The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

Legislative Roundup

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It has been a busy couple of weeks for The Family Policy Council of West Virginia.  Since our last post, we have been working out front and behind the scenes to discourage some policies that would significantly harm the family, we changed our name (from the West Virginia Values Coalition to The Family Policy Council of West Virginia), and continued to lay the foundation for this great organization.Still, we promised you regular updates and we are sorry that the administrative realities have prevented our attention to this lot on the real estate of cyberspace.There will be more to come on this issue, but to begin to resolve what has been (by all accounts) an odd legislative session, consider the following thoughts.

  1.  No “life” legislation passed either house this session.  Though 61 bills on the subject of abortion were introduced, 0 moved from their place of introduction.   
  2. Marriages were hardly enriched.  It would be wrong to say that marriages were not even discussed in our legislature.  Certainly, there was some good debate driven by the proposed “Joint Parenting Act,” a bill introduced to wide bipartisan support.  While this bill does much to assist families following a divorce (and is, for that, commendable), little has been done to encourage one man and one woman to life life together at the core of a family.   
  3. Religious freedom afforded ambiguous protection.  While The Family Policy Council of West Virginia recommended (and wrote) a piece of legislation that has been supported by everyone from the ACLU to the National Committee on Amish Religious Freedom, the House Committee on the Judiciary passed.  There is hope, however, that this issue will find some hearing during an upcoming interim session.
So, that’s what did not happen.  There is more, but it is important to highlight two things that DID happen during this session:
  1.  The legislature got richer.  We do not take a position on legislative pay raises; however, we do wish to point out the nepotism involved.  Perhaps it was time for an increase in pay, but we would urge our elected officials to consider this issue only after satisfactorily dealing with those issues of prime concern to the electorate.  We are gravely disappointed that a paycheck was put before life, marriage, or religious freedom.  
  2. The radical homosexual agenda nearly snuck one through.  This is, perhaps, the greatest surprise of any of this legislative session.  That S.B. 600 was introduced is not surprising.  A version of it has been introduced for more than a decade.  In this session, at least 5 bills attempted to provide extra constitutional protection for the homosexual lifestyle.  What is surprising is that it passed the Senate (unanimously), but lost votes in the House.  While we are delighted that our legislature did not pass a measure that would penalize families for simply abiding by their religious convictions, we are concerned how close our society came.  
Clearly, we all have some work to do.  West Virginia is a state that is dominated by leadership that espouses a worldview in conflict with much of its electorate.  While we can work to make changes at the political and policy level, we must also work inform the worldview of our own friends and neighbors.  
While this legislative session is disappointing on several levels, we must remember that God is yet on his throne.  Let us remind ourselves of the grace Christ exhibited in his stand for the Truth. 
At The Family Policy Council of West Virginia, we envision a society that treats life as preciously as God does.  We work for this vision because, without life, there is no family.
We see a society that encourages one man and one woman living within the joy of marriage for life because we know that strong marriages, make strong families, which make strong communities, cities, states, and nations.  Without strong marriages, quite frankly, families are broken.
We look to a future that permits West Virginia families to fully and openly practice their faith with the maximum of protection under the law.  Our historical appreciation for religious freedom in West Virginia drives our concern for the future of our families.  Without policies that safeguard religious freedom, families cannot worship.
As an integral part of a national effort to defend the local family, The Family Policy Council of West Virginia is poised to make families the first priority of our leadership, not an afterthought.
Let us pray as hard as we work for the family of West Virginia. 

Written by Jeremy Dys

March 10, 2008 at 4:29 pm

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