Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Virginia GOP Lies About "Religious Freedom" Bill

Hate merchants Del. Todd Gilbert and Victoria Cobb
As is in a number of other states, Republicans here in Virginia have introduced a falsely named "religious freedom" bill that would grant a sweeping license to discriminate to Christofascists and other religious extremists.  Also as in other states, those supporting the bill claim that anti-gay discrimination is not their goal even as Victoria Cobb, president of The Family Foundation ("TFF"), a virulently anti-gay hate group, stands by their side.   Having followed Cobb and TFF for years, if one ever needs an example of the "godly folk" always lying, look no farther than Ms. Cobb and her foul organization.  GayRVA looks at the spectacle of lies and untruths coming from those backing this nasty legislation.  Here are excerpts:
Leading the handful of bills is Del. Todd Gilbert’s (R-15) Government Nondiscrimination Act (GNDA) which aims to prevent “the Commonwealth and local governments from discriminating against an individual or entities which affirm marriage is between a man and a woman, or that sexual relationships should take place in such a marriage, or that a persons biological sex is unchangeable,” according to Caleb Dalton, a lawyer with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

GNDA would prohibit the government from denying grants, contracts, or other opportunities to organizations with such beliefs. ADF helped craft the wording of the bill.

Victoria Cobb, President of the Richmond-based conservative group The Family Foundation, compared it to a [likely unconstitutional] law currently in the Virginia Code which allows state funded adoption agencies to deny adoptions to same-sex couples if the relationship violates their “conscious.”

“Now that same-sex unions have been forced on our country will there be tolerance for those whose faith teachers marriages is between one man and one woman?” she asked.

Gilbert has his own history with non-discrimination laws at the General Assembly. In 2013 he was the chair of the committee which killed a bill which would have protected LGBT state employees.

When asked today if there were any examples of discrimination agianst religious people or groups in Virginia which would require this bill he failed to provide an example.

Religious freedom bills have popped up around the country for the last few years and are often considered discriminatory against LGBTQ’s by advocates like Claire Guthrie Gastanaga from the Virginia ACLU.

“[Gilbert's] bill is not a non discrimination bill, it’s a pro discrimination bill,” she said. Gastanaga said she believes, if it were to pass, GNDA would establish a state religion in the Commonwealth.

“It’s discrimination in favor of people who have two belief systems… It says if you don’t believe in same-sex marriage or people are transgender then you have special protections,” she said. “In my mind, that’s an establishment of religious belief in in the state statute.”

Governor McAuliffe has promised to veto Gilbert’s bill, saying in a statement “we need to be working to make Virginia more open and welcoming to everyone, not less.” 

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