Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Parental Rights- Build the Bridge Now!

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July 9, 2013
Build the Bridge Now!

A few years ago Congress was criticized for earmarking millions of dollars for a “Bridge to Nowhere.” Yet it seems that when a bridge really is needed, they are slow to get the job done.

Today the Parental Rights Amendment (PRA) needs a bridge “across the aisle,” but Congress has been slow to respond.

Just this May, Nevada’s Democrat-led legislature passed SB314, a bill to preserve traditional parental rights under state law. Republican governor Brian Sandoval signed the measure on June 5. A similar measure was adopted by Virginia’s Republican-led legislature in March.

Meanwhile, resolutions calling on Congress to propose the PRA to the states for ratification have been adopted by legislatures led by Democrats in Louisiana and dominated by Republicans in South Dakota (both in 2010). Resolutions were adopted more recently in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Florida – the latter a solidly bi-partisan effort. A majority of each party – that is, a majority of Florida Republicans and a majority of Florida Democrats – supported its 2011 adoption.

And according to a Zogby poll in 2010, more than 90% of any party – Democrats, Republicans, or Independents – support the traditional right of parents to make decisions for their children.

Frankly, we remain baffled that Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate have yet to support the PRA1. At the state level, parental rights are not a partisan issue. So why should that be any different on Capitol Hill?

It is time to build the bridge. And this task is achievable.

Democrats have no reason to oppose the PRA, but they guess from the fact that all 55 current cosponsors are Republicans that their own party must be opposed; it looks like a partisan issue. Since they don’t know why that is any more than we do, they are hesitant to cross the line. But all it takes to change this are 2 or 3 brave congressmen who will look at the facts, consider the need, and sign on as cosponsors.

In other words, it only takes 2 or 3 to build the bridge. And once the bridge is built, more members from both parties can freely arrive at their destination as cosponsors of the PRA.

We have already been working behind the scenes on getting this bridge built. Today, I want to invite you to join us.

Action Items: Bridge Building

1. First, please call your congressman today and urge that they cosponsor the Parental Rights Amendment. You can find their contact information by clicking on your state at parentalrights.org/states. Then, if they are a Democrat, simply give them the following message in your own words:

I support the Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, HJRes. 50. I want to urge my congressman to sign on as a cosponsor. So far only Republicans are sponsoring this legislation, and I am tired of being left out. I want my congressman to support it, regardless of what party he is from. Democrats at the state level understand that this is not a partisan issue, and it shouldn’t fall prey to partisan politics in Washington, either. If Nevada’s Democratic legislature can pass a parental rights bill like they did last month, our Democrats in Congress can support this Parental Rights Amendment, too. Please contact Rep. Mark Meadows’ office to sign on. If my congressman has specific concerns or objections, I would like for him to reply in writing so that I can get those answered for him. Thank you.

If your congressman is a Republican, you might give them a message similar to this:

I support the Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, H.J.Res. 50. I want to urge my congressman to contact Rep. Mark Meadows and sign on as a cosponsor. And I would like to request a written response, especially if my congressman has questions or concerns. I would like the opportunity to get those answered for him so that he can sign on.

If your congressman has sponsored in the past, you might add:

I know Congressman ____ has sponsored this Amendment in the past, but I don’t understand why it is taking him so long to sign on now. Past support is not going to protect our parental rights. I need my congressman to continue to support this Amendment until it is adopted.

2. Call your senators and urge them to sponsor the Amendment as well. You can find their contact information through parentalrights.org/states, and give them a variant of the following message:

I want to encourage my senator to cosponsor the Parental Rights Amendment in the Senate. It is currently championed by Rep. Mark Meadows in the House as HJRes. 50, and I would like to see my senator champion the Senate version. If he would be interested, could he please contact Parentalrights.org to coordinate with them? Their number is 540-751-1247, and the person to speak to is Michael Ramey. (If your senator is a Democrat, you might add:) They are especially interested in a Democrat sponsor, to reflect the kind of bipartisan support parental rights already receive in the states. I would be very proud if my senator could provide that leadership.

(Note: We have already arranged a lead sponsor in the Senate, but we cannot yet go public with that name. We are encouraging would-be cosponsors to contact us directly.)

3. Build a bridge of your own – Visit your congressman in August.

Every year the Congress takes an August recess to make themselves available in their district. Make plans now to gather some friends, set an appointment with the local office, and go see your congressman and senators when they are home! You can find useful printouts at ParentalRights.org/documents to help you prepare for your visit (and to share with your lawmakers).

Once we build the bridge, we will not need to build it again. With your help, we can build that bridge today!


Michael Ramey
Director of Communications & Research

1 It should be noted that Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC) is the exception to this. McIntyre cosponsored the PRA as HJRes42 in the 111th Congress and we appreciate his past support.

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