Statement from Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod on the U.S. Supreme Court Decisions regarding DOMA and Prop 8
“The key message for Arizonans from the U.S. Supreme Court today is this: Your right to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman is preserved. It’s important to note that the Court did not find a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Neither did the Court declare same-sex marriage a civil right on the order of ethnicity or nationality.”
Though Center for Arizona Policy disagrees with aspects of the Court’s decision, we are grateful that the Court did not undermine the will of Arizona voters who strongly supported our state’s 2008 marriage amendment. In DOMA, CAP believes that the court erred in claiming that a state that has redefined marriage can force that definition on the federal government for purposes of federal marriage laws.
In Prop 8, the court has ensured that the state-by-state debate about marriage is allowed to continue. Truly the debate over marriage has just begun.
Marriage is more than just a personal promise, it serves a public purpose. It is society’s best guarantee of a limited government that stays out of family life. Social science data has proved this time and time again.
Center for Arizona Policy is committed to continuing to stand for marriage and to defeat any efforts to redefine this essential union.”
Center for Arizona Policy promotes and defends the foundational values of life, marriage and family and religious liberty. CAP led the 2008 effort to constitutionally define marriage as the union of one man and one woman in Arizona.
|On Tuesday, North Carolina became the 32nd state to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as only the union of one man and one woman. The amendment passed with a strong majority – 61 percent – voting in favor.
State marriage amendments are now 32 for 32 – in each state where the people have been able to vote on marriage, the people have said YES! to protecting marriage. Only through the courts and state legislatures have advocates in a small minority of states been able to redefine marriage to include same sex couples.
On Wednesday, after this historic vote in North Carolina, President Barack Obama made some history of his own, becoming the first sitting U.S. President to support redefining marriage, the cornerstone of our society.
The President’s announcement was no surprise to those who have followed his statements on marriage. It’s a relief to have the President finally state his position clearly so that no one can doubt or explain away how the President views marriage. I will leave it to the political pundits to dissect the President’s motivation and timing for his statement. This much is clear however — within hours, those favoring same-sex marriage began donating significant dollars to re-elect President Obama.
The backlash against the President’s flip flop on marriage has come from across the country.
Alliance Defense Fund’s Litigation Staff Counsel Jim Campbell said, “This shows that the Obama administration doesn’t understand the public purpose of marriage. Marriage – the lifelong, faithful union of one man and one woman – is the building block of a thriving society. It’s not something that politicians should attempt to redefine for political purposes. The President has spoken eloquently about how fatherless homes often hurt children and society. Today’s statement is a tragic contradiction that promotes the creation of even more fatherless and motherless homes.”
Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council said “The President’s announcement today that he supports legalizing same-sex marriage finally brings his words in sync with his actions. From opposing state marriage amendments to refusing to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA) to giving taxpayer funded marriage benefits to same-sex couples, the President has undermined the spirit if not the letter of the law.”
Hugh Hewitt pointed out how the President first was “for same sex marriage before he was against it and before he was for it again“, and that “marriage between a man and woman is ordained by God for the happiness of humankind and the building up of society, and that it is to be preferred to any other situation for the raising of children.”
In California, where they are in the midst of defending their marriage amendment in court, known as Proposition 8, Ron Prentice, the Executive Director of the California Family Council said, “The first chapter of the biblical book of James refers to a double-minded man as one who is unstable, “blown and tossed by the wind.” Thank God for the millions of Americans rejecting the president’s view of progress.”
Three Bills Remain on the Governor’s Desk
|Three CAP-supported bills remain on the governor’s desk, awaiting her action:
She has until Tuesday to act on these bills. Follow our Facebook page for the latest updates.
During one of the most contentious sessions of my lifetime at the state Capitol, I was truly blessed by the outpouring of love and encouragement from old and new friends.
Senator Nancy Barto summed up the evening well when she posted on Facebook:
Mike Huckabee at tonight’s CAP dinner was fantastic – so funny, but hit the main point: strong families prevent a whole host of social ills government spends its resources trying to fix. Thank you to everyone who supports CAP so Legislators can pass pro-family legislation.
This year’s CAP Family Dinner was unlike any other though, and here’s why:
Gov. Huckabee picked up a bass guitar and joined the Catalina Foothills Church praise and worship band on stage for a performance of “I Saw the Light” and “America the Beautiful.” It was the perfect conclusion to an inspiring evening.
Along with the many families and legislators that joined us, I want to especially thank my staff at CAP. I cannot think of another group of people who could have pulled off two successful events back-to-back in three weeks than the team we have here at CAP.
There was a lot that happened this week at the Capitol, and there’s a lot more coming next week. You can follow all of the action on Facebook. But today, let’s give thanks to the Lord for his grace, mercy, and abundant provision.
|What a week. I don’t know if I’ve ever witnessed such baseless and false attacks on CAP-supported bills as I saw this week. While I understand that it may be more entertaining for some to blatantly lie about legislation, the people deserve to know the truth.
So I’m going to clear a few things up about CAP-supported bills and other issues that have been misconstrued in the press and liberal blogs this week.
HB 2625 – This simple bill protects the religious freedom of faith-based groups and other employers. No employer should be forced by the government to pay for contraception and abortifacients in their insurance plans when doing so would violate their First Amendment protected religious beliefs. The media has falsely picked up the opponents’ outrageous claims that the bill would force women to tell employers why they are taking birth control pills. Read the bill. That claim is not in the bill.
Center for Arizona Policy does not take a position on family planning or birth control. We do, however take a very strong position that faith-based institutions and employers who hold a religious belief regarding contraception should not be compelled to violate those beliefs and pay for the medication.
The bill’s sponsor, Representative Debbie Lesko has done an incredible job in numerous media interviews explaining this point, like this interview with Greta Van Sustren. Take a moment to thank Rep. Lesko by emailing her.
These lawsuits endorse the viewpoint that the life of a disabled child is worth less than the life of a child without a disability. Imagine what the children of the parents who file these lawsuits must feel when they get older and find out that their parents sued because they wish they would have had an abortion.
The attacks on this bill have truly been far-fetched. Some blogs claimed that this bill would allow doctors to knowingly withhold information from parents. Untrue. This bill does nothing to protect doctors that cause harm to preborn children, withhold information, or are grossly negligent.
Bullying, Part Two. Perhaps you’ve seen the attacks on me and CAP this week regarding the anti-bullying legislation I wrote about last week. I’ve been called a “legislative terrorist” and I’m sure a few other names by the time you read this.
While most of the attacks do not warrant a response, I do want to address one false statement made by State Senator David Schapira. He has claimed multiple times that I said SB 1462 is a “back door gay bill, no pun intended.” I would never say something so crass. Sen. Schapira – disagree with me if you want. But stop telling lies about what I supposedly said.
Pornographers coming to Arizona? – Several of you have written me recently about the California pornography industry threatening to come to Arizona because of new regulations in Los Angeles.
What wasn’t mentioned is the huge roadblock in their way: filming pornography in Arizona violates our prostitution laws.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery sent a clear message to pornographers this week when he released a statement explaining how virtually all of those involved in pornography could be subject to felony charges:
Under Arizona law, anyone paid to appear in a pornographic movie may be guilty of the crime of prostitution, which carries mandatory jail time as well as the possibility of other penalties. Furthermore, anyone involved in other aspects of producing pornographic movies, including soliciting individuals to appear, collecting a fee from the monies received by individuals solicited to appear by virtue of an agent relationship, transporting individuals from California to Arizona for the purpose of appearing in a pornographic movie, and/or establishing a venue for the filming and/or production of pornographic movies may be guilty of committing one or several felonies in the state of Arizona. Accordingly, Arizona law precludes the establishment of a “pornography industry” to any degree such as that present in California.
Still Time to Join Me and Gov. Mike Huckabee
There is still time to get your tickets for the CAP Family Dinner with Gov. Mike Huckabee in Tucson on March 21 and Scottsdale on March 22. Visit our website to order your tickets or call our office at 602.424.2525. Hope you can make it!
Call to Prayer
Marriage between a man and a woman is lifegiving, and a majority of Americans understand this.
Yet marriage is under constant assault. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled the California marriage amendment was unconstitutional. In Washington State, a bill was signed into law to completely redefine marriage. The New Jersey legislature passed legislation to do the same, but Governor Christie vetoed it. Maryland’s legislature recently passed similar legislation, and their governor has vowed to sign the bill.
The attacks are coming from all sides. In response, Alliance Defense Fund has called for a National Pray for Marriage Day this Sunday, February 26. This prayer guide offers suggestions to pray for a restoration of marriage in America. While there is much work to be done to protect marriage in America, we must always remember to go to the Lord first, because only He can bring us victory. Take time this Sunday to pray for marriage!
Legislative Victory! First CAP-supported Bill Heads to the Governor
SB 1047, which increases the amount individuals can receive in tax credits for donations to School Tuition Organizations to $500, and married couples to $1,000, is on Governor Brewer’s desk! These new scholarship dollars are solely designated for children on waiting lists who attend public schools and want to go to the private school of their parents’ choice.
Have you ever been to the State Capitol?
We’ve hosted a number of Inside Looks at the Capitol since session began to give CAP supporters a peek into our daily work and how it is making Arizona a better place for families. These one-hour tours are free and allow you to interact with me and some of the other members of the CAP team. I hope you can join us and bring a friend on March 6 or March 21. The tours run from noon-1:00 p.m. You must RSVP in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
|On Tuesday, two judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the California marriage amendment approved by a vote of the people is unconstitutional. Once again, we see judges making law, not interpreting law. Read the opinion here. Incredibly the judges can find no “rational basis” for Californians to uphold marriage.
Thankfully, this is not the final chapter in the fight to protect marriage. Let’s all remember that this is the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals – the most overturned circuit court in the country. Shortly after the decision was released, our friends at Alliance Defense Fund and ProtectMarriage.com announced they would be appealing the decision.
There are two key “take-aways” from the opinion:
Check out the Marriage Counterfeits Issue Brief on AZPolicyPages.com to learn more about this topic.
Now We’re Rolling
|We had a full week at the state legislature. Six CAP-supported bills were heard either in committee or on the House or Senate Floor. Here are some of the highlights:
The other big news of the week is the CAP-supported Mother’s Health and Safety Act introduced by Representative Kimberly Yee. You can read more about HB 2838 from the Associated Press. And, be sure to check out CAP’s Bill Tracker for current status on our bills and to access our Fact Sheets. Several more bills will be heard in committees next week. We’d appreciate your prayers as we work these bills through the legislative process.
|Only a week into session and two CAP-supported bills have passed out of a committee. SB 1047 and SB 1048 strengthen and expand Arizona’s Scholarship Tax Credit program, which gives a dollar-for-dollar tax credit to donations to School Tuition Organizations (STOs). STOs then provide families with scholarships so their children can attend the school of the parents’ choice.|
Praying for those in Authority
|At dawn Monday before the session began, concerned citizens from across the state participated in our annual Prayer Walk. We walked the grounds of the state Capitol, including the House and Senate floors, praying for our elected officials, the current legislative session, and for the future of Arizona. I hope you join me in continuous prayer for all of those in positions of authority.|
Standing for Life
|Opening day was full of citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. Planned Parenthood held a rally to push the pro-abortion agenda and tell legislators “women are watching them.” As it turns out, pro-life women are watching too, and Brooke Burns and the Arizona Right to Life crew held an impromptu rally to show our elected officials support for standing for life. Carrying signs that say “We Love You – Choose Life,” about 40 people boldly stood out in the Capitol lawn in support of preborn children and protecting the health and safety of women.|
Arizona Day of Prayer Challenged … again
|The Freedom From Religion Foundation has once again filed a lawsuit over the Arizona Day of Prayer, but this time in state court. You may recall a federal court judge tossed out FFRF’s lawsuit against the Day of Prayer in federal court. Prayer has been at the foundation of our country from the very beginning, and it is simply absurd that organizations like this are trying to rewrite history and block religious speech in the public square. Click here to listen to my interview with Family News in Focus on the lawsuit.|
WARNING: Divorce Comes with Unexpected Side Effects
|The University of Arizona released a review this week of more than 30 studies on the harms of divorce. They found that individuals that go through a divorce run a significant higher risk of dying earlier than married couples. In fact, they found that risks associated with divorce are similar to smoking and excessive drinking. Read more here.|
CAP Back on Radio
Be sure to tune in daily to 960 AM The Patriot before the Hugh Hewitt Show in the afternoon and KPXQ 1360 AM The Christian Station in Phoenix to catch me on the Patriot Policy Minute. For you northern Arizonans, remember to tune into 90.9 FM Radio Shine every Friday for the CAP Family Minute, our weekly update from the legislature.
|Marriage: It’s What’s Good for Children|
|Many today have forgotten the common good marriage between one man and one woman provides for our culture. A challenge we all face is how to restore marriage to its valued place of honor and importance. Marriage is a positive good for our country – it’s life-giving.Over the last few decades, marriage has been devalued through no-fault divorce, cohabitation, and even those that want to redefine marriage altogether.Perhaps no one has suffered more from the decline in the value of marriage than children. Yet many deny and fail to understand the negative impact divorce and court decisions redefining marriage have on children.Thankfully, as more research becomes available on the harms of cohabitation and divorce on children, policy makers are stepping up to address these problems. Last session, the Arizona Legislature passed a CAP-supported divorce reform bill, which adds information about the effects of divorce on adults and children to the mandatory parenting education classes for divorcing parents of minor children and allows couples to ask for additional time to reconcile before a divorce is finalized.On the Witherspoon Institute’s Public Discourse blog, Professor Helen Alvaré writes about how across the country more officials are beginningto recognize the impact bad policy on marriage has on children.Another excellent resource is Why Marriage Matters by the Institute for American Values, which documents thirty conclusions from the social sciences on why marriage is good for our country.|
|Alan Chambers in the Lion’s Den|
|World magazine has named Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, as their 2011 Daniel. Exodus ministers to those struggling with homosexuality.
I applaud World for their selection. Take time to read the article. Most importantly, take time to pray for Alan and the Exodus team who daily come under constant assault and attack from the media and opponents. You can send your encouragements to him on Twitter, @alanmchambers.
|Frontline Public Policy Experience|
|CAP is now accepting intern applications for policy and communication interns to serve during the upcoming legislative session. Interning with CAP during session provides college students with real-life experience down at the state Capitol working in public policy. Click here for details of both positions. Please forward this opportunity to those who might be interested and qualified.|
|Exploiting the Poor|
|On the Foundations blog this week, CAP Legislative Coordinator Dave Ernest explores how gambling – either at a casino or through the lottery – exploits the poor. He presents yet another case why the expansion of gambling is never right for our state.|
|Good, But Unexpected, News|
|The abortion industry has a long history of putting their agenda ahead of the health and safety of women – and especially of minor girls. Pushing for over-the-counter availability of the “morning-after” pill is just one of the many ways their lobbying puts women at risk.
In a surprising turn of events this week, Kathleen Sebelius, the head of the federal Health and Human Services Department and an outspoken abortion advocate, overruled an FDA decision that would have made the morning-after pill, which can act as an abortifacient, available over the counter to girls younger than 17 without a prescription. Read more about this decision from Family Research Council.
|CA Marriage Amendment Back in Court|
|Yesterday, our friends at ProtectMarriage.com and Alliance Defense Fund were back in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to defend the majority of Californians who voted to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Read more about this hearing, and why a lower court’s ruling, which overturned the marriage amendment, had some serious problems.
|Never Let Our Guard Down|
|Just a little over three years ago, 56% of Arizona voters decided to add these 20 simple words to our state Constitution:
Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state.
While the marriage amendment victory was a critical step to protecting marriage in Arizona, we would be foolish to think our work is done to ensure marriage is never redefined. A recent poll from the liberal Public Policy Polling group claims a smaller margin of Arizona voters now support traditional marriage – 45% say same-sex “marriage” should be illegal, and 44% say it should be legal. Their poll also says that a majority of voters think that Arizona should establish marriage counterfeits like domestic partnerships.
Of course, the poll did not ask whether marriage should be defined as only the union of one man and one woman. The questions were not exactly neutral, and the polling company typically works for those who want to redefine marriage. The obvious intent is to begin laying a foundation to ask Arizona voters to redefine marriage in the next ten years or so.
The poll shows the “never give up” commitment of marriage opponents to eventually win on the marriage issue. These organizations are well funded and are well organized. Marriage opponents will be out registering voters and working hard to influence the 2012 elections. At CAP, our team will never let our guard down in our stand to see marriage stay the union of one man and one woman.
|Intern with CAP!|
|The next legislative session is just a month away, and we’re looking for policy and communications interns for the upcoming legislative session. This is a great opportunity to get first-hand experience working in public policy down at the state legislature. If you know any college students interested, please help us spread the word!|
Christmas Giving and Tax Credits
|I hope you will join me in participating in Arizona’s tax credit opportunities, subject to your accountant’s advice. These programs allow you to give a gift up to a certain amount to schools and non profit organizations and receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit back for your gift. Here are a few ways to give, and some organizations that have really made a positive impact on our community:
Not the Way Out
|The budget crisis across the country is on everyone’s mind. Just this week, our national debt topped $15 trillion. In Arizona, our leaders are seeking ways to responsibly meet our own state budget needs.
As the Legislature searches for ways to balance our state budget, with some wanting to increase state revenues, I am becoming increasingly concerned that the expansion of gambling is being considered. Changing our state laws to allow casinos at racetracks – “racinos” – would dramatically change the character of our state and impact families.
Legislators shouldn’t balance the budget on the backs of Arizona’s families. The harms of gambling, while not often discussed, are very real. You can read more of on this on the Foundations blog.
Thankfully, more than half of the members of the House and of the Senate indicated in CAP’s 2010 Voter Guide that they would oppose “Allowing slot machines and table games off Indian reservations.” I remain confident that they will stay true to their word and not allow gambling to expand.
|Still a Long Way to Go|
|A few weeks ago, I told you that abortions in Arizona had dropped by 30% in September, according to newly released Department of Health Services data. This week, DHS released updated numbers showing that the decrease in numbers continues but not at the 30% pace originally reported. The good news is that abortions still dropped by 417 over the last three months compared to the same time period in 2010. No doubt the drop in abortions directly resulted from the court decision upholding the Abortion Consent Act, the enactment of Arizona’s ultrasound requirement, and Planned Parenthood’s ending abortion services at seven of their ten clinics.
The new data, however, deeply troubles me because 179 preborn children have been aborted at 20 and 21 weeks from January-October 2011, and children can survive outside of the womb at 20 weeks. It’s a sign of how much work remains when babies who could clearly survive outside their mother’s wombs are not surviving inside their mother’s womb.
|Key Victory for Marriage Proponents in California|
|Finally, good news from California’s Prop 8 litigation! The California Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the ProtectMarriage.com legal team can defend the state marriage amendment in court. You may recall that the state governor and attorney general both refused to defend the marriage amendment on behalf of the voters. Yesterday’s decision puts in place the strongest legal team to represent the right of voters to define marriage.
All eyes are on the Prop 8 case, Perry v Brown, as it likely will determine whether individual states have the right to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman or whether the federal courts will take away that right.
|Also this week, a federal court judge heard arguments from the state and the ACLU about a CAP-supported bill that disqualifies donations to organizations that provide, promote, pay for, or provide referrals for abortion from being eligible for the working poor tax credit. The ACLU, representing the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence, is arguing that Arizona should be forced to provide the benefit of the working poor tax credit to organizations that refer women for abortion.
CAP is supporting the state’s defense. On the Foundations blog this week, our Legal Counsel Deborah Sheasby explains why the ACLU’s case is based on weak arguments.
Tuesday’s Election Results
|For some conservatives, Tuesday’s elections across the country were a disappointment. I caution you to not read too much into these election results. No doubt, though, our work is cut out for us in the 2012 elections to register voters, educate voters, and turn out values voters.
I’ve been asked about the defeat of the “Personhood Amendment” in Mississippi. The intent of this amendment was to define life as beginning at conception and stop legalized abortion. Previously, Colorado had defeated a similar amendment twice. Nevada proponents are working to put the amendment on their next ballot.
While I support the goal behind “Personhood,” I join with many other national pro-life leaders and strategists in favoring a different approach in our efforts to protect preborn life and mothers. I do not consider the Mississippi results to be a setback for the pro-life movement. Rather, the pro-life movement continues to move forward with 86 new pro-life laws passing this year alone in states. Those laws are resulting in fewer abortions. Our U.S. House has a pro-life majority. Further, in recent years, more and more people continue to identify themselves as “pro-life” instead of “pro-choice.” The dream of living in a country that respects the sanctity of human life from its very beginning to its natural end is not far-fetched. To get there though, it will take wise leadership, patience, and most importantly prayer.
Regarding the recall of Senate President Russell Pearce in Legislative District 18, I thank Sen. Pearce for his unwavering stands through the years in defense of preborn life, school choice, religious liberty, and marriage. Sen. Pearce never hesitated to support CAP’s legislative agenda. He always was available to help us move bills through the process and speak out in support of life, marriage and family, and religious liberty.
|Marriage Opponents in Corporate America|
|You may be surprised to learn that 70 corporations – including some of our country’s most recognizable brands – filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of overturning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in a federal lawsuit.
Microsoft, Starbucks, Google, NIKE, Levi Strauss and Co., CBS, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mass., Time Warner Cable, and Xerox all signed onto the brief filed in the case of Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, urging the court to deem DOMA unconstitutional.
|William Wilberforce Award|
|I was honored to receive the news that I will be awarded the William Wilberforce Award at the First Annual Students for Life West Coast Gala tomorrow for my efforts to promote and defend life in public policy.
Defending the sanctity of human life has been one of God’s great callings in my life, and I am truly blessed to be receiving this award named for one of my heroes, the great abolitionist William Wilberforce.
I am grateful to Students for Life for the recognition, and I share this award with our amazing team at Center for Arizona Policy – both past and present – and with all of our ministry friends.
|Forced to Perform Abortions|
|Read the story of the 12 nurses whose employer is trying to force them to participate in abortions on the Foundations blog, and how, thanks to the Abortion Consent Act, Arizona’s healthcare professionals are free from this type of persecution.
|There’s a lot on the line|
|In just four days, three very important elections will be taking place in Arizona that will have a profound impact on the state for years to come. In Tucson and Phoenix, voters will be electing new mayors. In Legislative District 18, voters are faced with a historic recall election between current Senate President Russell Pearce and challenger Jerry Lewis.CAP has published Voter Guides in all three of these elections on azvoterguide.com. City elections particularly are often overlooked, but local governments are playing an increasingly larger role in the lives of Arizona families. If you live in these communities, do not sit out these races! Be informed, and vote your values. If you don’t live in these communities, be sure your friends and family cast their ballots.One last important point – if you received an early ballot, it is too late to mail it in. For your vote to count, you must drop it off at an election center.|
|There’s a lot on the line, Part II|
|I’ve been getting asked “What’s up with this redistricting fiasco?” Make no mistake – what happens with redistricting of Arizona’s congressional and legislative district boundaries will determine the makeup of Arizona’s congressional delegation and State Legislature for the next 10 years. Don’t believe all you read in the newspapers.In 2000, voters approved Proposition 106 to establish a five-person “Independent Redistricting Commission” (IRC) to draw district lines rather than leave the task to the State Legislature. This commission is made up of two Republicans, two Democrats, and one Independent, who serves as the commission chair.The district lines drawn by the IRC must meet several constitutional requirements. Read a legal overview of the process here. Numerous and very serious legal questions have been raised about whether this year’s IRC has conducted a fair and open process, whether the mapping consultant and independent chair have political biases, and whether the draft district lines follow the constitutionally required criteria – like ensuring communities of interest are together and that the districts are geographically compact.
This week, Governor Jan Brewer and the State Senate concluded the IRC had not followed the constitutional requirements for redistricting. Pursuant to the authority granted to them by Prop 106, Gov. Brewer and the Senate removed Chairwoman Colleen Mathis from the commission. Read Gov. Brewer’s statement here and the Legislature report here.What’s next? Mathis has asked the courts to intervene and block her removal. The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments is meeting Monday to discuss the process to recommend candidates to replace Mathis. Time is running short to have the new lines ready for the 2012 elections. The old lines for congressional districts cannot be used because Arizona is gaining one new congressional district due to population growth. Stay tuned – this controversy is far from over and the outcome critical to the future representation of Arizonans like you and me.
|A Second Chance to Save a Marriage|
|No-fault divorce in America has wreaked immeasurable harm on so many families over the last 40 years. Through Covenant Marriage and divorce reform laws, CAP has workedto promote public policy that restores the meaning of marriage, and gives couples considering divorce the opportunity to reconcile.Former Georgia Supreme Court Justice Leah Sears released a bold plan to reduce unnecessary divorces, by giving couples a one-year waiting period before finalizing a divorce. According to Ms. Sears’ research, many divorces are preventable.Research over the past decade has shown that a major share of divorces (50 to 66 percent, depending on the study) occur between couples who had average happiness and low levels of conflict in the years before the divorce.I encourage you to read Ms. Sears’ recent op-ed in the Washington Post about her proposed legislation here.|
|Man Knows Not His Time|
|Yesterday I received the sad news that a dear ministry friend, Pastor Leo Godzich, passed away following a car accident while in Uganda to preach. I first met Leo twenty-five years ago when he was ministering to individuals suffering from AIDS. Through the years, Leo and I worked together on Arizona’s laws to establish a covenant marriage license, funding for marriage skills instruction, divorce reform, and Arizona’s state constitutional marriage amendment. Leo and his wife Molly founded and led the National Association for Marriage Enhancement, a ministry dedicated to applying biblical principles to marriage. Leo dedicated his life to standing for God’s design for marriage between one man and one woman first as a pastor but also in the public policy arena. He was always available to testify on legislation or help lead the effort – whatever was needed, Leo was willing to serve and be used of God. Most recently, Leo provided valuable testimony on Arizona’s new CAP-supported lawto change our divorce laws. A longtime Sunday school leader at Phoenix First Assembly, only God knows how many married couples avoided divorce because of Leo’s teaching and ministry. Pray for his dear wife Molly and his three lovely daughters. As we work to strengthen marriage and reform divorce laws, I will miss the wisdom and leadership of this dear friend and co- laborer.|
|An Unknown Partnership|
|The American Civil Unions filed a preliminary injunction this week to block key elements of CAP-supported HB 2384from taking effect. The ACLU is trying to block the provision disallows donations to organizations that provide, promote, pay for, or provide referrals for abortion from being eligible for the working poor tax credit.The ACLU filed the case on behalf of the Arizona Domestic Violence Coalition. It may be surprising to many people that the Domestic Violence Coalition has close ties to the abortion industry. It’s outrageous that the coalition would fight so vehemently in order to be able to promote abortion to the vulnerable women that seek their care. Like every bill CAP supports, we are committed to seeing this law defended in court and upheld.|
|Be Aware: Porn Harms|
|Pornography is now more readily accessible than at any other time in history. In recent years, pornography has invaded the cell phone, tablet, and video game console market, using every leap in technology as a way to stretch its ugly tentacles into homes.A CAP ally, Arizona Family Council, has helped organize a national Internet campaign for next week’s White Ribbon Against Pornography Week. Live webinars and Internet events will be available daily for families and communities to learn more about the fight against illegal pornography. For more information, check out pornharms.com/beaware or visit their Facebook page.|
|The Turning Point|
|A new study by the National Conference on Citizenship reports that Arizonans have become more engaged in the political process. Since 2006, voter turnout has surged, raising Arizona’s ranking from 33rd to 18th in the nation. The spike in voter registration is even steeper – boosting our rank from 48th to 27th.Consider what’s happened in our state to understand why this is so significant. In 2006, Arizona became the only state to vote against a state constitutional amendment to protect marriage. This wake-up call was a turning point for values voters. In 2008, Arizonans passed Proposition 102 to define marriage in Arizona’s constitution as only the union of one man and one woman. The victory resulted from a strong campaign to register those who supported one man, one woman marriage and to turn out those voters. The victory also resulted from a strong coalition of Arizonans from differing faiths, ethnicities, and political persuasions coming together around a shared value.But that’s not all. Those same voters elected a pro-life, pro-family legislature in 2008 and again in 2010. In the last three years alone, 38 CAP-supported bills that promote and defend foundational principles have been signed into law, raising the total number of CAP-supported bills that have become law to 101. People are waking up in Arizona to the fact that what happens at the polls and at the state Capitol impacts their family. You can make a difference! As we look ahead to the 2012 elections, the stakes are even higher than before. It’s critical that we all are registered to vote, are informed, and turn out to make sure our voice is heard.|
|New Lawsuit Attacks School Choice|
|The Arizona School Boards Association and Arizona Education Association (the teachers union) have sued to overturn Arizona’s new law establishing empowerment scholarships. The law, advocated for by CAP and our school choice allies, provides parents of children with special needs the opportunity to redirect state funds for the education and educational services that best meet their children’s needs. The facts are parents know what’s best for their children, and the state should empower them to make decisions about their education. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen school board members allow your taxpayer dollars to be used to fight school choice measures. CAP is committed to standing with school choice and parents’ rights advocates to defeat this lawsuit.|
|Congress Investigating Planned Parenthood|
|The U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee will be investigating Planned Parenthood Federation of America for improprieties regarding how Planned Parenthood uses federal dollars. This is a great first step to holding America’s largest abortion franchise accountable. Click here to read the letter Rep. Cliff Stearns sent to Planned Parenthood. Click here to read Americans United for Life’s report on Planned Parenthood.|
|Maricopa County Community College’s Bad Move|
|In a 3-2 decision this week, the Maricopa County Community College Board approved adding “gender-identity” to their non-discrimination policy. In a letter I sent to the Board prior to the vote, I explained why this vague policy should be rejected. You can read my letter here.It’s important to realize that the Maricopa County Community College Board is accountable to the voters. We see again why every election matters, especially when it comes to promoting and defending foundational principles.|
|Gov. Brewer Fights Back Against Radical Ninth Circuit Court Decision|
|Also earlier this week, Governor Brewer filed a petition requesting all of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to review a recent ruling by a three judge panel that would essentially force the state to provide health insurance benefits to domestic partners. Domestic partnerships devalue marriage – the cornerstone of our culture. The legislature and Governor Brewer were acting within their authority when they said that only spouses should receive health benefits from the state, and I applaud Governor Brewer for not allowing this bad decision from the Court to stand.|
|If You’ve Been Through The Truth Project|
|For those of you who have been through The Truth Project, you won’t want to miss two big events featuring some familiar faces from the small group study. First, on October 16, Ravi Zacharias is speaking at the new Grand Canyon University Arena. Click hereto get your tickets.Then on October 29, CAP and Truth in Action Ministries are bringing in Dr. Del Tackett for the Faith in Action Tourto help you discover how to transform your community through service.If you haven’t experienced The Truth Project, these are great opportunities to hear from two of the country’s most inspiring and thought-provoking teachers.|