Deputy Director Rita Dunaway
has been on the front lines with the Forum from the very beginning in 2003 when she
husband Scott helped lead the drive against sexually oriented businesses in Harrisonburg that eventually led to a new city ordinance in 2005 which limited the time, manner, and place of such operations.
It was also Rita
who led the drive in 2006 to force Cargill
to reinstate Luis Padilla after they had fired him for supporting the one-man, one-woman marriage referendum in Virginia
In recognition of her
outstanding leadership, the Forum granted Rita
its very first annual William Wilberforce Award in 2010.
But the list of her
remarkable achievements continued to grow.
It was Rita
who drafted and then led the drive for passage of a landmark pro-life bill in the Virginia General Assembly in 2012.
She has frequently defended the First Amendment rights of street preachers; personally argued before the Ohio Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling against a science teacher who had been fired for encouraging his students to examine critically the competing theories of evolution and intelligent design; and submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in a successful effort to defend the freedom to pray before official meetings.
She also led the public outcry against the Tilted Kilt in the Valley Mall; developed a case for impeaching Virginia's Attorney General for failing to defend Virginia's marriage law; and helped urge Eastern Mennonite University to maintain its hiring policy that recognizes marriage as between only one man and one woman.
Rita graduated summa cum laude from WVA University and then cum laude from Washington and Lee University School of Law.
Following several years as a full-time staff attorney with The Rutherford Institute in Charlottesville, Rita became Vice President for Public Policy with the Virginia Christian Alliance in Richmond and later a leading advocate for the Convention of States initiative.
lives in Harrisonburg with husband Scott and their two children.