Editor’s note: This guest post is byÂ Sean Carlson of the Family Equality Council.
The big scene in Washington this weekend was the much-threatened Government shut down. Billed as a showdown over budget and government spending, the political fireworks focused on social issues, with battle lines drawn over the health of women and low-income families.
Meanwhile, across the river from the high drama on Capitol Hill, a potentially game changing set of adoption regulations for the Virginia foster care system is in trouble.
In 2009, under then-Governor Tim Kaine, new regulations were proposed to prevent child welfare agencies from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. These regulations have been considered carefully for over a year by the State Board of Social Services and were close to passing when a recent period of public comment brought the issue to media attention.
Now one man, current GOP Governor Bob McDonnell, has decided to stand in the way of ending this discrimination. Governor McDonnell recently indicated that he opposes the regulations,Â saying,Â â€œI donâ€™t think we ought to force Catholic Charities to make that part of their policy or other similar situated groups. Many of our adoption agencies are faith-based groups that ought to be able to establish what their own policies are.â€
What the Governor either doesnâ€™t know, or is choosing to ignore for the sake of his politics, is that Virginiaâ€™s foster care system is in dire need of adoptive families. There are currently more than 6,000 kids in the Virginia foster care system, over 1,500 of whom are ready and waiting for adoption. More thanÂ 45% of the youth in the Virgina foster care system go through three or more foster placements and currentlyÂ 32% turn 18 and are forced to leave foster care without ever finding a permanent home.
Even on its ownÂ website the State of Virginia admits, â€œa supply of parents who are ready to adopt is a significant factor affecting adoption ratesâ€¦â€ Given the desperate need for qualified adoptive parents in Virginia, why would the Governor possibly consider continuing to limit the number of potential homes?
The reality is that the only obligation the State, specifically Governor McDonnell and the State Board of Social Services, has is to act in the best interest of the child. Since nearly every major child welfare organization and over 30 years of scientific research overwhelmingly confirm that children raised in gay and lesbian households turn out just fine, what possible reason could the Governor have not to support these regulations?
He could do the right thing for the children in his care, but instead he is allowing politics to dictate state policy instead of the best interests of youth in foster care. That is unacceptable.
The State Board of Social Services meets on April 16. The Governor has until then to object to the proposals. We have launched anÂ online petition to ask the Governor not to stand against the proposals and to allow all of Virginiaâ€™s children to find loving homes.
Weâ€™ve only got one week toÂ convince Gov. McDonnell to do the right thing.
Update: Family Equality Council has just released a new video:
Sean Carlson (photo) is the New Media Associate at the Family Equality Council. Family Equality Council is America’s foremost advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender family equality. Family Equality Council represents the one million LGBT families raising two million children in the United States and is working to ensure full social and legal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families.
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
‘When Was Your Most Recent Period?’: Student Athletes in Florida May Be Required to Share Menstrual History
For the past two decades teenaged women participating in Florida high school athletics have been asked to submit their menstrual history, including the date of their first period, the date of their last period, and how many periods they have had in the last 12 months. The board of directors of the Florida High School Athletic Association, the organization in charge of coordinating high school athletics in the Sunshine State, will debate later this month if they will make divulging that information mandatory for participating in sports. According to the FHSAA website that board is comprised of 14 men and two women. Not one is a physician or medical professional.
Critics are voicing concerns over a variety of issues, including the right to privacy, the need for the highly personal medical information, who has access to it, how it is stored, and how it could be used against the students, including to determine possible pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, or if the athlete is transgender.
“Many parents and doctors are worried that schools will use the menstrual data to monitor students for late or missed periods, a possible sign of pregnancy, or to out transgender students by watching for girls who don’t get periods or boys who do,” The New Republic reports, calling it “a terrifying glimpse of our dystopian post-Roe world.”
The three-page form, called the Preparticipation Physical Evaluation, asks:
“When was your first menstrual period?” “When was your most recent menstrual period? “How much time do you usually have from the start of one period to the start of another?” “How many periods have you had in the last year? and “What was the longest time between periods in the last year?”
A draft form slightly alters the questions, asking instead, “Have you had a menstrual period?” and “How old were you when you had your first menstrual period?” in addition to the other three questions.
While it currently states answering is optional, at the end of this month those questions could become mandatory, although the reason for the possible change has not been disclosed.
Because the information is not being given by the athletes to a physician or other medical professional or organization, the information is not subject to HIPAA regulations. And in some school districts the inform action is stored on a third-party platform, possibly exposing it to other entities.
“This is clearly an effort to further stigmatize and demonize transgender people in sports [and] meant to further exclude people who aren’t assigned female at birth in girls sports,” the president of PRISM, a South Florida nonprofit organization that provides sexual health information to LGBTQ+ youth, Maxx Fenning, told The Tampa Bay Times. “Beyond that, I think there’s concern among LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ [students] alike. This is an extremely invasive mode of gleaning into someone’s reproductive history, which is especially dangerous in this post-Roe world we live in.”
TIME adds that critics “have noted that this policy would be a major challenge for transgender athletes who may have to out themselves with their responses to the questions. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis approved a bill last year—which is currently under legal fire—that bans transgender female students from playing on women and girls’ sports teams.”
According to the fan-checking site Snopes, “these written forms with students’ medical information are submitted to school officials, contrary to a number of other states where only a doctor’s signature is required to clear an athlete for play.”
Snopes adds that “concerns grew as many states worked to criminalize abortions after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and transgender athletes faced scrutiny. In Florida, abortions are banned after 15 weeks, with only a few exceptions.”
“Any forms (physical or digital) could be subpoenaed. Meanwhile, in Palm Beach County, nearly all athlete-registration forms moved online, which meant reproductive data for athletes was being stored by a third-party software company called Aktivate. Other counties were also planning to digitize their forms.”
Last October NBC News reported that an Aktivate spokesperson said a student’s information could be removed but only with parental and school district consent.
Image via Shutterstock
George Santos Says Man Interviewed for Staff Position ‘Violated’ His Trust After Secretly Recording Conversation
The freshman New York Republican lawmaker who is believed to be under multiple DOJ and local investigations, suggests the candidate handed the recordings over to Talking Points Memo, and says he expects an article will be published there Thursday evening, after the news site contacted his office.
“According to Santos, his office had been in the process of hiring Derek Myers for a position, but paused when they saw he faces wiretapping charges in Ohio after publishing recorded court testimony — obtained from a source, he said — as part of a story for a small newspaper,” Semafor reports. “FIRE, a nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to First Amendment issues, has defended Myers, arguing local authorities in the state were criminalizing legitimate journalism.”
“While they said they expect the audio will just show them questioning him about his specific circumstances, it’s unknown if he recorded other exchanges.”
Regardless, Santos is taking action.
The GOP congressman accursed of deceiving his constituents with countlessly false claims that helped get him elected, says he is going to report Myers to the Biden administration, claiming he has a White House press pass.
Santos says he wants Myers’ White House press pass to be revoked, after Myers, the congressman says, claimed to have one.
“He should have that revoked if it’s true, if it’s even remotely true he has it,” Santos told Semafor.
It’s not known if Myers does, and if so it’s unlikely it’s a permanent hard pass. It’s also unlikely it would be revoked if Myers did not break the law.
Semafor adds in Washington, D.C. it is legal to record your own conversation with another party without obtaining their consent.
‘They’re Not Taking My Gas Stove’: Joe Manchin Teams Up With Hard Core Republicans to Promote False Claims
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is again promoting the false claim that the federal government is planning to remove gas stoves from private homes, after news last month revealed once more the open-flame appliances are responsible for hundreds of thousands of cases of children’s asthma.
“They’re not taking my gas stove out,” said Manchin, who has made millions from coal and protects his state – which ranks in the top five for production of natural gas – at every turn.
Manchin, a rare breed of conservative Democrat, announced in a Senate hearing on Thursday that he is teaming up with Republican Senators Ted Cruz and James Lankford to fuel the unfounded fears of the federal government coming to rip gas stoves out of Americans’ homes – fears promoted by the right.
“Gas stoves have been in the news lately and I’ve come out strongly against the Consumer Product Safety Commission pursuing any ban of gas stoves,” Manchin declared, despite there being no possibility of that. “In fact, I’m introducing legislation today with Senator Cruz that would ensure that they don’t and separately sending a letter to the commission with Senator Lankford.”
“I’ve always been a proponent of energy efficiency,” Manchin continued, “but the draft proposes efficiency levels that DOE [Dept. of Energy] says at the highest level, up to 96% of gas stoves don’t currently meet. I don’t like where I think they’re going with this and I tell you one thing, they’re not taking my gas stove put. My wife and I would both be upset.”
Manchin went on the claim the Biden administration is “looking to find ways to push out natural gas.”
And he warned the feds to stay out of his kitchen.
“Like I said before,” Manchin declared, “the federal government doesn’t have any business telling American families how to cook their dinner.”
The federal government does have a responsibility, by law, to warn Americans of health and safety issues in their homes. For decades it has been doing just that.
But the West Virginia Senator went even further, stating: “retrofitting or removing stoves that people have had for years is not going to happen.”
Manchin isn’t just blowing smoke – he has a lot at stake in the “gas stove war.”
“West Virginia is the fourth-largest producer of marketed natural gas in the nation,” according to a federal government December report.
“At every step of his political career, Joe Manchin helped a West Virginia power plant that is the sole customer of his private coal business. Along the way, he blocked ambitious climate action,” The New York Times reported last year. It called the West Virginia Democrat “the single most important figure shaping the nation’s energy and climate policy.”
Watch Sen. Manchin below or at this link.
“They’re not taking my gas stove out!” pic.twitter.com/P4zFGC6Kqp
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 2, 2023
- COMMENTARY3 days ago
Another SCOTUS Scandal: Chief Justice’s Spouse Makes Millions Placing Attorneys at Top Law Firms That Argue Before the Court
- COMMENTARY2 days ago
Trump Vows to Use DOJ and Congress to Make Being Transgender Illegal While Promoting the ‘Nuclear Family’
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM21 hours ago
‘Absolutely Repulsive’: Some House Republicans Are Now Wearing an Assault Weapon Lapel Pin
- News24 hours ago
Kyle Rittenhouse to Face Wrongful Death Lawsuit After 100-Hour Hunt to Find Him
- News3 days ago
Stefanik Was Once ‘Laser Focused on Electing Santos’ – Now She Blames Voters for Electing Him as She Backs Away
- News3 days ago
Santos Campaign Can No Longer Raise or Spend Money After Treasurer Officially Calls It Quits: NYT
- News2 days ago
Watch: Angry, Santos Reacts to News DOJ is Investigating His Alleged ‘Ghosting’ With $3000 Raised for Veteran’s Dying Dog
- RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM2 days ago
Watch: Kevin McCarthy Leads Over a Dozen Republicans in Prayer at Event Co-Sponsored by Five Anti-LGBTQ Hate Groups