Religious freedom; solemnization of marriage. (HB2025)

Introduced By

Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) with support from co-patron Del. Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Religious freedom; solemnization of marriage. Provides that no person shall be (i) required to participate in the solemnization of any marriage or (ii) subject to any penalty, any civil liability, or any other action by the Commonwealth, or its political subdivisions or representatives or agents, solely on account of such person's belief, speech, or action in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman. The bill defines "person" as any (a) religious organization; (b) organization supervised or controlled by or operated in connection with a religious organization; (c) individual employed by a religious organization while acting in the scope of his paid or volunteer employment; (d) successor, representative, agent, agency, or instrumentality of any of the foregoing; or (e) clergy member or minister. The bill also defines "penalty." Read the Bill »

Status

02/24/2017: Passed the General Assembly

History

  • 01/10/2017 Committee
  • 01/10/2017 Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/11/17 17102190D
  • 01/10/2017 Referred to Committee on General Laws
  • 01/16/2017 Assigned GL sub: Subcommittee #4
  • 01/19/2017 Subcommittee recommends reporting (4-Y 2-N)
  • 01/26/2017 Reported from General Laws (14-Y 8-N) (see vote tally)
  • 01/30/2017 Read first time
  • 01/31/2017 Passed by for the day
  • 02/01/2017 Read second time
  • 02/01/2017 Amendment by Delegate Freitas agreed to
  • 02/01/2017 Engrossed by House as amended HB2025E
  • 02/01/2017 Printed as engrossed 17102190D-E
  • 02/02/2017 Read third time and passed House (57-Y 37-N)
  • 02/02/2017 VOTE: PASSAGE (57-Y 37-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/03/2017 Constitutional reading dispensed
  • 02/03/2017 Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology
  • 02/13/2017 Reported from General Laws and Technology with amendments (8-Y 7-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/15/2017 Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/16/2017 Read third time
  • 02/16/2017 Reading of amendments waived
  • 02/16/2017 Committee amendments agreed to
  • 02/16/2017 Engrossed by Senate as amended
  • 02/16/2017 Passed Senate with amendments (20-Y 19-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/16/2017 Reconsideration of Senate passage agreed to by Senate (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/16/2017 Passed Senate with amendments (21-Y 19-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/20/2017 Placed on Calendar
  • 02/20/2017 Senate amendments agreed to by House (54-Y 38-N)
  • 02/20/2017 VOTE: ADOPTION (54-Y 38-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/23/2017 Enrolled
  • 02/23/2017 Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB2025ER)
  • 02/23/2017 Signed by Speaker
  • 02/24/2017 Signed by President
  • 02/28/2017 Enrolled Bill communicated to Governor on 2/28/17
  • 02/28/2017 G Governor's Action Deadline Midnight, March 27, 2017

Video

This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 3 clips in all, totaling 17 minutes.

Transcript

This is a transcript of the video clips in which this bill is discussed.

HOUSE BILL 2355 CLEANS UP EXISTING AREA OF THE CODE THAT PERTAINS TO HOME COOLERS PARTICIPATING IN THE PSAT TESTS. IT DOES TWO THINGS. CLARIFIES THE LANGUAGE AND CHANGES IT BRINGS IT UP TO DATE BECAUSE THE TEST NAME HAS CHANGED. IT IS NO LONGER THE PRELIMINARY SCHOLASTIC APPLITY TODD TEST. IT IS NOW THE PRELIMINARY SCHOLASTIC APPLITY TODD TEST BACK SLASH NATIONAL MERIT QUALIFYING TEST AND CHANGES THAT AND NO MORE NEED IN THE OLD LANGUAGE TO MAKE THE SCHOOL BOARDS IMPLEMENT THE PLAN TO MAKE THE TESTS AVAILABLE. THAT LANGUAGE HAS BEEN CLEANED UP SIMPLY TO MAKE THE TESTS AVAILABLE. I MOVE THE BILL BE ENGROSSED AND PASSED TO ITS THIRD READING THANK YOU 2386 TO AMEND AND REENACT SEVERAL SECTIONS RELATED TO PAYMENT OF COURT ORDERED FINES ET CETERA DEFERRED OR INSTALLMENT PAYMENT AGREEMENTS. REPORTED FROM THE COMMITTEE FOR COURTS OF JUSTICE WITH A SUBSTITUTE

Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg): THE GENTLEMAN FROM MICHIGAN CITY MR. LEPAROUX

[Unknown]: LOUPASSI MOVE THE SUBSTITUTE

Del. David Toscano (D-Charlottesville): AS MANY AS FAVOR THAT MOTION SAY AYE. THOSE OPPOSED NO. THE SUBSTITUTE IS AGREED TO. THE GENTLEMEN FROM RICHMOND CITY

[Unknown]: THE HOUSE BILL CLARIFIES THE PROCESS OF BIFURCATION OF TRIALS AND SIMPLIFIES INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR NOTICE OF SATISFACTION. I MOVE THE BILL BE ENGROSSED AND PASSED TO THE THIRD READING HOUSE BILL 2460 TO AMEND AND REENACT IS SECTION OF THE CODE.

Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg): THE GENTLEMAN FROM ACCOMACK,

[Unknown]: THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. HOUSE BILL 2460 DOES NOT ELIMINATE THE CREDIT, TAXES THE AMOUNT A TAXPAYER CAN CLAIM IN ONE YEAR AND SPREADS THE GAIN OUT OVER A 10 YEAR PERIOD. I HOPE THE BILL WOULD BE PASSED ON TO THE THIRD READING. MR. SPEAKER

Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg): THE GENTLEMAN FROM

[Unknown]: HANOVER HAN ANOTHER, MR. PEACE I APOLOGIZE FOR NOT DOING THIS EARLIER BUT I RISE TO ASK THAT H.B. 2460 BY MOVED TO THE REGULAR CALENDAR AFTER ENGROSSMENT FOR PURPOSES OF ABTENSION. THANK YOU. WITHOUT OBJECT OBJECTION, TO THE REGULAR CALENDAR AFTER ENGROSSMENT.

Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria): TURNING TO PAGE 35. -- PAGE 36 MR. SPEAKER. HOUSE BILL 2467 TO AMEND AND REENACT TWO SECTION OBJECTIONS OF THE CODE RELATING TO DRIVING ON A SUSPENDED OR REVOKED LICENSE PERIOD OF SUSPENSION. REPORTED FROM THE COMMITTEE FOR COURTS THE OF JUSTICE MR. BELL

Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper): ONE OF SEVERAL MEASURES ADDRESSING WHEN SOMEONE HAS A LONG-TERM SUSPENSION AND HOW DO THEY GET IF BACK. WHEN SOMEONE IS IN FRONT OF A JUDGE AND GIVEN A FINE AND ALSO GIVEN A SUSPENSION OF LICENSE, THE SUSPENSION OF LICENSE DOESN'T START UNTIL THE FINE IS GETTING PAID AND WHAT YOU HAVE A LARGE NUMBER OF VIRGINIANS WHO ARE AT FREE, THEY ARE AT LIBERTY AND DRIVE AROUND BUT NOT STARTING THE CLOCK. AND THE GOAL WOULD BE TO SAY ONCE YOU GET THE TIME ALLOTTED AND START YOUR FINES GETTING PAID YOU CAN DRIVE LEGALLY. HOPE IT WOULD BE THE PLEASURE OF THE HOUSE TO PASS THE BILL ON TO THE THIRD READING AND ENGROSS THE BILL. THANK YOU,

Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria): AND MR. SPEAK HER, RETURNING TO PAGE 22 OF THE PRINTED CALENDAR. HOUSE BILL 1737 TAKEN BYE TEMPORARILY. A BILL PATRONNED TO AMEND AND REENACT A SECTION OF THE ROAD RELATING TO PERSONAL JURISDICTION OF A PERSON DOMICILE FOR ANNULL HADN'T OR DIVORCE. REPORTED FROM THE COMMITTEE FOR COURTS OF JUSTICE AND THE BILL HAS BEEN EXPLAINED

Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper): MR. COLLINS

[Unknown]: THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. I BELIEVE THERE WAS A QUESTION THIS HAS NOTHING DO WITH THE TIME FRAMES FORGETTING A DIVORCE. THIS HAS SIMPLY TO DO DEAL WITH THE DOMICILIARY REQUIREMENTS DOMICILED FOR SIX MONTHS BEFORE YOU CAN INITIATE ANY KIND OF PROCEEDINGS ON A JUVENILE COURT OR DOMESTIC RELATIONS MATTER. I HOPE THAT EXPLAINS THE BILL AND WOULD ASK THAT IT BE ENGROSSED AND MOVED TO THE THIRD READING. SHALL THE BILLS BE ENGROSSED AND PASSED TO THE THIRD READING. AS MANY FAVOR, AYE. THOSE OPPOSE NOD. THE BILLS ARE ENGROSSED AND PASSED TO THE THIRD READING. CONTINUING WITH TODAY'S NEXT CATEGORY, HOUSE BILLS ON CALENDAR. SECOND READING. REGULAR. SECOND READING REGULAR. BEGINNING ON PAGE 36. HOUSE BILL 1852 TAKEN BYE FOR THE DAY. HOUSE BILL 1747 REFERRED TO THE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS. ACCORDINGLY THE BILL BEFORE US NOW IS HOUSE BILL 2025 TO AMEND THE CODE OF VIRGINIA RELATING TO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, MARRIAGE, PARTICIPATION AND BELIEFS. REPORTED FROM THE COMMITTEE ON GENERAL LAWS. AND MR. SPEAKER, THERE IS A FLOOR AMENDMENT. [ PLEASE STAND BY ] ADOPTION OF THE FLOOR AMENDMENT, AS MANY AS FAVOR THAT AMENDMENT SAY AYE. OPPOSED NO. FLOOR AMENDMENT AGREED TO. THANK YOU. WHAT HB 2025 DOES, IT IS A BILL WE VOTED ON LAST YEAR. WE WERE ASSURED A BILL LIKE THIS WASN'T NECESSARY BECAUSE WE ALREADY HAD RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN THE COMMONWEALTH, AND THAT THE COMMONWEALTH OR ITS AGENTS WERE NOT ALLOWED TO INFRINGE ON THE RELIGIOUS LIBERTY OF INSTITUTIONS. YET WE HAD THE GOVERNOR'S EXECUTIVE ORDER, WHICH I BELIEVE DOES JUST THAT, OR AT LEAST CREATES A MECHANISM WHERE THAT CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED. SO I REGRET THAT THIS IS NECESSARY, MR MR. SPEAKER. I WISH THIS GOVERNOR, WHICH ALREADY HAS A TRACK RECORD NOW FOR GOING BEYOND HIS INSTITUTION -- CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY COULD HAVE RESPECTED THAT. IT IS OBVIOUS HE WON'T. SO WE HAVE TO PUT OUR RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS, ORGANIZATIONS, TO INCLUDE OUR CHARITIES, IN A POSITION WHERE THEY KNOW THEY ARE NOT GOING TO BE PUNISHED BY THIS STATE IF THEY HOLD TO THE BELIEF THAT MARRIAGE IS BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN. I HOPE IT IT BE THE PLEASURE OF THE BODY TO ENGROSS THE BILL AND MOVE IT TO THIRD READING.

Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg): GENTLEMAN FROM ALEXANDER, MR. LEVINE.

Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria): MR. SPEAKER, WILL THE GENTLEMAN RISE FOR A QUESTION?

[Unknown]: WILL THE GENTLEMAN YIELD?

Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria): I YIELD.

[Unknown]: MR. SPEAKER, I WOULD ASK THE GENTLEMAN, AND I HAVE THE BILL IN FRONT OF ME, IT SAYS THAT PERSON IS DEFINED AS RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION, OR SOMEONE CONNECTED WITH RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION, AND THEN IT SAYS THAT NO PERSON SHALL BE REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SOLEMNIZATION OF ANY MARRIAGE. I ASK WHICH PERSON IN VIRGINIA IS REQUIRED BY LAW TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SOLEMNIZATION OF ANY MARRIAGE? I WOULD ANSWER THE GENTLEMAN, THE PRIMARY CONCERN, AGAIN, HAS TO DO WITH THE GOVERNOR'S EXECUTIVE ORDER, WHERE HE MADE IT VERY CLEAR THAT CERTAIN RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO ENGAGE IN STATE CONTRACTS FOR VARIETY OF THINGS, TO INCLUDE REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT, BECAUSE THEY HOLD TO A POSITION THAT MARRIAGE IS BETWEEN A MAN OR A WOMAN. SO, AGAIN, IT IS NOT AS IF WE HAVE A SPECIFIC CASE WHERE A PASTOR, PRIEST, RABBI, IMAM REQUIRED TO DO THIS. AGAIN, THE CONCERN COMES FROM THE GOVERNOR'S POSITIVE ACTIONS WITH RESPECT TO HIS EXECUTIVE ORDER. MR. SPEAKER, FOLLOW-UP QUESTION. WILL THE GENTLEMAN YIELD? WILL THE GENTLEMAN YIELD? I YIELD. MR. SPEAKER, I WOULD ASK GENTLEMAN YIELDS. THE GENTLEMAN, IS THERE ANY PERSON IN VIRGINIA THAT HE'S AWARE OF THAT IS REQUIRED BY LAW, EXECUTIVE ORDER OR ANY OTHER LEGAL COMPULSION, REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SOLEMNIZATION OF ANY MARRIAGE, WHICH IS WHAT LINE 31 OF THE BILL SAYS. IF HE KNOW OF ANY. AGAIN, THE QUESTION IS AFTER THE GOVERNOR'S EXECUTIVE ORDER WOULD SOMEONE, MAYBE THEY WOULDN'T BE REQUIRED TO PERFORM THE MARRIAGE, THE QUESTION IS, WOULD THEY BE PUNISHED IF THEY REFUSED TO PERFORM A MARRIAGE THAT DIDN'T COINCIDE WITH THEIR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS, MR. SPEAKER. I THANK THE GENTLEMAN.

Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg): GENTLEMAN FROM FAIRFAX, MR. SIMON.

Del. Marcus Simon (D-Falls Church): MR. SPEAKER, WILL THE YIELD FOR A QUESTION?

[Unknown]: WILL THE GENTLEMAN YIELD?

Del. Marcus Simon (D-Falls Church): GENTLEMAN YIELDS.

[Unknown]: MR. SPEAKER, I APPRECIATE THE EFFORT THAT'S GONE INTO THIS BILL, AND I UNDERSTOOD THE EXPLANATION IS TO TRY AND UNDO THE GOVERNOR'S EXECUTIVE ORDER, BUT IT LOOKS TO ME LIKE THIS IS BROADER THAN THAT. I WANT TO ASK A QUESTION ABOUT THAT. IT SAYS IN SECTION B-2, NO PERSON WOULD BE SUBJECT TO ANY PENALTY OR ANY OTHER ACTION BY THE COMMONWEALTH SOLEY ACCOUNT OF BELIEFS, SPEECH OR ACTION, OR IN ACCORDANCE WITH A MORAL CONVICTION THAT MARRIAGE IS NOT OR SHOULD NOT BE RECOGNIZED AS THE UNION OF ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN. SO THIS IS VERY BROAD, THERE IS NO PENALTY AT ALL. SO I GUESS MY QUESTION WOULD BE, MY SISTER-IN-LAW AND HER WIFE, AND THEIR TWO KIDS COME TO VIRGINIA FREQUENTLY TO VISIT US. AND IF GOD FORBID ON THEIR WAY TO VIRGINIA TO VISIT US THEY ARE IN A CAR ACCIDENT AND THE AMBULANCE SAYS THE CLOSEST HOSPITAL IS A CATHOLIC CHARITIES HOSPITAL, THAT'S WHERE WE ARE GOING TO TAKE YOU, BECAUSE YOUR LIFE OR LIMB ARE AT STAKE, AND THEN MY SISTER-IN-LAW'S WIFE WANTS TO GO BACK INTO THE E.R. TO SEE HER SPOUSE, AND SHE'S DENIED ACCESS TO HER SPOUSE BECAUSE SOMEBODY THERE DOESN'T RECOGNIZE THAT AS A VALID MARRIAGE. WOULD THAT HOSPITAL BE COMPLETELY PROTECTED WITHIN THEIR RIGHTS TO DENY HER ACCESS TO HER LOVED ONE IN SUCH A CIRCUMSTANCE. I WOULD ANSWER THE GENTLEMAN, MR. SPEAKER, THAT THE FLOOR AMENDMENT TOOK OUT ANY CIVIL LIABILITY OR ANY OTHER ACTION BY THE COMMONWEALTH. THAT'S THE PORTION THAT WE TOOK OUT OF THE BILL, MR. SPEAKER. MR. SPEAKER, FURTHER QUESTION? MR. WILL -- WILL THE GENTLEMAN YIELD? I WILL YIELD. GENTLEMAN YIELDS. DOESN'T IT SAY REALLY, I MEAN, YOU TOOK OUT CIVIL LIABILITY, DOESN'T IT SAY ANY PENALTY AT A ALL? DOESN'T THE FACT THAT IT SIZE ANY PENALTY MEAN THE COMMONWEALTH COULDN'T DO ANYTHING TO THAT HOSPITAL? MR. SPEAKER, I THINK ONCE AGAIN, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE SPECIFICS WITH RESPECT TO THE SOLEMNIZATION THAT MARRIAGE IS BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN. THE IDEA, AGAIN, I WOULD ASK THE GENTLEMAN, DOES HE KNOW OF ANY CATHOLIC HOSPITAL THAT HAS EVER DENIED THIS TO SOMEBODY? MR. SPEAKER, I HAVE NOT -- I AM NOT FAMILIAR WITH ANY PARTICULAR CASE WHERE THIS HAS HAPPENED, ALTHOUGH I HAVE HEARD OF IT HAPPENING IN THE COMMONWEALTH. I HAVE HEARD THIS HAPPENING AROUND THE COUNTRY, YES. MR. SPEAKER, SPEAKING TO THE BILL.

Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg): AT THE APPROPRIATE TIME. GENTLEMAN FROM PRINCE WILLIAM, MR. MARSHALL.

Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas): SPEAKING TO THE MEASURE.

Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg): GENTLEMAN HAS THE FLOOR.

Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas): MR. SPEAKER, I URGE MEMBERS HERE TO SUPPORT THIS, BECAUSE THE PATRON OF THE BILL IS CORRECT, THE GOVERNOR'S EXECUTIVE ORDER 61 INTENDS TO INCLUDE, OR RATHER EXCLUDE RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS FROM ANY CONTRACT WITH THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA IF YOU DON'T SUBMIT TO HIS SEXUAL IDEOLOGICAL VENEREAL PASSIONS ABOUT WHO CAN HAVE A CONTRACT AND WHO CANNOT HAVE A CONTRACT. SO THIS WOULD MEAN A CATHOLIC DAYCARE, WHATEVER, WOULD NOT BE ELIGIBLE, ORCA TLIK REFUGEE, OR, YOU KNOW, BAPTIST REFUGEE -- CATHOLIC, THAT FOLLOWED BIBLICAL PRINCIPALS WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO -- PRINCIPLES WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO RECEIVE A CONTRACT. LAST NIGHT, MR. SPEAKER, AT A BILL TO BASICALLY NULLIFY SUBCOMMITTEE, WHICH I HAD A EXECUTIVE ORDER 61, IT WAS ACKNOWLEDGED BY THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE, BY THE ACLU AND EQUALITY VIRGINIA WHEN I POINTED OUT THAT RELIGIONS -- RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS WOULD BE INCLUDED, NONE OF THEM DENIED THE ACCURACY OF THAT STATEMENT. NOW, SADLY, AGAIN, THIS WAS KILLED IN A VOICE VOTE ON LAYING ON THE TABLE, SO APPARENTLY WE ARE GOING TO DO NOTHING, PERHAPS, OTHER THAN THIS TO CHALLENGE THE GOVERNOR. I URGE THE MEMBERS TO CHALLENGE THE GOVERNOR ON THIS, BECAUSE HE DOES NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY, ONE, TO ADD EITHER SEXUAL ORIENTATION OR GENDER IDENTITY, OR NUMBER TWO, TO DENY RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS, AND IF YOU LOOK RIGHT BEHIND ME, THE VIRGINIA STATUTE OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IS HERE, IT HAS BEEN PART OF THE FABRIC OF OUR INSTITUTION FOR MORE THAN 200 AND SOME YEARS. SO I URGE YOU TO ACCEPT WHAT THE GENTLEMAN FROM CULPEPER IS DOING, MINDFUL THAT RELIGIOUS ORS -- ORGANIZATIONS ABSENT THIS WILL BE CORRALLED INTO, YOU KNOW, THE GOVERNOR'S NET THAT HE SEEKS TO IMPOSE.

Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg): THE GENTLEMAN FROM FAIRFAX -- SORRY. YES, GENTLEMAN FROM FAIRFAX, MR. SIMON.

Del. Marcus Simon (D-Falls Church): MR. SPEAKER, SPEAKING TO THE BILL.

Del. Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg): GENTLEMAN HAS THE FLOOR.

Del. Marcus Simon (D-Falls Church): MR. SPEAKER, MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE, I WOULD HOPE THAT IT BE THE PLEASURE OF THE BODY NOT TO VOTE FOR THIS BILL AGAIN. THIS BILL DOESN'T REALLY SOLVE A PROBLEM. WE HAVE A RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION ACT OF VIRGINIA. VIRGINIA ACT, WE HAVE GOT A NUMBER OF STATUTES ENTITLED 2.2, 43, 43, MAKING IT ILLEGAL FOR PUBLIC BOD 0IES PROCURING GOODS OR SERVICES TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATION ON THE BASIS OF THAT ORGANIZATION'S RELIGIOUS CHARACTER OR IMPOSE CONDITIONS OR RESTRICT THE RELIGIOUS CHARACTER OF THAT ORGANIZATION.


[Unknown]: COME OUT WITH A STATEMENT SAYING THAT THEY WILL NOT STAFF SHELTERS THAT ALLOW GUNS AND THEY ARE NOT -- AND THEY'RE THE PRIMARY ORGANIZATION THAT WILL PROVIDE STAFFING AT LOCAL GOVERNMENT SHELTERS. AND QUITE FRANKLY, THE ABSENCE OF RED CROSS STAFF MEANS THAT LOCAL GOVERNMENTS WOULD HAVE TO TRAIN AND HIRE CONTRACTORS TO STAFF SHELTERS THAT WOULD BE -- AND THAT'S GOING TO BE VERY COSTLY AND MAY REDUCE THE NUMBER OF CITIZENS THAT SHELTERS CAN ACCEPT. AND ANOTHER CONCERN IS THAT THIS COULD JEOPARDIZE PUBLIC SAFETY DURING A DISASTER. EMERGENCY SHELTERS ARE HIGH STRESS. THEY'RE LOW PRIVACY ENVIRONMENTS WHICH HEIGHTENS THE POTENTIAL FOR CONFLICT, CONFRONTATIONS WITH ARMED CITIZENS MAY ARISE AND FOOD, WATER AND MEDICAL SERVICES ARE RATIONED OUT, AND ADDED SECURITY WOULD BE NEEDED AT SHELTERS WHICH TAKES NEEDED PUBLIC SAFETY PERSONNEL AWAY FROM THE PRESENT DISASTER. THE PRESENCE OF FIREARMS COULD DETER SOME CITIZENS, PARTICULARLY THOSE WITH FAMILIES, FROM EVACUATING THEIR HOMES TO TAKE REFUGE IN THE SHELTER, WHICH WOULD BE AN UNSAFE DECISION SO I THINK IS IN SETTING A VERY DANGEROUS PRECEDENCE, MR. PRESIDENT. THE SENATOR FROM ARTICLE THANK YOU. ARLINGTON, SENATOR FAVOLA. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. SPEAKING TO THE MOTION. THE SENATOR HAS THE FLOOR. I'M SPEAKING IN OPPOSITION TO

Comments

Right Way Forward Virginia writes:

Laws protecting religious freedom should be written to be general, not uniquely privilege one particular moral belief. Passing this legislation would also help perpetuate a commonly-held misconception that equal treatment under law of same-sex couples who wish to marry imposes obligations on houses of worship and clergy. We oppose this bill.

Carolyn Caywood writes:

Where were these legislators back when MCC and UU and UCC and Episcopal ministers wanted to perform marriages for same sex couples but were forbidden by law? I guess they think religious freedom only applies to a certain subset of sincerely held religious beliefs.

Noah Holbrook writes:

I think this is a great bill. If you don't want to participate in a marriage of someone then you don't have to. Rights.

Rob Waters writes:

We already have laws securing the rights of religious freedom. The Supreme Court of the United States has already said that marriage is not a right restricted to man and woman. However, the Republicans in the House of Delegates feel that it's their privilege to practice the politics of hate and discrimination. How long have minorities fought to be treated equally in businesses, after business owners claimed it was their God given right to discriminate against black Americans because it was "their private business" despite being open to the public? In some parts of the Commonwealth, this is still an issue. Yet now, a group of mostly white straight men feel like there's a valid ground to extend that abuse to people based on sexual preference? We need to put our foot down, Virginia. We need to make it clear we will not tolerate this waste of time in our legislature, and that we will not accept the abuses towards any Virginian that attempts to treat them like a lesser person.

Robert Shippee writes:

We already have Freedom of Religion in Virginia. This bill will, at best, create confusion about whether Virginia is trying to undermine the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decision, and at worst threatens to turn Virginia into a state unfriendly to the LGBT community. It represents a waste of lawmakers' time and taxpayer money.

Sidney Newton writes:

I strongly oppose this. The bill would allow any discriminatory action to be taken by (a) religious organization; (b) organization supervised or controlled by or operated in connection with a religious organization; (c) individual employed by a religious organization while acting in the scope of his paid or volunteer employment; (d) successor, representative, agent, agency, or instrumentality of any of the foregoing; or (e) clergy member or minister without any protections to the citizens of the commonwealth. This ties the Commonwealth to funding organizations which do not recognize certain marriages. Above one commenter seems to believe that this merely means Rev. Smith wouldn't have to preside at a wedding. That is not what the bill actually seems to state.

Katherine Weber writes:

I oppose this bill. Religious freedom in America means that we all have a right to our religious beliefs, but this does not give us the right to use our religion to discriminate against and impose those beliefs on others who do not share them.

Sarah Williams writes:

This bill should not be law. It supposes a problem where there is none, and advantages one sincerely held belief - the "one man, one woman" requirement on marriage, over another sincerely held belief, that people who wish to be married have a right to be married. It disparages one belief and promotes the other, and so is contrary to freedom of religion.

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