Tag archives: Maryland

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.

Late-Term Abortion Death in Maryland: Time for Maryland to take action against late-term abortions

by Anna Higgins

February 8, 2013

Senior Fellow Peter Sprigg represented FRC today at a Maryland Coalition for Life (MDCFL) press conference in Germantown, Maryland where it was announced that a 29 year-old woman was pronounced dead at a Germantown hospital as a direct result of complications from a 3rd trimester abortion.

The abortion was performed by Dr. LeRoy Carhart. Carhart, former associate of late-term abortionist George Tiller, was recently hailed a “hero” in the film “After Tiller” at the Sundance Film Festival. Carhart was the abortionist who performed a late-term abortion on a young woman with Downs Syndrome who died following complications from that abortion in 2005 at Women’s Heath Care Services in Wichita, KS.

The young woman who died Thursday was approximately 33 weeks pregnant and came to see Carhart for an abortion procedure that lasted four days and ended in her death from apparent blood loss and shock, according to MDCFL.

Another botched abortion at an Elkton, Maryland resulted in a woman suffering from a ruptured uterus and the discovery of three dozen late-term aborted fetuses in the clinic freezer. This led Maryland, one of the most abortion-friendly states in the country, to quietly enact stricter abortion facility regulations in July, 2012. Those regulations require licensure of facilities and basically mirror regulations that govern outpatient surgical facilities.

MDCFL has learned that while Carhart’s facility was recently licensed by the state, no actual inspection took place prior to that licensure to guarantee that the facility conformed to the new MD regulations. This senseless tragedy should serve as a wake-up call to abortion supporters who continually insist that abortion is “health-care” and is safe for women.

As we have seen over and over again in states like Pennsylvania, Arizona, Marylandand Kansas, abortion facilities and procedures remain unsanitary and unsafe. Late-term abortions are particularly dangerous. Late term abortion complications include, but are not limited to pain, bleeding, shock, infection and instrumental injury, according to S.V. Gaufburg, professor of medicine at Harvard University.

U.S. mortality rates per 100,000 abortions are 14.0 for procedures at 16-20 weeks of gestation and 18.0 for procedures after 21 weeks of gestation, according to Gaufberg. A Bartlett study conducted during the years of 1988-1997 paints an even more dire picture. Specifically, it found that per 100,000 abortions, the relative risk of abortion-related mortality was 14.7 at 13–15 weeks of gestation, 29.5 at 16-20 weeks, and 76.6 at or after 21 weeks.

The death of the young Maryland woman could have been prevented had abortion been more tightly regulated in her home state. In light of this tragedy, Maryland should consider a total ban on late-term abortions in order to better protect women and families.

Maryland, a staunchly pro-abortion state, is not likely to re-think those laws anytime soon, according to LeRoy Carhart, who said in a 2011 interview, “[I] don’t think the laws here will change. Maryland is one of the most pro-choice communities in the country.” It is time for Maryland to prove Carhart wrong by putting the safety and dignity of its citizens first and outlawing these dangerous procedures.

Gallaudets Persecution of Dr. McCaskill Shows Why Maryland Voters Should Oppose Question 6

by Peter Sprigg

October 26, 2012

Dr. Angela McCaskill, an administrator at Gallaudet University, has been suspended from her job simply for signing a petition to put the new Maryland law legalizing same-sex marriage on the ballot.

The Washington Times has now run my op-ed on how this incident illustrates the threat to religious and personal freedom from same-sex marriageand why Maryland voters should vote AGAINST Question 6 on November 6.

Here is a key quote:

If this is what happens even when the law is not yet on the side of homosexual “marriage,” what conscientious objector to the redefinition of marriage will be safe after the law changes?

What Dick Cheney Gets Wrong

by Robert Morrison

February 23, 2012

I live in Maryland, where lawmakers in Annapolis may be voting to end marriage. They dont realize that thats what they are doing. Former Vice President Dick Cheney is said to be working the phones, trying to persuade Republican holdouts to join Democrats in ending marriage.

Why is it ending, and not just expanding marriage rights to confer the legal status of marriage on same-sex couples? Consider constitutional expert, GWU law professor Jonathan Turley. He spoke to an overflow crowd at the Newseum in 2008.

He said: Opponents say that this will lead to polygamy. Im for that. Turley was wildly applauded by the audience, which included law students, congressional staffers, and, of course, enthusiastic journalists.

Turley is surely right. Recognizing same-sex couples as married will lead to polygamy and the end of marriage as a civil institution in America. Thats because when everyone can marry, there is no marriage left. Thats doubtless why Turley today is working to legalize polygamy.

Consider this thought experiment. Twin brothers announced on a TV talk show that they were gay. Under the laws proposed, can they marry? If not, why not? Theyve certainly had a committed relationship since before they were born. What constitutional principle could you invoke to say these twins cannot marry each other? And if these twin brothers may marry, why not a twin brother and sister?

Dick Cheney probably never met Mae West. For younger readers unfamiliar with one of Hollywoods original blond bombshells, Ill simply say: sailors in World War II called their large life jackets Mae Wests. (This is a family blog, after all.)

Mae West famously said: Marriage is a great institution, but Im not ready for an institution. How strange that Mae West had a better understanding of civil marriage than a former Vice President of the United States, a man who was twice elected to national office by pro-family voters.

I was sent by FRC to the Philadelphia Convention of 2000, instructed to meet GOP delegates on the Platform Committee. FRC does not endorse candidates, but we are certainly permitted to comment on the parties platforms. I had prepared carefully to read and analyze that years platform on such family issues as the defense of unborn human life, the protection of marriage, preserving religious liberty, and education. Those delegates rated an A on all those issues, except education (because they had dropped the call to disestablish the federal education department.)

Speaking to reporters outside the platform hearings, I praised the delegates work. The press couldnt care less about that. All they wanted me to do was to criticize the lesbian daughter of Dick and Lynne Cheney. What do you say about her being here?

Were always glad to see families brought together, I replied. But, but, shes sitting in the VIP box with her father and mother. I answered: Its certainly good to see a family united when their dad is being so honored.

Again and again, they probed. They wanted me to bash the daughter of the Republicans vice presidential nominee. You and him fight. Well hold your coats. Again and again, I tried to steer the interviews back to the partys platform, which was the only thing I was authorized to comment on. Dont try to tell reporters what it means to be a man under authority.

As a result, of course, nothing I said was reported. But as my former boss, Gary Bauer, often said: You can always get news coverage by setting your hair on fire. And I dont have hair to burn.

Then as now, Dick Cheney declined to support the Republican Party platforms strong defense of marriage. His serious demeanor brooks no contradiction. He speaks always as if he expects to be obeyed. Its as if they invented gravitas for him. I have a personal situation, he said to nodding reporters. He didnt have to spell it out.

Cheney was wrong then and now. My wife and I have relatives who are gay. We have never rejected them. That does not mean we must agree with them. That does not mean I should slacken any effort to defend the civil institution of marriage when it is under assault.

In 2000, Dick Cheney might have considered Philadelphias most famous son, Benjamin Franklin. Franklins own son was the royal Governor of New Jersey. It was a patronage job Ben had secured for him. When his son remained loyal to the Crown, Benjamin Franklin did not refuse to sign the Declaration of Independence citing a personal situation. Thats one of the many reasons why we remember Ben Franklin with admiration and respect.

Dick Cheney is said to be worth hundreds of millions. His family may not suffer the devastation that comes from the breakdown of marriage. But in his recent book, Coming Apart, Charles Murray shows how the loss of marriage for the white working class in America has already had catastrophic consequences. If we seek the reason behind the great disparities in wealth that the Occupy crowd is howling about, we need look no further than the collapse of marriage. In this great cultural clash, Dick Cheney has enlisted with the forces of dissolution.

State of the 2011 Session in Review: Maryland

by Family Research Council

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.

ACLU invades Montgomery County

by Robert Morrison

February 25, 2010

The ACLU is at it again. This time, they are demanding an apology from a Montgomery County, Maryland, public school teacher. Behind this demand is, as always with this federally-funded outfit, the bludgeon-like threat of a huge lawsuit.

What was the teachers offense? Apparently, the teacher threatened a student with detention if she refusedas she repeatedly didto stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. The teacher sent the student to the counselors office for her refusal to stand.

The ACLU immediately invoked the Supreme Courts ruling in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943). That case is often cited as a hallmark of American civil liberties, especially remarkable because it was handed down while the United States was engaged in a world war to defend democracy.

But the Court in 1943 said that students cannot be required to salute the flag or recite the Pledge. That was quite right.

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.

The Court did not say that students could not be required to stand quietly while other students recited the Pledge of Allegiance. If we stop for a moment, we can all readily agree that it would be wrong to require, for instance, the children of legal resident aliens to pledge their allegiance to our flag. In the famed 1943 case, the parents of the children who declined to take part in the flag salute and pledge were Jehovahs Witnesses. These people had a religious conviction that led them to regard pledging allegiance to the flag as a violation of the Commandment against making graven images. We should not force these students to violate their consciences.

We are constantly told by liberals that the purpose of education is to prepare young people to take part in todays complex and multi-cultural society. Does it? Surely, anyone attending a baseball game at Baltimores Camden Yards between a Canadian team and the home team is familiar with the two national anthems that are played. O Canada and The Star-Spangled Banner are both sung. What are Americans expected to do during the playing of the Canadian national anthem? Just stand silently and to show respect. Its the civil and neighborly thing to do.

Theres rich historical irony in this, too. For the words of United States national anthem were composed at nearby Ft. McHenry during the War of 1812. Those rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air were weapons of our British enemies. And the Canadians national anthem contains this line: O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Against whom exactly were the Canadians standing guard? Hint: It wasnt moose or polar bears. It was us. The Americans repeatedly had failed repeatedly to invade and conquer Canada when it was a British colony. But now, Americans and Canadians are the best of friends. We stand politely for each others national anthems, which may be the only two such anthems in the world that are actually written against each other.

Is the Montgomery County school case too trivial to merit national attention? No. It illustrates how classroom discipline and American patriotism are under constant assault by the ACLU. Our tax dollars are funding this radical outfit. Thomas Jefferson said to require a man to provide contributions of money for the propagation of opinions he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical. Surely, the fact that the ACLU uses our tax money against us is a gross violation of our rights.

Does it matter? John Walker Lindh is currently sitting in federal prison. He is the so-called American Taliban who was convicted of fighting against Americans in Afghanistan. Young Lindh was educated in Montgomery County Public Schools. Was he taught anything about why he should be loyal to his country? Why jihadism is a threat to all our rights? I seriously doubt it. By punishing a teacher who simply tried to give students the opportunity to express their patriotism and support for our country during a time of war, the Montgomery County public schools are doing nothing to avoid future American Talibans.