Here Come the Social Issues

Question: Does Victoria Cobb have dementia, or does she just believe that other Virginians do?

In an email she sent us this week, with the actual subject line “Here Come the Social Issues,” the Virginia Family (not yours) Foundation president tells us that, because there is now a Democratic majority* in the state senate, “Senator Democrats [sic] will elevate their abortion and sex agenda** to their top priority,” and “there is little doubt that ‘social issues’ will dominate their agenda in the coming days.”

I will pause here so that anyone who has been living in Virginia for the last decade or two can finish laughing.

There certainly has been quite a bit of forgetfulness lately on the part of individuals who have made an “abortion and sex agenda” their top priority, hasn’t there? And Victoria’s forgetfulness about her own organization’s mission has just shot to the top of the hit parade, as further down in the very same email she mentions the 2011 TRAP*** law that she and her allies in the General Assembly engineered by adding anti-abortion provisions to an unrelated law. And you might think that Victoria would want to present the means by which this law was passed as a legitimate process driven by evidence and debate. You would be wrong.

She instead describes that process as her organization and its allies having “outsmarted” the majority of senators who had for two decades prevented such targeted attacks on Virginians’ constitutional right to abortion care. In other words, she openly admits that the only way that her organization’s “abortion and sex agenda” could be moved forward in the Virginia legislature was to use underhanded tricks.

To review, here are just a few of the “abortion and sex agenda” bills prioritized by the Virginia Family Foundation over the years:

  • In 2004, VFF legislator Dick Black introduced a bill that would exclude LGBT families from Virginia Housing Development Authority loans; it failed. “‘Virginia families will find it ironic that the same body of legislators voted in favor of a ban on civil unions but continues to give away those rights and privileges that go along with a traditional marriage,’ said Victoria Cobb.” The VFF also partnered with Black in trying to kill a bill that simply allowed private employers to extend health insurance benefits “to any class of persons
    mutually agreed upon by the insurer and the group policy holder” – because, you know, some of those “persons” might be gay.
  • In 2005, VFF legislator Dick Black famously flew in Paul Cameron to testify in favor of his bill to prohibit LGBT people from adopting. After the discredited “sociologist” was laughed out of the Senate for his well-established lack of credibility, “the conservative Family Foundation, faced with its first loss on the social issues it singled out as priorities for passage this year, condemned the senators for not individually recording their votes.”

    The VFF has also, of course, been the primary lobbyist for every redundant statutory and constitutional exclusion of same sex couples from any legal status that could be conceivably related to marriage introduced by VFF legislator Bob Marshall, from the so-called “Affirmation of Marriage Act” in 2004 up to the present squawking over legal challenges to the Marshall-Newman amendment.
  • In 2007, VFF legislator Matt Lohr introduced a bill to prevent or suppress participation in Gay-Straight Alliances in Virginia schools. Victoria ignorantly described these constitutionally protected student clubs, usually started to combat bullying, as “homosexual dating services in our schools,” adding that “schools have the ability and the right to disband these groups.” Actually, they don’t.
  • In 2008, VFF named “abortion and sex agenda” champion Ken Cuccinelli its Legislator of the Year. It also made its legislative priorities maintaining an “abstinence-based” sexuality curriculum in Virginia public schools; preventing the addition of “sexual orientation” to Virginia’s state employment non-discrimination policy, and, as in every other year, a whole boatload of restrictions on the right to an abortion.
  • In 2009 the VFF opposed a bill introduced by Republican Tom Rust that would allow private employers to offer coverage under a life insurance policy to persons other than the “legal spouses” and dependent children of employees. Because, you know, some of those “persons” might be gay.
  • In 2012, Victoria expressed “disappointment” that the ultrasound bill that so embarrassed then-Governor McDonnell would no longer mandate a “vaginal probe.”
  • During then-Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s doomed campaign to be governor, Victoria advocated ignoring the 2003 Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas that invalidated Virginia’s insufferably stupid “Crimes Against Nature” law, joining Cuccinelli’s dangerous bid to rely on an unenforcable law to prosecute sexual predators. Legislation was introduced in 2004 to bring Virginia law into compliance with the U.S. Constitution; Cuccinelli vigorously opposed it, and so did the VFF. Victoria said at the time that the Family Foundation supported a different bill, “which keeps the current ban on sodomy on the books as a statement of public policy.”

None of these bills are outliers; they are typical examples of the “sodomy”-obsessed, pre-modern, ladyparts-micromanaging, theocracy-fantasizing piece of work that is the Virginia Family (not yours) Foundation – which we do not expect, contrary to Victoria’s wounded howls of defiance, to see “better days.”

*The majority previously enjoyed by Republicans and now enjoyed by Democrats in the senate is due to a long-standing rule allowing the Lt. Governor to break tie votes. That majority did not become a “majority,” as Victoria would have it, simply because that tie-breaking vote will be cast by a Democratic Lt. Governor instead of a Republican one. Sorry.

**One might reasonably wonder what such things as state employment policies and life insurance have to do with “sex.” When the VFF opposes legislation concerning the rights of people in intimate relationships, they consider it to be about “sex.” When they support legislation concerning the same issues, they consider it to be about “families.” In the interest of correcting this inconsistency, we will here apply the VFF’s preferred language to all cases.

**”Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers,” a kind of law created for the singular purpose of interfering with the lawful operation only of clinics that provide abortion services. Victoria’s organization and its allies have been submitting this kind of bill for years.

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