FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Concerned Women for America, West Virginia
Martinsburg, W. Va.,Today Betty DeHaven, Chapter Leader for Concerned Women for America, West Virginia, sent a formal request to West Virginia Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael requesting full disclosure of any and all documents and communications involving private meetings where the senator and LGBT activists groups discussed strategy to kill the Religious Freedom Act during the 2016 legislative session in Charleston.
Mrs. DeHaven is a grandmother and a self-identified concerned woman worried about the direction of our country. She is especially concerned about the safety of herself and other women and girls. This is a growing concern when using intimate areas like restrooms and locker rooms in light of recent activism by nine of West Virginia’s city councils to allow men into those areas where women and girls may be undressed.
Mrs. DeHaven recently joined other women of different ages and races as they spoke at Martinsburg’s city council meeting to oppose a city ordinance that would allow men into facilities like women’s restrooms.
The ordinances are billed as non-discrimination protections, but Mrs. DeHaven says, “Regardless of what your beliefs are about discrimination or the LGBT political movement, allowing males in areas where females are disrobed is an abandonment of common sense. It clearly jeopardizes women and girls, if not to outright assault then certainly to discomfort and possibly exposes things to little girls that they shouldn’t see.”
Even if a citizen objects to the ordinances business owners and some churches are forced to comply even if it violates their sincerely held beliefs. The ordinances create a cause of legal action, i.e. the likelihood that you will be sued if you object to that man you see watching a little girl who then follows her into her restroom. All he has to do is claim he identifies as non-male, then he can use the power of the state government to unjustly punish you if you refuse him entry, sometimes for hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and penalties.
Mrs. DeHaven said, “Because government’s first and primary job is public safety and last session’s proposed Religious Freedom Act would have restored some common sense protections. I was appalled that Senator Carmichael led the fight to reinforce those bathroom dangers. So today, I requested documentation, so that myself and other concerned West Virginia women may learn what kinds of interactions the senator has had with activist groups that are more concerned with their own political movement than they are with public safety.”
Included below is the Freedom of Information Act Request sent to Senator Carmichael’s email address and copied to his staff:
Concerned Women for America
April 18, 2016
West Virginia Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael
Dear Senator Carmichael:
Under the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act (29-B-1-1 et seq.), I am requesting digital copies of records that describe the official interactions and documented relationship between Senator Mitch Carmichael, his staff and the homosexual activist group, Fairness West Virginia and their lobbyists, specifically related to last session’s failed Religious Freedom Act HB4012. I am also requesting all similar records documenting the senator’s interactions with the activist group, Opportunity West Virginia and their lobbyists. That group billed itself as a business lobby but was funded by pro-LGBT interests and was formed in 2015, specifically to undermine HB4012. I believe public safety would be served by a full disclosure of these requested records and help me and other concerned women and girls to better understand Senator Carmichael’s efforts to defend a city’s choice to allow men into ladies’ rooms and little girls’ locker rooms.
The HB4012 legislation failed after Senator Carmichael influenced seven other Republican senators to join most Democrat senators and adopt a poison pill amendment. That amendment authored by Senator Cory Palumbo removed protective religious freedom language included in President Bill Clinton’s similar federal law (which was used as the model for HB4012.) The amendment then reinforced local city sexual orientation and gender identity ordinances that allow males into ladies’ rooms and little girls’ locker rooms under threat of legal action for any citizens who object. These records should also include any evidence of interactions about any earlier versions of the bill discussed by the senator in the lead up to the 2016 legislative session.
Records are requested for the dates beginning November 1, 2015 and ending March 14, 2016. I am requesting records including, but not limited to, the following types concerning HB4012 and its earlier 2016 versions:
- Records detailing the reason for the 15-day delay between the senate receiving the house-passed version on 2/12/2016 and the bill being taken up in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 2/27/2016
- Records documenting the senator’s 2/27/2016 vote on HB4012 in the Senate Judiciary Committee: Senator Carmichael joined with Democrats on the committee and voice voted to reinforce city ordinances that allow men in ladies’ rooms and little girls’ locker rooms under threat of legal action for those citizens who object. The majority of Republicans voted against Senator Carmichael and his effort to adopt that amendment failed
- Records documenting the senator’s 2/27/2016 vote on HB4012 in Senate Judiciary Committee: Senator Carmichael joined with Democrats on the committee and voice-voted to reject Senator Gaunch’s amendment that restored religious freedoms, and provided a fair hearing for any citizen threatened by state legal action, just for objecting to cities that allow men in ladies’ rooms and little girls’ locker rooms
- Records documenting the senator’s 3/1/2016 Senate floor vote on HB4012: Senator Carmichael voted on record to reject Senator Gaunch’s amendment that restored religious freedoms, and provided a fair hearing for any citizen threatened by state legal action, just for objecting to cities that allow men in ladies’ rooms and little girls’ locker rooms
- Records documenting the senator’s 3/1/2016 Senate floor appeal to his colleagues and Senator Carmichael’s vote for Senator Cory Palumbo’s amendment that abolished religious freedoms, and prevented a fair hearing for any citizen threatened by state legal action, just for objecting to cities that allow men in ladies’ rooms and little girls’ locker rooms
- Records documenting the senator’s 3/2/2016 senate floor vote to pass an amended HB4012: Senator Carmichael voted for this bill that then included Senator Cory Palumbo’s poison pill amendment. That amendment abolished President Clinton’s federal model language for religious freedoms that was in the bill version approved by the West Virginia House of Delegates 72-26. Senator Carmichael voted for this version,even though it prevented a fair hearing for any citizen threatened by state legal action,simply for objecting to cities that allow men in ladies’ rooms and little girls’ locker rooms
- Proposed legislation provided by Fairness West Virginia or Opportunity West Virginia to the senator’s office
- Proposed amendments to the House-passed Religious Freedom Act HB4012 by any opponents of the bill
- Calendar appointments with lobbyists or their agents opposing the bill
- Digital or hand-written notes by the senator or staff taken during any meetings concerning HB4012
- Email correspondence inbound and outbound between the senator and said lobbyists concerning HB4012
- Phone records inbound and outbound from or to the senator’s office or mobile phone concerning HB4012
- Text messages to or from said lobbyists concerning HB4012
- Senate Leadership Meeting Agendas including dates where HB4012 was listed or discussed
- Any Face Book or other social media posts by Senator Carmichael or staff referencing HB4012
West Virginia law states all fees should be waived, in that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest and will contribute significantly to the public’s understanding of the relationship between the senate majority leader and the homosexual activist groups, Fairness West Virginia and Opportunity West Virginia, specifically as it related to the defeat of The West Virginia Religious Freedom Act HB4012.
The West Virginia Freedom of Information Act requires that this request be addressed within five business days. Please contact me with information about when I may expect the requested documents.
If you refuse to provide these documents, notify me of the appeal procedures available to all citizens under West Virginia law.
Public safety first,
Concerned Women for America, West Virginia