Virginia Religious Liberty Petition Update

  Dear Friends of Religious Liberty,

Thank you for signing my petition in support of religious liberty!

We now over 3,000 signatures in support of my bills to protect Virginians from complying with the HHS mandate forcing those with conscientious objection to abortion, to pay for abortion pills, sterilization and birth control in their insurance plans.

There are presently 42 separate lawsuits involving 110 individuals challenging the HHS mandate. Five business owners have received temporary relief from the Obama Administration’s mandate, and two have not.

Christian business owners, David Green and his wife, who own 500+ Hobby Lobby craft stores, said they will not comply with the HHS mandate and as of January 1, 2013, their company will face fines of $1.3 million per day. A two-judge panel of the federal Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Green’s request for an injunction, claiming that the $1.3 million per day fines were “indirect and attenuated” and denied that the fines “substantially burden[ed] [their] exercise of religion.”

Hobby Lobby had appealed to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor who serves as Circuit Justice for the Tenth Circuit, to override the denial for an injunction. On December 26, Judge Sotomayor denied Hobby Lobby’s request to suspend the business-wrecking fines of the mandate. (Recall, the HHS mandate is a federal regulation, NEVER VOTED UPON by Congress!)

In contrast, in 2003, Judge Sotomayor reversed a district court’s ruling when she stated that a Muslim inmate’s First Amendment rights were violated because a holiday feast was subjectively important to him, even though the feast was not obligatory for believers in Islam. She wrote: “Whether the prison officials, with or without the counsel of the religious authorities, thought that the Eid ul Fitr feast was not religious is beside the point. Despite the fact that all the religious authorities testified to their belief that the postponed Eid ul Fitr was without religious significance, the proper inquiry was always whether Ford’s belief was sincerely held and ‘in his own scheme of things, religious.’” (Ford v. McGinnis, 352 F.3d 582)

The Virginia General Assembly session begins January 9, 2013. I need you to help me collect additional signatures to show strong grassroots support for my bills. Please ask your family and friends to sign the petition so that I can stand on the floor of the House of Delegates and announce that many thousands of Virginians want to defend freedom of conscience against the dictates of the Obama Administration’s defiance of the First Amendment!

Please also contact by email or phone your own delegate and senator and ask him or her to support HB 1314 and HB 1315. Success ultimately depends upon your involvement in this lobby effort all across the Commonwealth.

Thank You!

Delegate Bob Marshall

P.S. Here is a link to a Religious Liberty Op Ed I wrote published 12/20/12 in the Virginian Pilot: