November 5, 2015

Space City Eclipses Expectations!

Almost a year to the day after FRC’s “I Stand Sunday” event, Houston stood all right! With one voice, voters banded together, overpowered the mayor’s agenda, and took their city back. Proposition 1, the ordinance that would have punished free speech and forced a radical definition of sexuality on Houston’s most innocent, went down in flames [Tuesday] night, shocking the nation with a landslide 62-38% victory.

Almost a year to the day after FRC’s “I Stand Sunday” event, Houston stood all right! With one voice, voters banded together, overpowered the mayor’s agenda, and took their city back. Proposition 1, the ordinance that would have punished free speech and forced a radical definition of sexuality on Houston’s most innocent, went down in flames [Tuesday] night, shocking the nation with a landslide 62-38% victory.

It was a political rout few expected, including some of the effort’s biggest backers. “Stunned” was the subject line of the email from the Human Rights Campaign, an organization that sank more than $1 million into the mayor’s transgender push. In the end, no amount of money or celebrity endorsements could compete with the grassroots’ resolve. Conservatives may have been outspent (3-1!), but they weren’t outnumbered.

With a repeal movement more than a year in the making, churches and local citizen groups made up for the lack of dollars with hard work. After months of rallies, door-to-door campaigning, pastor networking, and coalition work, their determination paid off with a voter turnout twice the size of the last three elections! Despite all of the misinformation thrown Houston’s way, voters ultimately saw through the Left’s “tolerance” to the truth. Ads like Faith Family Freedom Fund’s, which were seen by more than 300,000 Houstonians, certainly helped.

“The supporters of this proposition brought in movie stars and elites from Washington, D.C. and Hollywood to try to force their twisted agenda on the good people of Texas,” said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R). “It didn’t work and advocates of this ridiculous proposal are on notice tonight that the voters of Houston will not stand for this kind of liberal nonsense.”

For most, the biggest storyline isn’t that the ordinance failed, but how badly it did. Turns out, most Americans don’t agree with Slate that “sex-segregated public restrooms are an outdated relic of Victorian paternalism.” The 24-point spread, just days after polling hinted at a tighter race, sent a powerful message about how out of touch these forces of political correctness are. Let this be a lesson to other cities that Americans will not stand by while a vocal minority tramples their religious freedom. With the eyes of the nation on Houston, voters were clear: they will not allow the government to flush away their money, and more importantly, their values.

For U.S. companies, who wrongly believed Proposition 1 was a political winner, a defeat of this magnitude should cause plenty of CEOs to reconsider their platforms. Big business was a big flop in Houston, where at least seven corporate heavyweights weighed in on the wrong side of religious liberty. Apple, BASF, Dell, Dow Co., General Electric, Hewlett Packard, and United Airlines by supporting the government’s effort to bludgeon men and women of faith.

And the irony of their involvement isn’t lost on most. “Once again, big business wants its freedom to operate according to its values, but wants to deny that freedom to others,” Ryan Anderson pointed out. As part of Proposition 1, local businesses would have been punished for holding natural views on sexuality — when in reality, they should have the same right to embrace those beliefs as corporate America does not to! Instead, companies are turning on their own and demanding conformity on an issue the people will decide with their own dollars. If consumers don’t like what a Houston employer stands for, they can shop elsewhere! That’s the beauty of the free market.

Meanwhile, the extreme Left may be humbled — but it’s far from resigned. Already, LGBT activists are regrouping for the next wave of attacks. As they do, Houston’s victory will be a rallying cry for every citizen who cherishes liberty. The democratic process, religious freedom, and free speech have won the day, but plenty of work lies ahead to safeguard these freedoms across the nation. At least now we know it can be done — together!

Social Insecurities Lead to Big Election Wins

If social issues are dead, you could have fooled U.S. voters. In [Tuesday’s] election, Houston wasn’t the only region to feel the enormous impact of issues like marriage and religious liberty. From Ohio to Virginia, the movement so often eulogized was once again the deciding factor in key votes on everything from marijuana to parental involvement.

Nowhere was the potency of social issues more evident than in the Kentucky governor’s race, where a trailing Matt Bevin (R) pulled off a surprise upset over Democrat Jack Conway, who paid mightily for refusing to defend the state’s marriage amendment as attorney general last year. Bevin, who was down in the polls as recently as last week, surged ahead on Tuesday’s ballots after making a point to highlight social issues. In Kentucky, home to the Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis controversy, the turning point for Bevin came when he made an intentional effort to defend the conscience rights of government officials.

In early September, reporters started picking up on the change in tone, noting that “Bev­in fired off a series of tweets Tues­day at­tack­ing Con­way for not stand­ing up for re­li­gious free­dom, and he held a rare con­fer­ence call with re­port­ers later that day to vig­or­ously de­fend Dav­is. Bev­in re­it­er­ated his sup­port for a plan that would ab­solve clerks from hav­ing their names ap­pear on mar­riage li­censes — a plan Con­way said he could sup­port.” On the campaign trail, both men said the issues people kept returning to were social — a deep concern for marriage and religious liberty, which outgoing Governor Steve Beshear (D) clearly didn’t share. When Bevin appeared to, voters rewarded him with a 52-44% victory.

In Virginia, a place that the president’s party hoped to make significant gains before 2016, voters rebuffed change and kept the state assembly and senate in GOP control — dealing a serious blow to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s (D) hopes of a radical new Commonwealth. Unfortunately for Fairfax County, where the school board is trying desperately to cover its tracks on a controversial new transgender policy, the movement to oust members made a couple of gains, but not enough to halt the district’s march.

The news was better in Ohio, where, to the surprise of most Buckeyes, a referendum to legalize recreational and medical marijuana failed miserably. By a 2-1 margin, Ohioans turned out to drub the pro-pot crowd, which spent upwards of $25 million on advertising. In the words of conservative Curt Steiner, “Never underestimate the wisdom of Ohio voters” — or any voters with the courage and the facts to make a difference.

Chicago Showers Locker Room Policy with Criticism

In one Chicago school, girls are getting a lesson in anatomy their parents never bargained for. In the latest chapter of madness at the Department of Education, the federal government is ordering Township High School to allow an adolescent boy full access of the girls’ locker room because he “feels” female. And by “full access,” we mean the ability to strip down in the company of young girls and parade around nude.

Using Title IX of the Civil Rights Act to justify this outrage, the DOE is forcing impressionable girls to experience the fear and discomfort of sharing facilities with a naked boy. Two years ago, when the issue first surfaced, the school district rejected the idea flat-out. Then, when the family filed a legal complaint, administrators tried to accommodate the teenager by hanging a curtain in the locker room where he could undress.

Even that was “too discriminatory.” One of the boy’s advocates, an LGBT activist at the ACLU, insisted that he was being grossly mistreated. “It’s not voluntary; it’s mandatory for her. It’s one thing to say to all the girls, ‘You can choose if you want some extra privacy,’ but it’s another thing to say, ‘You, and you alone, must use them.’ That sends a pretty strong signal to her that she’s not accepted and the district does not see her as a girl.”

Obviously, the district doesn’t see “her” as a girl, because he isn’t one! And now, as Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro points out, an entire 12,000-child student body is suffering for it. Under this administration, we’re operating under the tyranny of subjectivity — where all truth is relative. The culture now exists in a world of its own definition, untethered from reality — or even basic biology. “Science became the enemy, since it establishes provable truths; it had to be quashed and quelled,” Ben writes. “Language became the enemy, since definitions exclude people and things not covered by those definitions; it had to be perverted and hijacked.” But if, after the Houston victory, the government thinks parents will sit back and take this assault on common sense, believe us: they have another thing coming!

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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