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.

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.

When Marriage Comes Under Attack

When Marriage Comes Under Attack

Late last Friday, New York’s state legislature decided to radically redefine marriage. In a less than transparent process, New York became the sixth state in the nation to call marriage something other than the union of one man and one woman – and only the third to do so by legislative action. There are thirty states, including Arizona, with constitutional amendments protecting marriage.

We are publishing a series of posts on the Foundations blog this week and next about why it’s so important to stand for the true definition of marriage. We’ll look at what the Scripture says about marriage, whether this is really a “civil rights” issue, and the impact on our religious freedom. Check out the first post of the series by CAP’s Communications Director Aaron Baer: “Why Protect Marriage.

Celebrating Our Independence

While you celebrate our nation’s independence this 4th of July with family and friends, I hope you take time to reflect on the blessing of living in this great country, and the responsibility that comes with it.

That responsibility starts with exercising our freedom and right to vote our values. City elections throughout Arizona are less than two months away on August 30. Be sure you and your friends are registered to vote, and consider talking with your pastor about holding a voter registration drive at your church in the coming weeks. CAP has everything you need to get started registering voters. We’ll also be publishing a city election Voter Guide at azvoterguide.com in the coming days.

City elections can have a profound impact on the entire state. Our opponents specifically target these elections because it’s much easier for them to influence the outcome and then advance their agenda. We cannot afford to be silent in these local elections. If you haven’t already done so, check out this blog post by CAP’s Blackstone intern Angelina Nguyen about how one city’s bad policies can have an impact on everyone in the state.

Summer Break

5 Minutes for Families will be going on a short summer break through the month of July. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and watch the Foundations blog for updates from us during this time. I’ll be back with more updates and news you need to know that impacts your family in August. Happy Independence Day!

Stand for Marriage? You’re Not Alone

Stand for Marriage? You’re Not Alone

Most of the popular culture would have you think that if you believe in the true definition of marriage, you are part of a small minority. A new comprehensive study by the Alliance Defense Fund suggests otherwise. In what is likely the most extensive national research survey of its kind, ADF and Public Opinion Strategists found that 62 percent of Americans believe that “marriage should be defined only as a union between one man and one woman.”

This actually shouldn’t come as a shock. When this issue has been before the voters, 31 states have voted to protect marriage in their state constitution – like Arizona did in 2008. Reality is that we have much to be hopeful about in our battle to preserve the definition of marriage.

Who is the Father?

Father’s Day sparked a slew of stories about dads and their role in the family. Jennifer Lahl wrote this piece about a recent decision by British Columbia’s high court in favor of donor-conceived children having access to their biological information. Rulings like this are critical to advancing the public conversation about In Vitro Fertilization and understanding the rights of all involved – especially the children.

The New York Times told the story of a young boy, conceived through sperm donation, being raised by two women and the sperm donor (who the boy only knows as uncle right now) and the sperm donor’s same-sex partner. The problems with this arrangement are evident, and the long term effects on the child in this story will probably never be told. When the needs of children are second to the wants of adults, there are always consequences, and sadly, it’s typically the children who pay the price.

On the Radio

On Monday, I was on for the full hour of the Andrew Tallman Show on 1360 KPXQ AM to discuss the Abortion Consent Act litigation. I had a great time with Andrew talking about the pro-life movement in Arizona. Click here to listen to the podcast.

City Elections Impact Everyone

On the Foundations blog this week, CAP’s Blackstone legal intern Angelina wrote about the impact one city’s election can have on the entire state. Read more here.

Time is Running Out to Register to Vote

Many city elections are just two months away. If you’re not registered to vote, you’ll want to soon! If you are, please forward this email to your friends and family, and remind them to register and be sure to turn out to vote on August 30. We are in the process of compiling the results for our city election Voter Guide and will be publishing them in the next few weeks to AZVoterGuide.com.