Category archives: States

Women’s Health, right? The Right’s response: Wrong! Yep, that’s right.

by Family Research Council

July 16, 2014

All this talk about S1696 protecting women’s rights? Down-right deceiving. If passed in the Senate, what has been referred to by National Right to Life’s President as “the most radical pro-abortion bill ever considered by Congress” would undo pro-life laws across the nation. It is because of the carefully-drafted and rightfully enacted pro-life laws that currently exist that women’s health and unborn children are protected.

Hundreds—yes, hundreds—of pro-life laws have been passed in states, including 21 measures this year alone.

The very essence of this bill is destruction, not protection. What would be the ramifications of passing S1696?

This bill would overturn these pro-life and pro-woman laws—laws that protect babies who are capable of feeling pain—laws that prevent sex-selection abortion—laws that ensure the medical competency of health providers—laws that hold abortion clinics to the same standards of ambulatory clinics. These laws are important and are being passed in states across the country.

S1696 is a serious unconstitutional attack on states’ rights. Last year, I was on the grounds of the Texas Capitol when HB2 and SB1 were debated. These measures have helped to protect the lives of numerous Texan mothers and their unborn children. It was a year ago when the Lone Star legislature demonstrated to the nation the truth of Lt. Governor David Dewhurst’s words, “At the end of the day, life can’t be stopped.”

However, S1696 seeks to end life. It seeks to stop the heartbeat of the child who is being nurtured in his or her mother’s womb. It seeks to make profit off of the woman in crisis. Is this protecting? No, it’s degrading. After all, what is honorable about intentionally lowering medical and health standards? Friends, this bill seeks to silence the voice of states like Texas that have raised their voice for life. It’s time to kill the bill and protect the mother and her unborn child.

Each of us has been blessed with mothers who showed us true love and protection when they made the choice to grace us with the gift of life. This bill is not about health rights; it’s about destroying the very inalienable right that we all have been given—the right to life.

Press Release: Courts Will Not Have Final Say on Marriage

by FRC Media Office

June 25, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins released the following statement in response to two rulings today - one being a two-to-one ruling from a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals panel striking down Utah’s marriage amendment and another one from a federal judge striking down Indiana’s Defense of Marriage Act:

While disturbing, today’s rulings come as no surprise given the rising disdain for the rule of law promoted by the Obama administration. These latest rulings are not just about redefining marriage but they are a further attempt by the courts to untether our public policies from the democratic process, as well as the anthropological record.

While judges can, by judicial fiat, declare same-sex ‘marriage’ legal, they will never be able to make it right.  The courts, for all their power, can’t overturn natural law. What they can do is incite a movement of indignant Americans, who are tired of seeing the foundations of a free and just society destroyed by a handful of black-robed tyrants. The Left has long believed packing the federal courts with liberal jurists is the means of fulfilling a radical social agenda, as the American people refuse to endorse that agenda at the polls or through their elected representatives.

As we saw with Roe v. Wade in 1973 - despite the Left’s earnest hopes, the courts do not have the final say. The American people will have the final word as they experience the consequences of marriage redefinition and the ways in which it fundamentally alters America’s moral, cultural and political landscape,” concluded Perkins.

FRC’s Peter Sprigg Testifies Against Maryland Senate Bill 212

by FRC Media Office

February 4, 2014

Below are the remarks that Peter Sprigg, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Policy Studies, delivered before the Maryland State Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee


Testimony in opposition to Senate Bill 212
Peter Sprigg
Senior Fellow for Policy Studies, Family Research Council
Resident, Montgomery County, Maryland

Maryland State Senate, Judicial Proceedings Committee
February 4, 2014

I urge you to oppose Senate Bill 212

This bill caters to anyone who is “transgendered,” a broad umbrella term that includes transsexuals (people who have had sex-change surgery), anyone who has changed or is changing their public “gender identity” (regardless of whether they have had surgery or hormone treatments), transvestites (people who dress as the opposite sex on an occasional basis for emotional or sexual gratification), and drag queens and drag kings (people who dress as the opposite sex for the purpose of entertaining others).

It should be opposed by anyone who believes in freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of conscience and religion, and a free market economy. Here are some reasons why:

  • The bill would increase government interference in the free market. It would substitute the judgment of the state for that of the employer regarding what qualities or characteristics are most relevant to a particular job.
  • Gender identity” is unlike most other characteristics protected in civil rights laws. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars discrimination based on “race, color, national origin, sex, and religion.” The first four of these are included largely because they are inborn, involuntary and immutable. (Religion, while voluntary, is explicitly protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.) Transgender behavior meets none of these criteria.
  • The bill would lead to costly lawsuits against employers. In the case of public employers (which are explicitly covered by the bill), such a law could lead to large settlements being paid at taxpayers’ expense.
  • The bill would undermine the ability of employers to impose reasonable dress and grooming standards. The bill professes to protect such standards. However, it requires that such standards be consistent with the employee’s chosen and variable “gender identity.” This effectively forbids employers from using the most fundamental standard of all—that people be dressed and groomed in a way that is culturally appropriate for their biological sex.
  • The bill would violate the privacy of others. Because transgender status is not dependent on having “sex-change surgery,” SB 212 would allow some biological males (who claim to be female) to appear nude before females (and vice versa) in bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers. (Previous versions of comparable federal legislation included an exemption for “shared shower and dressing facilities in which being seen unclothed is unavoidable.” There is no such exemption in this bill.)
  • The bill would mandate the employment of “transgendered” individuals in inappropriate occupations. For example, under this bill, employers in the area of education and childcare would be denied the right to refuse to hire transgendered individuals, even if they consider such persons to be confusing, disturbing, or inappropriate role models for children and young people.

Please vote “no” on Senate Bill 212.

The State of Abortion Law in the U.S.

by Anna Higgins

November 20, 2013

This week, voters in Albuquerque (ABQ) voted no on a local ordinance proposal that would have banned abortions past 20 weeks gestation, the age at which we know preborn children can feel pain. If passed, the ordinance would have protected countless women and children from the barbaric practice of late-term abortion in what many have called the late term capitol of the United States. The United States is one of only four countries in the world that permit the brutal practice for any reason.

This measure, although defeated, served an inestimably important educational function. The hard work that was put into the measure was not in vain. Due to efforts such as these, people are waking up to the fact that abortion necessarily involves two lives and that late term abortion is an unnecessary evil. In fact, 64% of Americans support banning the practice of late-term abortion. We must build on this effort in ABQ and begin to introduce similar legislation in cities across the country. These efforts go a long way towards exposing the truth about abortion. They also force those who support the heinous practice to defend themselves in light of the reality that abortion causes excruciating pain to the preborn child and is dangerous for the mother.

Also this week, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an emergency stay of the Texas law that requires abortionists to obtain admitting privileges in local hospitals. The denial of stay indicates that the Fifth Circuit’s refusal to enjoin the law pending a decision on the merits is not clearly erroneous. Thus, the Texas law will remain in effect until the Fifth Circuit has decided the case on its merits. As Ken Klukowski noted, the dissent in this decision indicated that it is likely that the Court will take up this case eventually. If it does, this will be the first abortion case taken up by the Court since 2007.

Meanwhile, the federal Unborn Child Pain Capable Protection Act, which handily passed the House in June, was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.). The bill is expected to generate a spirited debate if permitted to come to a vote. Introduction of such bills and public debate is essential to a robust Republic. The American people deserve to know the truth about abortion and must be allowed to express their will through their representatives. The will of the people was suppressed by the Court in 1973 with the decision in Roe v. Wade, but recent legislative movements to restrict abortion across the country show that even 40 years later, the people are still fighting for their right to be heard on the issue.

A Civil War general, a Wyoming storekeeper, and a Vietnamese businessman: A story of America

by Rob Schwarzwalder

October 29, 2013

A Civil War general, a Wyoming storekeeper, and a Vietnamese businessman tell an extraordinary story of patriotism and opportunity.

John Buford was a Union general who held the line against the Army of Northern Virginia on the first day of the battle of Gettysburg in July, 1863. He died, possibly of typhoid, in December of that same year. Abraham Lincoln, moved by Buford’s heroic service and premature loss, promoted him to major general on Buford’s death bed.

In 1866, the town of Buford, Wyoming was named after the late general. Over time, it grew to a population of 2,000 and was visited by such notables as Ulysses Grant and Franklin Roosevelt. The notorious Butch Cassidy is reported to have robbed a store there in the 1880s.

The town went into gradual decline. Over time, everyone moved away except Vietnam veteran Don Sammons, who in “1992 … sold his moving business and bought Buford. He moved into a three-bedroom log cabin a few hundred feet from the trading post and turned an old schoolhouse next door into an office. He refurbished a store built in 1895 into a four-car garage.”

Recently, Sammons decided to put his one-man town up for sale. It was purchased not by fellow Bufordites (OK, there are none), a Wyomingite or even another American. It was purchased by a Vietnamese businessman named Nguyen Dinh Pham who plans to make Buford the distribution center of rich Vietnamese coffee throughout America.

About a dozen American flags fly in front of the store, now named the PhinDeli. After the sale, Sammons says he “wanted to put Vietnamese flags out” in front of the store. “But the new owner didn’t want locals to think he was trying to change this into a Vietnamese town. It’s a Wyoming town and it always will be.”

An American who fought against Communists in Vietnam lands in one of the most obscure places in North America and then sells his store to a Vietnamese coffee merchant, who insists on flying U.S. rather than Vietnamese flags in front of his store: The poetic symmetry of this sequence of events is remarkable, and speaks to the kind of America of which all of us can be proud. It is a country where honorable people can live decent lives in peace and freedom, prosper and thrive, and, ultimately, work to achieve their own economic and personal destinies without intrusive, patronizing intervention from the government.

When, at the beginning of the war, the governor of Kentucky offered John Buford any position in his state’s military he wanted, Buford had a ready answer. “I sent him word I was a Captain in the United States Army and I intended to remain one!” A patriot like that would appreciate what Don Sammons, Nguyen Dinh Pham, and the people of rural Wyoming are doing with his civic namesake.

On the Values Bus: A Mile High Mission

by Robert Morrison

October 4, 2012

The Values Bus rolled into Colorado this week. Our first stop was Denver, the site of last night’s presidential debate. Yesterday, we had a chance to meet with some key state legislative leaders at the Centennial State’s impressive Capitol. Like Iowa’s (and Massachusetts’s and West Virginia’s) this great domed structure is covered in gold leaf.

I was especially pleased to renew my friendship with Amy Stephens. Years ago, Amy was the policy director for Focus on the Family when I had that role at FRC. Now, Representative Amy Stephens is the Republican leader in the state house. That’s a nice change.

Wherever we go on the Values Bus, I make it a point to meet and talk to as many local and state elected officials as I can. It’s a most encouraging effort. These are really sharp folks. They are close to their constituents, conscientious, and capable. In Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Virginia, we had strong support for the Values Bus from locally elected lawmakers.

With the president headed into Denver for his debate, I had the rare opportunity of agreeing with him. Mr. Obama recently said “Washington is broken and we can’t fix it from the inside.” You are so right, Sir! And in my remarks on the steps of the State Capitol, I ventured the opinion that it would have been so nice if the President had realized that before his administration took control of banks, insurance companies, college student loans, the nation’s health care, GM, and Chrysler.

The impression one gets at these majestic, solid state capitols is of people being capable of self-government. They built these impressive monuments to the peoples’ ability to run their own affairs before Mr. Obama pressed on them a stimulus, before he issued mandates, and even before his EPA did an environmental impact study.

We are rolling through the American heartland with our friends from the Heritage Foundation. The Values Bus is a joint project. Heritage’s Vice President for Communications, Genevieve Wood, is another long-time friend. She used to fill that role at FRC. She always generously gives FRC a hat tip at each stop. I return the salute, saying we are honored to work with Heritage Foundation as they ride through the heartland dispensing subversive literature—the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution!

Gov. Mitt Romney last night offered this “means test” for a federal program. Is it so critical that we are willing to borrow money from China to continue funding it? So long, Big Bird! And maybe The Jim Lehrer News Hour, too. (Although, after last night’s performance as the debate’s hesitant moderator, it may be we have liberal agreement on that one.)

Whenever I visit a state capitol, I am moved to ask: “Who would think the people who built this are not capable of running their own schools?” SAT scores are continuing their years-long slide under President Obama. I don’t blame him for that. He doesn’t take the tests. But I do criticize him and even some of his Republican predecessors for continuing to shovel money at the unconstitutional and wasteful federal education department. Can any Americans point to a single improvement in their local schools we can attribute to the federal education department?

I should know: I worked there for three years in the 1980s. I served under President Ronald Reagan. When a liberal Republican congressman asked for a meeting with the president to talk about the future of the Education Department. Mr. Reagan wrote in the margin of the meeting agenda: “I hope it doesn’t have one!” Right you are, Mr. President! And, as Genevieve Wood reminds us: This is how you pile up a $16 Trillion debt.

The state capitols are an eloquent reminder of a time when state and local governments served Americans best because they were closest to the people. If we lose the ability to govern ourselves in our state and local governments, we cannot expect wisdom suddenly to descend on the banks of the Potomac. As Thomas Jefferson said: “If we had to wait for Washington [D.C.] to tell us when to plant, we should soon want bread.”

Illinois Foster Care System: Leaving No Good Deed Unpunished

by Christopher Marlink

July 29, 2011

As someone whose extended family has been significantly impacted by the foster care system, this story out of Illinois was of interest to me personally—but the implications for the over 2,000 children involved and for Christians are profound.

The Chicago Tribune recently reported week that the state of Illinois has acted to sever its longstanding relationship with Catholic Charities. The state has found Catholic Charities and Catholic Social Services to be in non-compliance with the states new law authorizing civil unions. The Trib reports:

In letters sent last week to Catholic Charities in the dioceses of Peoria, Joliet and Springfield and Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said the state could not accept their signed contracts for the 2012 fiscal year.

Each letter said funding was declined because your agency has made it clear that it does not intend to comply with the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, which the state says requires prospective parents in civil unions to be treated the same as married couples.

Illinois civil unions law contains exemptions for those religious bodies that do not want to perform or officiate civil unions. But as weve stated elsewhere, so called religious exemptions are usually just a way of greasing the skids to get controversial legislation passed. The exemptions could be challenged in court or be removed by future legislation. In a classic example of dont believe their talking points, Equality Illinois published this statement about the law on their website under a section titled Religious Freedom prior to its passage:

  • This Act would also not impact faith-based adoption agencies or adoption procedures. The Act does not amend the Adoption Act.

Thankfully the Catholic Charities is not taking this lying down. The three agencies in question have filed suit with the Thomas Moore Law Center against the Illinois attorney general and DCFS. Their request is altogether reasonable:

In the lawsuit, the agencies sought the courts permission to preserve their current policy of granting licenses to married couples and single, non-cohabiting individuals and referring couples in civil unions to other child welfare agencies.

Some readers may remember that in 2006, Catholic Charities of Boston ceased doing adoptions rather than violate their conscience and religious convictions by placing children with homosexual couples. We hope and pray that Catholic Charities in Illinois will receive a better legal outcome.

What is fascinating in this debate is that you have the state claiming that the law requires Catholic Charities give homosexual couples in civil unions equal consideration with married coupleseven though the social science data overwhelming demonstrates that children do best when raised by a married mother and father. A cursory reading of the social science makes it obvious that not all family situations are equal in the benefit they provide to children. (See Dr. Pat Fagans work on the MARRI project here, here and here for starters.). And yet the state demands that adoption and foster care agencies treat different family structures as if they were, in fact, the same.

While Catholic Charities works for the undeniable good of placing children in the best family situations available, the state of Illinois has embraced a social experiment wherein the best interests of children becomes subordinate to special interests of a vocal minority.

Finally, its important to remember why the state is involved in adoption and foster care services in the first place: to serve the best interest of the children under its care, not to bestow parenthood on individuals or couples desirous of the title or affirmation. Its about the children. Or at least it used to be in Illinois. Might one legitimately ask when the state will decide that Christians who disagree with normalizing homosexuality are unfit to serve as adoptive or foster parents?

Christians across our nation have an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ by welcoming children in need into their families. Our friends at Focus on the Family have some great resources and a model in Colorado for making a difference through adoption and foster care.

Why Elections Matter

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 13, 2011

In 2009, Barack Obama appointed then-Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to be Secretary of Health and Human Services. This was a troubling pick for conservatives, given her support for abortion-on-demand and support from abortion giant Planned Parenthood. As an advocate for federal funding of abortion, abortifacient drugs and embryonic stem cell research, among other things, Sec. Sebelius has justified these concerns.

Yet there is a significant bright side to Sec. Sebelius’ departure from Topeka: Former Senator Sam Brownback, a champion for life, is now Governor of Kansas. And what a difference that has made.

Yesterday, Gov. Brownback signed legislation that “strictly limits abortions after 22 weeks based on the fact that fetuses can feel pain beginning after the 21st week of pregnancy” and another measure, “the Abortion Reporting Accuracy and Parental Rights Act,” which “requires minors who seek abortions to obtain consent from both parents and places certain prohibitions on late-term and partial birth abortions.”

Kathleen Sebelius would have fought these bills from their introduction. Sam Brownback not only signed but celebrated them.

To those who say that Christians should withdraw from political engagement and concentrate on private acts of charity or work solely with church or ministry groups, consider Sam Brownback and his allies in the Kansas Legislature. Were these bills the final word in the battle for life? No. They are part of a larger legislative mosaic that is building, gradually but steadily, a culture where the personhood of the unborn child increasingly is being recognized in law and in the American conscience. For the children whose lives will be saved through these measures, they are nothing less than critical.

Does political engagement bring complete resolution of every problem? No. But political action can make a decisive, if incremental, difference in a host of areas — most importantly those involving the sanctity of life, the dignity of marriage, and the centrality of religious liberty to American public life.

Elections matter. Just ask Sam Brownback.

State of the 2011 Session in Review: Maryland

by Brianna Walden

April 12, 2011

Maryland legislators ended their three month session yesterday, April 11th. The completion of this years session brought the passage of bills that would raise the alcohol tax by three percent, increase the buffer zone between picketers and funerals, provide incentives for facilities that create energy by burning trash and many others. But more notable than what was passed, is what was not passed.

Same-Sex Marriage

Contrary to many predictions that Maryland would soon become the 6th state to legalize same-sex marriage, SB 116, which would accomplish that goal, failed to pass the House of Delegates and was recommitted to the House Judiciary Committee. This victory came through the dozens of phone calls and letters from those of you who stand for traditional marriage. Many thanks are due to Derek McCoy, President of the Association of Maryland Families, and their entire staff for the tireless work that was poured into supporting this effort.

This victory for traditional marriage, though huge, is not necessarily a permanent one. Since the bill was recommitted to committee, and not actually voted upon and failed, it can be brought up again next year at its current stage in the process. Indeed, Chuck Butler, chairman of Equality Maryland the states leading LGBT advocacy organization said:

So we agreed that if we could not pass the bill this year, we should try again next year. Importantly, House leadership committed to bringing up the bill again in 2012. To preserve our prospects of success, therefore, it was best not to hold a vote now, given the chances of the bills defeat by a wide margin. It would be more difficult, within a year, to convert no votes to yes than to obtain a yes from delegates who had not locked in their position with an actual vote.

Therefore we must remain ever vigilant on this issue, because homosexual activists certainly will.

Gender Identity

Another bill that ended in the did not pass category was HB 235, the gender identity bill which would prohibit alleged discrimination against a person based upon their gender identity. The concept of gender identity attempts to legitimize a person’s wish, perception or belief that he or she is actually the opposite sex than his or her own sex at birth. This type of legislation tries to normalize and mainstream transgendered behavior such as cross-dressing. House Bill 235 was recommitted to the Senate Judicial Proceeding Committee by a vote of 27 to 20.

These two victories in one of the most liberal states in the union are welcome news for everyone who stands for conservative family values!

For a more complete list of legislation that was passed (or failed) in Maryland this legislative session, click here.

FRC’s Peter Sprigg and Pierre Bynum Testify Before the Maryland House Judiciary Committee

by Krystle Gabele

March 3, 2011

On February 25, 2011, FRC’s Peter Sprigg and Pierre Bynum testified before the Maryland House of Delegates’ Judiciary Committee voicing their opposition to a bill that would redefine marriage.

Click the ‘play’ button below to listen to Pierre Bynum’s testimony.

Click the ‘play’ button below to listen to Peter Sprigg’s testimony.

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