Tag Archive for: Federal Legislation

A Defiant GOP Smashes Woke Military Policies with Rock-Solid NDAA

The biggest story of this past week isn’t that the House passed the military spending bill — or even that they passed it with language that beats back President Biden’s woke policies. The biggest story is the one that won’t be told: of House conservatives refusing to give an inch.

Former Congressman Jody Hice, now a special advisor to the president at Family Research Council, was blown away by the sea change in how this new Republican majority is doing business. For the last couple of years, Hice watched his party buckle under Democratic pressure, especially where military policy is concerned. “Progressively,” he told The Washington Stand, “the NDAA bills were becoming more and more woke. And we, as a Republican conference, were compromising to the demands on the Left. To see what took place Thursday night, I was just blown away. This is a major shift — not only from the woke agenda push from this administration — but this is a major shift from the direction of our own conference over the last several years, as it pertains to the NDAA.”

Late Thursday night, Republicans finally went to sleep after accomplishing what seemed impossible only hours before: adding a slew of pro-life, pro-military, anti-gender transition amendments to the bill. Democrats and the media spent the wee hours of the morning blasting the conservative changes, vowing it would never pass with such “poison pills.”

They were wrong.

Barely nine hours later, the entire NDAA — anti-woke language included — had squeaked by in a 219-210 vote, thanks to an even swap of Republicans and Democrats (four) trading sides. Reps. Jared Golden (D-Maine), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-Wash.), Gabe Vasquez (D-N.M.), and Don Davis (D-N.C.) all threw their support behind the GOP-led bill.

Of course, the most jubilant celebration came Thursday afternoon when Congressman Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) managed to include language rolling back the Pentagon’s taxpayer funding of abortion — an absolute defiance of the law. In one of the most powerful moments of that debate, mom-to-be Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) stood on the House floor and made it clear: “I am a United States veteran and a woman elected to Congress while pregnant. Advocating for a service member to have a child ripped from her womb completely destroys everything this military stands for.”

As Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) explained on “Washington Watch” moments before that vote, what the Department of Defense did with this sudden policy was nothing but an unconstitutional “end run around many of the pro-life states’ laws and all the hard work that’s been done after Dobbs overturned Roe.”

“This has become a really important issue in the country,” Johnson insisted. And what they’ve done, he explained, is used “executive fiat” through the Department of Defense. Secretary Lloyd Austin “[has] said that they will pay for or reimburse expenses relating to abortion services. So in other words, if a service member or a woman serving is pregnant, and she’s on a base somewhere in a [red state] … then she can travel to a state that provides abortion — and taxpayers will reimburse her for that. That’s a violation of the Hyde Amendment,” Johnson fumed.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made sure to emphasize, “Just to be very clear here, we’re talking about elective abortions. So this is new territory [President Biden is staking out]. For decades, [there] has been a bipartisan position that taxpayers would not be forced to facilitate abortion.”

Obviously, this has been a huge flash point in the Senate, where Coach Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) has taken months of heat for holding up certain military promotions until the DOD drops its reckless abortion advocacy. And while Democrats — the president included — blame the senator for everything from recruitment problems to retention, they refuse to even meet with Tuberville. If this delay was really so devastating to military readiness, the coach has said, you’d think Biden would pick up the phone and try to negotiate.

“That’s what this place is about,” he added. “It’s about working with each other, talking it out, getting in situations where you can maybe compromise to a point. I mean, here’s a guy that doesn’t even want to talk.”

He may be forced to, now that Republicans have teed up a 1,200-page rebuke of the last two years of Defense Department radicalism. If Biden wants to blame someone for America’s shrinking force, he ought to look in the mirror.

After all, it’s “the president and his administration [who’ve] injected into the military all of this woke social policy nonsense. … We have ESG and DEI and anything else you can imagine —the funding of drag queen shows on military bases, [the] violation of parental rights. We were able to get amendments … to take care of all of that,” Johnson said. But frankly, “it’s far more contentious than it should be. You know, our military has a very important job,” he insisted. “They’re trained to be a powerful force that wins wars and defends our nation, not experimentation with social policy. And so it’s just completely disingenuous for the president to [blame Republicans or blame Tuberville for these problems]. … [I]t’s not Republicans and conservatives that are inserting this. It was him. We’re undoing the damage that has been done.”

Along with crushing the Biden abortion policy, Republicans also held the line on the avalanche of diversity training and wildly inappropriate mission creep like taxpayer-funded gender transitions. Amendments to:

  • Outlaw the flying of Pride flags on military property (Norman Amendment #34) passed 218-213;
  • End the indoctrination of children in Defense Department schools by banning pornographic and dangerous gender ideology books (Boebert Amendment #35) passed 222-209;
  • Ban taxpayer-funding of gender transition procedures (Rosendale Amendment #10) passed 222-211;
  • Strip the funding for Chief Diversity Officers or Senior Advisors for Diversity and Inclusion from the ranks (Roy Amendment #30) passed 217-212; and
  • Outright block the DOD from creating new DEI administrator positions or taking action to fill existing DEI jobs (Burlison Amendment #62) passed 218-213.

One lone Democrat — Rep. Henry Cuellar (Texas) — voted with conservatives to stop the president’s out-of-control extremism on abortion and transgenderism. And while he refused to comment about the decision, he probably heard from the same constituents that his neighbor Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) did. “The American people I’ve talked to back home don’t want a weak military; they don’t want a woke military; they don’t want rainbow propaganda on bases; they don’t want to pay for troops’ sex changes.”

And yet, as Perkins pointed out, Biden blames Republicans for injecting social issues into the military. “You know, it’s like they poke the bear, and the bear pushes back — and they accuse the bear of being aggressive. The Left has been pushing this stuff for years.” And finally, conservatives pushed back.

“I do want to point out,” Perkins said, “that there’s something unique here under this Republican Congress. … I don’t want people to miss that … a year ago, we couldn’t even have a debate under the Democratic rules. There was no debate. It’s just that you were steamrolled in the Left’s process of getting their agenda through. … [This open dialogue] is something that hasn’t happened in a very long time.

“Yeah, what a concept,” Johnson joked. “We were able to get some real process reforms in that long, drawn-out battle for the speakership in January. And as painful as that process was for everyone, the result was really good. We got transparency again. We eliminated—forever, we hope—the possibility of omnibus spending bills and giant pieces of legislation that no one has read. … It takes a lot more time and effort, but this is what is demanded, and it’s what the American people deserve. And I’m really glad we’ve gotten back to some regular order here.”

In the meantime, Republicans are crossing their fingers that the heavy lifting they’ve done on the NDAA survives the Democrat-led Senate. One thing’s for sure, Perkins said. Biden doesn’t have Tuberville to kick around anymore. If he wants to end the freeze on military promotions, there’s a simple solution now: support this bill. “The remedy’s right here in front of him.”


Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

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EDITOR NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Moms for America: ‘We Are Going to Put the Pressure on the Senate’ to Pass Women’s Sports Bill

On June 7, a nonprofit by the name of Moms for America held a press conference on the Capitol grounds in Washington, D.C. to speak out about biological men competing in women’s sports across the country. H.R. 734, otherwise known as the Protection of Women’s Sports Act of 2023 has passed the House and is waiting for the Senate to schedule a vote. Professional and collegiate athletes gathered to share their stories along with different state representatives, all united under one objective: calling on the Senate to act and pass the bill.

Tennessee State Representative Diana Harshbarger (R) stated, “I know, as a health care professional, you cannot change somebody’s DNA.” She went on to note how we are in the middle of a spiritual battle. “As the Bible says, what is looked at as evil is now being looked at as good, and what is good is being looked at as evil. That is a spiritual message that I want to send to every American. … We cannot legislate morality.”

One by one, several female athletes also shared their experiences of competing with men identifying as women. Each experience was unique, yet all shared the same conclusion: sex is biology, not identity, and females simply cannot compare to males in terms of athleticism.

Macy Petty, a collegiate volleyball player, was the first to speak on behalf of the girls. Men increasingly stealing opportunities in women’s sports is a “direct threat to the integrity of the competition,” she emphasized. Early in her career, Petty had an opportunity to showcase her skills in front of several scouts. “On the other team was a very tall and athletic man,” she stated. “I did not sign up to be in a co-ed league. … The ruling authorities decided this boy’s feelings overrode our opportunity to play in a female only league. … With his biological advantages, he wooed the college scouts. I hate to think what young lady was passed over to make room for him on their [female] college team.”

After Petty shared her experience, other female athletes stepped forward with similar, heartbreaking stories about times that they were robbed of their sports opportunities as well. To conclude the press conference, Idaho State Representative Barbara Ehardt (R) spoke about how she has been an avid voice in this fight for sports equality throughout her lifetime. “I spent years fighting for opportunities for our girls and women [with Title IX]. Now we’re going backwards,” she said.

Ehardt emphasized how the culture is claiming to make sports a place of humanity, inclusion, and community by allowing men to compete against women. “Folks, I’m telling you, that’s not it at all,” she said. “When it comes to athletics, when it comes to keeping your job, it is about winning. If it wasn’t about winning, players wouldn’t get cut and coaches wouldn’t get fired. It’s about winning, make no mistake, and we cannot compete with the male counterparts.” Ehardt concluded by expressing how her passions have heightened since Title IX was first enacted in 1964. This is not an issue that’s relevant only to the present batch of competitors, she contended. This is an issue that has been debated and fought over for decades. “People, it’s a movement. … Step up, be courageous.”

The fight for integrity in women’s sports is raging, because it questions a fundamental truth. As Kassidy Comer, former college basketball player, told The Washington Stand, “You [cannot] ignore God’s plan for who we’re made to be. You know, we were crafted in the womb in His image, and He does not make mistakes. So, when you’re looking at it saying, ‘I know I was born this way, but I feel like I might be this way,’ that is just spiritual warfare, and that is my strong belief as a Christian.”

When asked how her faith helped her be bold in this fight, Comer responded, “I believe we are called to speak truth into this world. We are called to be salt and light. Salt and light can be invasive sometimes, [it] might hurt somebody’s feelings, but we’re called to speak truth … and that is one thing I’ve really tried to do with the platform I’ve been blessed with.”

Debbie Kraulidis, the vice president of Moms for America, stated that this fight is not an easy one, but it is certainly necessary. “We are going to put the pressure on the Senate to pass this bill,” she said. “It is up to us … to protect women’s sports.”


Baylie McClafferty

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EDITOS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Congress Hears from Experts on Gender Transition Harms to Minors

Medical experts and detransitioners met members of Congress at the Capitol Monday to discuss the lifelong damage America’s gender transition industry is inflicting upon minors. Coordinated by Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), the information session aimed to improve member awareness of the issue with an eye toward holding a full-scale public hearing or even pass legislation to protect children through the House.

The developing issue caught LaMalfa’s attention after a constituent’s daughter was secretly transitioned in school, prompting the mother to file a lawsuit.

Other lawmakers attended for similar reasons. “My constituents care about it,” said Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), chairman of the Anti-Woke Caucus. “They’re outraged by it, by what’s going on in the culture and that kids can be coerced to make decisions that are life-changing and that they might regret later.”

LaMalfa has introduced the Protecting Children From Experimentation Act (HR 3328), which is similar to laws protecting minors from gender transition now enacted in 19 states, and the End Taxpayer Funding of Gender Experimentation Act (HR 3329), which would prohibit federal funds from subsidizing the experimental procedures. Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) has introduced companion legislation in the Senate (S 1597 and S 1595, respectively).

Lawmakers were aware of the seriousness and gravity of subject matter in advance. “It’s such an important conversation and really uncomfortable conversation,” said Banks. And yet, Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wisc.) added, “Anything we can do to prevent anyone else from going down this path is worthwhile.”

Yet they hardly could have prepared themselves for the gripping emotion of the story told by Chloe Cole, a young woman who identified as a boy until age 16, but who already suffered life-altering consequences of gender transition procedures before she detransitioned. “I was a victim of so-called ‘gender medicine’ when I was only a child,” she summarized.

Cole explained that she felt like becoming a boy from an early age, related to childhood trauma and an early start to puberty. She then explained that her doctors manipulated her parents into reluctantly consenting to gender transition procedures with false claims of suicide:

“My parents wanted to prevent me from transitioning until I was at least a legal adult — and for good reason. My doctors, however, had something else in mind. They emotionally manipulated my parents, telling them there was no other option but to allow me to start treatment — or else. They said, it would be life or death. And they had to choose, they said, between having a dead daughter or a live, transgender son.”

In studies of adults who identify as transgender, the “suicide rate actually goes up because of the numerous complications,” noted Cole. “If these are the rates we see in adults, what do we expect regarding children?” Along with Cole, FRC’s Director of the Center for Family Studies Dr. Jennifer Bauwens and American College of Pediatricians President Quentin Van Meter established during the session that people who identify as transgender are as likely or more likely to commit suicide after they undergo gender transition procedures.

Cole argued it is “irresponsible to expect a kid to fully understand what these treatments throughout life will entail.” Believing she was a boy, Cole received a double mastectomy at age 13, but from age 16 she has regretted that operation — which she said she was not competent to consent to in the first place. “It pains me that I will never be able to breastfeed my children,” said Cole, “that I may not be able to conceive a child or naturally give birth, or that I may never be able to have a level of sexual function or pleasure.”

Cole described long-lasting side effects, such as complications from the skin grafts that force her to wear bandages on her chest every day, missed social development, “waking flashbacks of my transgender self,” and “a heavy sense of guilt for my parents, my family, my future spouse and children.” Worst of all, her “gender-affirming” doctors “rudely” discounted her physical suffering, showed no sympathy for her detransition, and gave her no guidance on how to wean off of hormones.

Detransitioner Walt Heyer spoke after Cole, describing his experience with living as a woman for years “without hormones or surgeries” and then undergoing a gender transition surgery in 1983. He said that a pioneer of gender transition procedures, Dr. Paul Walker, decided he needed surgery, even though his problems were actually due to early childhood trauma. Heyer said Walker admitted in court filings that it is impossible to change gender, that it is only possible to neuter patients.

Heyer, who detransitioned decades ago, now runs a ministry that has helped hundreds of detransitioners, and from his experience he said most people who are diagnosed or treated as transgender don’t even have gender dysphoria, but that their feelings stem from other causes. Regardless, he concluded, “I don’t care whether it’s a child or an adult. No one needs their genitals cut off. It’s barbaric. It’s insane. No one needs hormones. That is also totally insane. We’ve got to stop this stuff.”

While those providing gender transition procedures to minors often represent them as reversible, Dr. Van Meter said the industry “is blocking puberty” in young people “so they cannot resolve the issue” causing their gender dysphoria. Far from a “pause,” “it’s a purposeful way to go right down the pathway” to complete gender transition, he said. Cole also disputed the point. “The younger the patient begins intervention, the higher the rate of complication as the course of natural development is disrupted. Past a certain amount of time on hormones, and once a patient has had their ovaries or testicles removed … they will be dependent on hormone replacement therapies for life.”

“I can’t imagine how that would feel,” LaMalfa reflected. “‘They told me this would be the fix. And now I’ve got all these physical problems, and I don’t feel at all differently.’ That’s a disservice. That’s malpractice. That’s criminal, what’s going on.”

Panelists contended that even social transition is irreversible. “Once you open up pandora’s box and give a child a new name, new haircut, new clothes, new identity, everyone in that child’s life looks at them differently forever,” argued Van Meter. “You cannot put that back together. You cannot sew the family back together that’s been torn asunder by this.” Heyer agreed that there are “consequences to even suggesting or encouraging” social transition.

Beyond the tragic personal impacts, the panel’s medical experts emphasized the unscientific nature of transgender treatments. “There is no scientific basis for this,” said Van Meter, such that “they’re scrambling to develop curriculum” to train medical school students. “Europe has finally opened their eyes,” and the countries that embraced gender transition procedures for minors earlier than the U.S. are now abandoning them as unsound. Most recently, an official review of Norway’s guidelines called in March for the country to join Sweden, the U.K., and other countries in revising them.

Van Meter explained that all the medical associations trace their approval back to a pair of highly questionable Dutch studies — which gave rise to the “Dutch protocol” of “gender-affirming care” — which was destroyed by a peer-reviewed study published earlier this year. He said that the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) and the Endocrine Society first adopted the Dutch protocol, and all the other mainstream professional associations simply “rubber stamped” their work.

But to maintain the façade, these professional organizations must quench all dissenting opinions, continued Van Meter. At the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting last month, he said “the meeting was designed to basically shut up anybody with a contrary opinion.” Attendees, including himself, were required to sign a pledge to respect others, which he said amounted to not airing contrary views. And when he lined up to ask a question after one session on the topic, conference organizers departed from convention and announced there would be no questions taken.

“There are no standards of care for transgender health. None whatsoever. They are the opinions of ideologues,” said Van Meter. “What we need is a consortium of all of us — me and those folks I completely disagree with — to sit down at the table and come up with something in the middle. That would be a standard of care.”

But Van Meter said his attempts to establish such a consensus standard of care have been rejected. “I have, for the past four years, sent in a request to the major teaching academic societies in endocrinology to have a symposium where they have a balanced presentation. … We will never get a standard of care.”

Because this industry collusion prevents medical associations from establishing legitimate guidelines to care for children who identify as transgender, the panelists asked Congress to erect guardrails. “My profession has completely gone off the rails. We need you to intervene. We’re not protecting kids anymore. We’re harming kids,” pleaded Bauwens.

Members of Congress who were present asked elucidating questions to the panel. “What goes on in these people?” asked Grothman. He tallied up 12 or 13 people who in his estimation would have to sign off on a hospital offering gender transition treatments — psychologists, endocrinologists, surgeons, hospital administrators, and the hospital board. “It goes against all commonsense. Right? You’ve got to be almost nuts in your own mind to even approve this. Even a normal person, assuming this to be okay, would say, ‘We’re going to wait until you’re 18,’” he said.

Bauwens responded that “clinicians see it as a civil rights issue, not a medical issue, so they’re no longer doing proper assessments.” Van Meter added that there is “no question” that the transgender movement hooked itself onto the gay movement’s civil rights juggernaut — even though the issues are separate.

Banks also asked a pointed question, “Why all of a sudden? Why is gender confusion in our face everywhere … all of a sudden?” When panelists agreed that the internet was involved — Cole explained her exposure in detail — Banks noted that the internet has been around a long time. The panelists offered two additional pieces of the puzzle. First, in the early days of the internet, “in 1993, no one had treated a child in the U.S.” with gender transition procedures, said Van Meter. Second, Cole offered, the “internet has evolved to become more personal.” Through phone browsers and social media, promoters of gender transition procedures have direct access to children.

All this will lead to a tsunami of children suffering from the harmful effects of gender transition procedures. “There is an impending massive influx of children like me,” said Cole, “all of them missing various body parts, all of them still wishing they still had their voice, their sexual function, their fertility, their health, and their life back. And we need to create a place for these kids.” There is so little guidance right now, she lamented, “nobody even knows how to detransition.”

“For many children, it’s already too late,” said Cole, who added that she is “personally aware of thousands” of young people who have detransitioned or are trying to do so. Van Meter agreed, warning the gender transition industry is “going to hurt lots of kids before it’s shut down.”

“It seems diabolical to me,” responded Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), “doing this for profits, doing it to 13-year-olds. … I never would have thought that I would live to see this, where we don’t follow the science, where we can offer up our kids on the altar of profits and weirdness.” Babin added, “These doctors are playing God.”

The urgency of the situation required Congress to act, argued LaMalfa. “For people to be going alone on this, and be getting bad information — we’re elected leaders. And so, we need to buck up on this and lead and help get good information out to folks and then hold those accountable that are doing these barbaric things,” he said. “We need to drive this because it’s not a political agenda for us. It’s about getting the basic truth out.”

LaMalfa told reporters, “We just want to get the science out in front of people now. And so, we have a job to do here. You heard my colleagues say, ‘What committee can we do this in?’” While only four members attended the information session, a public committee hearing would publicize the truth far and wide. But LaMalfa set his sights even further. “I don’t [see a reason] why we can’t get something passed out of the House to get this started. We’ve already built on that earlier with the Women’s Sports [bill].”

LaMalfa also addressed some of the most common objections made against the bills, which were not debunked by the panel — such as the suicide myth. In response to those who might object that the bills deny health care or restrict personal liberty, LaMalfa said, “These decisions shouldn’t be made by minors. If this is something that adults want to make decisions about, that’s a different accounting. But even then, there needs to be clear information.”

LaMalfa also responded to federalism concerns, given that many states have already passed similar legislation. “If the federal government is going to be looking out for people’s individual rights and liberties … then maybe we need to have a federal standard. Because I don’t see California embracing what we’re talking about,” he said. “In fire season, people don’t care what color fire truck is coming … they just want the fire put out. I think they want solutions from their elected leaders whether it’s county, city, state, or federal to get things back on track to protect their kids and the values they have.”

Other members who attended agreed with the need to bring more publicity to the issue through a public hearing. “This conversation’s going to reach a lot of people, but most importantly it’s going to reach our policymakers as we wrestle over what to do about it,” said Banks. Babin added, “Truth can only be covered up for so long.”


Joshua Arnold

Joshua Arnold is a staff writer at The Washington Stand.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Pro-Life Leaders Meet with Trump to Reinforce Federal Strategy

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins has shared the details about his meeting with former President Donald Trump amid media reports the Republican front-runner had backed away from the pro-life issue ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

Last month, a Trump campaign spokesman told The Washington Post that Trump believes abortion “should be decided at the state level,” touching off media speculation that the candidate would take no federal action to protect life during a second term. Perkins met the 45th president alongside Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and SBA Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser on Monday afternoon.

“The purpose of the meeting was simply to encourage the president to stay strong on the issue of the sanctity of human life. And I can report that the former president, Donald Trump, has not changed his position,” Perkins told listeners of “Washington Watch” on Tuesday.

“There was some mischaracterizations of some things that he had said,” Perkins added.

The four leaders found common ground talking about the Republican Party platform, which Perkins has helped craft for the last four election cycles.

“We support state and federal efforts against the cruelest forms of abortion,” says the most recent Republican Party platform (emphasis added). The GOP’s guiding document also calls on Congress to pass a plethora of pro-life legislation ending abortions based on a child’s sex or disability diagnosis, as well as dismemberment abortions, and to adopt a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution “to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.”

The Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision does not preclude abortion-related legislation at the federal level. “It’s a states issue, but it’s also a federal issue,” Perkins explained. “The court said this is in the hands of elected officials, not judges.”

“I talked about that with him. And I said, ‘Look, that’s the standard. It was there before Roe was overturned. Why should it change?’” said Perkins. “When a baby feels pain and is sucking his thumb in his mother’s womb, that ought to be a place we can draw the line. We’ve got 67% of Americans who agree that abortion across the board should be outlawed after that.”

“I’m pleased to say that the president understood that,” Perkins told his audience.

Trump remains the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, holding a commanding a 29-point lead over his nearest challenger, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), according to the RealClear Politics average of national polls.

Perkins also noted that Trump was not the only — or even the first — presidential hopeful he had briefed on pro-life, pro-family issues.

“I’ve sat down with a couple of them already. This will be my third” candidate consultation meeting, Perkins revealed. “I will meet with any presidential candidate to have a discussion about the issues, and where they should be on these issues to connect with what we call SAGE Cons,” a term coined by pollster George Barna meaning Spiritually Active Governance Engaged Conservatives.

Perkins, a former elected official, made clear meeting with Trump did not constitute an endorsement in the 2024 presidential race. “I will not be endorsing a presidential candidate in the primary. I will be sitting down, talking with any and all” candidates who “want to talk about the issues that matter,” he said, specifying the sanctity of human life, human sexuality, tax policy that impacts the family, and religious freedom — “anything that touches the family.”

Democrats eked out a better-than-expected midterm election in 2022 in part by flooding the zone with abortion-related messaging portraying Republicans as extreme — largely without GOP pushback. That makes it pivotal for would-be office holders to grasp the issue thoroughly, said FRC Action Vice President Brent Keilen. “We have to remember that the science hasn’t change. And so the policies that the Republican Party has stood for over the last decades that were based and are based off of the science, should not change, either.”

While some in the GOP have advocated a states-only response to abortion, Democratic leaders have already tried to impose their permissive views on the entire nation. “Republicans are pushing for this to go back to the states,” said Keilen. “That is not at all what the Democrats are pushing for.”

The House of Representatives, then controlled by Democrats, passed the “Women’s Health Protection Act” by a near party-line vote last July. The bill would strike down most of the 1,381 pro-life protections enacted by state legislatures between 1973 and the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, including:

  • prohibiting sex-selective abortions;
  • barring many abortions after viability;
  • preventing abortions on babies 20 weeks or older, who are capable of feeling pain;
  • disallowing abortions undertaken without parental consent or notification;
  • prohibiting telemedicine abortion drug prescriptions, which involve no in-person medical examination;
  • banning unlicensed individuals from carrying out abortions;
  • allowing pregnant mothers to receive scientifically accurate information about their babies’ development, or to see an ultrasound or hear the child’s fetal heartbeat; and
  • allowing pro-life medical professionals the right to refuse to participate in an abortion.

The Democratic Party platform calls for taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand without restriction until the moment of birth as a matter of “health, rights, and justice.” Adopting that position has forced the U.S. to join a handful of rogue human rights abusers that place no federal limit on abortion, including North Korea and China. President Trump, who famously campaigned to “Make America Great Again,” “believes such a position is unworthy of a great nation and believes the American people will rebel against such a radical position,” Dannenfelser said.

“That is the standard position of the Democrat Party that is only supported by about one in five Americans, so you have 80% of the country, according to recent polling, that opposes” Democratic orthodoxy, said Keilen. Only 19% of Americans believe abortion should be permitted “in all cases, with no exceptions,” according to a 2022 Pew Research Center poll. “That doesn’t even get into the Born-alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which we have not been able to get passed, which would afford those protections to a baby who survives a failed abortion,” Keilen added.

“If you message on this well, the vast majority of Americans are with you on this issue,” said Keilen.

Eyeing a massive wedge issue, GOP leaders have encouraged Republican candidates to attack Democratic extremism. “We are the pro-life, pro-woman, pro-family party, and we can win on abortion. But that means putting Democrats on the defense,” said Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel after the initial Trump brouhaha.

Days later, Trump attacked “the extreme late-term abortionists in the Democrat Party, who believe in abortion-on-demand in the ninth month of pregnancy, and even executing babies after birth.” That rhetoric echoes Trump’s successful strategy in the 2016 presidential campaign. During the third and final debate on October 19, Trump said under Hillary Clinton’s policy, “you can take the baby out of the womb in the ninth month on the final day, and that’s not acceptable.”

That off-the-cuff remark became a revelation to pro-life leaders. “At that moment, I said, ‘He’s going to win this. He is going to secure the votes of pro-life voters.’ And he did,” said Perkins. “What’s more than that is: He actually followed through. … His policies were unprecedented when it came to advancing human life.” Trump named three of the six justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade last June, supported the Hyde Amendment, and signed numerous measures partially defunding abortion businesses such as Planned Parenthood.

After the latest media flare-up, Trump signaled his openness to signing the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” introduced by Graham, which protects babies from abortion after 15 weeks. “We’ll get something done” in a second term, Trump promised.

“Going forward, I think he’s going to be very clear on this. That’s my hope. That’s what I believe to be the case,” Perkins said.

“And we will not back up from this issue one bit,” Perkins assured his listeners. Effective promotion of pro-life protections, at any level of government, “will be the benchmark of how we evaluate conservative Bible-based candidates for office.”


Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

RNC Chair Tells Republicans: ‘We Can Win on Abortion’

After a deflating 2022 midterm election, the surest path to lose the White House would come from Republicans refusing to speak on the issue of abortion, the party’s chair told aspiring candidates.

“We’ve seen what happens when we let Democrats define who we are and what we stand for,” said Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel during a speech Thursday at the Reagan Library. In 2022, “a lot of Republican candidates took their D.C. consultants’ bad advice to ignore the subject. Then what happened? Democrats spent $360 million running ads filled with lies about abortion, and most Republicans had no response.”

“Let’s talk about abortion, which has become a huge issue coming after the Dobbs decision,” McDaniel exhorted GOP candidates. “When you don’t respond, the lies become the truth.”

The discussion should include a national minimum standard of protections for the unborn, which most voters favor — especially contrasted with the Democratic Party platform, she said. “Polling shows that when the choice is between a Democrat who wants zero abortion restrictions and a Republican who supports protecting life, at 15 weeks, we win by 22 points,” McDaniel noted. A 15-week national pro-life standard wins over “72% of voters, including 60% of Democrats [who] support protecting unborn children.”

“We are the pro-life, pro-woman, pro-family party, and we can win on abortion. But that means putting Democrats on the defense and forcing them to own their own extreme positions,” she concluded.

Her comments came during a moment of uneasiness within GOP ranks, as aspirants and advocates contemplate the best strategy to advance the pro-life cause in a post-Dobbs environment. A statement from former President Donald Trump roiled the movement, as some interpreted it to advocate inaction at the federal level. “President Donald J. Trump believes that the Supreme Court, led by the three Justices which he supported, got it right when they ruled this is an issue that should be decided at the State level,” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung told The Washington Post late last week. The Post last week also reported on tales from unnamed sources that Trump personally believes abortion should be a matter of “states rights” and advocated not discussing the issue — comments that drew instantaneous backlash.

“Life is a matter of human rights, not states’ rights,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the SBA Pro-life America, adding that a states-only position would result in “abortion up until the moment of birth” in states such as California, New York, and Oregon. “We will oppose any presidential candidate who refuses to embrace at a minimum a 15-week national standard to stop painful late-term abortions while allowing states to enact further protections,” she added. Other pro-life leaders amplified her position. “If you don’t understand killing children is a federal issue, you shouldn’t be running for federal office,” said Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America. “Imagine supporting a candidate who said that slavery was a ‘states rights’ issue,” tweeted Lila Rose of Live Action.

Trump did not address the criticism directly — but he appeared to take McDaniel’s words to heart, bashing Democratic extremism on abortion “As the most pro-life president in American history, I will continue to stand strong against the extreme late-term abortionists in the Democrat Party, who believe in abortion-on-demand in the ninth month of pregnancy, and even executing babies after birth,” said the 45th president in pre-recorded comments to the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition on Saturday. “They actually talk, beyond birth — after birth — executing the baby.”

He likely had in mind comments from then-Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D), who said in 2019 in the event of a live birth during a botched abortion, the abortionist would hold “a discussion” about whether the newborn would receive lifesaving care. In January, the House of Representatives passed the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to establish national standards of care — with the support of only one Democrat.

“This is where we’ve come, and it’s so sad to see,” said Trump. “I will stand proudly and defend innocent life, just as I did for four, very powerful, strong years. Because every child, born and unborn, is a sacred gift from God.”

Mary Szoch, director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council, said the former president provided a strong foundation during his four years in office. “President Trump gave us the justices who gave us Dobbs. He was the first presidential candidate to actually describe what an abortion is — a child being ripped out of her mother’s womb even just before birth — and he was the first president to attend the March for Life,” Szoch told The Washington Stand. “His administration did more for the unborn than any other.”

That sets a high bar for any Republican, including himself. “In a second term, he — or anyone else who calls himself a Republican — must be held accountable to do the same, which means committing to signing any democratically passed pro-life legislation and committing to upholding and reinstating federal protections for the unborn,” Szoch told TWS. “The pro-life movement must continue to work until nobody has the power to take away the fundamental right to life with a vote, scalpel, or pill.”

Trump’s proposals for future pro-life accomplishments seemed less precise. He promised to “again [appoint] rock-solid constitutional conservatives to be federal bench judges and justices, in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence, who spoke at the Iowa event in person and plans to decide whether to mount a presidential campaign “well before late June,” endorsed national pro-life protections after the first trimester over the weekend. “I think the American people would welcome a minimum national standard in Washington, D.C. — 15 weeks,” he told CBS “Face the Nation” Sunday. Another likely presidential contender, Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), has vowed, “If I were president of the United States, I would literally sign the most conservative pro-life legislation that they can get through Congress.”

His colleague, senior South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham (R), believes his legislation, the Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act, deserves top consideration. “America does not need, and the unborn cannot afford, to have two major parties who support no restrictions on abortion up to the moment of birth. The unborn need a voice in Washington,” Graham said. “It is up to us to provide it.”

Beltway pundits and consultants widely blamed the lack of the 2022 “red wave” on Graham’s bill, which Democrats portrayed as a “national abortion ban.” Yet Republican Governors Greg Abbott of Texas, Brian Kemp of Georgia, Mike DeWine of Ohio, and Kim Reynolds of Iowa all signed heartbeat bills protecting children from abortion beginning at six weeks after fertilization before winning lopsided victories in 2022. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also signed a heartbeat bill after his 20-point reelection.

Being willing to have accurate, disciplined, unapologetic messaging and refusing to run from discussions about abortion will prove indispensable to retaking the White House and U.S. Senate in 2024, McDaniel said.

“Just as Reagan was the great communicator, we have to be great communicators. Republican candidates right now are trying to do that. They are out there working hard to get the nomination of our party. And in four short months, the RNC will host its first primary debate in Milwaukee.”

The second debate would take place at the Reagan Library, she announced. Life, family, parental rights, and children’s safety will all likely be topics of debate.

“I firmly believe that our next president will be on that stage,” as long as he handles the abortion issue properly, predicted McDaniel.


Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Gaines Goes Toe-to-Toe with Dems on Biden’s Push to Erase Girls

“Why is it always women fighting against sex-based protections?” Riley Gaines wondered. “That will forever be beyond me.” The former All-American swimmer could only shake her head at the latest attack on girls’ sports by Congresswoman Katie Hobbs (D-Calif.), the latest high-profile Democrat to throw her sex overboard in the raging battle for transgenderism.

“It’s an extraordinary state of affairs,” “Fox Nation” host Piers Morgan said afterward, “when two middle-aged men, me and Bill Maher, were standing up vociferously for women’s rights to fairness and equality, and a congresswoman who wants to be a senator was incapable of doing that. And that, to me, exposed the fragility at the heart of this woke position on this whole transgender debate.”

Hobbs was a guest on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” when the conversation turned to Gaines’s push to save girls’ sports. The California Democrat announced that she disagreed with the former University of Kentucky athlete “strongly.” When Morgan pressed her about what Gaines had done or said that she disapproved of, Hobbs claimed Riley was “using things to kind of get likes and get clicks.” “That’s not what she’s doing,” Morgan fired back. “It’s not?” Hobbs asked incredulously.

The Brit insisted, “All I’ve seen her do is stand up for women’s rights to fairness and equality. She competed against [biological male] Lia Thomas, and it was obviously unfair.” Then “our sporting bodies should be dealing with it,” Hobbs argued, before claiming she respects Riley’s “free speech.”

Later, Morgan seemed appalled by the whole exchange, arguing on his home network, “It’s time that female politicians, in particular in America, Democrat politicians, stop this nonsense and stood up for women’s rights.”

As for Hobbs’s allegation that Riley was “speaking up for herself,” Gaines clarified, “I’m not speaking up for myself… I’m done playing sports. I’m not fighting for me. I’m actually supposed to be in dental school this year. But I’ve changed my life plans because I see what’s at stake if someone doesn’t fight for the present and next generation.”

Someone who’s obviously not fighting for present and future generations is President Joe Biden, who announced Monday that if Rep. Greg Steube’s (R-Fla.) girls’ sports bill makes it to his desk, he’d veto it. In the White House’s Statement of Administration Policy, the president’s team called the proposal “discriminatory.” Siding with the woke ideology that’s erasing women from fields, courts, and diamonds across America, the White House claimed, “Politicians should not dictate a one-size-fits-all requirement that forces coaches to remove kids from their teams.”

According to Family Research Council’s Meg Kilgannon, “one size fits all” is “a Biden administration specialty when it comes to the transgender agenda. They will sacrifice safety and fairness for women and girls to advance the cause of men/boys who think they are women/girls. This is a movement driven from the top down,” she told The Washington Stand, “and the Biden administration is doing its part to suppress opposition by threatening and bullying even Members of Congress.”

With a whopping 93 Republican co-sponsors, Steube is making it clear that Americans don’t share the Democrats’ extreme views. “This is an 80% issue,” the Florida congressman told “The Faulkner Focus.” And frankly, he said, “I think every American should know where their member of Congress sits on this issue.” Let’s not forget, Steube explained, “Title IX was created by Congress 50 years ago for women’s sports — to allow women to be able to compete with each other at collegiate levels and activities and sports. And this [would] completely [do] away with [that] … by allowing biological males to compete with women in women’s sports.”

And, as Steube reminded everyone, “The other piece of this, too, is having biological men that are identifying as women in girls’ bathrooms and girls’ locker rooms changing with them [and] all the things that come with that. The American people don’t support that.”

Neither, presumably, do a majority of the House, who will have an opportunity to vote on the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act later this week.

As for Gaines, she’ll continue to put her own safety at risk to stop an agenda that she calls “manipulative” and “violent.” “This whole movement,” she insisted, “it’s vengeful, it’s hateful. I’ve never seen a movement quite like this movement.” She should know after her April visit to San Francisco State University, a school she’s now suing after being attacked on campus and barricaded in a room after an angry mob chased her out of a discussion on Title IX and threatened her.

“I thought I knew what I was getting myself into when agreeing to speak at this university,” she wrote in a new op-ed, “but I was wrong. There was no way to prepare myself for what happened.”

“People always wonder why more women aren’t speaking up,” Gaines went on, “(especially the female athletes who have firsthand experience competing against a male). This is why,” she insists about her own horrifying experience.

Even so, Riley believes, “The protestors’ plan backfired on them. They intended to silence me, but they only gave me a larger platform. My social media following quadrupled, and the public support around the world to protect women’s sports and sex-based rights skyrocketed. The general public is now more eager to get involved in the fight than ever before.”


Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Policeman’s Resignation Shows the Fallout over Marriage Has Begun

Last week, North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis (N.C.) bragged to The Washington Post that he doesn’t “vote for anything” that he thinks “will have a serious political consequence.” They were glib words for a man who’d just put his name behind a bill rewriting marriage for every American. Like the 11 other Republican senators whose moral courage collapsed before the nation’s eyes, Senator Tillis would have you believe there’s no fallout from his vote for same-sex marriage. But a young Georgia policeman who’s out of a job over his beliefs would beg to disagree.

“Christians should not be fearful of this legislation,” Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) wrote in an op-ed for the Indy Star. The so-called Respect for Marriage Act, he insisted, offers “far more in the way of religious liberty protections than [we have now].” Tell that to Jacob Kersey, who was a 19-year-old rookie of the Port Wentworth Police Department, until his supervisors decided his views on marriage were too “offensive.” Try telling Jacob that Christians don’t need to worry that these laws “will be used as a weapon to bludgeon them for their beliefs,” as Senator Young claimed, because this young man — like every American with a bullseye on their backs — won’t believe it.

Barely a month after Joe Biden signed his name to the law upending marriage in all 50 states, every excuse these 12 Republicans made is turning out to be exactly what conservatives warned they were — lies. “… [W]e have just improved on religious liberty protections … across the United States,” Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said, despite every legal argument to the contrary. Now, these dozen senators are making prophets out of conservatives, who warned that abandoning marriage would only usher in a new wave of oppression.

For Kersey, that oppression was swift, coming less than 24 hours after a Facebook post he made on his personal account. “God designed marriage,” he wrote January 2. “Marriage refers to Christ and the church,” he explained in reference to in Ephesians 5. “That’s why there is no such thing as homosexual marriage.”

The next day, the Daily Signal reported, Kersey’s supervisor called to tell him that someone had complained about the message. Take it down, he was told. Jacob refused. For that, he was hauled into a meeting with three superiors, Major Lee Sherrod, Captain Nathan Jentzen, and Police Chief Matt Libby, and ordered to “turn in everything he had that belonged to the city.” While people are entitled to their own views, Libby said, talking about natural marriage is the same as using a racial slur. It’s like “saying the N-word or ‘F— all those homosexuals,’” the chief insisted.

Despite the promise they saw in him as a police officer, the three men agreed Kersey would have to be placed on administrative leave while the city considered whether his job could be salvaged.

A week later, Kersey was given a choice: keep your opinions off social media or turn in your badge. If he wanted to post Scripture, fine. But if he shared anything else that offended someone, he could be fired. Does that sound like “a good step forward for religious freedom” to you? Is that what Todd Young meant when he talked about showing “diverse beliefs proper respect?” Or how Cynthia Lummis (R-Wy.) defines “tolerance?”

A few sleepless nights later, Jacob resigned. “I didn’t believe that my department had my back, and I didn’t really want to go back and play that game and just wait to be fired, because I know it would happen at some point,” he told “Washington Watch” Thursday. “The leadership at that police department claims to be Christian. But I just don’t understand why they would say that an outspoken Christian is the same thing as a racist. It’s just absolutely ludicrous to try to equate me to [someone] who hates people based off the color of their skin, because I believe in God’s design for marriage.”

“I really enjoyed being a police officer,” Kersey admitted. “And that was a huge part of my identity at a young age. And I look forward to doing that for a long time. But, you know, you have to follow when Jesus calls.” As Jacob said, “We really, really have to understand that this isn’t all just a big political game. This is a spiritual battle that’s going on right now. … And Christ is King — and if we’re believers and we really believe that, then we should be fighting for His comprehensive rule overall, especially in our hearts, and we should stand for Him and His word.”

In the meantime, Jacob could lose his whole career because 12 grown senators couldn’t muster the courage he’s shown at 19. He is the fallout they denied, the collateral damage of a decision that will haunt our country for generations. While these men and women hold up their law’s non-existent protections as a shield from criticism, know that very real Americans have no defense. No shelter for the attacks that will come.

When we asked Jacob what he would say to the 51 Republicans who turned their backs on him and millions of other Americans, he grew serious. “My decision to stand up for biblical truth goes back to the Bible in Genesis 3. I see the serpent whispering in the ear of Eve. And Adam, who knows very well what God has said, stood passively by and let sin happen. And I think there are going to be consequences for those who stand idly by and watch the serpent slither around and ignore God. If you’re going to be a Christian, you’re going to have to decide — are you going to be like Adam? And what are the consequences for your action?”

Today, the consequences are exactly what we warned: the Left and those trying to curry favor with the intolerant mob are now empowered with the force of government to crush anyone who lives out their biblical faith. The retort of the 12 Republicans will likely be that the action against Jacob was unlawful, and he would have a good chance of prevailing in court. But why should a 19-year-old have to go to court to defend the teaching of the Bible in order to be a police officer? While it’s true he could win that challenge, the real effect is upon those watching.

“You can see exactly what they’re doing,” Dr. Albert Mohler warned when the votes were imminent. “They’re coming for us.”

And Jacob Kersey is just the beginning.


Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins is president of Family Research Council and executive editor of The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

6 Republican Lies Behind the ‘Respect for Marriage’ Act

The recent, lamentable vote over the so-called Respect for Marriage Act revealed a new breed of Republican: The “personally pro-marriage, but” Republican. Like their spiritual forebears, the “personally pro-life, but” Democrats, they strenuously present themselves as people of deep moral conviction, who have equally compelling reasons to lay aside their views and act on other people’s convictions for political reasons. Here are six such explanations offered by Republican senators who supported the Disrespect for Marriage Act, and the reason their rationales fall short.

Cynthia Lummis, Lie #1

The statement: In her official statement on the bill’s passage, Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) invoked America’s Founding Fathers. “Striking a balance that protects fundamental religious beliefs with individual liberties was the intent of our forefathers in the U.S. Constitution and I believe the Respect for Marriage Act reflects this balance,” Lummis said. Lummis, who says she identifies “as a Christian and a conservative,” noted, “While I firmly believe marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman, I respect that others hold different beliefs.”

The lie: The Founding Fathers never intended to “strike a balance” between religious liberty and “individual liberties”; religious liberties are individual liberties. The Bill of Rights made freedom of religion its first freedom: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” says the First Amendment. Congress — and all members from the founding generation to Lummis’s — are legally prohibited from stymying the free exercise of religion.

The Founders considered the right to practice religion, not merely hold it, as fundamental and inviolable. “To restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty,” wrote Thomas Jefferson. James Madison agreed, “The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man: and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate.” Even at the dawn of our independence, Samuel Adams said “this happy country” had become the “last asylum” for “the right of private judgment in matters of conscience.”

Yet this bill obliterates that balance, forcing Christian bakers, florists, web designers, and many other professionals to choose between violating their faith or losing their business. As Missouri Attorney General Jay Ashcroft told “Washington Watch” on December 5, the bill represents a “massive step away from how this country was founded, and it will eventually affect every individual who has a deeply held religious faith, regardless of what that faith is.”

And, of course, it is possible to “respect” the views of others without making their views the law of the land.

Cynthia Lummis, Lie #2

The statement: Senator Lummis received plaudits from colleagues on both sides of the aisle for her self-contradictory speech supporting the Respect for Marriage Act. Standing on the Senate floor, Lummis said, “We do well by taking this step, not embracing or validating each other’s devoutly held views, but by the simple act of tolerating them.”

The lie: Tolerance is precisely what the Respect for Marriage Act annihilated. In the unlikely event that justices overturned Obergefell, the states would have regained the right to make their own marriage laws democratically, as they had for 226 years before the ill-conceived ruling. The genius of federalism, enshrined by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, forced states to tolerate other states coming to different policy conclusions. The Respect for Marriage Act replaced the 50 states’ peaceful coexistence with imperious, top-down government decrees designed to silence one side of the debate.

Mitt Romney, Lie #1

The statement: Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) also tried to square his belief in the nuclear family with his vote to redefine the institution. “While I believe in traditional marriage, Obergefell is and has been the law of the land upon which LGBTQ individuals have relied,” Romney said.

The lie: If Congress should “codify” same-sex marriage because same-sex couples have “relied on” Obergefell for seven years, what possible reason can Romney give to oppose “codifying” abortion-on-demand? Roe v. Wade stood for 49 years and affected more than half of all Americans; people who identify as gay make up 4% of the U.S. population, and only 10% of them have ever obtained a marriage license. The notion that women “rely” on the Supreme Court’s diktats echoes another Republican disappointment: Justice Anthony Kennedy, who upheld Roe on specifically those grounds. Kennedy wrote in Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992), “[M]illions of women continue to rely on the fundamental rights guaranteed in Roe v. Wade.” The same compass-free jurisprudence, from the same justice, undergirds Obergefell v. Hodges. How long until Romney endorses the “Reproductive Freedom for All” Act?

Mitt Romney, Lie #2

The statement: Senator Romney offered a second rationale for his vote to redefine marriage in all 50 states: “While I believe in traditional marriage … [t]his legislation provides certainty to many LGBTQ Americans, and it signals that Congress — and I — esteem and love all of our fellow Americans equally.”

The lie: Normal people don’t ponder whether their leaders “love” them (although GOP base voters could be forgiven for asking if the party elite hate them). National laws are not meant to serve as mash notes; legislation exists to codify policies that accord with reality to further human flourishing. “Our laws actually don’t confer dignity. You and I don’t actually confer dignity. We just acknowledge dignity,” said David Closson, director of the Center for Biblical Worldview at Family Research Council, on the December 9 episode of “Washington Watch.”

Honorable Mentions: Shelley Moore Capito and Dan Sullivan

As the slippery slope continued, Senate Republicans began backtracking from other principles, as well. Senator Shelley Moore Capito of bright red West Virginia did not say she believes in traditional marriage, only that “I appreciate my fellow West Virginians who have reached out to me regarding the sanctity of marriage, and hold sincere beliefs based on strong traditional and religious values.” But Capito and her fellow Republicans (except Susan Collins of Maine) voted for a religious liberty amendment from Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), signaling the underlying legislation did not go far enough to protect people of faith from potentially bankrupting lawsuits. Then these Republicans, including Capito, voted for the unamended bill, anyway, indicating their willingness to see believers persecuted by LGBT activists, which hardly reflects Capito’s appreciation.

Likewise, Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) admitted he had abandoned his constitutionalist/federalist principles in subjecting 50 states to an imperial decree from Washington. He offered this explanation: “While I’ve long held that marriage should be an issue left up to the states, the Supreme Court nationalized the issue in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015. Although I disagreed with Obergefell, I said then I would respect the [c]ourt’s decision and also continue to fight for, respect, and defend the religious liberty of all Americans.”

Sullivan said he opposes national legislation — but since an activist court already nationalized the issue, he voted to expand their ruling and create new threats to religious liberty without giving people of faith a single additional protection.

These are but six lies. The greatest unspoken lie holds that legislators can change the definition of marriage by majority vote on the Supreme Court or in Congress. The eternal truths the Creator established to order the world will continue as certainly as they have endured in endless ages past. The only question is whether sage leaders obey them and enjoy the benefits — or defy them, and cause all of us to reap consequences too plain to be hidden beneath soothing-sounding falsehoods.


Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This The Washington Stand column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.