Discrimination Against Vermont Couple Shows The Real Agenda Of The Left In VirginiaDec. 18, 2013
Jim and Mary O'Reilly are perfect examples of the real agenda of those advocating legal protections for sexual behavior. The O'Reillys' own a bed and breakfast in Vermont. That state not only legalized same-sex unions, but has a broad "non-discrimination" law that includes sexual orientation. Consequently, the O'Reillys' were forced by the government to open their facility to same-sex couples despite their own religious convictions. They did, however, with permission from the state's "Human Rights Commission," communicate very clearly with guests their deeply held religious conviction that marriage is between one man and one woman. They never rejected a same-sex couple.
Yet the ACLU, one of the most vocal advocates of so-called "non-discrimination" policies, as well as free speech, partnered with Vermont's Human Rights Commission to sue the O'Reillys' for discrimination. They directly attacked the O'Reillys' approved practice of simply disclosing their religious beliefs about marriage to potential customers. According to Austin Nimocks, Senior Counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom:
Although the Commission agreed that the O'Reillys' acted in good-faith reliance on its 2005 ruling, the government and the ACLU demanded that the O'Reillys' pay $10,000 to the Commission as a civil penalty and $20,000 to a charitable trust set up by the ACLU's clients. Forced with the prospect of potentially losing their business, the O'Reillys' relented and agreed to these terms in August 2012.
This case was not about access to services-the ACLU's clients were easily able to find a venue for their reception, and the Wildflower's business practice did not deny services to anyone, but merely disclosed the O'Reillys' relevant religious convictions. What the government and the ACLU really objected to was the O'Reillys' mere mention of their views about marriage-views that conflict with the prevailing political orthodoxy in Vermont. For this, the government and ACLU insisted that the O'Reillys' be punished. (Emphasis added.)
"Punished"? For expressing their religious conviction? Not only has religious expression taken a hit, so has freedom of speech. In the past, the ACLU has defended the rights of NAZI and KKK groups to parade through cities, but God forbid (oops! Can't use that word) a family express and practice its religious beliefs on its own property.
This stifling of religious and expression freedoms is the true agenda of Equality Virginia, the ACLU and other advocates for legislation that will be introduced in the 2014 Virginia General Assembly that would add sexual orientation to Virginia's employment non-discrimination law. While our law currently applies only to state government, don't mistake that for the final goal of these groups. They've introduced legislation that would add "sexual orientation" to the state's more broadly interpreted "Human Rights Act." As the executive director of the ACLU said just a couple of years ago during testimony on this proposal, "This is a baby step."
A baby step alright. A baby step toward punishment simply for disclosing your religious conviction about human sexuality.
Some in the Republican Party want to capitulate on this issue, saying that it's a battle not worth fighting, a losing issue — a "divisive social issue" that gets in the way of winning elections. They are exceedingly naive or sadly ignorant of the logical conclusion of elevating sexual activity to protected status in our law. We, however, know exactly what the goals are and therefore will stand our ground and fight for religious liberty and expression.
Urgent: Public Comment On Adoption Regs Ends Tonight; ADF: "Adoption In The Best Interest Of The Child"Oct. 11, 2011
There are only hours left in the 30 day re-opened public comment period regarding a proposal that would allow Virginia government to discriminate against faith-based child placement agencies by forcing them to place children up for adoption to homosexuals, contrary to their consciences, faith beliefs and principles. Comments must be posted by tonight at 11:59 p.m. Nearly 2,000 people have commented so far.
If you have yet to do so, please contact the Board of Social Services and urge it to reject the proposed regulation that would discriminate against faith-based child placement agencies by forcing them to adopt children to homosexuals or cease performing their mission of helping children.
Our friends at Alliance Defense Fund have submitted exceptional comments that describe the history of adoption and its purpose — to give children the best possible outcome, and that it has always been in the state's interest to adopt children to stable, loving homes with both a mother and a father.
According to Austin Nimocks, ADF's senior legal counsel:
While the missions of several child-placing agencies are expressly faith-based, that faith basis directly serves Virginia's public policy in reflecting the universal understanding that, ideally, children need both a mother and a father. Therefore, Virginia should not burden these agencies with any regulations with threaten their ability to find children homes with loving mothers and fathers.
Nimocks goes on to make the case that the history of adoption laws in Virginia and the nation shows that their purpose is to imitate the natural family. It is in the best interest of children to be place with both a mom and a dad. The proposed regulation would both discriminate against faith-based ministries as well as deny children their best hope and opportunity.
In Virginia, individual homosexuals already are allowed to adopt and there are public and private agencies that facilitate those adoptions. Adding discriminatory language to the regulations would not increase the number of children being adopted into homes. In fact, it would decrease it by forcing the majority of private child placement agencies, which are sectarian, to cease fulfilling their mission or violate their faith. This would not help children but place them at risk.
This proposed regulation also places undue restrictions on birth mothers and consequently adoption agencies. Within the confines of an adoption conducted through a private agency, a birth mother is due the freedom to choose an adoptive parent of the same religious convictions so that her child may be raised accordingly. Consequently, private adoption agencies are deserving of the ability to screen adoptive parents based on the agency’s beliefs or the beliefs of their birth mothers.
Please contact the Board of Social Services by following the instructions below and urge them to reject any regulation that discriminates against faith-based child placement agencies. It's simple. Follow these instructions:
1. Click here.
2. Once on that page, click "Enter a comment."
3. Type "Preserve religious freedom" in the subject line.
4. Type and submit your comments.
Some points you may wish to consider incorporating into your comments:
» On April 20, the State Board of Social Services correctly upheld the fundamental right of faith-based child placement agencies to continue their great work of helping children and families without governmental intrusion into the practice of their faith.
» Faith-based child placement agencies have a right, under federal and state law, to make decisions that are consistent with their religious beliefs, including their beliefs about marriage and family life. This right must be respected and preserved.
» Children benefit from being placed in situations that reflect the natural family, with a mother and a father.
» Many birthparents and prospective adoptive parents hold these beliefs as well, and they have every right to work with agencies that share their values.
» Forcing agencies and individuals to choose between following their own values or following the proposed discriminatory regulation would be an unprecedented violation of religious freedom in Virginia. Religious liberty is foundational to our Commonwealth and our country.
» Faith-based agencies provide vital services to our communities. They must be allowed to continue the great work they are doing.
Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing Tomorrow Morning On DOMA, TFF Allies To Testify, Attend If PossibleJul. 19, 2011
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.)