Head over Tar Heels for Freedom

Barb Wire

Governor Pat McCrory hasn’t exactly been the most popular person in North Carolina after he took sides against religious liberty.

Last week, the governor stunned voters by vetoing a bill that would have shielded state officials from performing same-sex “weddings.” Taking a page out of Indiana’s book, McCrory capitulated to the voices of religious intolerance and rejected protections for people with strong religious beliefs.

Thankfully, the legislature refused to take no for an answer and overrode McCrory’s veto.

But if North Carolina was sending the governor a message, he didn’t get it. Despite all the outrage over his decision, the governor dug in his heels and proclaimed it a “disappointing day for the rule of law and the process of passing legislation in North Carolina.”

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The same leader who complained that elected officials should follow the law is now upset that they did! In a statement to reporters, he promised to “continue to stand up for conservative principles” (which will be a little difficult since, on this issue, he never started).

“While some people inside the beltline are focusing on symbolic issues,” he told USA Today, “I remain focused on the issues that are going to have the greatest impact on the next generation, such as creating jobs, building roads, strengthening education and improving our quality of life.”

Since when did religious liberty become “symbolic?” Was it before or after the founding fathers built the entire nation on it? If defending the First Amendment is just a nod to bygone days, then America is in much deeper trouble than anyone thought.

Luckily, Michigan’s governor seems to understand what Pat McCrory doesn’t: the significance of freedom. Like other states, the Wolverines are bracing themselves for the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling this month and are doing everything they can to safeguard people with natural marriage views.

If Solicitor General Donald Verilli was right, faith-based organizations are the single most vulnerable group in America if the justices rule wrongly. Concerned that religious nonprofits and charities might be the next target, Michigan is putting a hedge of conscience exemptions around adoption agencies in particular.

As we’ve witnessed in other places — like Illinois and D.C. — entities like Catholic Charities would rather close their doors than be forced to place children in homosexual homes.

Under the law that Governor Snyder signed yesterday, faith-based adoption groups would be exempt from those laws, as long as they refer parents to another agency. Although the Left kicked and screamed about the bill, the reality is that it merely extends the protections to religious groups that Michigan already gives to private agencies. And just because liberals call it “discrimination” doesn’t mean it is.

These are common-sense accommodations that would have been a non-story 10 years ago. As one GOP state senator pointed out, Michigan would be in a real jam without faith-based adoption charities. Already, half of the state’s $19 million adoption-services budget goes to adoption organizations with religious ties.

“If they close their doors,” state Senator Rick Jones said, “I don’t know what we’ll do with all the children. This is a real threat.” This law guarantees that the state “does not discriminate against social service agencies that serve the poor and vulnerable while providing foster care and adoption services to the general public,” explained Catholic Conference CEO Paul Long. Adoption is not — and should never be — about adults.

This is about giving children the best chance to succeed in life. And that means giving them a mom and a dad.


The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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