Family Policy Council of West Virginia

Right Mobilizes For Marriage Amendment In West Virginia

Yesterday, the West Virginia House of Delegates killed an effort to press for a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality in the state.

And, of course, that means the right-wing, anti-marriage equality groups are trotting out their standard "let us vote" rhetoric for a press conference tomorrow to complain about it:

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia will hold a press conference during its "Let Us Vote" marriage rally featuring Maggie Gallagher, President of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), Randy Wilson, National Field Director for Family Research Council (FRC) and Jeremy Dys, President and General Counsel of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia. Several West Virginia lawmakers have also been invited to speak.

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WHAT: Almost half of West Virginia's state senators have signed on as sponsors to a marriage protection amendment resolution promoted by the Family Policy Council of West Virginia. The West Virginia Senate is sending a strong message that there is no legitimate reason to prevent the voters of West Virginia from settling the legal definition of marriage.

WHY: The proposed amendment, which a recent poll indicates is supported by at least 78 percent of registered Democrat voters, was introduced with broad bipartisan support, including the chairmen of three major senate committees and the vice-chairman of a fourth. If approved, the resolution, SJR 14, would allow West Virginians to settle the legal definition of marriage at a special election in 2010. It proposes a simple 19-word definition of marriage: "Only the union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage in West Virginia."

WHERE: West Virginia Capitol, North Steps

WHEN: Thursday, February 25, noon

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Judicial Confirmation Network takes heart in the fact that "75 percent of Senate Republicans" voted against Elena Kagan's nomination to be Solicitor General, saying it shows that if President Obama tries to make a similar appoint to the Supreme Court, "there will be a formidable GOP Senate contingent ready to take a stand to protect the Constitution and the Court."
  • Focus on the Family takes a different view: "The only thing more egregious than Obama's nominations of pro-abortion, anti-family activists to the Department of Justice is the Senate's swift confirmation of so many of them, with very few objections."
  • Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network reported a nearly 10% increase in donations in 2008, giving it $278.7 million in total revenue.
  • For some reason, the AP is running stories about Mike Huckabee comparing abortion to slavery as if this is not something he has been saying for years.
  • The Family Policy Council of West Virginia is using telemarketers to target state legislators who it accuses of blocking their efforts to get a marriage amendment on the ballot.
  • A Roman Catholic bishop in Indiana says he will boycott a pro-life banquet if RNC Chairman Michael Steele is allowed to speak.
  • Sometimes you have to wonder if there is any hook that Day Gardner will not use as an opportunity to decry abortion.
  • The Washington Times is launching it own three-hour syndicated radio program later this spring.
  • Finally, this week's installment of the Family Research Council's Washington Watch Weekly featured Rick Berman discussing EFCA.  Berman was billed as "the executive director of the Center for Union Facts," which he is ... but he is better known as a shameless corporate shill who is referred to as "Dr. Evil."

Gay Snipers Are Out To Destroy Your Family

That, at least, seems to be the message of this new video from the Family Policy Council of West Virginia on the need to pass a marriage amendment in the state, judging by this image:

The AP has more:

A group that wants to amend West Virginia’s constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman is running an online ad that likens same-sex marriage supporters to snipers targeting families.

The group, The Family Policy Council of West Virginia, has yet to register as a charity with state officials, though it’s reported raising enough to trigger that requirement.

The council wants the Legislature to allow a statewide vote on the amendment, similar to those passed in at least 30 states.

Council President Jeremy Dys announced Wednesday that hundreds of churches across West Virginia would take part in “Stand4Marriage Sunday” March 1 as part of its campaign.

The council has posted a five-minute video on one of its Web sites and on YouTube.

“Marriage began in the heart of God,” the narrator says as the ad starts.

About a minute into the video, the crosshairs of a rifle scope appear over the image of a family blowing bubbles. The narrator warns that “same-sex marriage is a closer reality in West Virginia than you may think,” and that activists are “working tirelessly to define marriage away from God’s design.”

We noted that the WVFPC had started demanding such an amendment last year and has been leading the push for it (as well as doing what it can to break up the families of gay couples).  Interestingly, the AP notes that the WVFPC has had a rather convoluted history since it was formed as the West Virginia Values Coalition in 2005, and then changed its name to the Family Policy Council in 2007, pointing out that the secretary of state’s charities division has no registration for the council "though it requires one from groups that solicit at least $25,000 in West Virginia donations in one year. The [WVFPC] raises funds through both its Web sites. Its latest available filing with the IRS, from 2007, lists $170,320 in contributions."

Destroying Families to Protect "Family Values"

Last month the West Virginia Supreme Court agreed to hear a case stemming from a judge's order that an infant be removed from the same-sex foster parents who had cared for her since birth and placed with "traditional" family:

In a 4-1 vote Wednesday, the court agreed to hear the appeal of Kathryn Kutil and Cheryl Hess to a November ruling by Fayette County Circuit Judge Paul Blake ... Blake issued his ruling after Kutil and Hess sought to adopt a 2-year-old girl who had been in their foster care since she was born in December 2007.

The Department of Health and Human Resources placed the girl, who was born to a drug-addicted mother and was suffering from withdrawal, with the Oak Hill couple on Christmas Eve that year.

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After Blake terminated the mother's parental rights last month and the father could not be located, the DHHR moved to permanently place the girl and allow Kutil and Hess adopt her.

Fayetteville lawyer Thomas Fast filed a motion Jan. 24 to remove the child because it had been placed in a "homosexual household," according to documents filed with the Supreme Court. In a Nov. 12 order, the judge ruled the DHHR had failed to seek a "traditional most family-like setting with a mother and father" after placement with the birth family failed ... Blake ordered the child removed, and the DHHR placed her in a second foster home. The Supreme Court ordered her returned to Kutil and Hess.

And, of course, Religious Right groups have gotten involved ... and guess which side they are on:

A family rights group wants to stop a same-sex couple from adopting a child they have kept in foster care since birth ... The Family Policy Council of West Virginia filed an amicus curiae Jan. 20 that argues abused and neglected children should be placed "on a par with natural children."

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An adoption plan forwarded by the DHHR suggested both Kutil and Hess, as an unmarried cohabiting couple, would be preferred as adoptive parents.

That is contrary to state code, which allows for adoption by a married couple or a single person, according to a brief submitted by Thomas K. Fast, an attorney representing the child in this litigation.

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"There's no legitimate reason to invent exceptions to this law," said Alliance Defense Fund senior legal counsel Brian Raum. That group works in tandum with the Family Policy Council on legal and public policy issues.

The Family Policy Council advocates public policy that continues the tradition of married mother-father adoption.

According to Jeremiah Dys, president and general counsel for the group, the group agrees with both sides' experts that the "ideal situation is to put the child in a home with a mom and a dad."

So apparently, were either Kutil or Hess single, they would have been allowed to adopt this child, but since they are a couple, they can't and so right-wing groups have decided to weigh in and try to get the child removed from their home altogether.

I see this sort of thing all the time, but it never fails to amaze me how willing right-wing advocates are to destroy families in the name of protecting "family values."

Marriage Equality “Deprives Children of a Mom or a Dad”

Back in October we noted that the Family Policy Council of West Virginia was pressing the Governor and state legislature to put an anti-gay marriage amendment on the next ballot based entirely on a poll they took that reportedly showed that more than 70% of voters would support such an amendment.  Shortly thereafter, the call was seconded by the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists and now the Family Policy Council is starting to mobilize right-wing support in order to force the Governor and legislature to place an amendment on the ballot  

Members of West Virginia's religious communities are mobilizing to protect traditional marriage.

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia has taken the lead in asking Democratic Governor Joe Manchin and the legislature to let voters decide whether to change the state's constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage." Jeremiah Dys, founder of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia, explains the apparent conservative viewpoint.
 
"They do not want their government setting a policy, and they especially do not want courts imposing a system that...deprives children of a mom or a dad -- and so we're simply asking our legislature, we're asking our governor especially, to lead the effort to allow West Virginians to do what they want to do," he notes.

As we noted last time, West Virginia does not have a petition process allowing citizens to gather signatures and place a constitutional amendment on the ballot so any such amendment must first pass through the state House and Senate, both of which are controlled by Democrats, so it is up to the Family Policy Council to pressure them into letting West Virginians “do what they want to do” and pass an anti-gay constitutional amendment so as to ensure that the courts don’t “deprive children of a mom or a dad.”

Baptists Press for Marriage Amendment in WV

After last week's election, the Christian Coalition announced that one of its primary goals for the short-term future was seeing that the 20 states that do not currently ban gays from getting married do so and that those states that do allow marriage put an end to the practice.  

Presumably, the first step in that battle will take place in West Virginia. The Family Policy Council of West Virginia is already threatening the Governor that if he doesn't call a special legislative session to put an amendment on the ballot, he'll face the wrath of the voters and now the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists has joined the call:

The resolution, adopted at the 38th meeting of the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists, passed unanimously.

"As citizens of West Virginia, we avail ourselves of the opportunity to affirm the historic, legal, and reasonable definition of marriage by supporting and promoting a marriage amendment to the state constitution," the resolution states. "... [W]e will strongly encourage Christians throughout West Virginia to engage in the civic process in defense of marriage and in support of the government's leadership in defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman (Romans 13)."

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The resolution commits to praying regularly for the governor, legislators and judges. It also makes it clear that West Virginia Southern Baptists believe "same-sex unions are not the same as opposite-sex couples."

"[T]o believe otherwise is to ignore the uniqueness of each gender's design and undermines marriage (Genesis 2:18)," the resolution reads. "The break down or weakening of the institution of marriage has devastating moral, spiritual, economic, and social effects on the whole of society. Marriage protects children by giving them an opportunity to grow up in the ideal environment: with a married mom and dad. Knowingly depriving children of that opportunity exposes our children to a great social experiment that is in no one's best interest."

As the Baptist Press article "West Virginia does not have a petition process allowing citizens to gather signatures and place a constitutional amendment on the ballot" so any such amendment must first pass through the state House and Senate, both of which are controlled by Democrats.   But seeing as passing anti-gay amendments seems to be the only thing the Right has been having any success with in recent years, it is probably safe to assume that West Virginia leaders are going to be coming under increasing pressure to put one on the ballot there as well.

We Took a Poll and Now We Demand Satisfaction

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia, which is affiliated with Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, and the Alliance Defense Fund, commissioned a poll of registered voters that found, lo and behold, that they would vote for an anti-gay marriage amendment:  

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia has released the findings of a new poll it commissioned on the issue of marriage in West Virginia.  The poll reveals significant support among West Virginia voters for a state constitutional amendment defining marriage.

“West Virginians want to define marriage for themselves,” said Jeremy Dys, the FPC’s president and general counsel.  “They do not want their government to set a policy – and they especially do not want a court to impose a system – that knowingly deprives children of a mom or a dad.  The results of this poll demonstrate that now is the time for a marriage amendment in West Virginia.”

The poll, commissioned by the FPC and performed in late July by Advantage, Inc., found that 73% of the more than 500 registered West Virginia voters surveyed say they would support an amendment worded, “Only the union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized in this state.”

The findings of the poll, available at www.familypolicywv.com, suggests that an additional 73% of West Virginia voters would be “more likely” to vote for a candidate who favored an amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

It is pretty common for right-wing groups to commission polls that just happen to “prove” that the population at large shares their agenda.  But in this case, the FPC was so taken with the findings of their small poll that they are demanding action from the Governor … and now:

As the general election approaches, a Christian evangelical group has issued an ultimatum to Gov. Joe Manchin: call a special session to pass a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, or face the wrath of voters.

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia told the governor on Oct. 9 that he had until Wednesday to agree to call the Legislature into session. The conservative group, formed in March, cites polling it commissioned of around 500 registered voters that it says found 73 percent supporting an amendment defining marriage as a "union of one man and one woman.''

"The donors to this organization, as well as my board, are asking -- rather stridently -- that we release the poll to the public as soon as possible,'' Jeremy Dys, the group's president, said in a letter to the governor's office. "If he has determined that the timing is not right, the duty I have to our donors and the Board of Directors requires that I release this as soon as possible.''

Amending the constitution would also require a statewide vote. Dys said such a vote should take place next year, when no legislative seats are up for election, so "no politician should fear displacement from their current position, should that be of any concern,'' his letter said.

But Dys also called for a special session this year, arguing "the current legislature is a known quantity and our analysis shows strong support for the passage of such a resolution.''

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