February 26, 2013
Victory in Virginia!Virginia’s Parental Rights Act has been approved by both houses of the General Assembly and sent to Governor Bob McDonnell for his signature. This is a major victory in Virginia, and hopefully just a first step as these statutes take hold nationwide.
The Parental Rights Act, which in Virginia is both House Bill 1642 and Senate Bill 908, states: “A parent has a fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education, and care of the parent’s child.” The measures were adopted in both houses with bipartisan support.
There was opposition, apparently over fears that the bill would somehow impact existing laws, even though the standard it codifies is already the legal standard of the courts in the state. Virginia lawmakers got around that fear by adding a second section which specifies, “That it is the expressed intent of the General Assembly that this act codify the opinion of the Supreme Court of Virginia in L.F. v. Breit, issued on January 10, 2013, as it relates to parental rights.” The case cited recognizes parental rights as a fundamental right and requires strict scrutiny in their protection.
The Family Foundation, the Home Educators Association of Virginia, and the Home School Legal Defense Association provided vital support as Delegate Brenda Pogge and Senator Bryce Reeves led the way in passing these bills. ParentalRights.org is especially grateful to our state leader, Teri Beatley, and to HSLDA attorney Scott Woodruff who testified on behalf of our organization as well as his own. We are indebted to all of these and to you who called to bring this victory to pass.
Once Governor McDonnell signs the bill(s), the rights of parents in Virginia will be safe not only in the present, but even if federal court decisions continue to erode parental rights in the future.
Unfortunately, this will not be enough if the U.S. Senate ratifies a United Nations treaty – such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) or the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) – that would shift the responsibility for child welfare from fit parents to the federal government. Under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, a ratified treaty supersedes state laws.
So we continue to work toward passage of an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to prevent the abuse of this treaty power. The article would prohibit the President and Senate from adopting any treaty that would impact the rights of parents like those addressed in this new Virginia law.
And we continue to work in various states to see more victories like the one we are celebrating in Virginia today!
State UpdatesOklahoma’s HB 1384, for instance, passed the House Human Services Committee last Wednesday (Feb. 20) on a 6-3 vote. From there it goes to the full House for a passage vote. On the same day, Senator Griffin signed on as the principle Senate author to guide the bill through the second chamber.
Kansas and Missouri also have bills pending. Though there is no specific progress to report from Kansas, Missouri’s HB 513 is likely to be voted on in the House Children and Families Committee this afternoon.
Several other states are also working on resolutions this year. Pennsylvania’s HR71 calls on the U.S. Senate to reject ratification of the CRC because it poses a threat to parental rights. If it passes, Pennsylvania will join Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Alabama in rejecting this dangerous treaty.
Nebraska’s LR 42 and Mississippi’s SC 530 both call on the U.S. Congress to propose to the states for ratification the Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. If they pass, these states will join Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Louisiana, and Florida in calling for the Amendment.
Action ItemsEven if there are no pending bills or resolutions in your state, ParentalRights.org is active there. Please continue to spread the word about the need to protect parental rights in your state and in the U.S. Constitution. And if you would like to volunteer in an even more active way, send an email to Deputy Grassroots Director David Scheurn at David@parentalrights.org. Tell him your city and state and ask him how you can be more involved in fighting for parental rights.
Finally, if you are able, please consider adding ParentalRights.org to your monthly budget. Even $5 per month adds up over time, and will help support our efforts continually until parental rights are preserved in our Constitution and parents in every state enjoy the protection that Virginia has just secured. Just click here to start your giving today*.
Director of Communications & Research
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* Because ParentalRights.org is a 501(c)(4) lobbying organization, we regret that donations cannot be deductible for income tax purposes.
May you find Strength in Your Higher Power,
Keeper of the web files for http://nfpcar.org