West Virginia Religious Group Gives Up Gambling Fight
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After much consultation with their attorneys the West Virginia Family Foundation, a right wing conservative christian organization has decided not to file a federal lawsuit against the state to overturn its gambling laws.
Ray Lambert, president of the group said “Our attorneys have advised us we should not go forth with a federal lawsuit.”
The West Virginia Supreme Court refused to hear its case against the 2007 law by a 3-2 decision . The law in question grants counties with horse and dog tracks the ability to offer casino-style gambling if approved by voters.
Ohio and Hancock county voters have approved expanded gambling, while Jefferson county voters defeated the measure, Kanawha county will vote this Saturday. Early voting in Kanawha county was brisk as both sides of the bill have been getting out their supporters.
Lewisburg attorney Barry Bruce filed an extensive lawsuit in state court against the gambling legislation on behalf of the religious conservative group and after the loss in the state court, advised Lambert to withdraw the suit.
“They believe now that we would not be successful in federal court,” said Lambert, citing that research has shown that federal courts seldom intervene in state issues when voters rights or state finances are involved. “What’s more,” he said, “exhaustive research left the Family Foundation with little encouragement. We found that the laws we hoped we could use were not in place.”
Lambert believes the court delivered “a great injustice” when it refused to allow a hearing on their efforts. Lambert is considering the possibility of having a bill introduced into the state legislature in 2008 to void the act, but does not believe it would get anywhere.
“With the present makeup of our legislature, in my opinion, it would be a waste of time” said Lambert. “More conservatives need to be elected if our state has any hopes of coming out of the financial pit that we find ourselves in. Our liberal Legislature and governor have hung another millstone around the necks of West Virginians, who already are having a hard time making ends meet.”
True to their way of preaching, the foundation leader has tried to instill fear into its congregation by citing facts which are not in evidence and predicted that a plague of ill-effects such as suicides, broken homes child abuse and neglect will come about, all brought on by gambling addiction as a result of the new casino style games in the state.