Christian Family Coalition Descends on Capital, Opposes Sharia Law and Defends Right to Life
Around the State
“We're promoting respect: respect for life, respect for American law, respect for marriage,” Christian Family Coalition (CFC) executive director Anthony Verdugo told attendees of the annual Florida Leadership Breakfast Thursday morning at Tallahassee's Civic Center, on why the sticker-badges they were wearing were marked with the word RESPECT. “We are the true human rights organization; we are the true social justice organization.”
The Coalition, which claims to represent about 5,000 citizens, mostly from Miami-Dade County, is spending the next couple of days encouraging legislators to support HB 1129/SB 1636 (“Infants Born Alive”) and HB 351/SB 58 (“Application of Foreign Law in Certain Cases”).
HB 1129, sponsored by freshman Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, would require doctors to provide reasonable medical treatment and health care to infants born alive during a botched abortion procedure. The bill unanimously passed the House Health and Human Services Committee later Thursday morning, and now heads to the full House floor for a vote.
HB 351 prohibits the application of “any foreign law, legal code, or system” in family law courts, if that foreign legislation runs afoul of U.S. constitutional protections and principles. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha, is commonly referred to as an “Anti-Sharia Bill.” It's modeled after legislation crafted by conservative activists who claim Islamic law, which discriminates against women and non-Muslims, is stealthily encroaching upon the American judicial system.
“This is not a blanket ban” on parties using foreign law to arbitrate their disputes, Metz insisted to attendees. “This is about family law procedures in the state of Florida, and it tells courts to use the Constitution as a filter through which that law can be applied.”
Metz explained that while his bill does not change the substance of Florida law – which is already established through “decades, if not centuries,” of court precedent – it does provide clarification for judges arbitrating family law disputes.
“The existence of religious freedom in our country does not justify or require the application of constitutionally-offensive foreign laws,” he said. “If you're coming to this country, you should have the expectation that your disputes are going to be settled according to the principles of American law.”
The bill's already made its way to the House floor; its Senate companion has one more committee stop in Children, Families, and Elder Affairs, where it is expected to fight an uphill battle for approval.
The breakfast was attended by several legislators, including Metz, Hays, and Reps. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach; Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala; Ross Spano, R-Dover; Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton; and Jose Diaz, R-Miami.
House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Destin, were also scheduled to attend, but had to bow out at the last minute, Gaetz purportedly because of sickness. Weatherford was represented by Baxley.
“I want to thank you for being brave enough to stand up for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” Hays, who's sponsoring the Senate companion to Metz's bill, told the audience, to shouts of religious acclamation. “Contrary to popular belief, He is not a stranger in the Capitol.”
“God has implanted people all over [the Capitol] to bring His truth and light. We are not alone; He's still in charge,” Baxley, an executive director of the Christian Coalition of Florida, told the crowd, during what amounted to a 10-minute sermon. “[God] has given us this precious gift called self-government, and He has raised up leaders like Speaker Weatherford, [whose] task for you is that you pray for us.”
Reach Eric Giunta at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (954) 235-9116.