SB 41

Stop GA Override of SB 41 Veto!

Honor All Families - Virginia - No SB 41 (Pic).jpg

POFEV Applauds Gov. McAuliffe's Veto of SB 41.  Help Prevent an Override.

Gov. McAuliffe's veto and continued leadership on LGBT equality have made it less likely that SB 41 will become law and authorize organizations, businesses and individuals to discriminate if they claim a religious basis for believing same-sex couples should not marry.
 
But we now need to sustain the governor's veto and prevent an override.  Before the veto, POFEV and clergy from across Virginia wrote Governor McAuliffe to urge him to stop SB 41. 

We also provided a memorandum describing the moral and legal basis for our position that you can read to learn more about the protections for religious liberty Virginians already enjoy and why additional legislation to fix a problem that doesn't exist only serves to intimidate the LGBT community.

Now we need to thank Gov. McAuliffe and ask the legislature not to override the Governor's veto. 

Here's what you can do:
 
(1) Let the Governor know you appreciate his veto.  Go to Governor McAuliffe's Common Ground website to send the Governor a thank you for his leadership on vetoing Sb 41 and being a strong supporter for equality.  One or two sentences of appreciation will go a long way toward helping him continue his strong leadership!  
 
(2) Tell your legislator not to override the veto.  Go to Equality Virginia's Take Action page and use the text below to ask your legislator to vote against an override.

(3) Clergy: Please join the clergy letter.  Email us to add your name to the Clergy Letter to the General Assembly below.  Tell us how your name should appear, your congregation or denominational affiliation if you want it to appear, and the community in which you live or work.  We need to demonstrate broad faith community support for sustaining the Governor's veto of SB 41, and your name and voice matter a lot!

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Clergy Letter to General Assembly on SB 41

Sustain the Veto of Senate Bill 41

Dear Members of the General Assembly:

We the undersigned clergy, on behalf of People of Faith for Equality in Virginia (POFEV), strongly urge you not to override the Governor's veto of Senate Bill 41, which if enacted would authorize individuals and businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples who are married or who seek to be married.

SB 41 attempts to solve a problem that does not exist.  Clergy, individuals and religious institutions do not need any additional protection beyond that provided by the U.S. and Virginia Constitutions regarding a decision not to marry or host a wedding for any couple whom they do not believe is ready to be married or who does not meet the marriage requirements of their faith.  Clergy are required to make these judgments regularly in their ministry and have never experienced or feared retaliation from the state for their decisions. 

The real effect of SB 41 is not to protect clergy and the religious institutions from coercive state power.  The real effect is to stigmatize lesbian and gay Virginians as deserving of a lesser status in the Commonwealth and to authorize private discrimination against them.

SB 41 goes well beyond creating a statutory right to refuse to solemnize a marriage.  It also grants any organization or business engaging in public commerce and claiming a religious affiliation the right to discriminate against same-sex couples in virtually any context so long as the discrimination is rooted in the conviction that same-sex marriage is immoral.  A conference center affiliated with a religious denomination or an inn being run intentionally on religious principles would have a statutory right to refuse to allow a married couple to stay.  Its restaurant would have the right to refuse a married couple table service.  A religious hospital could refuse to recognize the authority of a legally married spouse to determine care for an incapacitated partner.

No business or organization offering services to the public should be given a license to discriminate on the basis of those individuals’ sexual orientation any more than given license to discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, disability, sex or gender.  Granting such a right does not preserve any organization’s or individual’s liberty.  It only deprives the victims of the discrimination of their rights and their dignity.

Please sustain the Governor's veto of Senate Bill 41.

Sincerely,

John Humphrey, Chair of the Board, People of Faith for Equality in Virginia (POFEV)

Paula Prettyman, Member of the Board, POFEV

Reverend Marty Anderson, Pastor, Commonwealth Baptist Church, Alexandria

Reverend Robin Anderson, Pastor, Commonwealth Baptist Church, Alexandria

Rev. Allie Rosner Bass, Arlington Temple United Methodist Church, Arlington

Rev. Joan Bell-Haynes, Co-Pastor, United Christian Parish, an Ecumenical Congregation uniting four denominations in ministry: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Presbyterian Church USA, United Church of Christ and United Methodist Church, Reston

Rabbi Stephanie Bernstein, Temple Rodef Shalom, a Reform Jewish congregation, Falls Church

Rev. Madelyn Campbell, Interim Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of the Shenandoah Valley, Stephens City

Rev. Mandy England Cole, Senior Pastor, Ginter Park Baptist Church, Richmond

John D. Copenhaver, Jr., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Religion and Philosophy, Shenandoah University, Winchester

The Reverend Sharon K. Core, Arlington Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), Arlington

Rev. Kristen Curlee, Senior Pastor, Emmaus United Church of Christ, Vienna

Rev. Dr. David Ensign, Pastor, Clarendon Presbyterian, Arlington & Member of the Board, POFEV

Rev. Henry E. " Hank" Fairman, Little River United Church of Christ, Annandale

Rev Nancy Fitzgerald, Pastor, Arlington Church of the Brethren, Arlington

Rabbi David Greenspoon, Congregation Sha'are Shalom, Leesburg

Rev Trish Hall, Spiritual Leader, Center for Spiritual Living Metro, Arlington

Rev. Russell Heiland, Senior Minister, Unity of Fairfax Church, Oakton

Rev. Dr. David M. Hindman, retired clergy, The United Methodist Church

Rev. Laura Horton-Ludwig, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax, Oakton

Rev. Phyllis L. Hubbell, Co-minister, The Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun, Leesburg

Rev. Dr. Stephen G. Hyde, American Baptist & Alliance of Baptists, Ravensworth Baptist Church, Annandale

Fr. Jason Lody, FCM, Pastor, American National Catholic Church, St. Anthony of Padua, Centreville

Rev. John P. Manwell, Co-minister, The Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun, Leesburg

Laura Martin, Director of Mission Integration and Congregational Care, Rock Spring United Church of Christ, Arlington

Rev. Scott McNeill, Bull Run Unitarian Universalists, Manassas

Rev. David Miller, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax, Oakton

Kim Moeller, United Church of Christ pastor, Leesburg

Rev. Amber Henry Neuroth, Hope United Church of Christ, Alexandria

Rev. Dr. Linda Olson Peebles, Minister of Faith in Action, Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, Arlington

The Rev. A. Patrick Prest, Episcopal priest, Professor Emeritus Virginia Commonwealth University

The Rev. Dr. William Bradley Roberts, Episcopalian Professor, Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria

Rev. Dr. Lisa Rzepka, Pastor, John Calvin Presbyterian Church, Annandale

Rev. Scott Sammler-Michael, Senior Minister, Accotink Unitarian Universalist Church, Burke

Rabbi Amy J. Sapowith

Rabbi Jeffrey Saxe, Temple Rodef Shalom, a Reform Jewish congregation, Falls Church

Rev. Lyndon Sayers, Lutheran Pastor (ELCA), Lexington

Rabbi Amy Schwartzman, Temple Rodef Shalom, a Reform Jewish congregation, Falls Church

Cantor Michael Shochet, Senior Clergy, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church

Rev. Katherine A. Stanford, Associate Pastor, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Old Presbyterian Meeting House, Alexandria

The Rev. Heather VanDeventer, Episcopal Priest, Alexandria

The Rev. Daniel Vélez-Rivera, Vicar, Saint Gabriel´s Episcopal Church, Leesburg

Rev. Rosemary Welch, Virginia Conference United Methodist Church, Reston

Rev. Juli Wilson-Black, Pastor, Fairlington Presbyterian Church, Alexandria

The Rev. Dr. Karen-Marie Yust, Rowe Professor of Christian Education, Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond