I never pass up a chance to quote the Princess Bride. Never has this phrase been more applicable than in the case of the Wichita City Council’s discussion of a sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination ordinance.

On Tuesday July 13th, the Council voted 5-2 to delay discussing the ordinance for 90 days. This will give everyone in the community time to research the implications of this expansive ordinance. It is very important given that it wasn’t even clear which version of the ordinance the City Council was voting on, and several of the council members did not seem to understand the extensive impact of the public accommodation section of the ordinance.

Mayor Brandon Whipple has claimed that no one opposing the ordinance brought real problems with the actual wording of the ordinance. This is an absolute reinterpretation of events. In fact, there were several legitimate concerns expressed. The most repeated one, was how incredibly narrow the religious exemptions are. These exemptions would require a court to examine the inner workings of a church and dictate its behavior; things that courts generally refuse to do but that Mayor Brandon Whipple seems more than happy to do.

Further, as it is written, the ordinance does absolutely nothing to protect a business owner from allegations of discrimination. No matter how kind and reasonable he might be. Under this ordinance, allegations of discrimination could result in large fines, years of litigation, or ‘re-education’ by the City of Wichita.

Throughout the consideration of this ordinance, the mayor has portrayed his motives as pure while at the same time, turning this debate in to a personal matter first by attacking fellow councilmembers for opting to slow down the process on this proposal. Second, by claiming that Family Policy Alliance of Kansas only opposes the ordinance because we are we are using it as a fundraising opportunity. Yet, he has done these things while also using the issue for political gamesmanship, political gain and political fundraising (for his own campaign).

The majority of you reading this email don’t live in Wichita so you may feel like this doesn’t affect you. But it does. Activists have already pushed this through city councils in many of Kansas’ larger cities over the objections of the citizens who live there. They are pushing for similar language at the state level as well. So, if you haven’t seen it in your community – you likely will.

It is very important that we understand what this redefinition and reorientation of our nondiscrimination laws mean for everyday Kansans. If you want to read more, you can reference several articles we wrote several years ago. We can’t allow activist to redefine the terms or be asleep when they try.

It’s time to step up Kansans!

Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy

As you may know the Wichita City Council voted 4-3 on Tuesday (July 6th) to allow a sexual orientation & gender identity nondiscriminatiom ordinance to move forward. These type ordinances have been used systemically across the nation as a sword against people of faith.

With the very narrow religious exemptions in the ordinance, people of faith will still be investigated & subjected to heavy fines simply for living out their faith no matter how kind or compassionate they may be.

Now the City Council is trying to slip the second vote through on the consent calendar without time for public comment.

We asked you yesterday to reach out to the Council to ask them to allow the public to continue to respectfully comment on this ordinance that will affect all of us.

Today, we have learned that they are denying any further public comment on this matter except for five people whom they have chosen to speak at the meeting next week.

We need you to call the Council to politely and respectfully let them know that this is unacceptable and that they must listen to voters in Wichita.

Here are their numbers:

Mayor Brandon Whipple– (316) 290-9447

District 1: Brandon Johnson – (316) 207-5843

District 2: Becky Tuttle – (316) 651-6099

District 3: Jared Cerullo – (316) 249-2941

District 4: Jeff Blubaugh – (316) 640-0656

District 5: Bryan Frye – (316) 258-3623

District 6: Cindy Claycomb – (316) 444-0087

As a reminder, we will meet for prayer again before the City Council meeting at 730 am, July 13th at City Hall.

Please let your pastor & your friends know about what is happening in Wichita. (Also visit us on FaceBook to share our posts on this issue with your friends.)

Sincerely,

Jeff Bennett
Executive Director

 

June is Pride Month, a time when many who identify as LGBT will spend this month celebrating that identity. As Christians, we are saddened by the celebrations of this month, because not only do we know that Pride Month is a celebration of sin, but we also know that we will never be free until we find our identity, salvation, and hope in Jesus Christ.

Yet, that very realization makes Pride Month an incredible opportunity for prayer and for the Gospel to go forth.

So today, at the beginning of June, I want to share two things with you: an answer to your questions on this topic, and a prayer for our LGBT neighbors.

Answering Your Questions

First off, an exciting announcement: we are pleased to announce that we’re launching a new video series! Ask Meridian is an opportunity for you to send us your questions – and get answers! Last month, we kicked off this initiative by asking you to send us the family policy questions you’ve always wanted someone to answer. Among the many submissions were questions asking how you could express your views on sexuality in a loving way.

We know this can be a challenging conversation to approach.

So, today, we are pleased to release to you the first video in the series: How to Love Your LGBT Neighbor. In this video, I share when and how to talk about our views on sexuality with friends and family who identify as LGBT. We hope you find this helpful!

Click here to watch:

Have a question for a future Ask Meridian episode? Send us an email at mail@familypolicyalliance.com!

A Prayer for Our LGBT Neighbors

This month, will you join me in this prayer?

Lord, in this month our hearts are heavy for those who identify as LGBT. Your Word is clear about both sin and salvation – and our own consciences testify to this truth – yet so many live with the hope that they will find their “true self” or even their worldly salvation in a broken identity.

So this month, we lift up this challenging issue before you.

For those within the walls of the church who may claim the identity of LGBT, we pray for the work of your Holy Spirit and of the Church to call those in sin to repentance.

For those Christians who continue to struggle in this area, and yet who choose faithfulness to your Word, we pray for great faith and encouragement.

For those who are uncertain about their fearfully and wonderfully made bodies, we pray for peace and confidence that you did not make a mistake – that they were not born in the wrong body.

For children who are hearing messages that make them question their own sexuality, we pray for protection over their minds and hearts.

For all those who identify as LGBT, or who are struggling with their sexual identity in another way, we pray that they would find the joy and freedom that only comes from following you as Lord. We pray that their hearts would be opened to see sin for what it is – and to see the joy of your salvation as greater.

For those in ministry to our LGBT neighbors, we pray for the strength to speak the truth in love – and more than anything, to make your Gospel known in the words they say and in the way they live.

For those of us with LGBT friends and family, we pray for great love and great discernment.

For each of us, we pray the hard prayer for conviction of our own sin and for freedom in repentance. We pray that our first priority – in our own hearts and in our conversations – would always be the magnification of Christ. We pray that our identities would not be rooted first in our work, our sexuality, or even our families, but that we could say as Paul that for us, to live is Christ. May our identity, our security, our salvation be ever fixed to you – and may that be first in our hearts and in our words.

Lord, this month we pray that as we speak the truth, the manner in which we speak it would be such that we are known by our love.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

I hope you’ll join me in that prayer this month, and that the Lord will give you wisdom if you have opportunities to speak into the lives of LGBT neighbors.

Sincerely,

Meridian Baldacci
Policy and Communications Strategist

In recent years, the far Left has been pushing radical policies in local school districts. This agenda forces girls to share locker rooms with boys, allows boys to steal sports opportunities from girls, and forces children to learn about gender ideology at a young age.

Now, the U.S. Department of Education is working to do the same thing- nationwide.

But you can help STOP THIS.

Similar to a local virtual school board hearing, on June 7-11 the President Biden’s Department of Education will be hosting a public hearing about incorporating “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in national education policies. These policies will force girls to share locker rooms and showers with boys, impact girls’ sports opportunities, and punish those who disagree.

You can weigh in at this “national school board meeting” and tell the Department of Education you STRONGLY OPPOSE ANY CHANGES in their education policies that redefine “sex” to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” Biden’s Education Department has no place attempting to implement this radical agenda into every local school district in the country.

Click here to submit your comment NOW! We’ve provided some comments for you to use, but the more personalized you can make your comments, the better!

Thank you for using your voice to protect children!

You can also sign up to speak for 3 minutes and tell the Department of Education to STOP their implementation of these radical and dangerous policies that violate children’s privacy, steal girls’ sports, and implement radical ideologies in schools.

REGISTER TO SPEAK HERE.

Please note:

Don’t want to speak? No worries – simply submit your written comments here to make sure the Department of Education hears your voice!

For our children,

Nicole Hudgens
Government Affairs

Barronelle Stutzman, great grandmother and Washington State florist, was prosecuted and could lose everything, simply for declining to create custom flower arrangements for a same-sex wedding. A similar law is about to be voted on in Columbus, and your action is needed.

 

Columbus is neighborly and welcoming – a great place to raise a family and to live out your faith. It’s right in the heart of our state and shouldn’t remind anyone of radical cities like New York and San Francisco.

But now, some legislators are pushing an amendment that would punish people for their ideas and beliefs. This is a battle that needs the attention of all Columbus residents. A vote is being taken on Tuesday, May 11tgh, so action is needed today!

The Georgia Non-discrimination Ordinance is known as a SOGI law because it offers special protections for “sexual orientation and gender identity” classes. This directly attacks the rights of Columbus citizens – or anyone traveling through Columbus – ranging from the Christian business owner whose faith will be discriminated against to the young girl who simply wishes to use a restroom for females only. That’s right, this SOGI requires local businesses to allow biological males to use the same restrooms as the daughters in Columbus!

Do you remember Jack Phillips? He is the Colorado baker who recently won a Supreme Court case, after being prosecuted under a SOGI law for declining to bake a cake celebrating a same-sex wedding.

Do you remember Barronelle Stutzman? She is the florist in Washington State (pictured above) who is also being prosecuted under SOGI laws for declining to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding. She, like Jack, is at grave risk of losing her home and business from fines and legal costs.

Over and over again, SOGI laws have been the leading tool used by the Left to attack religious freedom. And the gender identity component puts the privacy and safety of women and girls at risk by opening women’s bathrooms, showers, dressing rooms and other public accommodations to men.

This bill will be heard by the Columbus City Council on Tuesday, May 11th. You can send a message to each of the council members – urging them to vote NO – with just a click on our Action Center.

Please also take a moment to call Mayor Skip Henderson at (706) 225-4712 and politely ask him to OPPOSE the Georgia Non-discrimination Ordinance.

Please make your voice heard for freedom! Thanks for taking action and spreading the word!


Cole Muzio
President and Executive Director

 

 

Last week, we got the news. The dangerous “Equality Act” – the biggest current threat to freedom and the sanctity of life – has been put on the fast track in the U.S. Senate!

That makes it all the more urgent that we move our mobilization into full throttle ASAP.

We are mobilizing in nine states with swing senators who are most likely to decide whether this scheme passes the Senate – and then goes to President Biden for his promised signature.

With Democrats now in charge of the Senate – and some Republicans having supported the same bill in the past – the situation is urgent.

Will you help us turn up the heat on the Senate with your donation?

Let me encourage you. Despite the grim situation, there is hope! Just look at what happened in the House with your help.

Yes, the so-called “Equality Act” passed the House as expected, but the real story is what happened behind the scenes. With your help, we mobilized citizens in the districts of House Republicans who had voted for it in the past. Two of the five representatives changed their position and voted against it!

On top of that, the explosion of grassroots opposition that you made possible is simply phenomenal. For example, your support helped us put together an online rally that, in just days, gathered thousands of live viewers – and brought together a Who’s Who in a diverse coalition working to stop this.

And the Promise to America’s Children – the policy and parental statement we developed in partnership with The Heritage Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom – has reached hundreds of thousands of Americans with a message pushing back on the “Equality Act.”

Will you help us ramp up even more to defeat this scheme in the Senate? Your gift of support is needed – not just for general pressure on the Senate – but specifically to reach and mobilize tens of thousands of citizens in the states of certain senators who could decide the outcome. It worked in the House. Now it’s urgently needed in the Senate!

So much is on the line, it’s hard to overstate the threat the Equality Act poses to:

Thank you for helping us build momentum against the Equality Act to this point! We couldn’t have done it without you. And now – as we head into the thick of the battle – we need you more than ever.

As God has enabled you, will you join in the action with your gift today?


Craig DeRoche
President & CEO

P.S. The news that the Equality Act is on a “fast track” in the Senate is grim. But there is truly hope! Your gift will help build the public momentum against it and mobilize citizens in the states with swing-vote senators. Thank you for your gift to make it possible!

Just a little while ago, the U.S. House voted 224-206 to pass H.R. 5, the deceptively named bill that is actually the biggest current threat to freedom and the sanctity of life.

What now?

In some ways, this is where the battle really begins.

It was always a longshot to stop the so-called “Equality Act” in Nancy Pelosi’s House, yet it was critical that you and I engage there. And together, we sent a reverberating “shot across the bow” of politicians in both parties who would cater to this dangerous agenda.

All of this gives great momentum as this battle now shifts to the U.S. Senate. After all, this is where the fate of the Equality Act will be decided, as President Biden has already declared that passing it is his #1 priority.

Will you help us ramp up even more to defeat this scheme in the Senate? Your gift of support is needed – not just for general pressure on the Senate – but specifically to reach and mobilize citizens in the states of certain senators who could decide the outcome. It worked in the House. Now it’s urgently needed in the Senate!

So much is on the line, it’s hard to overstate:

Thank you for helping us build momentum against the Equality Act to this point! We couldn’t have done it without you. And now – as we head into the thick of the battle – we need you more than ever.

As God has enabled you, will you join in the action with your gift today?


Craig DeRoche
President and CEO

 

P.S. Today’s outcome in the House was virtually certain, but the battle to stop the dangerous Equality Act could go either way in the Senate. Your gift will help build the public momentum against it and mobilize citizens in the states with swing-vote senators. Thank you for your gift to make it possible!

Dear Friends,

Late last week, I contacted you to make urgent phone calls to your state senator and twelve key senators to vote NO on S1512. This bill, if it becomes law, would create a “state approved textbook database” and would restrict school boards from purchasing textbooks from any vendor of their choice. They would be legally required to purchase textbooks from companies that publish LGBTQ inclusive material.

Legislative offices were overwhelmed by your calls on Friday and Monday. Staff members communicated to many callers how they had received hundreds of calls within hours! In response to this widespread objection from concerned parents and residents, the bill was pulled from the legislative calendar.

They did not have enough votes to pass it!

I also contacted each senator to let them know their vote would be tracked and used in our voter guide for their 2021 reelection efforts next year. Why? Because I believe school board members and parents in the community should decide which textbooks to purchase, not state bureaucrats empowered by the legislature to remove local control from public education.

By the grace of God, the bill did not pass today but we must remain vigilant and watchful for the next time it may arise.

Thank you for making NJ better,

Shawn Hyland
Director of Advocacy

Together we’ve been pushing back against a statewide sexual orientation and gender identity law (SOGI) for roughly a decade in Kansas. And together we’ve defeated these efforts time and time again.

But last week, quietly, the Human Rights Commission reinterpreted our Kansas law under the guise of an improperly applied Supreme Court ruling to do what they could not get done otherwise – they created their own sexual orientation and gender identity law. These are the laws that have been used systematically across the country to silence people of faith, like Colorado cake baker Jack Phillips, or anyone who might take a contrary view.

This unilateral decision by the Commission proports to apply a recent Supreme Court ruling, Bostock v. Clayton County, to our Kansas law. Bostock reinterpreted the word “sex” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sexual orientation and gender identity, strictly for hiring and firing of employees. However, a Supreme Court ruling of this nature is not binding on our Kansas civil rights law. Though the wording may be similar, courts in Kansas are free to interpret them differently. The Bostock ruling also only applied to U.S. employers with 15 or more employees.

In fact, the ruling refused to address any other issues – including employment related issues like sex-segregated bathrooms. The employers who were being sued stated their concern that reinterpreting Title VII would affect other sections of the code or state laws. However, Justice Gorsuch specifically brushed these fears aside, noting that would not be the case.

Turns out they weren’t unfounded fears.

They’ve already become reality through several lawsuits across the country. And now they are materializing in our state.

How does this happen and what can we do?

The Human Rights Commission is an unelected commission, appointed by the governor. There is very little oversight over this Commission. Commissions like this have been used in Washington state and Colorado to not just investigate people of faith, but to target and destroy the livelihood of any who might disagree with the commission’s agenda.

The Kansas Commission’s decision to not alert the public to what they were discussing, to misapply federal caselaw, and to only alert legislators and LGBT activists that agreed with their decision does NOT give us confidence that they will fairly apply this new law they’ve created. These same tactics have been used to silence and coerce approved beliefs and speech by similar commissions all across the country.

They knew that the likelihood of actually enacting this legislation constitutionally, in the light of day, was shrinking as every Republican legislator who co-signed the SOGI legislation last session was defeated in the August Primary. Instead, the Commission chose to violate the trust of the people of Kansas and force their political agenda on us.

The Attorney General and our legislators do have some ability to keep this Commission in check.

Would you send the Attorney General and your state legislators a note encouraging them to hold the Commission accountable?

It’s easy in our Action Center.

We will continue to keep you informed on our efforts to roll back this disastrous decision and to keep the Commission in check. It is more imperative than ever that we work together to protect religious freedom and families in our state as the Left will do whatever it takes to covertly impose their agenda on Kansans.

For families and religious freedom,

Brittany Jones
Director of Advocacy

P.S. If you would like to help us push back against the efforts to undermine families, religious freedom, and free speech in Kansas, please, consider a generous donation to Family Policy Alliance of Kansas today!

This week the majority of the Supreme Court issued a narrow ruling on employment discrimination. In Bostock v. Clayton County, a majority of the Supreme Court took action to re-write the country’s nondiscrimination law, effectively including transgender status in the scope of “sex discrimination”. The Court’s overreach caused Justice Samuel Alito to remark, “[a] more brazen abuse of [the Court’s] authority to interpret statutes is hard to recall.”

Many are asking what this means for the religious freedom of business owners in particular.

The Facts

In Bostock, the Court looked at three separate employment cases where an employee had been fired who claimed an LGBTQ+ identity. The majority of the Court found that it is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to fire someone because they are gay or transgender.

The Court did this not by saying that a male-to-female individual is a woman, but rather that their sex played into the firing decision and that “homosexuality and transgender status are inextricably bound up with sex.” But what the majority failed to recogize is that for this to be true, we actually have to know what “sex” is.

This means that the Court’s ruling requires that the term “sex” be redefined – a step that Congress has declined to take for decade. The Court, in Justice Gorsuch’s opinion paid lip service to textualism, but then, as Justice Alito so aptly stated, changed its flag like a pirate ship and proceeded to force the matter by legislating where Congress had chosen not to. Justice Alito noted in his dissent, “[i]f the Court finds it appropriate to adopt this the­ory, it should own up to what it is doing.”

What this means for businesses?

This creates a very difficult dynamic for employers, especially those who are seeking to run their businesses from a biblical perspective. People should be treated fairly and with dignity by their employers, however there are some situations where it is inappropriate to force an employer to retain an employee who violates an established company policy. In this case, the court has effectively forced Harris Funeral Home (one of the defendants) to employ a man who dresses in a skirt, high heels, and lipstick while interacting with grieving families.

Normally, when a Legislative body implements a law, as citizens, we can respond to their decision by voting at the next election giving us a say in how we are governed. The Legislative body is closest to the people and where these decisions belong.

This week, the Court usurped Congress to act as a legislative body, creating law giving business owners , like me, the choice of complying or potentially losing their livelihoods. In addition to all the other regulations business faces, a business owner can now look forward to confronting regulation of his very religious beliefs.

While this ruling is disheartening for all those who fight for religious freedom and for the consistency of our laws, this ruling was not a death blow.

Just like legislative action at the federal and state levels on abortion and religious freedom following Roe v. Wade and other court cases, the ongoing work continues in efforts to defend religious freedom along with a myriad of other freedoms this ruling put in jeopardy.

This decision does not get the final word on this topic and we will continue to work to protect the God given dignity of every Kansans to live out their faith.

Sincerely,

Jeff Bennett
Executive Director