In July of 2020, the Commonwealth of Virginia enacted the Virginia Values Act, which forces nonprofit ministries to abandon their core convictions or face fines up to $100,000 for each violation.
Here is a snapshot of the impact of the law:
This kind of blatant discrimination against religious organizations is unconstitutional, and it has no place in Virginia or any other state.
Two churches, three schools, and a pregnancy center network filed a lawsuit to protect themselves from the harms imposed by this Virginia law. With the help of Alliance Defending Freedom, these religious organizations are defending their First Amendment freedoms in court.
But they do not have to be alone in their stand against unjust laws infringing on their religious freedom. We ask that you stand alongside them, requesting that this law not be enforced against them.
You can support these churches and ministries today.
We, the undersigned religious organizations and ministries, urge you to refuse to enforce the so-called Virginia Values Act in a way that would force Virginians of faith to violate their consciences. Applying this new law against faith-based entities is antithetical to the foundational belief in religious freedom that the Commonwealth was built upon.
Everyone should be free to live and work according to their beliefs without fear of unjust government punishment—regardless of whether those beliefs are religious. Our government should protect, not threaten, this freedom.
Each one of us operates as an organization with core beliefs that knit our staff and volunteers together. These same convictions drive us to serve our communities with a particular mission. We are proud to live by the words of Section 16 of the Virginia Constitution's Declaration of Rights, which declares: “it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other.”
The Act threatens to undermine the very mission that holds us together. It would force us to violate our central purpose by stripping us of our right to hire employees who agree with and live by our mission and core beliefs. That Act also prohibits us from using our facilities and ministering to the community in accordance with those beliefs. In doing so, it penalizes people of faith for trying to adhere to our own values.
The Commonwealth of Virginia should not be interfering with our ability to accomplish our charitable missions through shared religious beliefs—let alone targeting our views with hostility. The Virginia Constitution guarantees that such religious beliefs “can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force.” But if the Commonwealth insists on forcing us to choose between bankruptcy and our beliefs, our communities will suffer as we shutter our doors.
Freedom will suffer, too, if the “Virginia Values Act” is used as a weapon against our organizations and our values. Tolerance and respect for good‐faith differences are essential in a diverse society. We urge you to extend the same freedom to us that all Virginians are entitled to.