Federal Judge Decision To Redefine Marriage In Virginia More Of Political Show Than Legal DecisionFeb 14, 2014
As we're sure that you are aware by now, a federal judge in Norfolk, assisted by our newly-elected Attorney General, has ruled that Virginia's Marriage Amendment, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman, is unconstitutional. This judge ignored the will of more than a million Virginia voters who ratified the Marriage Amendment by more than 57 percent in 2006, as well as ignoring the state's interest in protecting a timeless institution designed for the well-being of children. The timing of Judge Arenda Wright-Allen's decision, rushed for release last night just prior to Valentine's Day, reeks of political show, making her ruling less a legal argument and more a press release. It's disappointing that a federal judge would so blatantly expose her personal political agenda at the expense of not just marriage, but our entire social fabric.
The question is, what can you do to help?
Please consider writing a letter to the editor of your local paper. It is imperative that the voices of those who believe in natural marriage are heard above the din of talking heads and commentators who will revel in this judge's decision.
Our e-mail system allows you to write a letter online and then it will send it to the editor of your local paper with the click of a button. You don't need to look up e-mail addresses or editors' names . . . it couldn't be much easier.
We have included some talking points that you can use when crafting your letter below. For more background, here is a link to an op-ed TFF President Victoria Cobb wrote in last Sunday's Richmond Times-Dispatch. Please put these into your own words and send your letter off right away. It is too easy to think, "I will do it later" and never get around to it. Thank you for taking action and standing for marriage!
» One federal judge should not disenfranchise the votes of more than one million Virginians.
» The state's only primary interest in marriage has always been the well-being of children, not the love-lives of adults.
» Social science proves that children do best in a home with a mom and a dad.
» Judge Wright-Allen has politicized her decision by rushing it out the night before Valentine's Day.
» The decision by the judge on the issue of marriage is not based on any of the facts of the case, any of the evidence presented in hearings, or any of the truth surrounding the state's interest in marriage.
» This decision will open the door for polygamy and other forms of "marriage" which will continue to degrade the God-ordained institution of marriage.
» Freedom of religion and speech are already being threatened in states that have recognized same-sex "marriage."
» Attorney General Mark Herring took the unprecedented step of siding with the plaintiffs in this case against the Virginia Constitution he took an oath to uphold.
Voice Your Support for Abortion Center Regulations
Voice Your Support for Abortion Center Regulations
Yesterday, the public comment period opens for the Virginia State Board of Health’s review of the previously passed abortion regulations. Visit here and then click “Enter a Comment” to voice your opinion.
The public comment period on these regulations will be open for 45 days, ending on July 30, and then in its December meeting, the Board of Health will decide whether or not it will rewrite these much needed regulations. It is imperative that the Board leaves these regulations as they are.
Prior to the implementation of regulations in 2012, the Virginia abortion industry had gone unregulated for too long. Department of Health inspections revealed widespread health and safety violations, including blood splattered exam tables and equipment, unsterilized equipment, poorly or untrained staff, violations of state parental consent laws, and the lack of reporting of possible cases of child sexual abuse, along with over 300 other violations. These violations reveal a serious need for regulations of these facilities in order to protect women who seek out abortions.
While focusing on the construction standards included in the regulations, the media has almost completely ignored the blood stained and unsterilized equipment, along with all the other health and safety violations. The construction standards are necessary to improve access for emergency personnel and equipment when medical emergencies take place, but the rest of the standards are basic to any medical facility that puts its patients ahead of its profits.
Recent information that has come to light about Virginia abortion center owner, Dr. Steven Brigham, exemplifies the need for regulations. Brigham’s license to practice medicine has been revoked in five states because of his complete disregard for the safety of women. The New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners revoked Brigham’s license declaring, “Dr. Brigham’s continued practice would present clear and imminent danger to the public health, safety, and welfare.” Virginia inspections found gaping holes in the ceiling of his abortion center, unsterilized needles, outrageously high complication rates, and incomplete lifesaving equipment. If an abortion doctor like Steven Brigham can continue to operate two abortion centers here in Virginia, it is clear that the regulations must remain in place to protect the women of Virginia from Brigham’s harmful practices.
It is vital that the Board of Health understands how important health and safety regulations on abortion centers are to the people of Virginia. This can only be done by your participation in the public comment period. Leave your comment encouraging the Board to maintain the regulations as they are and ensure that the voices of pro-woman, pro-life Virginians are heard loud and clear!
40 Days Of Prayer, Fasting And Repentance For Marriage
40 Days Of Prayer, Fasting And Repentance For Marriage
. . . remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses. - Nehemiah 4:14
The Family Foundation is asking that you join us for 40 Days of Prayer, Fasting and Repentance for Marriage from August 27 until October 5, 2014. Our state and nation are mired in a morass of confusion and post-modern thinking that does not believe in absolutes nor that any truth can even be known. Nowhere is this more evident than in the current debate raging about what constitutes marriage. Pagan philosophies, a secular humanist education establishment and an entertainment industry that is absolutely determined in pushing the envelope on decency and morality have all combined to turn this great land into a country that our forefathers could not even begin to recognize.
How did we get here? We must look within and ask, "Have we as believers been the salt and light that Jesus commanded us to be?" So many churches in America have become lukewarm and have lost the ability to impact culture in the way they once did. Our nation, built on a Judeo-Christian foundation, has been greatly blessed by the Lord, but instead of being thankful, we have turned our back on the Lord and His teachings and have and followed after other gods. That is why we are asking you to join us zealously in humility and fasting in repentance before God and implore Him to heal our land.
The Virginia Marriage Amendment, which affirms God's design for marriage as the union of one man and one woman, is being challenged in federal court. Our recently elected Attorney General, Mark Herring, has not only refused to defend Virginia in court, he has joined the plaintiffs in attacking our Marriage Amendment. The issue of marriage is out of the hands of the legislators and the people they represent, and is now in the hands of unelected, unaccountable judges.
The Supreme Court begins its session on October 6. We fully expect it to take a marriage case sometime in the next year. In the natural, it looks like a David vs. Goliath battle. The federal government, the news media, Hollywood, the public education system and big business all are arrayed on the side of same-sex "marriage." Only the church stands in support of God's design for marriage. Our 40 Days will culminate on October 5 just before the court begins its session. We don't know what the Lord will do. We do know that He is sovereign. Whatever happens, we must adopt the attitude of the three Hebrew children who refused to bow before the golden image in Babylon:
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. - Daniel 3:17-18
If you are a pastor, please consider having your church join with us in this effort. The Family Foundation is partnering with other nationally known organizations to provide talking points, sermon outlines, bulletin inserts, video clips and other resources to help you lead your congregation through the 40 Days. We will also send a daily prayer journal to everyone to help guide our prayers and devotions during that time. Click here to be directed to a page where you can sign up as a partnering church in this effort. You also can indicate on that page that you will prayerfully consider partnering with us.
If you would like a representative from The Family Foundation to come and speak to your congregation about the 40 Days of Prayer, Fasting and Repentance please contact us 804-343-0010. If you are not a pastor, click here to sign up and then forward this link to your pastor to encourage your church's involvement with us.
Urge Override Of Governor McAuliffe’s Vetoes!
Urge Override Of Governor McAuliffe’s Vetoes!
Recently, Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed two bills that would protect religious liberty: SB 236, a bill that would protect the free speech rights of public school students; and SB 555, a bill that would have prohibited government censorship of military chaplain sermons. Both passed with large bipartisan majorities, including a unanimous vote in the Senate for SB 555! The General Assembly will hold its annual "veto session," where it reviews vetoes and amendments to bills, on Wednesday, April 23:
Please urge your senators and delegates to vote to override the governor's vetoes of SB 236 and SB 555 (click the links to find their contact information). If you don't know who your legislators are, click here.
SB 236, patroned by Senator Bill Carrico (R-40, Galax), would create "limited public forums" at certain public school events. Limited public forums restrict the schools from censoring speech simply because it is from a faith perspective. The schools can still "limit" the speech to the matter at hand; for example, a graduation speech still has to be about graduating, but it can contain statements about the importance of faith. The bill also protects students' rights to organize prayer groups, have events such as "see you at the pole" gatherings and wear clothing with religious expressions.
Students in our public schools shouldn't be treated as a second-class citizen simply because their viewpoint is motivated by their faith, regardless of what faith perspective they have. It is tragic that in Virginia, the birthplace of religious freedom, Governor McAuliffe has chosen to listen to the ACLU and has trampled on the right of Virginia's students to simply express their beliefs.
SB 555, patroned by Senator Dick Black (R-13, Leesburg), prohibited state government from censoring sermons given by chaplains in the Virginia National Guard and Virginia Defense Force. This reasonable, common sense measure passed the Senate in January 37-0! The governor's explanation for vetoing the bill is a remarkable misunderstanding of the actual definition of a chaplain.
Overriding a governor's veto requires two-thirds support from both chambers, meaning that 27 members of the Senate and 67 members of the House of Delegates have to vote for an override.
At what point do we finally say, enough is enough? Our God-given, inalienable right to exercise our faith, live according to our conscience, and speak truth to culture is in serious jeopardy if we allow people like Terry McAuliffe to dictate what we can and cannot do in the public square.
Your legislators, regardless of party, need to hear from you. They need to know that you are not going to stand for this type of discrimination any longer! Please act today:
Contact your senators and delegates today and ask them to override Governor McAuliffe's vetoes of SB 236 and SB 555 at the upcoming April 23 Veto Session.
Of Retirements and Vetoes
Of Retirements and Vetoes
Wednesday's one-day “Veto Session” at the General Assembly proved to go largely as expected, primarily along party lines, with the Governor’s legacy cemented as the most obstructionist executive in the history of the Commonwealth.
Since ascending to office four years ago, Governor Terry McAuliffe has vetoed a record 111 bills – with none being overridden by the legislature. A two-thirds majority of those present for the votes is necessary to override a veto, and with no Democrat courageous enough to go against the hysterical “progressive” base that demands nothing less than absolute devotion to its dogmas, overrides were impossible.
With the Governor’s vetoes of many common-sense bills, several of which protected life, rights of conscience, and parental authority, there was plenty for state legislators to consider as they voted. But the day began with the shocking retirement of 24 year House veteran and chairman of the House Courts of Justice committee, Republican Dave Albo. This came on top of the recently announced retirements of Richmond area Republican Delegates Jimmie Massie and Peter Farrell. With the retirement of Speaker of the House Bill Howell already announced, it’s clear the House of Delegates will take on an entirely new flavor next year. We appreciate all the work of Delegates Howell, Albo, Massie and Farrell, with whom we have worked on many issues over the years. They will all be missed.
After nearly two hours of farewell speeches, the House finally got down to business and began the process of reviewing the Governor’s vetoes and dozens of amendments to bills, including the state budget. The Senate methodically worked through its bills dealing with the Governor’s actions as well.
The good news was the House once again rejected the Governor’s repeated effort to expand Medicaid under the failed Obama “Care” government health insurance scheme.
No vote to override a veto showed the left’s dogmatic adherence more than the failure to override the veto on HB 2191, a bill from Delegate Steve Landes giving parents a say when schools want to teach sexually explicit material to kids. When the bill passed the House in February it received 74 votes, meaning several Democrats voted yea. But today, they fell in line with their party and voted with the Governor.
Also in the House, the veto of Delegate Nick Freitas’s HB 2025, which would protect religious charities and schools from government discrimination because of their beliefs about marriage, wasn’t challenged with a vote. However, Delegate Freitas correctly pointed out that in the Governor’s own reasoning for vetoing the bill, he made the argument that religious charities are protected by the first amendment and statute for religious freedom – which means the Governor essentially argued why his own Executive Order discriminating against religious charities is unconstitutional! Remarkably, the Governor’s explanation says, “I veto House Bill 2025, which would shield from civil liability those who actively discriminate against same-sex couples. I vetoed this exact same bill last year, and my rationale for that veto remains the same.” Except we amended the bill this year to remove the civil liability part, which means, of course, it isn’t the “exact same bill”, but apparently neither the Governor nor his staff actually read the bill! You just can’t make this stuff up.
Regardless, even though the House and Senate could not garner the votes necessary to overcome the Governor’s vetoes, our message was heard clearly in the General Assembly yesterday. And credit where credit is due, despite secular leftist and media hysteria on these bills, for the most part Republicans in the General Assembly stood their ground and voted correctly.
The frustrations over the Governor’s vetoes of common sense legislation that protects religious charities, unborn life, taxpayers and parents’ rights must now be translated into action. The next Governor of the Commonwealth will either carry on the obstructionist tradition or be a conservative leader who will side with a majority of Virginians and sign these key bills.
Which Governor that is will be up to you.
Rare Bipartisan Victory
Rare Bipartisan Victory
During a General Assembly session, The Family Foundation takes a position on over 100 pieces of legislation. We try to keep you informed on as many as we can, but often we will work on proposals that never get the attention they deserve.
Case in point is a bill that thankfully on Monday Governor Terry McAuliffe signed into law.
The proposal, HB 1709, requires schools notify parents if their child is involved in an incident of alleged bullying within five school days. Patroned by Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41, Springfield), the bill was amended during the process to give schools fourteen school days – or almost three full weeks – before having to involved parents. Let’s face it, Amazon can deliver packages to third world countries faster than that! We believe parents are the key to their children thriving and that parents should be informed, notified and included as soon as possible when their children are suffering from or being accused of bullying. Three weeks is far too long.
And while the education establishment always claims it wants to involve parents, they allege it’s just too hard or too expensive to quickly pick up a phone and call a parent. We disagree.
Virginia’s definition of bullying is such that it requires very serious, repeated acts. Bullying is a serious problem, and parents should be involved as soon as possible if their child is a victim. And, if their child is suspected of bullying, they should know they are being investigated by the school.
The bill ended up in a “conference committee” on the very last days of session, where a handful of negotiators from the House and Senate worked out the final five-day time period. We’re thankful to Delegate Filler-Corn for working with us on this important issue, and for those conferees for seeing the wisdom of involving parents.
Governor Terry McAuliffe spent Thursday celebrating the fact that he’s proven to be the most obstructionist Governor in Virginia history.
Earlier this morning, Hillary Clinton’s top cheerleader went live on air with WTOP radio to veto bills (SB 2314/HB 2025) that would have provided modest protections for pastors, churches, and peaceful religious organizations and schools by prohibiting the state from discriminating against them because of their religious or moral beliefs about marriage.
The vast majority of Virginians, nearly two-thirds according to polling by Mason-Dixon, believe that, at a minimum, religious entities should be able to hold traditional beliefs about the institution of marriage without facing retribution from the government. But once again, Governor McAuliffe sided with the radical LGBT lobby and the ACLU in claiming that protecting the faiths of countless churches, religious schools and religious organizations amounts to discrimination and even going so far as to say it equates to “demonizing people”, according to his official statement. The Governor, of course, is all too comfortable with demonizing anyone who happens to disagree with him!
In reality, these bills would have ensured that a religious charity couldn’t be denied equal access to state benefits because of its belief in traditional marriage – something the Governor is trying to do through his Executive Order 61 – and that Virginia students who attend Christian universities or colleges like Liberty, Regent or Patrick Henry wouldn’t be denied access to Virginia’s Tuition Assistance Grants because those schools have policies based on marriage between one man and one woman.
His vetoes were a record 90th and 91st of his term, but sadly, he wasn’t done. This afternoon, he announced the veto of several bills that would have advanced parental rights and provided more educational opportunities for Virginia families.
The Governor proudly vetoed HB 2191, which simply would have provided parents of public school students an opportunity to review and opt their child out of materials they find sexually inappropriate. You may remember that a similar bill met with fierce opposition last year from the education cabal in Richmond as well as the secular “progressive) left. This year, Delegate Steve Landes (R-25, Verona) narrowed the bill to define “sexually explicit” simply as things that are currently against the law under the criminal sexual assault statute, but that still wasn’t good enough for the Governor.
In addition, he vetoed bills which would create a full-time public virtual school option for up to 5,000 new students in Virginia, allowing them to choose, with no tuition, from over a dozen approved education providers. He also vetoed two bills that would allow two or three school districts to band together to form a regional charter school district where each district would have to have at least 3,000 enrolled students and at least one school that failed to be accredited for at least two of the previous three years.
The Governor once again sided with the antiquated, failing, one-size-fits-all education establishment against families and children who want more options and the freedom to choose the school that best fits their needs.
The reality: elections have consequences. Virginians have the opportunity to correct the McAuliffe error later this year. Advancing the values we cherish, like religious freedom, life and education freedom require a governor who not only shares our values but has the courage to fight for them. Four years of Terry McAuliffe’s contempt for the beliefs of a majority of Virginians are enough.