The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

Archive for March 2009

What’s Left of the Constitution: Conscience Regulations

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Written by Jeremy Dys

March 31, 2009 at 3:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

And then there were three…

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New Hampshire House of Representatives Makes State Third to Redefine Marriage

Politicians deny voters right to vote on the definition of marriage.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives became the third state to expand the definition of marriage to include same-sex “marriage” today.  By just seven votes, politicians passed the legislation, despite significant public opposition to the measure.  

“This is precisely why 94% of West Virginians believe voters should strengthen the definition of marriage,” said Jeremy Dys, president and general counsel of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia.  “Public policy decisions of this magnitude should be decided by the public.  Our legislature – and all elected officials – should support the right of the people to make this decision.”

Legislators in West Virginia have been reluctant to act upon a resolution that would allow a referendum on the definition of marriage to go to the people for a vote in 2009.  Just two committee chairs in the House of Delegates are preventing 1.8 million voters in West Virginia from deciding this issue democratically.    

West Virginia has no legally binding definition of marriage, making West Virginia vulnerable to the chaotic strategy of groups intent on expanding the definition of marriage in the Mountain State through expensive legal battles.  Though several legislators cite current statutory protections as adequate, none have allowed West Virginia voters to strengthen their own law.

More information on the 19-word proposal that would allow West Virginia voters to strengthen the definition of marriage is available at

Written by Jeremy Dys

March 26, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Posted in Marriage

The People Speak, Delegates Don’t Listen

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Yesterday, the Family Policy Council of West Virginia organized two town hall meetings.  One was in Charleston within the district of Delegate Carrie Webster.  The other, within the district of Del. Barbara Fleischauer in Morgantown.  Each delegate – who are most responsible for denying you your right to vote on the definition of marriage – was invited in advance, but neither chose to attend and listen to the concerns voiced by the voters in their district.

WDTV in Clarksburg covered the event in Morgantown and has this report.  WSAZ, WCHS-TV, and the Dominion Post also provided coverage.

Public policy decisions of this magnitude should be made by the public.  Our legislature should do everything to ensure your right to vote and participate in the democratic process.  Two legislators should not be allowed to prevent 1.8 million voters from debating this issue, just to satisfy their own personal political agenda.

For more information on our efforts to secure your right to vote on the definition of marriage, go to

Written by Jeremy Dys

March 26, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Posted in Marriage

FL: More Former Lesbians Embroiled in Court Custody Battle.

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It’s a story that will begin sounding more familiar as our society and judicial system continues to steer away from moral absolutes and toward opinion based lifestyles and legislation.


The names Lisa Miller and her daughter Isabella and their custody battle are all-too familiar to us. Now you can add Kimberly Ryan to the list of names we will continue to follow in the news as she fights for her daughter.


Ryan, formerly a lesbian involved in a domestic partnership in Seattle Washington with a woman named Lara Embry, is now a born-again Christian engaged to marry a man. That’s where her court troubles began since previously she had an agreement with Embry for visitation of her 9-year old daughter after the couple split up in 2004.


When Ryan became concerned about her daughter’s visits with Embry she discontinued them. Embry then “demanded that a Florida court enforce the Washington adoption decree and allow her to continue visiting Ryan’s daughter,” according to the story on World Net Daily.


But one Florida court has already dismissed Embry’s petition, citing Statute 63.042, the states DOMA law, and other court precedent. Now Embry is taking her case to the Second District Court of Appeals in Florida.


Matt Staver, founder of the Liberty Counsel said, “The state should be allowed to abide by its current guidelines and consider the best interest of the child. Florida has the authority to establish its own policy regarding marriage and the definition of family. Florida protects its children by preferring they be placed in an optimal environment with a mom and a dad.”


And here is the point I want to make clear in this case and other such cases: individual states should always be allowed to make laws and then abide by those laws based on the will of that states people. If laws from any state can be enforced in any other state, what is the point in even having the law? This idea that the law from one state is enforceable in another state leans toward a socialistic government where sovereignty does not exist at all; which also means the will of the people does not exist.


Staver was right in saying, “The state of Washington cannot rewrite Florida adoption law and commandeer the state to enforce its contrary policy.”


This trend of judges overstepping their bounds to enforce out-of-state laws is nothing more than a hijacking of state sovereignty in favor of big government control. This is entirely against the Constitution which allows for states to hold to individual laws based on the voting will of its residents. It’s what makes each state and ultimately this country great


Stories such as those of Lisa Miller and Kimberly Ryan are destined to be more frequent in light of our nation’s current moral and political climate. We have attempted to remove all absolutes and the concrete foundation of family based on a father and mother from our society. Did we really think there would be no consequences?


Further Food for Thought:
A Matter of Time: What the same-sex marriage crowd isn’t telling us. « Family Voice

Same-Sex Adoption Case – Media Redux « Family Voice


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Written by Nathan Cherry

March 20, 2009 at 2:57 pm

NC: Judge Tells Mom What School to Put Kids In:

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At this point in time it is safe to say that the American judicial system is completely out of control and many judges are no longer upholding the Constitution, they are rewriting it according to their own opinions.


This is certainly true concerning the case of Vanessa Mills and her three children in North Carolina.


Recently Ms. Mills and her husband divorced. As part of the divorce Judge Ned Mangum ordered Ms. Mills to place her children in public school though all three are thriving under her teaching in home school.


As if that is not enough to make the blood boil Judge Mangum also took it upon himself to criticize Ms. Mills’s choice of church after hearing arguments from non-church members who also disagree with the church. But he did not acknowledge any of the rebuttal affidavits submitted by current church leaders and members.


I can’t even begin to count the ways that Judge Mangum has overstepped his bounds and infringed on the freedoms of Ms. Mills and her children. Obviously if the children are thriving in their home school setting it is reflective of a stable, secure home environment. If this is the case then there is no justifiable reason for them to be removed.


But upon further reading of this story the judge’s true intentions become crystal clear. Judge Mangum has said that one of the reasons he ordered them into public school was because “It will do them a great benefit to be in the public schools, and they will challenge some of the ideas that you’ve taught them…”


Allow me to translate that for you. Judge Mangum wants them in public school so they can be indoctrinated with evolution, free sex, homosexual sensitivity and appreciation, and many very liberal views that I am sure go against everything Ms. Mills has taught her children thus far.


The judge knows that if the children stay in home-schooling they will be grounded in conservative and religious views which go against everything HE believes, and the only way to avoid that is by placing them in a school system which teaches kids how to be media-fed, government controlled robots. Unlike the current education they are getting which grounds them in faith, family, and critical thinking.


Frankly I agree with Alan Keyes when he said, “If his idea of socialization includes the need to challenge the Christian ideas their mother has taught them, then he not only interferes with her natural right to raise up her children, he tramples on one of the most important elements of the free exercise of religion.”


The very idea that a judge would infringe on the freedom of a mother to choose where and how she educates her children should outrage every citizen. Where does it end? Will judges now begin picking schools for our kids? Telling us where we can and cannot go to church? Deciding our professions for us?


More and more it seems we are leaning toward socialism. We have a current presidential administration that wants a big government with its hand in every facet of our lives. This is not the time to get complacent. The moment we decide to stop caring is the moment we wake up and realize we’ve lost our freedoms.


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Written by Nathan Cherry

March 18, 2009 at 2:03 pm

And So It Begins: The fight to repeal DOMA under the Obama administration has begun.

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I came across a story in the AP News detailing one of the first cases challenging the federal DOMA law that was enacted to deny access to federal benefits for same-sex couples.

No doubt that this is only the first of many lawsuits challenging this federal law that was signed into law in 1996 by then President Bill Clinton.

This lawsuit, brought by more than a dozen people from Massachusetts claims that the federal DOMA law discriminates against same-sex couples by denying them access to death benefits, pensions, health care, and tax breaks associated with marriage.

But let’s back up and get the facts straight before thinking that some vast majority of Americans is being discriminated against.

Right now 45 states have laws that define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. So far, every one of the 30 states that have sought to change their state constitutions to define marriage as one man and one woman have done so successfully. And even when activist judges in California tried usurp the will of the people and legislate from their benches, the people spoke and overturned their ruling which allowed same-sex marriage, and then amended their state constitution so that activist judges could not bypass them again.

So it should go without saying that we are talking about a minority group of people who would seek to legalize same-sex marriage and not the majority of Americans. In fact, I would even be so bold as to say that if an amendment to the Constitution of the United States was sought, defining marriage as one man and one woman, it would be easily passed. Which is why many current lawmakers do not want to see such an amendment brought to the people.

And though the current lawsuit in Massachusetts is only seeking to overturn the part of the DOMA law that denies them access to federal programs and benefits, you can be sure that if successful they will not stop there. They will seek to overturn DOMA, and legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states; or in the very least require each state to recognize same-sex marriage whether it is legal or not in that state.

A lawsuit of this kind is a trojan horse just waiting to get inside the walls of marriage and bring every moral fiber this country has stood upon for centuries to the ground. We cannot allow ourselves to be fooled, or duped into believing that this is simply about money. This is about forcing every person to recognize the legitamacy and affirm the inherent goodness of same-sex marriage. And yet for many of us that goes against everything we stand for and believe.

Please continue to contact your state and federal lawmakers and voice your support for DOMA and other pro-family legislation. It is “we the people” that these lawmakers work for, and they need to hear from us.

Further Food for Thought:
Federal lawsuit Threatens West Virginia’s DOMA
Let the People Define Marriage

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Written by Nathan Cherry

March 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm

The Difference in Courts from State to State:

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I recently read two stories which stand in stark contrast to one another and show just how different culture and society can be, from one state to another, from one court to another.


 One story is the continuing coverage of 6-year old Isabella, whose mother Lisa Miller is fighting the courts so that her daughter does not have to endure unsupervised visits with Miller’s former lesbian partner Janet Jenkins.


 The other story comes out of Florida where the Liberty Counsel has filed an amicus brief to further strengthen Florida’s law which says that adoptive children should be placed in a home with a mom and dad because it is in the best interest of the child.


 If you take a moment to read these two very different stories you will get an idea of just how diverse the thoughts are regarding children, adoption, and the idea of homosexual parents; not to mention just how messy and confusing lawsuits could become.


 Arguments seek to protect 6-year-old from lesbian

 The new appeal in the case of Lisa Miller and her 6-year-old daughter, Isabella, by Liberty Counsel asks for a determination on whether the Virginia Constitution is the controlling legal authority in the state.

The case is complex, because Miller was in a same-sex “marriage” in Vermont, where her former partner, Janet Jenkins, remains. But Miller’s daughter was born in Virginia, and both live there now. The custody arguments have been conducted in court systems in both states.


The appeal asks the court to refuse to enforce the Vermont custody order, which requires the child spend time with Jenkins, “based on U.S. Supreme Court precedent making a legal distinction between recognition and enforcement,” according to Liberty Counsel.


“While the Full Faith and Credit Clause may require registration of the Vermont order, it cannot constitutionally require enforcement,” the non-profit legal group explained. “Moreover, the federal Defense of Marriage Act exempts states from even recognizing out-of-state, same-sex unions.” (Story continued here…)

Florida Adoption Law Preferring Traditional Moms and Dads is Best for Children

Miami, FL – Today Liberty Counsel is filing an amicus brief in support of a 1977 Florida law that bans practicing homosexuals from adopting children. Last year Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman wrote that the law violates equal protection rights for homosexuals and that there is no valid reason to consider homosexuality when approving adoption. Liberty Counsel successfully defended the same law at a United States Court of Appeals.


The law has also been upheld as constitutional by other Florida state courts of appeal. Although the decisions by the appeals courts are binding on the circuit judge, Judge Lederman lawlessly disregarded these legal precedents. Liberty Counsel’s brief states that the Florida law is backed up by sound reasons to prefer that children be permanently adopted by homes that will provide the opportunity for a mom and a dad. Homosexual adoption, by its very nature, deprives children of ever having the opportunity of being reared by both a mother and a father. (Story continued here…)

Further Food for Thought:
Marriage is Foundational For the Well-being of Society

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Written by Nathan Cherry

March 11, 2009 at 1:19 pm

West Virginians Don’t Help Their Reputations

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West Virginia has made a national top ten list. But I doubt that most people will be very excited by this particular list.


In a story on the website, it has been reported that West Virginia ranks among the top ten in pornography consumption. Utah ranked number 1, with Alaska and Mississippi rounding out the top three; West Virginia came in at number 10.


Initially some may think that the problem is in adult bookstores, paid internet subscriptions, or even DVD rentals. But as therapist-researcher Jill Manning has already said, “Approximately 80 to 90 percent of pornography use online is free, where people are not paying a subscription.”


So the problem is not necessarily in the most obvious places. People are not paying for their pornography subscriptions in a down economy near as much as previously. The fact is that it is quite easy, too easy, to access online pornography for free. One simply has to do a basic google or search in order to find hundreds of websites where pictures and videos can be accessed and viewed for free.


In response to the idea that pornography consumption seems higher in states that are generally considered very conservative and highly religious, Manning said, “Well, I think that’s a misleading interpretation. There is more consumption in areas where there’s a concentration of 15 to 24 year olds, and just last spring it was reported that Utah has the youngest population in the nation.”


And here is where I want to point out what may not be too obvious for some: the breakdown of morality and the family is no doubt linked directly to the pornography industry. That cannot be overstated.


Young men and women are viewing what can only be described as a computer based fairy-tale, and when reality does not end up the same as their pornographic fantasy their marriage falls apart. The addiction alone can destroy the trust of a marriage and family, not to mention the financial implications.


The chair of the Utah Coalition Against pornography, Pamela Atkinson admitted said of Utah, “We have many broken families in this state because one of the spouses became addicted. It has a devastating impact, especially on the marital bond. I know of no other issue, aside from sexual abuse, where the very soul of the marriage and trust is so deeply impacted.”


Free –speech proponents of pornography continue to deny any connection between moral or family breakdown and their industry. But study after study continues to show the devastation left in the wake of one of richest, most corrupt industries in the country.


With so many other potentially harmful and destructive entities threatening the strength of the family bond, the last thing we need is to have self-inflicted wounds from an industry that degrades and objectifies women more than all others.


Let’s see if we can get West Virginia off of this “loser” list and onto lists that can make us all proud, such as education, industry, income, resources, and pro-family trends.


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Written by Nathan Cherry

March 6, 2009 at 9:36 pm

The Homosexual Truth No One Wants to Hear

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I am all for equality. But not if another person’s equality costs me my God-given freedoms. Freedoms like the ability to hold to differing views and opinions on social and cultural issues. Or the freedom to hire the people I choose without the fear of a lawsuit. Or the freedom to decline service to a person because it is my business and I have that right.


But the ugly truth is that the homosexual agenda is much more than marriage equality. If it was that simple I believe they would have their wish. But the truth is that the homosexual community wants immunity. They want the ability to say and do what they want without anyone telling them otherwise. And that is where their equality costs me my freedom; and I have a big problem with that.


Recently, Robert A.J. Gagnon, Ph. D., wrote an excellent article detailing the implications of the homosexual agenda for the “average Joe” American. (Click here to read the article in its entirety). I won’t duplicate the major content of the article here, I hope you will take a few moments and read it for yourself. The all-inclusive implications are astounding to think about and amount to a total brainwashing of independent moral thought.


I have listed, in short form some of the results that we would see should sexual orientation become a specially protected civil right.


1. Go to jail for “hate speech” Speaking out against the homosexual lifestyle could be punishable with jail time for everyone, including ministers.

2. Loss of job for non-support of “coming out” celebrations or even for any remarks that are deemed discriminatory outside of the workplace.

3. Pay fines and legal fees by your company for criticizing or otherwise not supporting homosexual behavior.

4. The removal of your children for teaching them any ideas deemed “homophobic.”

5. Endure, without recourse, the systematic indoctrination of homosexual appreciation of your children in the public school system.


And these are just a few of the catastrophic consequences of protecting sexual orientation as a civil right. More are mentioned in the article. But, quite frankly, these are disturbing enough.


Perhaps the thing that I wish more homosexuals would realize is that most anyone can overlook their sexual orientation decision. Few, if any will be quick to hate or judge because of that. But the reason many are so staunchly opposed to the homosexual agenda is that they want everyone around them to cheerfully accept their choice and affirm it. But that is not what tolerance and free speech are all about.


If we want to truly call ourselves a nation based on free speech and tolerance then everyone must understand that none of us has the right to demand that others agree with our ideals and views; to do so amounts to communism. It removes the free exchange of ideals, open communication, and instills fear into the hearts of people. When did those things become good ideas?


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Written by Nathan Cherry

March 4, 2009 at 7:12 pm

FPCWV: Federal lawsuit threatens West Virginia’s DOMA

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Poll:  94% of West Virginians do not want politicians to allow a judge to redefine marriage before West Virginians vote on it

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A federal lawsuit seeking to void the federal Defense of Marriage Act threatens the definition of marriage in West Virginia and the validity of the West Virginia DOMA, according to the Family Policy Council of West Virginia.  A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday by homosexual advocates in Massachusetts is the most recent attempt to circumvent the democratic process and further weaken the definition of marriage in West Virginia.

“Marriage as one man and one woman is clearly an important and unifying issue for West Virginians.  The most recent polling data shows that more than 9 out of 10 West Virginians don’t want their elected officials to allow a court to redefine marriage,” said Jeremy Dys, president and general counsel of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia.  “Marriage is a unifying issue that reaches across party lines.  Public policy should be decided by the public – not by one, out-of-state judge and a small number of activists and legislators.”

Dys is referring to a poll conducted last week by the Family Policy Council of West Virginia that surveyed almost 10,000 West Virginia households.  According to that poll, 94 percent of West Virginians surveyed believe that voters in West Virginia – and not judges – should define marriage.  The poll results are available at

Tuesday’s lawsuit comes after a year in which judges in California, Massachusetts, and Connecticut altered the definition of marriage in their state without voter input.  Another court in Iowa is expected to do likewise this year.  Policymakers in at least a half-dozen states are considering bills that would fabricate same-sex “marriage” legislatively.

Meanwhile, a same-sex adoption case pending before the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia leaves the definition of marriage in the hands of five unaccountable judges.  In addition, the West Virginia Legislature is considering several pieces of legislation designed to pave the way for same-sex “marriage” in the state.

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia is urging voters to call their legislators by calling (877) 565-3447 and asking for the right to define marriage within the state constitution.  More information is available at

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia is a servant organization that advocates for policies that embrace the sanctity of human life, enrich marriage, and safeguard religious freedom.

Written by Jeremy Dys

March 4, 2009 at 6:43 pm