Parenthood each time.
Now it’s 2018, and somehow a handful of legislators who had been on board appear to have lost their way. And this year, we’re talking about up to $12 million dollars flowing to Virginia’s abortion industry – not directly to pay for abortions – but for the dispensing and inserting of birth control devices called “Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives” or “LARCs.”
But given all we know about these abortion centers, there should really only be two possible options for the use of those funds: 1) Spend it on something else altogether, or 2) Send it someplace other than abortion centers.
A number of legislators have been incredibly helpful in trying to prevent this program from becoming a “slush fund” for Planned Parenthood. 33 House members voted against the House's budget, which included $6 million for the program. However, there are a number of legislators who still need convincing, and it’s still not too late!
ACTION: Please contact your legislators today and tell them not to fund Virginia’s abortion industry to the tune of millions of dollars!
UnrealApr. 26, 2018
Last Friday, a Henrico County judge heard arguments in our case against former Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Board of Health for its disregard of the law when it eviscerated Virginia’s abortion center health and safety standards.
Now, one would think that someone in the media might be just a little bit interested when the government is put on trial but, alas, none of Richmond’s major media outlets deemed it worthy. Now, some reported when we filed the lawsuit last year, but on Friday, no reporters were to be found when actual arguments against the McAuliffe administration were heard.
So, when I checked the NBC 12 (Richmond) website that evening to see if there was just by chance any mention of our case, call me surprised to see a link to an abortion story – out of Alabama.
The issue scandalous enough for the local network to cover involves the discovery that an abortion center in Alabama had “failed to report a patient who was 13 years old to the Department of Human Resources, according to a report from the Alabama Department of Public Health. Abortion clinics are required to report the pregnancy of a child under the age of 14 to DHR.”
Admittedly, that’s a scandal worthy of reporting. And it should be covered no matter what state it might happen in.
Except when we discovered the exact same thing here in Virginia a few years ago – thanks to inspections of abortion facilities required by abortion center health and safety standards gutted by Terry McAuliffe – the local Virginia media ignored it.
That’s right. In 2013, inspection reports found that an abortion center in Roanoke had multiple examples of children under the age of 14 receiving abortions without parental consent and without any record that any of the “health care workers” at the facilities – i.e. mandatory reporters – reported the possible incidents of sex trafficking, child sex abuse, or a litany of other possible horrors. To our knowledge, those cases were never investigated. No one knows if those little girls were victims of unimaginable horrors – but clearly no one in the Virginia media or state government cared.
Oh no, when it involved a Virginia abortion center, there was silence.
Could it be that such a story would have harmed the narrative the media has so carefully crafted here in Virginia that our abortion centers are “safe” and require no oversight? Could it be that the possible sexual molestation of 12 and 13-year-old girls isn’t worth talking about if it might harm the reputation of an abortion industry that pours millions into the election of media favorites like Terry McAuliffe?
I’ll let you decide.
Deeply saddenedApr. 18, 2018
I am writing to you wanting so desperately to be happy that when the House of Delegates reconvened yesterday afternoon, they voted against adding sexual orientation to the state's non-discrimination hiring policy, and they added restrictions to the circumstances in which the state will pay for abortions.
I want to remind you that these were really good things and tell you that we are very grateful that all 51 Republicans voted for both of these yesterday.
But I am instead deeply grieved. And you should be too. This grief is not even about Medicaid expansion, which remains in the House's budget - but something, frankly, much more stomach-churning. Despite every effort we made to stop the creation of a brand new slush fund of money being funneled directly to Planned Parenthood, the House budget will effectively hand the abortion industry $6 million. The Senate budget that is likely to be passed could hand them $10.8 million.
There is a lot I could tell you about all that we tried to prevent this fund from ever being created.
I could tell you that for several previous years, we've successfully prevented this initiative from being in the final budget.
Or how the chamber in the previous two years has voted to prevent state tax dollars from going to the abortion industry, without a single Republican opposing it. (The House still has 51 Republicans.)
I could tell you how we met with various budget appropriators, members of leadership, and the entire Conservative Caucus.
Or about how we've drafted amendments to prevent the creation of a slush fund for Planned Parenthood, and what it’s like to hear all the excuses about why they didn’t even take a vote to try to remove it.
I could tell you about how small deceptions can seem very convincing, and how even people who proclaim to be pro-life can begin to think that there are still reasons to fund the abortion industry.
You honestly don’t want to know.
But it doesn’t really matter at this point why we are where we are, or who did what, or even who is to blame - although there’s enough blame to go around. What matters is that the state is about to hand Planned Parenthood and the other abortion centers millions of dollars so that when a vulnerable, low-income woman walks in to make an already-tragic decision to end the life of her child, the staff will then, in her moment of vulnerability and weakness, ask her if she really thinks she could handle being a mom and whether she could really provide for her future children a life worth living. And when she acknowledges life’s hardships, they are going to insert a device to prevent future pregnancies - for up to 10 years.
And now, you’re going to pay for it. This is the new pilot program that your elected officials apparently believe we should create.
If our elected officials really wanted to help these women, they might instead create a grant program to help fund the valuable work of the several dozen Pregnancy Resource Centers who work with this same population of women to offer them support, encouragement, and resources to become the women we know they can be -- successful moms, students, employees, and more. It’s on these doorsteps women show up downtrodden, fearful and needy. The heroes at these centers know from story after story that with this kind of help, a woman can in fact overcome the odds. But apparently, our government would rather help the abortion industry.
At some point, one has to ask how a pro-life legislator can vote for this final budget. The one positive is that 32 House Republicans and 1 House Democrat did vote against this monstrosity yesterday.
Sometimes my heart becomes numb to the terrible things state government can do because, after 18 years, I have seen it all. But today, I wish I felt numb. Instead, I feel deep sadness.
If this issue resonates with you too, I would encourage you to reach out to your legislators and let them know how important this is to you, and plead with them not to allow this to be included in the final budget.
Terminology and ShameApr. 16, 2018
Someone wrote the word "gay" with their finger on the dusty spoiler of my car.
I want to make it absolutely clear that I am not "gay." Neither am I "homosexual." I am a "same-sex attracted" man.
Why do I make such a big deal about the use of words like “gay,” “homosexual,” and “same-sex attracted?”
For two reasons:
First, I’ve always loved precision. I’m the kind of jerk who will correct people online about their improper word choice and grammar. More than that, I'm the kind of jerk who will correct them in person.
Second, and more importantly, I’m concerned about the use of these words having a much deeper impact on those who use them and on those who hear them.
My friend today said this, and I believe it is right on target. "The conflation of terms is at the root of most deceptions today."
These words describe people who are persistently, exclusively, and deeply attracted to the same-sex. The attractions are not just sexual. They go deeper than that. I can talk to you more about that and what it means another time.
Right now I want to talk about the words that are being used. I said they were words to describe people, but that’s not entirely true for all of them. The words "gay" and "homosexual" are words that are used in a more fundamental way. These words are used to identify people.
This is a conflation of the terms.
Identifying people based on their attractions seems very odd. We identify people based on their citizenship (I’m a Virginian and I’m an American), we identify people based on their religion (I’m a Christian), and we identify people based on their relationships (single, son, nephew, cousin, friend, etc.). I don’t know of any other identity words which are used based on desires (I’m not identified by my affinity for the color green, or based on my attraction to the aesthetic beauty of New Zealand).
So why do we identify people based on their attractions toward different sexes?
Why do we identify people as "straight," "lesbian," "gay," and "bisexual?" Why do people identify themselves this way? Perhaps it could have been said at one time that these were only short-hand ways to describe attractions, but in the culture we live in these words are used as different classifications of humanity.
One of the most distressing things on this topic is the incredibly high rate of suicides by people, especially teens, who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. These young men and women are made in the image and likeness of God, and are despairing to the point that they end their own lives. We must respond and work to save these people.
What is it that is driving people to such despair?
Shame. Shame is a huge concern I have for people with same-sex attraction.
A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a youth pastor. He was eager to get my thoughts about how he ought to respond if a student comes to him admitting that they are "gay." How can he respond in a way that will protect them from shame, he wanted to know. It's a very important question. Contributing to a sense of shame can have devastating impact.
There are different types of shame.
The shame that the youth pastor and I are concerned about is not a shame felt for wrong things that people have done. This shame is far more sinister and goes far deeper. These feelings of shame are based not on any behavior, but on an identity. This is a shame based on belief about who the person is.
Ontology is "the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature and relations of being." (Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary 1965). Who are we? What is our nature? The answers to these questions have profound ramifications.
Shame is one of those ramifications. If I identify myself with an ontological category that is based on sexual desires, then shame is a very real possibility. If my ontology is "gay" because I experience same-sex attraction, then my "nature" and my "being" are found in same-sex attraction.
What are the consequences of such an ontological category? Really there are only two outcomes from that starting point:
On the one side, I could reject the idea that homosexuality is wrong. This is a common response today. How could homosexuality be wrong if people exist as this ontological category? If it is part of my being, can it be condemned?
On the other side, I could remain steadfast in my understanding that homosexuality is sin, and thus conclude that I am "sin" myself. This would quickly lead to intense shame and despair.
Neither of those options are valid responses in the Christian worldview. We cannot call something good that God clearly calls evil. So we cannot say that homosexuality is not wrong. On the other hand, we cannot call "sin" something that God clearly calls loved. God loves all people, and he doesn't love sin.
If my ontology is found in same-sex attraction, I don't see a good option for moving forward. What is the answer?
The answer is to change the starting point. I am not "sin." I am not "homosexual." I am not "gay." I am a male image bearer of the Holy God. My ontology is male image bearer of the Holy God. The distortion of original sin does not go to the ontological level. The disordered desires I have are not who I am. I am beloved.
The answer is to hate my sin without hating myself.
If I were that youth pastor, I would respond to the young person who confessed that they are "gay" with a firm, "No you're not. You are a male image bearer of the Holy God. Made and formed in his image, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. The fact that you experience sinful and disordered desires does not change your nature. Temporary afflictions do not define you. God defines you. And he declares that you are worth dying for."
The answer to shame and despair is found in understanding who we are.
*This Blog was originally posted at www.ourseanmaguire.com.
Ideology v. BiologyApr. 13, 2018
What should schools teach boys and girls about sex? Should schools teach that “boys” and “girls” are biological realities, or should they teach that “sex is assigned at birth” and is changed throughout life based on individual feelings?
The only way to influence the ways these questions are answered is by being actively involved in your school board. Apathy from a majority of the members of the Fairfax County Public School “Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee” (FLECAC) – the group of parents, teachers, and community members responsible for making recommended changes to sex education curriculum – led to that body recommending that “biological sex” be changed to “sex assigned at birth” last night.
21 of these community members voted to use the language “sex assigned at birth” in place of “biological sex.” Only 3 dissented. This is an ideological change, and has nothing to do with scientific, medical, or biological realities. One of the leaders of the ideological effort said it best herself when she said, “I don’t think scientifically, medically, biologically [sic] at all matters in this discussion.”
She only said this after the Biological and Medical facts were put on the table. Initially the argument for approving of this language change was that “we need to use the scientifically accurate terms,” and that “sex assigned at birth” was the accurate term. It was only after one of the dissenting members of the committee pointed to a list of quotes from medical and biological resources that support “biological sex” that the story changed and science and medicine didn’t matter anymore.
After the vote was taken and the meeting adjourned, I asked several members of the committee why they voted the way that they did. Two refused to answer, saying that they were not interested in discussing why they voted to use “sex assigned at birth” rather than “biological sex.” Another said, “Honestly, I was lost in the discussion and I don’t think it matters that much.”
This absolutely does matter.
Using the term, “sex assigned at birth,” gives support to the idea that “sex” is something determined by subjective feelings, and not by objective biological realities. It reinforces the idea that if children feel different, they are different.
Being told by teachers that they are different from all the other boys and girls is not good for children. Confusing children about biological realities in order to reinforce your ideological position is not good.
The School Board of Fairfax County still has to approve of these recommendations. Their next meeting is on April 26th, and the public is invited to make their voices heard both in writing and by attending the meeting.
Only 10 spots are available to speak at this meeting. If you live in Fairfax County, sign up to speak by following the instructions online. If you live somewhere else in Virginia, contact your school board and find out what they are teaching children about sex.
We cannot afford to be apathetic. Truth and facts must be defended.
Gender Ideology in 4-H ClubsApr. 05, 2018
When I think about 4-H, I think about the time I spent in that organization decorating cakes and sewing pajama pants. These are not “stereotypically male” activities, but I took blue ribbons in both events at my county fair.
The directors of my 4-H program were also involved in a local homeschool co-op and local church ministries. The other students working on cake decorating skills and trying to sew without injuring ourselves were homeschooled and Christian.
It is not unusual for the entire membership of rural and suburban 4-H chapters to be entirely made up of homeschooled Christian students. The directors also reflect this demographic reality.
Recently the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture published a policy document directing the operation of all 4-H chapters. Within days the document was removed from the website and the governmental body has said that it wasn’t supposed to be publicly shared at this time. Why would the government say anything about the way 4-H chapters are run in the first place?
Because 4-H is actually a government program overseen by the Department of Agriculture.
This recent policy document came out after the Department of Agriculture adopted a nondiscrimination policy that specifically prevents any institution administering their programs from discriminating on the basis of “sex, gender identity (including gender expression), [or] sexual orientation.” 4-H chapters across the country had a brief look at the document before it was taken down from the Department of Agriculture website, but the exact same document exists online at the University of California Cooperative for Santa Barbara County website. That is where one of the four authors, Dr. Katherine E. Soule, works to positively transform the community by improving equality for marginalized groups.
As an effort to promote equality, and to avoid discrimination, the policy document tries to define all of the relevant terms and explain how they are to be applied. I encourage you to read the document.
The application of these definitions is internally inconsistent. At first the policy defines “sex” and “gender identity” as two separate things, but then it goes on to say that “4-H shall not” adopt policies that are based on “differences between transgender or intersex individuals and other individuals of the same sex (i.e. the same gender identity).”
In other words, sex and gender identity are the same thing when an individual declares them to be so. If an individual with a male sex has a female gender identity, then the 4-H chapter must treat that individual as if their sex is female. The gender identity supersedes the sex, and sex is now, in effect, defined by the gender identity.
This doesn’t work with the definition provided in the same document. It takes a huge shift to go from saying that “sex” and “gender identity” are two different things to saying that you must treat people as if they are the “sex (i.e. … gender identity)” they proclaim to be.
This policy doesn’t just require 4-H volunteers and directors to treat people as if they are the sex which matches their stated gender identity; it applies to youth members as well! This means that all 4-H participants will have to call individuals by the pronouns that match their gender identity (not their sex), will have to allow individuals into the sex-specific bathrooms that match their gender identity (not their sex), and must provide sex-specific housing arrangements (such as shared rooms) to individuals based on their gender identity (not their sex).
Nondiscrimination policies were designed to protect people from mistreatment. These policies don’t protect anyone from mistreatment; they impose an ideological position (that gender identity determines sex) on all 4-H participants. All individuals are permitted to join 4-H chapters everywhere and to participate in all events regardless of their gender identity. The only things that this policy addresses are those times when 4-H chapters have sex-specific bathrooms, locker rooms, and make sex-specific housing arrangements. If the authors of this nondiscrimination policy really believe that “sex” and “gender identity” are different things, then sex-specific bathrooms, locker rooms, and housing arrangements would not be a problem. This policy is not about correcting discrimination, it is about treating sex as though it is determined by gender identity.
As you and I continue to face the pressure to treat people in false ways (like using a female gender pronoun to address a male), we may be tempted to overreact. We cannot comply with the demand to tell lies. We must not deny biological reality. However, this does not mean that we should malign or mistreat individuals whose gender identity does not match their sex. We should continue to welcome these individuals to learn cake decorating and sewing skills right alongside us. We simply will not invite people of the opposite sex to use the sex-specific bathrooms, locker rooms, or beds right alongside us.
Sex and GenderMar. 27, 2018
"The proper term should be ‘sex assigned at birth,’ ‘gender assigned at birth,’ not ‘biological gender,’ or ‘biological sex.’"
That quote is from Dan Press, a member of the Fairfax County School’s “Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee” (FLECAC). He was arguing in support of a motion he made on March 8th to change the term “biological sex” to “sex assigned at birth” in all 8th, 9th, and 10th grade objectives for Family Life Education.
“Sex” and “gender” have become confusing terms for many people in recent decades. The terms used to be understood with very little difficulty. Dictionaries still define the terms very clearly today.
Sex = “either of two divisions into which many living things can be divided according to their roles in reproduction and which consist of males or females.”1
Gender = “the state of being male or female.”2
These words are synonyms, but have different purposes.
“Sex” is related to reproductive functions – which are determined by biology. “Gender” is related to social and cultural roles, and also grammar.
“Sex” is about the biological reality, and “gender” is about how we describe that reality. “Male” and “female” are sex terms used to identify the two reproductive roles. “Him” and “her” are gender terms used to describe the two sexes.
Birth has nothing to do with determining sex or gender. There is no assignment taking place. Biology textbooks recognize the differences between the two sexes long before birth.3
This is what students in Fairfax County Schools are being taught in their biology textbooks. This is scientific reality.
Instead of keeping the curriculum in Family Life Education consistent with scientific reality, Dan Press argued in favor of “sex assignment.” Instead of upholding scientific reality, all but three members of the FLECAC voted to change the term “biological sex” to “sex assigned at birth.”
This change doesn’t help students understand the world around them. It promotes confusion and misunderstanding.
The FLECAC decision is not final, and efforts are being made to keep the Family Life Education curriculum consistent with the biology curriculum in Fairfax County Schools. You can help by sending scientific articles, medical journal articles, biology and medical textbooks, and other resources that accurately describe “sex” and “gender” to Sean Maguire at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you live in Fairfax you can attend the next FLECAC meeting on April 12th.
1. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary Definition of “sex” for Students. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sex. Accessed 3/27/2018.
2. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary Definition of “gender” for Students. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gender. Accessed 3/27/18.
3. Developmental Biology. 6th Edition. Gilbert SF. 2000. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK9967/. Accessed 3/27/18.
Opposing the Transgender MomentMar. 23, 2018
What is required to be labeled an "anti-trans activist?" Very little indeed.
According to Newsweek Magazine, all it takes is support for gender-specific bathrooms in schools.
I'm an anti-trans activist by this standard. So is everyone else who believes in scientific genetic standards, social norms that distinguish between the sexes, and protecting children from potential sexual harm. That’s all that Bethany Kozma did in Fairfax, and now she is being attacked in national news articles.
For years the Fairfax County Public Schools have been pushing to embrace the full scope of what has been called the “transgender moment.” Most recently that includes a recommendation from the Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee (FLECAC) that the term “biological sex” be removed from the curriculum and replaced with the term “sex assigned at birth.”
Those who have opposed this change in vernacular – supporting teaching that reflects biological reality instead of ideology – have been attacked just like Bethany Kozma is being attacked. One member of FLECAC was unceremoniously (and arguably illegally) removed from her seat and replaced by Dan Press, a vocal advocate of the LGBT+ agenda. Dan Press used the rules of parliamentary procedure to silence all opposition to his proposals the first day he was on the committee.
Civil society can't survive in this kind of vicious atmosphere. Newsweek is shilling opinion pieces that divide everyone into groups. Dan Press and others on committees and school boards across the Commonwealth are shutting down opposition. They are vilifying anyone who disagrees with the transgender movement.
We are not villains. We are your neighbors.
We must act neighborly even when under attack. We must not return insult for insult. We must speak the truth in love – which means with real love, not just lip-service to that sacred idea. We must pray for those who oppose us more than we speak against them.
I'm prepared to be perpetually hated for what I believe. I pray that I'll be able to get close enough to those who hate me to show them true love.
The next FLECAC meeting is on April 12 in Fairfax, VA. Several members of the committee are planning to present textbooks and scientific and medical articles which demonstrate that “biological sex” is a valid term, and should not be replaced with the ideologically charged term, “sex assigned at birth.” Help by sending links to scientific and medical articles that use the term “biological sex” to email@example.com.
Standing Up for Free SpeechMar. 21, 2018
It was cold and raining hard in Washington, D.C. yesterday. A crowd of several hundred still gathered in front of the Supreme Court all morning in spite of the bad weather. Half the crowd was there in support of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), the other half was there representing NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood.
Inside the Supreme Court, Mike Farris from Alliance Defending Freedom was arguing against the State of California in support of free speech. The Justices on the Supreme Court listened to the importance of protecting pro-life pregnancy centers in California from being compelled to advertise abortion.
The State of California passed a law known as the “Fact Act” which would force pregnancy resource centers to post notices about abortion access. ADF was joined in their arguments by dozens of “amicus briefs” (arguments to the court in support of a position) – including one that The Family Foundation signed. The government should not be able to force anyone to support a particular viewpoint – especially one as important as life.
Hundreds of people from across the country gathered outside of the Supreme Court to support the pregnancy resource centers and freedom of speech. Hundreds of other people stood outside to oppose the pregnancy resource centers and to support the Fact Act.
I was there with Victoria Cobb representing The Family Foundation. Victoria Cobb spoke in support of free speech, and warned that the kind of state power being used in California has already been proposed in Virginia. It was back in 2010 that then-Senator Ralph Northam proposed a bill which would have compelled every pregnancy resource center in Virginia to post a big notice on the front door of their clinics – scaring women away from these places which are designed to help them.
I tried to speak with those from NARAL and Planned Parenthood, to ask them why they support the Fact Act. No one was willing to talk to me. So I asked several activists to hold a pro-free speech sign, telling them that there was a new law which requires everyone in front of the Supreme Court to hold the signs from the opposing side.
Not surprisingly, no one was interested in holding those signs. They didn’t like the idea that the state would compel them to hold a sign promoting an idea directly opposed to the reason they were there. They understood that such a regulation would be unjust.
Hopefully all nine of the Supreme Court Justices understand this, too. We expect a decision to be announced sometime this summer.
Medicaid Expansion delayed...for nowMar. 09, 2018
The already-chaotic budget process at this year’s General Assembly has become even more uncertain. Yesterday, Senate Democrats blocked a motion to extend the session 30 days, and then blocked another motion for a shorter extension. Meanwhile, House leaders apparently thought they had a deal with the Senate as its lead negotiator, Delegate Chris Jones (R-76, Suffolk), announced on the floor that there would likely be a 30-day extension.
But exceptions to the Senate's rules require a two-thirds approval and, despite two 21-19 party-line votes to extend the session, the motions failed. Each chamber went into recess late in the afternoon in an apparent attempt to bring down the temperature and resolve the issue. Not only can they not agree on a budget, they can’t agree when to talk about the budget. This is interesting territory since, unlike Washington, Virginia is actually required by our constitution to pass a balanced budget before adjourning for the year.
Eventually, they will have to come to an agreement to extend the session or otherwise go into a "special session." The important point is that there will be no imminent budget agreement, which means no Obamacare Medicaid expansion – for now. Whether this overtime budget negotiation favors its ultimate exclusion from the budget remains to be seen. But we do know it means Senate Republicans have not backed down. They are listening to concerned Virginians all across the Commonwealth who understand that Obamacare Medicaid expansion is an ill-conceived, high-risk policy for many reasons.
For starters, the Trump administration is saying it plans to eliminate the federal funds for the matching grants, without which Virginians would have to make up the billions of dollars themselves. That will necessarily lead to higher taxes and/or massive cuts to core services such as education, public safety, and transportation. With the Obamacare "individual mandate" now eliminated as a result of Congress' tax reform bill, it seems likely a recent legal challenge by nearly 20 states to the entire law's constitutionality may be successful. Moreover, the so-called work requirement is meaningless because the expansion covers people who already work, not to mention there is no verification provision to ensure people are actually working. And as for the "taxpayer safety switch," which would stop the program if the federal government doesn't send the money, can you name one government entitlement program that has ever ended once it began? (because we can't)
Once lawmakers decide on their new timetable, we will let you know what actions you can take to help prevent this terribly misguided policy from happening.
Legislature moves Heaven and Earth to pass casino-gamblingMar. 02, 2018
Unfortunately, gambling in Virginia just got a whole lot more expansive, but only after the House and Senate practically moved heaven and earth – and exploited nearly every procedural loophole – to pull it off. “Unconventional” hardly begins to describe what transpired over the past few weeks. It started to feel more like we were “north of the Beltway” than in Richmond.
It all started when “historical horse racing” on casino-style slot-machines was quietly slid into the outgoing Governor’s introduced budget. It was a bold move, given the legislature’s well-abided unwritten rule of not making substantive policy changes through the budget, instead of pieces of legislation. The RTD was first to point out that this major gambling expansion was in the budget, but that there was no corresponding bill in either the House or Senate through which to vet the issue on its merits and with the standard public hearing process. To Speaker Cox’s credit, nearly three weeks into the start of the Session and after the normal deadline for introducing bills had passed, he responded by allowing Delegate Webert (R-Warren) to introduce HB 1609 on the House floor, which required unanimous consent. But the introduced bill was essentially a “place holder” bill with no policy content, with the intention of it being significantly amended later. The final version, if signed by the Governor, will dump over 3,000 electronic slot-machine devices at locations all across the state.
The process continued from there to be anything but standard. Instead of being assigned to the House General Laws committee, where historical racing had always previously been sent (2010, 2011, and 2015) and each time defeated, the bill went straight to the Appropriations Committee, where it lacked the benefit of being heard on its merits to weigh whether it was a good policy idea for Virginia. Once assigned, the bill took off like a race horse through the House as if having been injected with a shot of pure adrenalin.
During the Appropriations subcommittee hearing, the actual policy was revealed and approved 8-0 with only The Family Foundation speaking against the bill language that had not been seen prior to the start of the meeting. Two days later, the full Appropriations Committee voted 21-1 to send the bill to the House floor, but allowed for no public testimony. We quickly realized there were numerous powerful and wealthy interests involved and that this iceberg we saw on the surface was buttressed by a significantly larger underbelly. So we doubled down to take them on, managing with very short notice to peel off 24 “no” votes on the House floor.
At “crossover,” we got a second bite at the apple in the Senate, but so did the deep bench of highly-paid corporate lobbyists representing the other side. The Senate, meanwhile, had already approved Historical Racing four times (2008, 2010, 2011 & 2013). At least policy testimony was heard in the General Laws and Technology Committee. The Family Foundation took our best shots, but the bill passed 13-1 and was referred to the Senate Finance Committee. The Family Foundation prepared to testify there regarding some anomalies, but the Senate Finance leadership did not take public testimony before approving the bill 12-4.
Amazingly, the bill allocates just 1.5% to the localities and leaves the remaining 98.5% to be allocated by the five-member Virginia Racing Commission appointed by the Governor. In denying the interested groups the opportunity to speak, the Finance committee suggested that the various interested parties still needed to work out some differences that would necessitate the bill being put into “conference” for the House and Senate conferees to work out. So they put a technical amendment on the bill supposedly for that purpose. They did this apparently without the foreknowledge of the patron of the bill, or most of the interested parties. Whatever they were up to, it certainly seemed strange.
Interestingly, on the morning of the Senate Finance Committee vote, the RTD reported about this initiative, quoting Senator Louise Lucas, who has long-carried casino gambling bills nearly every year. She spoke maybe too much truth about the historical racing machines at issue. "That's kind of the camel's nose under the tent," she said, adding that she saw little difference between machines that allow historical horse race betting and slots. "They can say whatever they want, I like what they did," she said, adding that she hopes the legislation opens the door to more types of gambling being approved "not in the too distant future."
The following day when the bill went to the Senate floor, they just so happened to be able to work everything out overnight, and the Senate leadership immediately had the Senate reject the committee amendment, bypassing any need for the House to get another vote on the bill and for a House/Senate conference on the bill. Then, bypassing the usual three-day process for bills that make it to the floor, the Senate sped up the process and passed the bill 31-9. Now it’s on to the Governor for signature and the Racing Commission for regulations to be produced and for Virginians to be hit with the impact of even more gambling to come.
With few exceptions, everyone piled on the gambling train, swooning over the shiny slot-machine scheme that promises to garner some $349 million from unsuspecting future gambling addicts that we’re told will revitalize the equine industry and usher in the renewal of live horse racing in Virginia, the industry that already failed miserably, despite the state’s earlier attempts to save it. Unfortunately, we anticipate in a few years from now having to tell the General Assembly “We told you so” – again.
With the amount of determination we saw in making this happen, there will no doubt be more attempts at expansion next year in a variety of forms. And we will be there again to meet them head on, continuing the stand against attempts to expand gambling for the sake of Virginia communities and families.
"No Pre-K for low-income families"Feb. 28, 2018
Monday morning, the House Finance Committee defeated SB 172, a bill that would have made it possible for thousands of low-income families to send their children to private school Pre-K, many of which are faith-based programs. The bill, patroned by Senator Bill Stanley (R-20, Moneta) created a tax credit for donations made to a scholarship fund to pay for private tuition for families who cannot otherwise afford it, but who want a different option for their children. Unfortunately, the bill died on an 11-11 vote, with the public school teachers union and other public education monopoly establishment groups bringing considerable pressure to bear on certain delegates to vote no.
It was a party line vote with three exceptions. Two Republicans – Tim Hugo (R-40, Centreville) and Robert Bloxom, Jr. (R-100, Mappsville) – sided with the union over struggling families, while Democrat Delegate Steve Heretick (D-79, Portsmouth) voted for the bill.
CLICK HERE to watch the committee’s deliberations (then advance the video to 9:00 am to see Senator Stanley propose SB 172).
Compare the testimony: A broad array of accomplished, non-partisan organizations that actually do work in the field spoke in favor of the bill and worked diligently over the last two weeks to find 12 yes votes. On the other side was the Virginia Education Association, which spends considerable money every campaign on behalf of Democrat candidates, as well as the politicized School Boards Association.
The VEA, which has no actual role in Pre-K education – its members are K-12 teachers – much less in private Pre-K schools, made several false charges including the preposterous accusation that private schools discriminate in student enrollment and hiring. That came as news to two witnesses in favor of the bill: James Dyke, former Governor Doug Wilder’s education secretary, who also is African-American, as well as an African-American pastor who runs a Pre-K program in the middle of the most crime ridden sections in the city of Richmond. At its own expense, that school admits students from families who cannot afford its already modest tuition at a heavy discount. In fact, these scholarships can only be used at accredited institutions, which must already adhere to state and federal nondiscrimination laws.
Also in favor of the bill was the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation, which cited the state’s own School Readiness Commission that recommends a program like this; the Virginia Catholic Conference; Jewish school educators; Chris Braunlich of the Thomas Jefferson Institute and former president of the State Board of Education; the Virginia Council for Private Education; as well as The Family Foundation. In addition, this bill won a large bipartisan vote in the Senate, including that chamber’s Democrat leader, Senator Richard Saslaw (D-35, Springfield). Yet House Democrats made it a partisan issue as a payback to its public education monopoly allies.
One of the most puzzling comments came from Delegate Vivian Watts (D-39, Annandale), who incredibly said that while she recognizes there are families who need immediate help, she could not vote for the bill because she wanted universal Pre-K coverage. She, the VEA, and those voting no basically said, “Let’s NOT help thousands of at-risk children now while we can, because it’s not government run, and instead let them slip through the cracks.”
We thank Senator Stanley and the committee members who voted yes and actively refuted the VEA’s assertions, as well as our coalition partners. Rest assured, this is an issue that's not going away. We will see to it. Parents need more choices in education, not a one-size-fits all approach.
The Budget Votes are in...Feb. 23, 2018
The votes are in, and as of a few hours ago, the Virginia House and Senate now have two very different budgets to meld together into one. There are a few notable things for you to know.
House of Delegates:
Unfortunately, the House voted 68-32 for a budget that included a massive expansion of an already unsustainable Medicaid program. Several Republican members spoke against Medicaid expansion, emphasizing that it will most certainly entail higher healthcare costs, more taxes on Virginians, and diminished access and quality of care for the 1.1 million Virginians already enrolled in the program. We commend the 32 members who stood firmly against it. You can see who voted for and against it HERE.
On a positive note, the House did vote to keep the “Hyde Amendment” language in its budget (put in by Delegate LaRock) – language that would restrict taxpayer funding of abortions to only the narrow cases involving rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother. Virginia law currently also allows for state funding of abortions in the cases of “gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity or mental deficiency,” but we believe this phrase is being interpreted extremely broadly by the McAuliffe/Northam Department of Health officials. You can see who voted for and against the amendment HERE.
The House also stood strong in rejecting attempts to add special statuses of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the state budget through amendments offered up on the floor (by Delegate Simon). This was one of the items we have been most concerned about, and we are thrilled that the House held the line on this. Few things so threaten religious liberty in Virginia as these efforts. You can see who voted for and against the amendment HERE.
These protections for life and religious liberty are no small matters, and we are mindful that they could not have been possible but for God’s direct provisions.
We are very pleased that the Senate held strong in rejecting Medicaid expansion in their budget. The Senate budget is also around $600 million smaller than the House’s. You can see who voted for and against the final Senate budget HERE. We also want to commend the Senate for rejecting a floor amendment from Senator Cosgrove that would have expanded gambling in Virginia.
We will continue to keep you in the loop on the critical steps going forward. The budget battle still has a ways to go. In the meantime, please reach out to your legislators to express to them both your concerns and your gratitude.
ACT NOW: House Vote on Medicaid Expansion THURSDAY!Feb. 21, 2018
This week, the House of Delegates released its two-year budget proposal, and unfortunately, the House budget includes the abysmal Obamacare plan to drastically expand an already unsustainable Medicaid program. The House will be voting on this budget proposal tomorrow - Thursday - on the Floor!
URGENT ACTION: Email your Delegate and urge him or her to Vote AGAINST Medicaid Expansion TOMORROW!
After eight years of holding the line and refusing to "take the bait" for this massive federal power grab, all while witnessing significant spikes in healthcare costs in the states who did take it, the House plan would now capitulate to the specious promise of "free money" from the federal government to pay for healthcare.
If the House goes through with this plan, we can be sure of one thing: the size of government (and the federal government's reach into this state) will grow substantially. Medicaid already eats up 30% of our state budget (it was around 5% when it began) and already covers 1.1 million Virginians. Adding up to 400,000 more able-bodied Virginians to our Medicaid rolls, without adding a single doctor, clinic, or hospital to treat them, will only make the program even more unsustainable than it already is. And, we know from experience that every time the government grows, our liberties and our wallets shrink with inverse proportionality.
We believe there are steps the General Assembly can take to ensure that more Virginians who need healthcare can get it and keep it. There are countless people who have real needs, and we should be looking for meaningful ways to help them meet those needs. But drastically expanding an already out-of-control federal program is not the right answer, and worse - it will leave us bankrupt in the end, or leave our kids and grandkids strapped with debt they cannot repay. Obamacare Medicaid expansion has never worked, and it won't suddenly start working now, even with the House budget's attempt to mitigate some of the problems.
CLICK HERE to contact your delegate and urge them to reject a budget that expands Medicaid TOMORROW on the House floor!
Tell the House: Reject Medicaid ExpansionFeb. 19, 2018
On Sunday, the House of Delegates released its much anticipated proposed two-year state budget. As we worried it might, the proposal includes Medicaid expansion in Virginia. After eight years of holding the line and refusing to "take the bait" for a massive federal power grab, corresponding spikes in healthcare costs, and virtually guaranteed new tax liabilities for hardworking Virginians, the House plan would now capitulate to the specious promise of "free money" from the federal government to pay for healthcare.
ACTION: Email your Delegate and urge them to REJECT Medicaid Expansion in Virginia!
Whether the House's plan to drastically expand Medicaid coverage is the result of political will, pressure, or fear on the part of House Republicans, or whether it is more reflective of the possibility of them seeing "the writing on the wall" given the closely divided partisan power balance, one fact remains the same: the size of government (and the federal government's reach into this state) just got a lot bigger under this plan. And we know from experience that every time the government grows, our liberties and our wallets shrink with inverse proportionality.
While the plan would include some helpful attempts at reform, we know that government welfare programs always increase in demand and cost overtime. Virginia already has 1.1 million of its citizens receiving Medicaid, which has become the single greatest expense each year in our budget. Adding up to 400,000 more able-bodied Virginians to our Medicaid rolls will make the program totally unsustainable, especially without adding enough new doctors to treat them. And while it is often claimed that the federal government - not the state - will be on the hook for all or most of the funding involved, we should stop for a moment and ask ourselves: Where does THAT money come from? From us! While tax increases may not be immediate, they are inevitable if this policy goes through.
The plan purports to include a “Taxpayer Safety Switch,” which will make sure that if the federal government ever backs out of its commitment to pay for the cost, the plan will end. But when is the last time the government ever began giving an entitlement benefit that it later took away? It's a totally empty promise, and every one of the legislators knows it.
While some Virginians would no doubt receive needed healthcare under this plan, we shouldn’t buy into any illusions that any of it is “free” – either in dollars, or the countless other costs to overall quality, ease of access, or the chipping away of our liberty.
We are encouraged to find that the House budget does include “Hyde Amendment” language, prohibiting state funding for abortions except for in the narrow cases of rape, incest, or to save the mother’s life. However, it does not include a prohibition on state dollars flowing to Planned Parenthood. In fact, there is included in the plan a pilot program that would spend $6 million on certain long-acting contraceptive devices for low-income women, most of which would flow directly to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
While the House’s proposal is incredibly disappointing in these ways, the budget battle is far from over. We need your help in contacting your House of Delegates member and urge the House to abandon this folly, and return to their staunch and principled resistance of the last eight years.
Please CLICK HERE to contact your delegate and urge them to reject this massive growth of government entitlements and further takeover of the healthcare system.
“Shame. Shame. Shame."Feb. 09, 2018
The committee room was overflowing into the hallway. Within that entire crowd, only a handful of people could be found who supported our position that Virginia law should not uniquely set apart the classifications of sexual orientation and gender identity as worthy of unique protections, as it does for minorities and religious people.
Have you ever had to stand, being 1 out of 100, literally, not figuratively, and express an opinion that would result in loud shouting and people jeering at you? Have you had a moment where your words of truth result in people following you out of the room shouting at you, “shame, shame, shame”?
This is what my team does through the legislative session. This is what they did yesterday. They stand for the truth in a hostile environment and are a representation of those reviled as described in 1 Peter 4:14-16. In legislative meetings and in the media, they represent thousands of Virginians who believe in our values and want someone to defend marriage as God designed it but can’t, or won’t, be at the Capitol themselves to do so. This team of policy warriors stands in the middle of the battle, taking the onslaught of hate and ridicule for our faith and our families every day.
Yesterday, a House General Laws sub-committee took up five bills that sought to enshrine into the Code of Virginia new, specially-protected classes of people based on sexual orientation and gender identity. These bills were put forth with the stated motivation of ensuring no discrimination takes place in state hiring or public housing against those in same-sex relationships or who have gender dysphoria and thus feel they are a gender that is not their biological sex.
Our team handedly dismantled their arguments bringing forward indisputable facts that in Virginia there have been no claims of discrimination in hiring, or housing that have been found to have merit. When we raised the concern that Liberty University would be forced to allow same-sex married couples to be housed in their married student housing under the proposed bill despite their deeply held convictions, the sponsor of the bill stepped forward and pronounced the true motivation.
In the words of Delegate Simon,
"There are certain sincerely held religious beliefs which are so discriminatory that we don't give them the protection of the law, and this is one of those cases."
And now we know. Make no mistake. These bills are not about telling a secular government not to discriminate when hiring. These laws are about preventing Christian universities and ministries from being able to practice their faith convictions about marriage. These bills seek to weaponize government against people of faith.
Yesterday, we defeated these bills with the help of 5 members on the subcommittee: Delegates Jason Miyares, Barry Knight, Tommy Wright, Dickie Bell and Buddy Fowler. Click here to watch the full committee. Bill Janis from The Family Foundation begins his testimony at 46:35.
But despite yesterday’s result, the battle continues. It's not going away. And The Family Foundation will continue to be there fighting that battle with you and for you, and for all Virginians.