Executive Director of North Carolina Values Coalition Tami Fitzgerald made a statement today regarding the passage of HR8404, a bill threatening religious freedom in the United States:
“The mis-named ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ is completely unnecessary, as it does nothing to change the legal status of same-sex marriage. It is a dangerous, direct attack on Americans who believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman and threatens their First Amendment rights by subjecting them to predatory lawsuits by activists, seeking to use the threat of litigation to silence debate and exclude people of faith from the public square. By choosing to disregard legitimate concerns about the undeniable harms of this bill and by rejecting amendments offered by Senators Lee, Rubio, and Lankford to protect religious freedom, Senators Tillis and Burr have betrayed their own voters and their party’s platform on marriage. The North Carolina Values Coalition is committed to ensuring the First Amendment rights of North Carolinians who will be targeted because of this legislation and to electing Senators who will truly represent the people of North Carolina and their values, unlike Tillis and Burr.”
NC Values’ Coalition’s sister organization, The Institute for Faith & Family, filed an Amicus brief in a religious freedom case being heard at the Supreme Court on December 5. Fitzgerald will be speaking at a rally at the Supreme Court in defense of religious freedom regarding 303 Creative vs. Elenis, a case where a wedding web designer is being required by Colorado to design websites for same-sex weddings. Said Fitzgerald, “By voting for the ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ Senators Tillis and Burr have put targets on people of faith, as they continue to be persecuted for honoring God above the values of this culture.”
NC VALUES COALITION DENOUNCES TILLS’ AND BURR’S VOTES TO ADVANCE “PATHWAY TO POLYGAMY BILL”
Bill Would Federalize Recognition of Same-Sex and Some Polygamous Marriages
The US Senate today advanced HR8404, or “Pathway to Polygamy” bill which federally recognizes same sex marriage and also state-sanctioned polygamous marriages allowing one person to be married to multiple partners. The legislation also fails to protect religious freedoms of churches, tax-exempt entities and businesses.
“This bill redefines marriage between one man and one woman to include same-sex couples, requires federal recognition of some polygamous marriages, and puts freedoms of religious entities at grave risk,” said NC Values Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald. “Voters are tired of sending elected representatives to Washington who betray their values. We need true leaders who stand for truth and their constituents’ values; instead, Senators Tillis and Burr are charting a collision course with their base voters.”
The original version passed by the US House in July, was denounced by the NC Values Coalition and national groups in a letter to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Senate advanced an altered version. However, changes to the bill do not address the underlying problems of threats to marriage and religious freedom, and crafty adjustments were made to mask significant consequences. For instance, the substitute bill still allows traditional polygamous relationships where one person is married individually to multiple people.
This bill acknowledges it may possibly infringe on religious/conscience beliefs but only states that those who had their rights infringed may still invoke existing legal protections, such as the First Amendment or Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Simply put, the bill puts religious freedom in jeopardy, but the solution is to apply existing law in hopes the plaintiff is not subject to a liberal, activist judge.
“Senators Tillis’ and Burr’s votes are an assault on religious freedom, because the bill puts faith-based adoption and foster care agencies, businesses, non-profits and churches all in the line of fire for litigation. Instead of standing up for the religious freedoms of North Carolinians, they chose the side of activists and political expediency. Senator Tillis actually led efforts to secure votes for this legislation, and voters will remember this during his next election,” said Fitzgerald.
NC Values Coalition announced after success of training, equipping and endorsing school board candidates across the state for the first time, it will be expanding its reach into other counties starting in 2023.
“We congratulate all our endorsed candidates who won, and thank all the candidates for having the courage to run,” said NC Values Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald. “School board races have been below voters’ radar for too long. It’s time we elevate those races and ensure we get school board members elected who honor parental rights, protect the innocence of children, and keep politics out of the classroom.”
New Hanover County candidates, Pat Bradford, Peter Wildeboer, Melissa Mason and Josie Barnart swept their election giving these NC Values endorsed conservatives control over their school board. Wing Ng and Cheryl Caulfield replaced two liberal Republicans on Wake County School Board, and Crissy Pratt and Linda Welborn won in Guilford County. Another NC Values candidate, Steve Wood, won in Winston-Salem Forsyth.
NC Values provided two school board candidate trainings, and three Mama Bear Workshops including a Mama Bear Guide to help the public and candidates identify and confront indoctrination in schools. For the first time, NC Values also evaluated school board candidates in select counties along with iVoterGuide, and made endorsements which candidates have reported as impactful.
“We are already looking at 2023 school board races, and determining our target counties,” said Fitzgerald. “NC Values worked hard to help and highlight school board candidates in the General Election, and we will continue to be a resource as we expand our reach across the state.”
Founded in 2011, the N.C. Values Coalition is a non-partisan, statewide grassroots network of North Carolinians who support and advocate for pro-family positions. The North Carolina Values Coalition is a non-profit education and lobbying organization that qualifies for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is based in Raleigh, NC.