Melvin Urges Governor To Sign SB1062

Challenges GOP Opponents to “Reverse Course”

Melvin Letterhead Art

“The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), also known as SB1062, protects the rights of every Arizonan to work and live according to their faith.  It prohibits punishing someone because of their faith.  It is common sense, it is good law, it was carefully crafted, it was supported by more than 90% of the Republicans in the Legislature, and I strongly urge the Governor to sign the bill.” – Al Melvin, speaking on SB1062.

Melvin spoke at a GOP candidate forum on Saturday and was the only candidate for Governor to support SB1062.

“I was disappointed how fast my fellow Republican candidates for Governor caved to the media and liberal pressure.  Each of them offered excuses, but none of them were willing to stand up and publicly fight to protect the religious liberties of Arizonan citizens and businesses.” said Melvin, adding “They need to look past the media-driven hysteria and look at the bill itself.  It is only two pages long and there is no excuse for them not to know better.”

Melvin went further, urging each of his opponents to reverse course and support the bill.  “We all make mistakes, but real leadership means being able to admit when you are wrong and correcting your course.  You don’t have to spend 30 years in the Naval Reserves as I did to know how important course correction is.”

SB1062 modifies Arizona’s existing protections and brings them into line with the federal RFRA.  Furthermore, SB1062 added language to ensure additional protection against the frivolous use of religious beliefs as a defense against behavior that might be considered discriminatory.

“The extremists on the left are using the same hysterical language they did when they opposed SB1070.  But SB1070 turned out to be right for Arizona, the hysterics were proven to be nothing more than simple fantasy designed to whip up opposition, and the Arizona Legislature and Governor Brewer were both vindicated for passing and signing it. My hope is that Arizonans will rally to fight for this bill by contacting the Governor and asking her to sign it.  If she does not, then I hope they will rally to my campaign so that we can elect someone who will sign the bill in 2015.”

Supporters of the bill are invited to join Al Melvin’s campaign for Governor at VoteAlMelvin.com.

Melvin serves as Chairman of the Commerce, Energy and Military Committee and founded the highly successful Mining Caucus and Tourism Caucus. He has had a long business career in international trade and transportation, is a graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, NY and received his MBA degree from Thunderbird-School of Global Management in Glendale, AZ.  Prior to his election to the Senate, he taught college level courses as an adjunct, in economics, international business and management.

Melvin is a military veteran and graduate of the US Naval War College. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his service as Squadron Commander of COMPSRONTWO, then the largest ship squadron in the US Navy (14 ships) based at the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. In 1999, after 30 years in the US Naval Reserve, he retired as a Navy Captain, the equivalent of a full colonel.

He is a member of the VFW, American Legion, Military Officers of America and other military related organizations.  Sen. Melvin is a life Member of the NRA (National Rifle Association).  He is a member of the Elks, Rotary and Knights of Columbus, and he remains a proud Eagle Scout (class of ’61).

Al and his wife Kou reside in SaddleBrooke in Pinal County, just north of Tucson and attend Santa Catalina Catholic Church in Catalina.

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Maricopa GOP Chair Rallies LD Censures

To all Arizona County and LD Republican Committee Chairmen -
Below is the front page article of the July 15 Arizona Capitol Times. I want to express my appreciation to those courageous and principled County and LD Republican Committees who have already conducted votes of “censure” and/or “no confidence.”
Jan Brewer, the legislators and their crony capitalist friends that support ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion have betrayed Americans, Arizona Republicans and the Republican Party Platform.  Their lack of ethics, integrity and egregious acts are motivated by only two things – greed and the lust for power – at the expense of hard working tax paying Americans.
The law was expected to cost $898 billion over the first decade when the bill was first passed, but this year the Congressional Budget Office revised that estimate to $1.85 trillion.  Money that will have to be borrowed from the Chinese or printed in the backroom of the Federal Reserve.  Latest polls indicate a majority of Americans are opposed to ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion with an overwhelming majority of Republicans in opposition.
During the past six months, we did everything we could to make a solid argument against ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion, we tried to reason with these people and even tried to make them see the light.  Unfortunately, our lobbying efforts fell on deaf ears and without success.
During one of Ronald Reagan’s difficult political battles he said,
               “When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”
I’m asking all the County and LD Republican Committees to make these people feel the heat by passing public censures for their actions.  They are elitists who think what they have done should be forgiven. They are mistaken.  We are not going to be able to defeat all of them, but we can defeat a majority of them in the 2014 Primary Election.
You can go to “MCRC Briefs” and get examples of public censures that have already been passed.  http://briefs.maricopagop.org/  Just type “censure” in the search field on the left.
Warmest regards,
 A. J. LaFaro
Chairman, Maricopa County Republican Committee
P.S.  Please encourage all of your PCs to keep up their daily efforts in getting petition signatures for www.urapc.org  Getting ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion on the November 2014 ballot will be historic for Arizona’s grassroots conservatives.

Statement from CAP President Cathi Herrod on the SCOTUS Decisions regarding DOMA and Prop 8

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. 

Four More Years?

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Sometimes, we must see the future clearly to act boldly in the present.
Take a glimpse into the darkness of Obama’s America in 2016.
High unemployment. Record high gas prices. The Middle East in chaos.
Religion on the run. Record debt levels. America downsized.
America downgraded.

As the Voters Stand For Marriage, the President Stands Opposite

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.

National Reaction

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:

  • HB 2622 enables children attending schools that have received “D” or “F” grades from the state and children adopted from foster homes to be eligible for Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account program.
  • SB 1365 protects professionals from losing their state licenses for practicing their faith and strengthens protection for religious organizations that contract with the state.
  • HB 2625 protects religious employers from being forced to violate their religious beliefs by being forced into providing insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and contraception.

She has until Tuesday to act on these bills. Follow our Facebook page for the latest updates.

I Saw the Light!

I cannot begin to express the gratitude my team and I feel towards all of the supporters that turned out this week for the CAP Family Dinners in Tucson and Scottsdale with Gov. Huckabee.

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.

Let’s Clear a Few Things Up

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.

SB 1359
– Sponsored by Sen. Nancy Barto, this legislation is based on common sense and decency. It prohibits “wrongful life” and “wrongful birth” lawsuits. These lawsuits arise when a child is born with a disability, and the parents sue the doctor claiming that had they known their child had a disability, they would have had an abortion.

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.

Click here to see a Channel 12 news clip attacking us for our position then click here to read the statement I issued to the press in response.

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.

You can read his full statement here. After you read it, take a moment to thank Mr. Montgomery for standing up to the pornography industry.

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!

The Bully Agenda

Many have personal experiences with bullies. For some, these experiences can be truly terrible, even life-threatening. Bullying in any form is wrong and unacceptable.

In recent years, concerns about bullying have garnered national attention. But when you look behind the curtain at what is driving this nationwide dialogue, you find out that the groups that are pushing the “anti-bullying” campaigns are the same organizations working to redefine marriage and to force cultural acceptance and affirmation of homosexual lifestyles.

Take the recent bill proposed in the Arizona legislature – SB 1462. On the surface, the bill seems well-intentioned. It prohibits bullying in schools, and requires teachers, school administrators, students, and parents to undergo annual training to prevent bullying.

The questions arise when one considers which organizations would provide the training and which organizations are behind the legislation. As a leading homosexual magazine in Arizona wrote, Equality Arizona, one n ten, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) were all in attendance at the bill’s committee hearing to support and see the legislation pass.

You see, groups like Equality Arizona and GLSEN have used the bullying issue in order to gain access to our public schools. These are the groups that supporters of the bill will bring into schools to teach the anti-bullying training to our students.

What concerns me is that this is already happening. I received an email from a parent whose 11-year-old daughter was forced to watch a documentary called Bullied during class time without any parental notification or consent. Taken directly off the tolerance.org website, “Bullied is a documentary film that chronicles one student’s ordeal at the hands of anti-gay bullies and offers an inspiring message of hope to those fighting harassment today. It can become a cornerstone of anti-bullying efforts in middle and high schools.” As this dad wrote:

Upon questioning my daughter I was able to determine the video presented was the documentary Bullied. My wife and I spent the next several minutes apologizing to her that she was forced by her school to view the material … I should note the school was diligent in requiring written parental approval for my daughter to view a specific rendition of Star Wars, but the Administration need not trouble the parents over [these] materials. The material was not all that timely for our child either since we had to define for her the terms “homo” and “fag” at our dinner table.

There is no doubt about it; the “bullying” theme is agenda-driven propaganda. The irony is that groups like Equality Arizona and GLSEN have chosen this issue to bully you and me into allowing them access into our schools and to our children. To express concerns about anti-bullying bills is portrayed in the most unfavorable light.

These bullying bills are not sound public policy. Not only are they a thinly veiled attempt to allow political groups into our schools, they also divert the focus of our school system off the fundamentals. Class time should be for reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Parents—pay attention to what anti-bullying programs are being presented in your public schools. Check out the Arizona Senate vote in favor of SB 1462. Rest assured, CAP will be closely monitoring SB 1462, and will let you know if we need your help to ensure this bit of bad legislation never becomes law.

Legislative Line Up CAP-supported bills continue to move through the legislative process:

  • SB 1359 – Prohibits so-called “wrongful life” lawsuits against medical professionals for misdiagnosing or not diagnosing a birth defect of a preborn child, which, if known, would have led to the child being aborted. This bill will be heard in House Judiciary next Thursday.
  • HB 2800 – Bans federal dollars that pass through the state to go to organizations that provide abortions. This bill passed House and will be heard in Senate Health next Wednesday.
  • HB 2712 – Enhances public library policies to protect minors from being exposed to pornography. This bill passed the House and will be heard in Senate Education next Monday.

An Evening You Won’t Want to Miss  
The CAP Family Dinner with Gov. Mike Huckabee is quickly approaching. There is still time for you to get your ticket or table sponsorship. These dinners are always a memorable occasion, and this year promises to be extraordinary as we look ahead to the November Elections.

The Discussion Our Nation Needs to Have

I had “50-yard-line” seats at the Mesa Center for the Arts for the Presidential Debate this week. The conversation finally turned to a rarely discussed but very critical topic – the family and the economy.

With the eyes of the nation on the Arizona debate, the four candidates shared why our nation’s future is at risk when 40% of children are born out of wedlock.

We all must realize – this is not just a “social” issue – it’s an economic issue.

Our nation’s economy is only as strong as our families. For far too long public policy and our culture has weakened the family by attacking marriage and stifling any honest conversation about the importance of intact homes composed of a married mom and dad with children.

President Ronald Reagan described the three major interests of our nation as a three-legged stool: a strong economy, a strong foreign policy, and strong families. We need all three in order for our country to endure.

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.

Governor Brewer has 5 days to act on this bill. Be sure to follow our Facebook page and Bill Tracker to get the latest updates.

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 insidelook@azpolicy.org.

Implications for Arizona

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:

  1. When states adopt laws granting legal status and other recognition to individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation, the courts are more likely to say you can’t define marriage as only the union of one man and one woman. This is one problem with civil unions, domestic partnerships, and so-called non-discrimination policies. These laws set up the argument that you cannot grant special legal recognition to persons on the basis of their sexual orientation yet deny them marriage. CAP continues to oppose efforts at the legislature to pass such laws.
  2. The U.S. President nominates and the U.S. Senate confirms the judges who sit on the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Courts. When you cast your vote in 2012, know your vote counts in deciding who gets to nominate and confirm judges.

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 “wrongful life” bill was heard in the Senate Health committee. Sponsored by Sen. Nancy Barto, SB 1359 prohibits so-called “wrongful life” and “wrongful birth” lawsuits against medical professionals for not diagnosing a birth defect of a preborn child, which, if known, would have led to the child being aborted. This bill is about ensuring that every life – whether born with a disability or not – is valued. CAP Legal Counsel Deborah Sheasby testified in support, drawing many questions from those who favor abortion. The bill passed 3-2.
  • The Senate Government Reform Committee passed by a 4-2-1 vote legislation to protect the rights of conscience of individuals who are licensed or certified by the state. Sponsored by Senator Steve Yarbrough, SB 1365 ensures no professional licensed by the state can be discriminated against because of the practice of his or her faith. I testified in support of the bill, along with ADF Senior Legal Counsel Joe Infanco.
  • Deborah also testified for another CAP-supported bill passed with bi-partisan support in the House Education Committee. HB 2770 passed 7-1 and protects college and university professors from being denied tenure because of their religious convictions or political beliefs. Read more about why Rep. Tom Forese sponsored this legislation in the East Valley Tribune.

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.

Flying Out of the Gates

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

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

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:

  • Public School Tax Credit: Individuals can receive a tax credit for donations up to $200 and couples up to $400 that go towards extra curricular programs at public or charter schools. Consider giving your public school tax credit to schools in impoverished areas of our state. One to consider is Fay Landrum Academy in south Phoenix.
  • Individual Tax Credit: School Tuition Organizations like Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization (ACSTO), Tuition Organization for Private Schools (TOPS), and Arizona Private Education Scholarship Fund, provide scholarships to thousands of families to choose a private school that best meets their children’s needs. Individuals can receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on gifts up to $500, and married couples up to $1,000. Click here to view a complete list of School Tuition Organizations.
  • Charitable Tax Credit: Like the public school credit, individuals can receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for gifts up to $200 and married couples can receive a tax credit for gifts up to $400. Consider supporting one of the pregnancy care centers that qualify for the charitable tax credit. Or consider supporting Christian Family Care and their work to find homes for kids in foster care through their Connect One program. Click here to view the complete list of organizations that are eligible for the Charitable Tax Credit.

Not the Way Out

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.

Weak Arguments
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

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.
The Arizona legislature is still overwhelmingly pro-life and pro-family, with a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate. I am looking forward to working with the legislature in the upcoming session to promote and defend foundational values.

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.
This is a growing and disturbing trend in the country. Individuals determined to completely redefine marriage are working behind the scenes in positions of power throughout corporate America to radically change the most important institution in our culture and isolate those of us who believe in the true definition of marriage.
Other examples include when TOMS Shoes, a for-profit organization that donates shoes to children in Africa for every pair sold, broke off a partnership with Focus on the Family due to pressure from homosexual activists. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz buckled under the same pressure and canceled a speaking engagement at Willow Creek Community Church because of their biblical views on sexuality.
Pray that those within these corporations who support foundational principles, especially marriage, would stand up and oppose these moves.

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.

 

Center for Arizona Policy: There’s a lot on the line

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

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.