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Dear Friends,

Welcome to a special Fourth of July edition of the Social Conservative Review.

As our nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day, our gratitude for our country and the brave men and women who defend it is great. There is no nation like American, one founded upon the belief that our rights are gifts of God, not bestowals of the state.

Yet the direction of our country remains troubling. In New York , legislators succumbed to extraordinary political pressure to pass, on the last day of an extended legislative session, a measure allowing homosexual "marriage" in the Empire State. Wrong for a host of reasons in itself (see FRC's new video, "The Problem with Same-Sex Marriage"), this law now opens the door to all manner of living arrangements, each of which further corrodes the family as we have known it (see George Weigel's compelling article on this theme).

Upcoming votes on same-sex marriage in Minnesota and elsewhere also promise to be hard-fought battles. Of course, it is worth bearing in mind that whenever same-sex marriage has been put to a vote of the people, the people have said no.

Still, with all the bad news, much good is also taking place. For example, earlier this week the Ohio legislature "voted to ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detectable, which can be as early as six weeks." As Reuters reports, "The Ohio House also passed two other abortion restrictions Tuesday, one that would ban late-term abortions after 20 weeks if a doctor determines that the fetus is viable outside the womb. Another bill excludes abortion coverage from the state insurance exchange created by the federal health care law."

FRCAction has produced a comprehensive, 28-page State Legislative Report on all the family-and life-related measures and initiatives in the states so far in 2011. Read it and be encouraged: Many governors, state representatives, and attorneys general are working actively to strengthen families and protect unborn life.

"The establishment of Civil and Religious liberty is the Motive which induced me to the field," wrote George Washington at the close of the American Revolution. Does the preservation of these precious liberties still motivate us to contend -- graciously, wisely, and courageously - in the field of political engagement today?

May God guide and strengthen each of us to this end, this Fourth of July and always.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder

Senior Vice President

Family Research Council

P.S. Here are some other recent free FRC resources on issues important to our country's future:

Watch for the next edition of the Social Conservative Review on July 14, 2011.