The So-called “Respect for Marriage Act” undermines religious liberty and children’s rights

The So-called “Respect for Marriage Act” undermines religious liberty and children’s rights

Last week, the US House of Representatives passed a bill deceptively called the “Respect for Marriage Act” in a 267-157 vote. The bill isn’t about marriage or respect at all, but about imposing a radical view of sexual ideology. 

Unfortunately, this bill had substantial support from both parties. 

The bill comes in response to Justice Clarence Thomas’ opinion in the Dobbs case. Thomas noted that Obergefell, the 2015 SCOTUS case that foisted “legalized”  same-sex marriage on all 50 states, should be reconsidered. “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including GriswoldLawrence, and Obergefell,” Thomas wrote. “Because any substantive due process decision is ‘demonstrably erroneous,’ […] we have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents.”

If the “Respect for Marriage Act” is passed by the Senate, states would no longer be able to define and recognize marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman, even if the Obergefell decision is overturned. States would be forced to recognize same-sex marriage, distorting God’s design and redefining marriage as nothing more than abstract adult desires. It would even require federal recognition of polygamy if just one state requires it.

The bill would severely damage two vital pillars of society: the nuclear family and religious liberty. It would also strip children of one of their most basic rights.

Children have a natural right to both a mother and father, and they suffer tremendously when they are deprived of one or the other – especially when that happens purposefully. Fatherlessness is already an epidemic in our country, and we are seeing serious consequences as a result.

Children don’t have the knowledge or power to vouch for themselves, and they bear the brunt of the consequences when it comes to marriage and family issues such as divorce and same-sex marriage. We cannot defend children and their rights without defending natural marriage between one man and one woman. 

Thankfully, 80 national and state leaders, including WFA president Julaine Appling, have signed a letter calling on US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to back down from his support for the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act.”

We are strongly urging Sen. Johnson to vote NO on this bill. Sen. Johnson is one of five Republican US senators who have now publicly announced that they will vote YES to support this proposal that threatens the religious freedom of anyone who doesn’t support same-sex marriage. 

Please contact Sen. Johnson (202-224-5323) and urge him to defend natural marriage, children rights, and religious freedom. 

Defending God’s Design in our Schools

Schools across the country seem to be hyper-focused on race and sexuality. Most recently, a Rhode Island private school told its students not to send Valentine’s Day cards that showed only white people or perpetuated gender “stereotypes.” 

Parents received guidelines from Moses Brown Lower School stating, “Please coach your child if purchasing commercially produced cards to select something that does not feel ‘gender normative’ (with separate ‘boy cards’ vs. ‘girl cards,’ for instance.) Also, consider talking to your child about avoiding cards that portray only White human characters.”

Parents have understandably expressed their frustration with these guidelines and with the school’s culture as a whole. “Why does my four year old tell me the teacher said that someday she might want to marry another girl?” said one parent. Moses Brown often promotes progressive ideology about transgenderism and sexual identity. The school even hosts a Gender Sexuality Alliance club.

Stories like this one are becoming extremely common around the country, and even in Wisconsin. Children are inundated with harmful lies about race and gender. They are taught to view one another based on these immutable characteristics, rather than as individual children lovingly created by God. Many public schools, and sadly even some private schools, cannot be trusted to educate our children and act in their best interest. 

This is why Wisconsin Family Action is working to pass vital legislation and combat the evil ideas that children are learning in school. 

We are actively working to support the “Help Not Harm Act,” which is essential for children who are suffering from gender dysphoria in Wisconsin. The bill protects children who are confused about their biological sex by protecting them from harmful drugs and mutilation surgeries, which the left affirm are part of “tolerance.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. 

What these children need is the exact opposite of what their schools are teaching them. They need the truth about God’s design, not affirmation of the lies they believe about themselves. 

Schools here in Wisconsin are not only feeding children harmful lies about their sexuality, but are  even hiding information from parents. 

The Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) published a policy stating that children are allowed to “transition” to a different gender at school and teachers are prohibited from telling parents. It even indicates that school staff should lie to parents about how their children are presenting in school. 

Similarly, Kettle Moraine School District’s gender identity policy allows children to “change” their gender identity at school without parental consent. Again, employees are prohibited from sharing this important information with parents and even instructed to override parents’ objections. 

Thankfully, our good friends at Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and the Alliance Defending Freedom filed lawsuits challenging both of these policies, and they are now before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  

Just this week, we testified in support of the newly introduced “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” Assembly Bill 963, a bill that lays out 15 specific parents’ rights when it comes to their children. Several of these rights are specific to education and schools. One says parents have “[t]he right to determine the names and pronouns used for the child while at school.” A number of parents spoke at the hearing as well, supporting the bill and noting that too often their voice and their rights are either ignored or infringed.

Please pray for the success of the “Help Not Harm Act,” the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” and favorable outcomes in these two Supreme Court cases. 

Parental rights and the well-being of our children are under attack. We must be diligent in overseeing our children’s education and demand and be part of necessary change when our schools espouse dangerous ideas. Few things are more important than the education of the next generation, and it’s up to us to hold our school officials accountable. 

Of course, the very best situation for children is to be brought up in the homes of their married biological or adopted fathers and mothers. Marriage is good for kids! So, as we near the end of National Marriage Week, it’s important we promote marriage and family as God designed it, as well asGod’s design for human sexuality and raise our children to believe and know that they were created in His image.

WFC Launches Marriage Hall of Fame!

Marriage is a sacred institution designed by God for our well-being. It contributes greatly to the overall health of a man and woman and allows for prosperous, well-ordered societies to thrive.

A major survey of over 120,000 American adults shows that married men are healthier overall and live longer than men who were never married or are divorced. For women, marriage provides security and a safe environment to raise children, who ultimately provide both spouses with life-long fulfillment. Further, married couples also have happier, healthier relationships than cohabiting couples.

Unfortunately, marriage is on the decline in our country. A recent Pew poll shows that only 34% of U.S. adults believe society is better off if “people make marriage and having children a priority,” while 64% believe society is “just as well off if people have priorities other than marriage and children.” As we know, these beliefs are woefully misguided, and our country is experiencing the consequences of a lack of strong families headed by married dads and moms..

The good news is that we can be part of reversing this trend.

At Wisconsin Family Council (WFC) and Wisconsin Family Action (WFA), we fiercely advocate for and defend God’s plan for marriage in our state. We believe that part of protecting marriage for the next generation is giving them inspiring examples of marriages that honor God and, by His grace, stand the test of time.

WFC is looking to promote and encourage healthy marriages by honoring Wisconsin’s longest married couple! We want to share this couple’s story and celebrate their life-long commitment to marriage and family.

The top-5 longest married couples will be honored by being entered into the 2022 Wisconsin Family Council Marriage Hall of Fame.

The application requires answering just 5 questions and submitting 1-2 photos. CLICK HERE to submit your entry. The deadline for entries is Thursday, February 17.

We look forward to hearing your stories and celebrating our most important institution!

Thank you to our friend Gene Mills of Louisiana Family Forum for inspiring Wisconsin’s version of the Marriage Hall of Fame.

Marriage is Sacred. We Must Defend and Uphold it.

February 7-14 marks National Marriage Week, and it provides us an opportunity to reflect on the irreplaceable value of marriage and family. 

Marriage is a sacred institution gifted to us by God, and it alone makes prosperous, well-ordered societies possible.

Unfortunately, many in our country do not understand the institution’s importance. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that only 34 percent of adults in the U.S. believe our country is better off if “people make marriage and having children a priority,” while 64 percent believe it is “just as well off if people have priorities other than marriage and children.”

While fewer Americans are getting married, we are also beginning to see the family deteriorate as more couples simply aren’t having children. In 2020, our country’s birth rate fell for the sixth year in a row and hit the lowest rate recorded. Wisconsin has been below replacement birth rate since 1974. (p. 18 of WFC’s Cultural Indicators 2019 Edition)

It’s vitally important that every American understands the value of marriage and family. No act of government can replace its role in society. Families instill children with morals, discipline, values, crucial skills, and civic virtues. They are every society’s foundational institution—by God’s good and grand design. When that foundation is weak, a society is weak. 

The traditional family unit is the bedrock of society, and the well-being of our churches, communities, state, and country is directly related to the strength of our families. Marriage was intended by God to promote human flourishing, and we suffer immensely when we deviate from His plan. 

As Christians, we have the opportunity to show the world why marriage and children are so essential and fulfilling. Our churches and families need to honor and celebrate marriages, cheer when babies are born, model strong and godly marriages, and talk positively about marriage. 

We must also elect representatives who understand the importance of marriage and family and will promote its well-being in all policies. 

Lastly, we must fight back against each societal ill that threatens the family, including rampant individualism, progressive sexual ideology, divorce, the devaluation of children, the attack on parental rights, and much more. Every attack on the family is an attack on our country as a whole. 

We have the power, and the duty, to influence the culture in a positive way and reestablish the primacy of God’s plan for the family—a man and a woman united in a lifelong, monogamous marriage relationship and the biological and/or adopted children God blesses them with.. 

Please pray for our national and Wisconsin leaders to once again cherish and value the institution of marriage and for couples to form strong, Christ-centered families. 

MILWAUKEE & DANE COUNTY CLERKS BLATANTLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Wisconsin Family Action calls on Attorney General to stop the lawlessness

Madison – Last Friday, Milwaukee County Clerk Joe Czarnezki and Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell announced they are now issuing domestic partnership registrations to opposite-sex couples, in direct violation of existing state law.

In 2009, Governor Doyle and the state legislature enacted as a part of the state’s budget a statewide, same-sex-only domestic partnership registry that in many ways mimics marriage.  Chapter 770 of the state statutes clearly includes the requirement that the two persons involved in this domestic partnership must be “members of the same sex” S.770.05 (5).

“It is unbelievable that these arrogant county clerks think they can just ignore the law and do what they want,” said Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action (WFA).  “This is an amazing overreach of power. They are simply taking matters into their own hands and saying the State Constitution and any other binding law doesn’t matter.  County clerks have absolutely no authority to unilaterally make law.  None whatsoever.”

Wisconsin Family Action has fought against this registry from the time it was proposed.  WFA sued alleging the registry violated the Marriage Protection Amendment passed by nearly 60% of the people in 2006. The case went to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, where WFA lost in 2013.  At no point in these protracted legal proceedings was there anything in any court opinion, including in the Supreme Court’s ruling, indicating that the registry had to include opposite-sex couples.  Likewise, the state legislature has not taken any action whatsoever regarding this registry.

Since last June, WFA has repeatedly asked elected officials, from the Governor down, to dissolve this domestic partnership registry, arguing that in light of the US Supreme Court in June 2015 legalizing same-sex marriage, the registry was no longer needed and was in fact discriminatory against heterosexual couples.  Other than State Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac), no official was inclined to take action.

Appling continued, “This registry was in retaliation against the marriage amendment.  Proponents said it wasn’t ‘fair’ that same-sex couples couldn’t get benefits. The liberal progressives wrote and passed this law to try to erode marriage—and now liberals are trying to take it a step further with no legal authority again using the ‘fair’ argument.  Clearly, making marriage utterly meaningless is their endgame. And clearly they will stop at nothing to get what they want—including ignoring the law.  We are calling on Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel to issue an immediate injunction against this lawlessness.”

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Wisconsin Family Action is a statewide, not-for-profit organization actively strengthening, preserving
and promoting marriage, family, life and liberty in Wisconsin.

Copy available online here.

OBAMA DECREE ENDANGERS STUDENTS Wisconsin must push back against this unconstitutional power grab

Madison – Today President Obama formalized what he has been threatening for several weeks. Through a letter from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Education (DOE), every public school district in the country has been at least implicitly threatened with loss of federal funding if they don’t provide for transgendered students’ unfettered, unquestioned access to the restrooms and changing rooms of their choice.

Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action, commented, “President Obama has once again overstepped his authority. The administration cannot unilaterally decide to change the meaning of the word sex as used in Title IX.  Congress, which established Title IX 44 years ago, and the Courts, have never defined sex to include ‘gender orientation.’ Regardless of what he thinks, President Obama is not a king.  He doesn’t get to change the law and issue decrees based on his whims and wishes. That’s not how America works.

“This issue is about the privacy, safety and dignity of all students.  With his edict today, President Obama has essentially put a price tag on the privacy and safety of students—especially female students.  He’s threatened to withhold federal funding if schools don’t conform to his extreme political agenda that includes allowing males in the girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms and girls in the boys’ facilities.  This puts the privacy rights, safety and well-being of all students at risk. And what about girls who have been sexually assaulted? This decree says their fears are meaningless and should not be considered.  At a time when our society is decrying campus and date rape and rails against a so-called ‘war on women,’ you would think the government wouldn’t be interested in putting these women in situations that could easily re-traumatize them.”

Wisconsin Family Action asserts that today’s mandate is completely unnecessary.  Common-sense accommodations are called for, not a blatant usurpation of the right of states and local school districts that takes an extreme and dangerous approach.

Wisconsin Family Action calls on all Wisconsin elected officials and public school administrators to stand against this most recent dictate from President Obama and his administration.  Wisconsin schools must reject this extreme political agenda foisted on our state and our schools by an out-of-control federal government and take reasonable measures to safeguard the privacy rights and safety of all students.

Appling noted, “North Carolina has led the way on this issue and has stood firm; we need to follow their lead.”

Wisconsin Family Action is a statewide, not-for-profit organization actively strengthening, preserving
and promoting marriage, family, life and liberty in Wisconsin.

Online Copy Available here.

NORTH CAROLINA FIGHTS BACK AGAINST OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S BULLYING

Wisconsin Family Action stands with Gov. McCrory

Madison – Today, North Carolina, under the leadership of Governor Pat McCrory (R), responded full-force to the Obama Administration’s bullying regarding the state’s recently enacted, common-sense law (H.B. 2) that protects the bodily privacy and safety of its citizens, especially women and girls.  The state filed a lawsuit today alleging that the federal government has overstepped its bounds with this “baseless and blatant overreach” in threatening to withhold millions of federal dollars to the state if the state doesn’t comply with its interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling commented, “Led by President Obama, this administration continues its pattern of capriciously circumventing Congress and making law with its outrageous and egregious declarations. This time the Department of Justice is the hammer. Fortunately for all of us, North Carolina has a courageous governor in Pat McCrory—a governor who refuses to be bullied by an out-of-control federal government.

“This issue isn’t just in North Carolina. It’s right here in Wisconsin in various municipalities and in our public schools. Representative Jesse Kremer and Senator Steve Nass authored a bill this last session to address this issue in our public schools. Unfortunately, the bill died in committee. But Rep. Kremer has made it clear, he’s coming back next session with a similar bill that will protect the bodily privacy of students in our public schools.”

The May 4 letter from the Department of Justice to Governor McCrory alleges that H.B. 2 is discriminatory.  The letter references federal Title IX education programs and funding as it relates to the University of North Carolina, which is a veiled threat of stopping the millions of dollars in Title IX funding to UNC. H.B. 2 requires, among other things, that all state employees use the restrooms and changing facilities that correspond to their biological sex as stated on their birth certificates. Title IX is generally interpreted in light of how Title VII is interpreted.

“The net result of the Obama Administration’s action will be the rewriting of Title IX without authority and thereby forcing Obama’s ‘bathroom agenda’ in schools across the country, including in Wisconsin. This is constitutionally wrong, and it is definitely not in the best interest of students. Wisconsin Family Action stands firmly with Governor McCrory against the Department of Justice’s bullying,” Appling stated.

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Wisconsin Family Action is a statewide, not-for-profit organization actively strengthening, preserving
and promoting marriage, family, life and liberty in Wisconsin.

 

Wisconsin Family Action PAC Endorses Ted Cruz for President

Madison, WI – Wisconsin Family Action Federal PAC (WFA PAC) announced today that it has endorsed Ted Cruz for president.

Following is a statement from WFA PAC director, Julaine Appling:

“WFA PAC is pleased to endorse US Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) for president. We believe Sen. Cruz has the character, the temperament and the right values to lead America. He has proven throughout his career and during the campaign that he understands the importance of strengthening, preserving and promoting in this country natural marriage and family, the sanctity of human life and constitutionally-provided religious freedom. Read more here.

 

GOVERNOR WALKER SIGNS BILLS DEFUNDING PLANNED PARENTHOOD & RESPECTING WISCONSIN TAXPAYERS

Bills redirect taxpGov Walker signs pro-life billsayer dollars away from state’s largest abortion provider

Madison – “We couldn’t agree with Governor Walker more,” said Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action. “As he noted at today’s billing signing, every taxpayer in Wisconsin, whether or not they are pro-life, should be pleased that with the signing of these bills millions of their hard-earned tax dollars will stop being used inefficiently and wastefully. And we would add, even fraudulently.”

Today, at a beautiful pregnancy resource center, Life’s Connection in Waukesha, Governor Scott Walker signed two bills into law, Assembly Bill 310 and Senate Bill 238.  Assembly Bill 310 redirects federal Title X funds away from organizations that provide abortions and to other qualified health centers in the state.  For the last 35 years, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has been the sole recipient of this money.

Read more here.

TOUGH QUESTIONS FOR DONALD TRUMP FROM WISCONSIN’S AND AMERICA’S FAMIILIES

Wisconsin Family Action and its national family policy alliance say questions remain for Donald Trump.

Madison – Wisconsin Family Action, along with CitizenLink and its national alliance of nearly 40 state-based family policy councils representing millions of Evangelicals nationwide, today released an open letter to presidential candidate Donald Trump calling on him to answer direct questions on his policy positions.

Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action, said, “Time is ticking. We want Mr. Trump to clear up his contradictory record on issues tens of thousands of Wisconsin citizens care about. We have invited Mr. Trump several times to join our Presidential Candidate Teleconference Series. He has yet to accept, leaving our constituents wondering.”

Read more here.

WISCONSIN FAMILY ACTION COMMENDS STATE ASSEMBLY FOR PROTECTING TAXPAYERS BY DEFUNDING PLANNED PARENTHOOD

Madison – “Stopping waste, fraud and abuse has been a hallmark of the state legislature recently, and today the Assembly stepped up once again to protect Wisconsin taxpayers from these misuses of their hard-earned tax dollars,” said Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action.

This afternoon the State Assembly passed a bill (SB 238) requiring certain family-planning organizations, including Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, to bill the state and its tax payers the actual acquisition cost of prescription drugs it purchases and dispenses through a Medicaid drug program, plus these organizations can bill for a defined dispensing fee. The bill passed on a 61-35 vote along party lines.

Read more here.

WISCONSIN FAMILY ACTION COMMENDS WISCONSIN’S PRO-LIFE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS & ATTORNEY GENERAL

Madison – Last week 34 US Senators and 140 Members of the US House of Representatives submitted a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the right of states to pass laws regarding protecting the health and well-being of women seeking an abortion. Among those senators and members of the House are Wisconsin’s US Senator Ron Johnson (R) and US House of Representatives members Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-CD 1), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-CD 5), Glenn Grothman (R-CD 6), Sean Duffy (R-CD 7) and Reid Ribble (R-CD 8).  The case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, is scheduled for oral arguments on Wednesday, March 2, before the US Supreme Court.  The Court will likely issue an opinion in this case by the end of June.

Read more here.

WISCONSIN FAMILY ACTION TO LEGISLATORS: DAILY FANTASY SPORTS IS GAMBLING

Madison –  “I can declare that a dog is a cat and that doesn’t change the truth or the reality—even if I dress the dog up like a cat.  It’s still a dog,” declared Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling in a public hearing yesterday.

The Assembly Committee on State Affairs and Government Operations held a hearing Wednesday on a bill, Assembly Bill 800, that goes to great lengths to try to convince people that gambling is not gambling.  The bill blatantly declares that Daily Fantast Sports (DFS) is not gambling and creates a means to legalize the games and regulate them, ostensibly for “consumer protection” reasons.

Read more here.

Speak up WISCONSIN: TUESDAY – Public hearing on the SALE of BABY BODY PARTS at 10 a.m.

In response to strong outrage elicited by the recent undercover sting videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of body parts from aborted children and the gruesome dissection of children in Planned Parenthood laboratories, Wisconsin’s pro-life champion Rep. André Jacque (R-De Pere) authored three new bills that ban the sale/transfer of baby body parts AND defund Planned Parenthood.

View the videos HEREHERE, HERE, HERE and HERE(Warning: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC)

DEFUNDPPWI

NOW IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO WEIGH IN!

THIS TUESDAY, 8/10/2015, AT 10 A.M. is a PUBLIC HEARING at the WI State Capitol!

Attend the hearing and let your voice for the unborn be HEARD – INFO BELOW:

Assembly

PUBLIC HEARING

Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety

The committee will hold a public hearing on the following items at the time specified below:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

10:00 AM

225 Northwest

Assembly Bill 305

Relating to: sale and use of fetal body parts and providing a criminal penalty.

By Representatives Jacque, Kleefisch, Brandtjen, Allen, August, Bernier, Born, R. Brooks, Craig, Czaja, Edming, Gannon, Heaton, Horlacher, Hutton, Jarchow, Katsma, Kerkman, Knudson, Kooyenga, Kremer, Krug, Kuglitsch, Kulp, T. Larson, Macco, Murphy, Neylon, A. Ott, J. Ott, Petersen, Quinn, Rohrkaste, Schraa, Skowronski, Spiros, Steffen, Thiesfeldt, Tittl, Tranel, Vorpagel and Ripp; cosponsored by Senators Stroebel, Lazich, LeMahieu, Moulton, Nass, Roth, Tiffany, Gudex and Kapenga.

There are 12 members on the Criminal Justice Committee. If you are able to bring 12 copies of your statement with you to turn in at the hearing, each member will receive a copy to read after the hearing.

CAN’T ATTEND THE HEARING?

SEND A QUICK EMAIL to your legislators asking them to support these 3 pro-life bills. It’s EASY! We’ve already done the work for you!  Click HERE.

TWEET out your thoughts using hashtag #DEFUNDPPWI this week!

If you have any questions, need assistance, or have never attended a public hearing before and would like guidance, contact our office at 608-268-5074 or (toll free) 866-849-2536.

RESOURCES: Take Action to Protect Your Church/Ministry

  • Marriage by Design, Alliance Defending Freedom, 2015 – “The #1 action for churches and faith-based ministries to take now that the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether same-sex marriage is required by the constitution.”
  • Suggested Language for Church By-Laws, Alliance Defending Freedom, 2015 – “Suggestions to strengthen the by-laws of a church to ensure the broadest possible protections of church autonomy.”

Wisconsin Family Action Issues Statement on US Supreme Court Hearing on Marriage

MADISON – This morning the US Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in four cases related to the definition of marriage. The now-consolidated cases come from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, covering Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. The high court decided to hear these cases after the 6th Circuit became the first circuit court in the country ruling that states do have the right to determine for themselves what marriage will be and have a compelling interest to restrict marriage to one man and one woman. Read more