On Good Day in Austin this morning to discuss Same-Sex Issues

May 16, 2011

This morning on Good Day (on Fox 7 in Austin), I discussed the issue of same-sex marriage and adoption in the state of Texas with Dennis Coleman, executive director of Equality Texas.  Check out the video below:

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Support SB 723, Support Traditional Marriage: Make Your Call Today!

May 9, 2011

SB 723, by Sen. Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands) ensures that Texas law is consistent with court precedent in our state and our state constitution, that gender for marriage purposes is determined by the gender on a person’s birth certificate, assigned at birth and that marriage is between one man and one woman.  Last session an amendment to a bill passed that opened the door to inconsistency in our state policy.

Some Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender advocates, want to thwart a Texas appeals court decision and force the state to recognize their gender (for marriage purposes) as something other than what was assigned at birth, to change their gender later on in life and force county clerks to recognize the changed gender.  Such an outcome will create confusion for county clerks, for the courts and no doubt will be used by the GLBT community to undermine our marriage laws, which affirm traditional marriage, between one man and one woman.

Protect traditional marriage, support SB 723.

This bill could be voted on TODAY by the Texas Senate.  Make your call today to your Texas Senator!!  Tell them to vote FOR SB 723.

Help us protect traditional marriage by calling your State Senator and asking him or her to support SB 723.   You can also download our Texas Legislative Guide with all of Texas’ elected officials contact information at http://legislativeguide.libertyinstitute.org/.


Texas Legislative Session Summary: Taxes Rejected, Family Values Protected

June 4, 2009

         ultrasound   

From the front lines of the Texas Legislature:  Despite a change in D.C. and a more liberal coup in the Texas House (which helped many dangerous bill have progress that would have previously never moved an inch), there is good news to report, but also some unfinished business.  It must be noted that even though there was a more liberal coup in the Texas House, extreme legislation was still soundly defeated because they are massively out of step with mainstream Texas values. 

Taxes:  The business/franchise tax now exempts from the tax, businesses with a revenue of less than $1 million (HB 4765- House Record Vote http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/81r/pdf/81RDAY64FINAL.PDF#page=9 ; Senate Record Vote http://www.journals.senate.state.tx.us/sjrnl/81r/pdf/81RSJ05-27-F.PDF#page=388) and property tax appraisers now must include foreclosure sales when computing the market value of a homestead (HB 1038: House Record Vote-http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/81r/pdf/81RDAY41FINAL.PDF#page=7 ; Senate Record Vote-http://www.journals.senate.state.tx.us/sjrnl/81r/pdf/81RSJ05-26-F.PDF#page=162).  

Also, TEA Party groups, FMF and others, helped end the local-option transportation tax on the last day (HB 300/SB 855-Senate Record Vote-http://www.journals.senate.state.tx.us/sjrnl/81r/pdf/81RSJ04-14-F.PDF#page=11). This was HUGE! 

Science Prevails, Censorship Rejected: We answered the call and defeated efforts to censor and ban discussion and criticism of evolution in the classroom, before the SBOE.   This issue was intertwined with the Legislature as House members signed a letter supporting our position and filed a bill to protect these freedoms, if necessary. Over 10,000 emails and many phone calls made a difference!  This affects 4 million students and was covered internationally! Final record vote: 
For- Allen, Agosto, Bradley, Cargill, Craig, Dunbar, Hardy, Knight, McLeroy, Mercer, Miller, Leo, Lowe.  AGAINST-Nunez, Berlanga. 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS! 

 State Board of Education (SBOE) Attacked, Liberal “Victory” Short Lived: FMF fought successfully against liberal bills that stripped textbook and curriculum authority away from the elected SBOE (SB 2275: Bill never received vote-click here for Supporter of Bill http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=SB2275) and another, HB 710 (http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/81r/pdf/81RDAY65FINAL.PDF#page=25), would have taken power away from the voters to decide the future and existence of SBOE members and the entity itself.  We were the key to the demise of these and many other SBOE attack bills, with your help. We are outraged that SBOE Chairman, Don McLeroy, was blocked from confirmation by 11 Democrat Senators (the only other Democrat Senator, Sen. Eddie Lucio, chose not to vote on McLeroy, but he was on the Senate Floor). Despite our best efforts to the contrary, the Senate discussion focused on his Christian beliefs and the opinion of the N.Y. Times.  This far-left “victory” will no doubt be short lived, as we believe Gov. Perry will be appointing a new SBOE chairman who is is just as conservative as Dr. McLeroy.  An announcement could come soon. 

CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE DETAILS! 

Planned Parenthood Failed Takeover of Texas Sex Ed:  Planned Parenthood and other groups put all their efforts toward forcing Texas students to learn more about condoms, contraception, and various sexual lifestyles, and less about abstinence (HB 741 -House members who supported this  http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=HB741, HB 1567- see who suppported this bill http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=HB1567).  Almost every day at the Capitol, you could see small groups of women and children carrying Planned Parenthood bags, working on this issue.  But, we provided key testimony and documentation and pulled together a strong and united coalition of groups across the state in opposition to these bills, which we defeated. 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS!!  

New Hate Crimes  Law for Children? Not On Our Watch: Can you image your ten year-old child being charged with a “hate crime”?  That’s the bill that almost became law this session, HB 824 (see who vote for this bill  http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/81r/pdf/81RDAY43FINAL.PDF#page=18).  This bill passed the full House, and passed the Senate State Affairs Committee.  Just last week, it was one step away from heading to Gov. Perry’s desk before we were finally able to stop it.  We also stopped a hate crimes bill (HB 2966-see who supported this bill http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=HB2966) and a “bullying” bill (HB 1323-see who supported this bill http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=HB1323) that would have given special class protection to “transgender’ persons. 

Pro-Life, Pro-Family Legislation: Some Gains, Some Setbacks:  The Pro-Life Lobby Day was a huge success with hundreds of you in attendance and live ultrasound performed at the Capitol.  Numerous legislators were able to come face to face with the amazing ultrasound technology, some for the first time.  We also worked on the Ultrasound bill (supporters in the House http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=HB36 and Senate Record Vote http://www.journals.senate.state.tx.us/sjrnl/81r/pdf/81RSJ05-01-F.PDF#page=21). Both the Choose Life license plate bill and Ultrasound had a majority of support by the House and Senate, but the Ultrasound bill was blocked by liberal delays related to Voter I.D. and the Choose Life plate fell victim to political posturing on the last day. Rep. Joe Pickett (D-El Paso), the Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, bascially blocked the Choose Life license plate from getting out of committee, otherwise it would have passed the House in a stand alone bill, which would have allowed it to become law, as it had already passed the Senate, Instead, we had to amend the plate onto another bill, which had its own problems and eventually died. (See the House members that supported the Choose Life Plate http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=HB109 and the Senate Record Vote: http://www.journals.senate.state.tx.us/sjrnl/81r/pdf/81RSJ05-01-F.PDF#page=47)  Adult Stem cell treatment and research funding of $5 million will continue and the Alternatives to Abortion fund was increased from $5 to $8 million. Adult Stem Cell and Divorce Reform bills ran out of time before a House vote.  We also stifled efforts to undermine parental and informed consent and embryonic stem cell/cloning bills. 

Attack on Voters Guides & Others Dangerous Legislation Averted:  HB 2511- see the record vote in the House-http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/81r/pdf/81RDAY72FINAL.PDF#page=30 which we were able to stop after it passed out of the House, would have had a dramatic negative impact on our voters guide.  I even heard one legislator tell me that he was working on a way to ban our Voters’ Guides from being passed out in churches, something federal law clearly protects!  

Infanticide Bill-We also knocked down efforts to create a new Infanticide law (HB 3318- supporters-http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=HB3318) mother who murders her infant could have received only 6 months jail time if she claimed postpartum stress, currently this is a Capitol Murder crime). 

Gambling Bills Crushed-numerous bills were filed to expand gambling in Texas, particularly to allow full blown casino gambling in Texas.  We helped defeat them all.   The word around the Capitol was that there were over 200 paid lobbyist working to expand gambling in Texas. 

With our Austin office firmly established, we were at the Capitol every day and we were involved in every part of the legislative process.  We were also able to meet and interact with so many of you when you came to Austin or you called into our office.  We debuted our Texas Legislative Update Blog in January and it received almost 20,000 hits during the session! Thank you for your commitment to stand with us on these important issues.  We could not have had the outcomes on the above legislation without your help.  Please look for more detailed analysis, pictures, and videos of legislative session summaries in the days to come here at our Texas Legislative Update Blog! 

FMF meets with San Antonio pro-life activists at the Capitol

FMF meets with San Antonio pro-life activists at the Capitol


Chisum Marriage Strengthening Bill Passes out of House Committee

April 22, 2009

Just minutes ago, the House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee passed HB 480 out of committee, by a vote of 6-3.

FMF Statement:  “This committee just took the first step in saving marriages and saving taxpayer dollars.  We commend thier effort and expect full support from the Texas House.”

Click here to read an excellent recent article by Ashley Sanchez in the Austin-American Statesman on this issue.
http://tinyurl.com/andl6j

HB 480 applies to person(s) seeking a no-fault divorce (the legal term is “insupportability”) where a child lives at the home.  At least one spouse would have to show proof that they have taken a marriage education course along with their divorce petition, in order to be able to file such a petition.  Any marriage with evidence of domestic violence is exempted.

This effort to strengthen and save marriages will be a great addition to the law passed in 2007, also by Rep. Chisum and supported by Free Market Foundation, which gives couples the option to take a pre-marriage education course in order to waive the $60 state marriage license fee.

We know that not only is family breakdown filled with emotional “costs” to the adults and the kids, we also know it has a staggering effect of costing Texas taxpayers $3 billion a year.  Click here for more details. http://freemarketblog.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/texas-taxpayers-footing-3-billion-for-family-breakdown/  

We believe this legislation will go a long way in saving taxpayer dollars (we need every penny we can get in these tough economic times!) and saving marriages.  The result will be healthier parents, healthier kids, and a healthier Texas.

Click here for our talking points.hb-480-talking-points


Attack on Abstinence-based Sex Ed Today in Public Education Committee

March 31, 2009

7:40 p.m.  Rep. Eissler asking question – “So we could achieve the goals of this bill by just having better training for schools with our current statute?”  Doctor-Yes.

7:22 p.m.  Scott & White Doctor, national contraceptive researcher, sex ed advocate.  Writes sex ed curriculum. Most commonly used sex ed curriculum (“Worth the Wait”) written by physicians and psychologists.  “Having sex is a health risk behavior.”  “If anyone thinks that there are no emotional consequences to sexual activity for kids, they should spend the day with me.”  (Because she works with kids who suffer from STDs, etc.)

“Biggest Factor of if kids will have sex”…  Parental Involvement (level of)

Contraceptive research-

CDC will not put a percentage on effectiveness of condoms for preventing STDs.

Why have teen pregnancy rates gone down?  In last 15 years, abstinence programs have been proliferated in schools, teen pregnancy rates have gone down.

6:44 p.m.  Here comes Professor Wiley, from Texas State, the prof TFN co-oped to write their propaganda survey on sex ed.   No questions.

6:35 p.m.   Rep. Shelton Question:  “What are components of effective sex ed?”  Answer-“Personal values, skills to say no, to resist pressure, emphasizes abstinence.”  “The trick is it has been developed by people who ‘know’ how to change behavior”.  Shelton-“How did you change behavior?”  -Mapping process with specific objectives… and more and more general words.  Single parenthood tends to repeat itself.  (Randomized 1000 kids in Houstin I.S.D. to study).  Decrease our teen birth rate to decrease drop-out rate.  Costs us more to educate these children born of teenage mothers.

6:15 p.m. AISD Board of Trustees spokesperson, supports abstinence plus education.  Calls a pregnant teen a “tragedy” for the family.  Then criticizes current curriculum for allegedly using “fear” to educate kids about sex.

6:00:  Attack on Abstinence Hearing Begins!!  Rep. Shelton already has Rep. Castro conceding that he’ll change language if necessary after Shelton asks him about striking about current law language that says students should be told about  “the emotional trauma associated with adolescent sexual activity.”

4:20 p.m. Still waiting:

According to Texas Vital Statistics:
Since 1991, Teen Pregnancies are DOWN 24%
Since 1991, Teen Births are DOWN 22%
Since 1991, Teen Abortions are DOW 42%
2007 Zogby poll reports that 9 of 10 parents want teens to be taught contraception in a manner consistent with the approach of abstinence education.

Thanks to Kyleen Wright of Texans for Life for providing this information.

3:45 p.m.-These bills are about to be heard… Find our talking points/testimony below.

We Oppose House Bill 741 & House Bill 1567-Attack on Abstinence
House Bill 741 (Rep. Castro, D-San Antonio)
This bill is a direct attack on abstinence-based sex education. It deletes the following provisions:
[(2)  devote more attention to abstinence from sexual activity than to any other behavior;]
[, and the emotional trauma associated with adolescent sexual activity];
[teach contraception and condom use in terms of human use reality rates instead of theoretical laboratory rates, if instruction on contraception and condoms is included in curriculum content].

House Bill 1567 (Rep. Villareal, D-San Antonio)
This bill is a direct attack on abstinence based sex education.  It deletes the parts of the following provisions:
“present abstinence from sexual activity as the healthiest [preferred] choice of behavior [in relationship to all sexual activity] for unmarried persons of school age;”
“(3)  emphasize that abstinence from sexual activity, if used consistently and correctly, is the only certain way to prevent [method that is 100 percent effective in preventing] pregnancy and [,] sexually transmitted diseases.”

Public Education Committee Hearing:
http://tinyurl.com/dzjxvd


Chisum Marriage Strengthening Bill, HB 480, Hearing Starts at Capitol

March 16, 2009

9:20 p.m. Texas family violence folks have just testified.  Completely against the bill, even though the bill makes a huge exception for evidence of family violence.  Actually, Chisum’s bill offers more ways to show evidence of family violence than Rep. Guillen’s bill, HB 72, which provides an exception for family violence for the 60 day waiting period.  I bet the family violence folks are for that bill.

9:00 p.m.  Joan Jenkins, Texas Family Law Foundation attorney, thinks bill has serious problems — individuals take course by themselves.  If respondent doesn’t take a course, it can be a negative.  Family Code is being used to solve problems best solved outside of the courtroom.  Mandatory parenting course in divorce cases (in Harris County), eight-hour course.  Now we’re adding a 10-hour course to this.  People were using their money to get around the course requirement.  Pro-bono persons who are filing for divorce will not know the details of a divorce.  It will increase the costs of divorce (but, hey, it will be cheaper if they don’t go through with the divorce!).   Through all her “complaints”, not once did she propose a solution to any “problems” she has with the bill.  Basically, she, representing the Texas Family Law Foundation, and they are against.  No surprise.  Complaints, but no solutions. 

8:50 p.m. Gentleman from ANTHEM is testifying, introducing himself as a “Democrat in favor of HB 480.”  He is talking about young parents in the Dallas area being encoruaged to also take such courses.  Young woman just testified, about how the marriage education course did not save her marriage, but it helped her realize that she was being emotionally and physcially abused, and gave her the confidence to annul her marriage and save her life. 

8:30 p.m. update: Hearing has begun, I just finished testifying.  See my talking points below.  Rep. Chisum opened the hearing by quoting from President Obama’s recent book, where he supports marriage education courses.  

Cecilia Wood, a board-certified family law attorney who practices here in Austin, did an excellent job at providing the committee with details regarding the mechanics of how the bill works and practical realities of what adults deal with when considering divorce, with clarity for the committee.  Many of them just want to find a way to make their marriage work.  But only option in law is divorce, no offer of a marriage education course.

http://www.house.state.tx.us/fx/av/live/extlivecmte40.ram -Watch Us Testify Live!!

HB 480, by Rep. Warren Chisum (R-Pampa) is being considered before the Judiciary and Civil Juirsprudence Committee.  Marriage and Family experts from across the state are in town to testify in favor of the bill.  We will also be presenting testimony in favor of HB 480, particularly in regards to the “costs” of divorce. The bill has a simple and extremely important goal: keep marriages together when kids are involved.  We have a simple goal, make some dent in the high divorce rate.

Click here to read an excellent recent article by Ashley Sanchez in the Austin-American Statesman on this issue.
http://tinyurl.com/andl6j

HB 480 applies to person(s) seeking a no-fault divorce (the legal term is “insupportability”) where a child lives at the home.  At least one spouse would have to show proof that they have taken a marriage education course along with their divorce petition, in order to be able to file such a petition.  Any marriage with evidence of domestic violence is exempted.

This effort to strengthen and save marriages will be a great addition to the law passed in 2007, also by Rep. Chisum and supported by Free Market Foundation, which gives couples the option to take a pre-marriage education course in order to waive the $60 state marriage license fee.

We know that not only is family breakdown filled with emotional “costs” to the adults and the kids, we also know it has a staggering effect of costing Texas taxpayers $3 billion a year.  Click here for more details. http://freemarketblog.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/texas-taxpayers-footing-3-billion-for-family-breakdown/  

We believe this legislation will go a long way in saving taxpayer dollars (we need every penny we can get in these tough economic times!) and saving marriages.  The result will be healthier parents, healthier kids, and a healthier Texas.

Click here for our talking points.hb-480-talking-points


Marriage Strengthening Bill: Key to “Happily Ever After”

February 27, 2009

Rep. Warren Chisum (R-Pampa) has filed a marriage strengthening bill, HB 480, which we are strongly supporting and will be working to help it become law through every part of the legislative process.  The bill has a simple and extremely important goal: keep marriages together when kids are involved.

Click here to read to excellent article by Ashley Sanchez in today’s AAS.
http://tinyurl.com/andl6j

HB 480 applies to person(s) seeking a no-fault divorce (the legal term is “insupportability”) who have underage children.  At least one spouse would have to show proof that they have taken a marriage education course along with their divorce petition, in order to be able to file such a petition.  Any marriage with evidence of domestic violence is exempted.

This effort to strengthen and save marriages will be a great addition to the law passed in 2007, also by Rep. Chisum and supported by Free Market Foundation, which gives couples the option to take a pre-marriage education course in order to waive the $60 state marriage license fee.

We know that not only is family breakdown filled with emotional “costs” to the adults and the kids, we also know it has a staggering effect of costing Texas taxpayers $3 billion a year.  Click here for more details. http://freemarketblog.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/texas-taxpayers-footing-3-billion-for-family-breakdown/  

We believe this legislation will go a long way in saving taxpayer dollars (we need every penny we can get in these tough economic times!) and saving marriages.  The result will be healthier parents, healthier kids, and a healthier Texas.

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