Protecting Family Values

I believe my values are shared with most Mississippians. As a Southern Baptist, I am a strong supporter of Christian family values.  I do not support gay marriage and believe in the traditional definition of marriage. 

Wicker Fights for Religious Freedom

Government Must Respect Rights of Conscience

January 30, 2023

Religious freedom is a hallmark of our American way of life. Since our nation’s founding, we have been a safe haven for persecuted believers from all over the globe, inspiring other nations to follow our lead. As a U.S. Senator, I have fought to advance religious freedom at home and abroad, including for Christians who fled Afghanistan amid the Taliban takeover in 2021. In the coming days, I will co-chair the International Religious Freedom Summit in Washington to raise awareness of the challenges confronting faith communities worldwide. Unfortunately, religious freedom is also coming under attack here in America as left-wing government officials seek to impose their will on people of conscience.

Biden Continues Obama’s War on Religious Freedom

In 2011, President Obama declared war on religious freedom when his Administration tried to force religious schools, businesses, and even Catholic nuns to pay for abortion-inducing drugs in their health insurance plans. Subsequent judicial rulings made clear that the Administration had overreached. Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned business, sued the Obama Administration and eventually prevailed at the Supreme Court. Religious freedom later found a strong ally in the Trump Administration, but President Biden is now picking up where Mr. Obama left off, attempting to steamroll those who do not share his values.

During Mr. Biden’s first months in office, his Administration created a radical new policy on par with the Obama mandate. This policy required religious doctors and nurses to violate their consciences and medical judgment to perform life-altering “gender reassignment” surgeries on children – something that millions of Americans find appalling. Thankfully, the Administration was stopped when two federal courts blocked the policy. Yet there is no sign the President will let up in his attacks on people who wish to live out their faith freely.

Religious Freedom Threatened in Liberal States

Unfortunately, some states are showing just as much disregard for religious freedom as the President. In Ohio and Virginia, Christian teachers have been fired for refusing to use transgender pronouns in class. In Washington State, a florist was fined and forced to pay damages to a same-sex couple because she declined to provide flowers for their wedding, which she could not in good conscience support. Similarly, in Colorado, a Christian cake shop owner named Jack Phillips was sued multiple times by the state for declining to make custom cakes celebrating a same-sex wedding and a “gender transition.” He ultimately prevailed twice in court – once at the Supreme Court – but he is now being targeted a third time by state officials. Mr. Phillips summed it up well: “Colorado just seemed to be looking for opportunities to punish me for my faith.”

We should all take these threats to religious freedom seriously, and I have actively sought to use my influence as a U.S. Senator to defend this basic liberty. During the pandemic, I authored an amicus brief in federal court supporting the right of a Baptist church in Washington, D.C., to gather in person – and the church ultimately prevailed. I also recently signed an amicus brief supporting Lorie Smith, a Colorado web designer who recently went to the Supreme Court to defend her right to make websites only for weddings she can endorse. In addition, I pushed vigorously for a religious freedom amendment to a recent marriage bill in Congress. And I have voted to confirm hundreds of conservative judges in the Senate who are now on the front lines protecting our constitutional rights. I will always stand with those who defend one of our most sacred traditions and keep the right to religious freedom unimpeded.

Wicker Works to Save International Adoption

New Bill Would Bring More Orphans into Loving Homes

November 21, 2022

Eden was born into a dire situation. Like so many unwanted young girls in India, she was abandoned as an infant and left for dead. By the grace of God, she was rescued and taken to a local hospital for life-saving care. That same month, Robby and Jess Followell, a young couple in Clinton, Mississippi, felt led to pray for a young orphan in India who might one day become their daughter.

As it turned out, the child they had been praying for came to their attention through an adoption firm called Children of the World. They learned that Eden had suffered a rare condition in the womb that left her hands and feet malformed. Although doctors said she might never be able to walk, the Followells were not deterred. Moved by compassion, they completed a home study with New Beginnings, an adoption firm in Tupelo, and traveled to India to adopt Eden as their own. Once in America, Eden received surgery, leg braces, and physical therapy – and she defied the odds. She learned not only to walk, but also to run and to climb. And she received a constant playmate and companion in her older sister, Meg.

Today, Eden is nine years old and thriving. She is one of more than 150,000 children adopted from overseas who today are growing up in American homes. Unfortunately, her story is increasingly rare.

Red Tape Makes Adoption More Difficult

In recent years, red tape in Washington has made it harder for adoption providers like New Beginnings to stay open. Many providers specialize in one or two parts of the adoption process, such as vetting and advising parents. Yet since 2008, the State Department has required all intercountry adoption providers to pursue an expensive accreditation that goes far beyond the scope of their work. This costly requirement has forced many providers to close their doors. Between 2008 and 2021, the number of agencies involved in intercountry adoption fell by nearly two-thirds, from 300 to 108. This decline has resulted in higher prices, making adoption simply unaffordable for many who are eager to welcome a child.

All of this has led to fewer orphans finding a loving home. In 2004, Americans adopted 23,000 children from foreign countries. By last year, that number had shrunk to fewer than 2,000. This is a shame given that there are some 153 million orphans around the world and thousands of Americans seeking to adopt. Government should be making it easier, not harder, to welcome a child. In 2020, Congress unanimously passed my legislation providing prospective parents with better information to pursue overseas adoption. I am now pushing legislation to help save adoption agencies from the crushing regulatory burden they continue to face.

Helping Adoption Agencies Survive

This past week, I introduced S.5101 to help save our nation’s adoption providers. The bill would allow agencies to be accredited in their own areas of expertise without having to be certified in other areas. This would lead to lower costs, allowing more agencies to stay open. Ryan Hanlon, who leads the National Council for Adoption, recently said that without this legislation we will continue to lose adoption providers nationwide, resulting in fewer orphans being able to find a home.

Americans are a compassionate people who have a heart for orphans. Like Eden Followell, countless former orphans are today experiencing love, support, and opportunity because of the miracle of adoption. I am committed to ensuring future generations of Americans can show the same compassion toward children in need, both at home and abroad.

Wicker Opposes Same-Sex Marriage Legislation

Marriage Bill Would Erode Religious Liberty

November 16, 2022

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today voted to oppose legislation that would codify same-sex marriage, citing his concerns that the legislation would erode the First Amendment rights of Americans who have sincerely-held religious beliefs.

“I have always believed that marriage should be between a man and a woman, and I have grave concerns this legislation does not sufficiently protect the First Amendment rights of Americans who have a sincere religious objection to same-sex marriage. For these reasons, I cannot in good conscience vote to support this legislation.”

Wicker, Klobuchar Move to Ease Intercountry Adoptions

Senators Propose Removing Barriers to Children Finding Loving Homes

November 16, 2022

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Amy Klobuchar D-Minn., today introduced a bill to help save adoption agencies serving American families. The legislation, titled the “Voluntary Specialized Accreditation for Background Studies and Home Studies Act,” would help to remove barriers to intercountry adoption by increasing flexibility for adoption service providers and providing a new track for accreditation for agencies providing specialized services.

“There are countless children around the world with no parents or family to care for them, yet Americans who want to adopt these children are finding fewer adoption agencies available to help,” Wicker said. “This bipartisan bill would lower barriers for intercountry adoption, making it easier to welcome children into loving families.”

“Local adoption agencies help children around the world find the loving homes they deserve. But too often, families struggle to find accredited adoption service providers to assist them during the adoption process,” said Klobuchar. “By creating a specialized accreditation for small and medium-size providers that offer background and home studies, our bipartisan legislation ensures that families have trusted local agencies to help them navigate the adoption process and give children safe, stable homes.”

Current regulations require any organization wishing to provide adoption services to be accredited under a single standard. This rule means that specialized agencies that provide only a limited range of services have to pursue a costly accreditation that goes far beyond the scope of their work.

This bill would enable agencies that only offer “home studies” or “background studies” to be accredited in their area of expertise without having to be certified in other areas. This would allow specialized adoption agencies to continue operating and would lower the cost and time needed to stay accredited.

Adoption advocates also praised the bill.

“Without this legislation, we’d lose even more accredited agencies, resulting in fewer American families being served by accredited providers who have met the training and oversight requirements for intercountry adoption,” said Ryan Hanlon, President and CEO of National Council For Adoption. “When this legislation passes, it also means that accredited agencies who are only providing limited services do not need to participate in practices that are not applicable to their agency.”    

“This legislation means agencies can stay accredited to serve those in the states where they’re licensed, even without an intercountry placement program,” said Tom Velie, President of New Beginnings Adoption & Family Services. “More families will have accredited providers to provide training and support, and more agencies will remain accredited.”

In 2020, Wicker and Klobuchar introduced the Intercountry Adoption Information Act, which proposed major updates in how the federal government procures data on global adoption trends to ease access for American families. The bill passed unanimously in both the House and Senate and became law.

See the full text of the legislation here.

Wicker to Showcase Vicksburg Students' Work in Washington

Student-Designed Decorations to be Featured on Senator’s Christmas Tree

November 14, 2022

VICKSBURG, Miss. – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., yesterday visited the Vicksburg Warren School District’s Academy of Innovation where students presented him with individually-made ornaments to decorate the Christmas tree in his Washington, D.C., office. This is the fourth time that Wicker has invited a Mississippi school to create ornaments for his Washington office.

“I am looking forward to showcasing the work of these talented students from Vicksburg and Warren County,” Wicker said.  “Their creations display the important skills and techniques they have learned and help tell the story of Mississippi’s rich history and culture.”

The 7th and 8th grade students combined art, digital media, and technology to create ornaments based on the theme “Illuminated Innovation, A Chronicle of Culture and Creativity in Mississippi.” Each ornament depicts a Mississippian who made a valuable contribution to society, including artists, athletes, writers, innovators, and musicians.

Wicker credits his wife, Gayle, with the idea for the Christmas celebration. The project began as a way to affirm the importance of creative and visual arts in education.

Previous ornaments have been provided by Petal High School, Clinton High School, and Gulfport High School.


Click here to download photos.

Click here to view Senator Wicker’s remarks.

Wicker Comments on Passing of Dick Hall

November 2, 2022

JACKSON, Miss. – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today released the following statement upon learning of the death of former Mississippi Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall.

“By the time Dick Hall and I became freshman state senators together, he had already led a distinguished career in public service. As a state legislator and later as a Commissioner of Transportation, Dick was a true champion for Mississippi. He worked tirelessly to advance job creation and build the infrastructure that our state needs. I am glad to count him as a friend, and Gayle and I send our deepest sympathies to his wife, Jennifer, and his loved ones.

Wicker Encourages Mississippians to Vote

In America, Government Rules by the Consent of the People

October 31, 2022

On September 18, 1787, Benjamin Franklin stepped out of Independence Hall in Philadelphia after meeting with the Continental Congress, which was drafting the new Constitution. A curious woman standing nearby asked him what kind of government we would have. Dr. Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” From the very founding of our nation, our government has ruled by the consent of the people. Voting is therefore an important duty of every American.

On November 8, millions of Americans will carry on this time-honored tradition and cast their ballots in the midterm elections. Although there is no presidential race this year, all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives will be on the ballot, along with one-third of the U.S. Senate and a wide range of state and local offices. These races will significantly shape the direction of our state and our nation.

Government Of, By, and For the People

When our founding fathers broke away from Britain in 1776, they sincerely believed that they were establishing a “new order of the age.” After all, this was the first time in history that any nation had formed a new government based on the will of the people. Their vision was bold and audacious, and they understood it would make them targets of the British crown. Yet they believed so firmly in freedom that they pledged to each other “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor,” and then signed their names in ink for the world to see. In the years that followed, thousands of Americans would give their lives in the War for Independence. Because of their sacrifice, our nation was victorious and secured the right to be an independent republic.

Since then, our way of life has come under attack repeatedly, showing that freedom is fragile. In 1812, some 30 years after the revolution, the British invaded and tried to retake U.S. territory. In 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, drawing our nation into World War II – a vast conflict between the free world and hostile tyrannies. Soon afterward, we entered a 50-year Cold War against Soviet-led communism, which aimed to crush freedom around the world. Most recently, terrorists attacked our nation on 9/11, leading to the War on Terror. In each conflict, American service members courageously put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe and protect the freedoms we cherish.

The Founders' Prediction Comes True

In the time since our nation’s founding, much of the world has followed our lead in holding free and fair elections. Today there are an estimated two billion voters across 50 countries and six continents. India has become the world’s largest democracy, with over 800 million eligible voters. The founders turned out to be right when they predicted that self-government would be the “new order of the age.” We are profoundly fortunate to live in the world’s oldest, freest, and most prosperous republic.

Keep Our Republic on November 8

Benjamin Franklin’s challenge to “keep” our republic is just as relevant today as it was 235 years ago. Today our nation faces rampant inflation, a shaky economy, rising crime, an open southern border, and growing threats from China and Russia. November 8 is our golden opportunity to weigh in on these and other vital issues. I encourage every eligible Mississippian to show up at the polls and vote.

Wicker, Hyde-Smith Report $4.5 Million in COPS Grants for Miss.

October 19, 2022

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., today reported the award of $4.5 million to Mississippi through the Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program.

Seven school districts in Mississippi will share $3.0 million in School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) grant funding, while another district will share part of $1.0 million awarded through the COPS Hiring program.  Another $468,367 in Community Policing Development (CPD) Program funds will also be directed to Mississippi.

“These federal grants will help districts across Mississippi improve security and coordination with law enforcement,” Wicker said.  “I look forward to seeing these funds enacted and a safer future for our state’s students.”

“Rising crime rates across the country affect everyone whether in urban, suburban, or rural areas.  As a result, local law enforcement, including those assigned to protect schools, face unrelenting pressures.  These COPS grants are intended to help ease those burdens and promote safer communities,” Hyde-Smith said.

School districts may use SVPP grants for, among other things, coordination with local law enforcement; security enhancements, emergency preparedness and technology upgrades, and/or other actions to improve security in schools and school grounds.  SVPP funds totaling $3,014,865 for Mississippi include:

  • Chickasaw County School District – $498,744
  • Lauderdale County School District – $498,744
  • Union County School District – $495,753
  • Hollandale School District – $468,750
  • Yazoo County School District – $366,618
  • Leland School District – $346,500
  • Newton City Schools – $339,756

COPS Hiring Program is a competitive grant program that provides funds directly to law enforcement agencies to hire new or rehire additional career law enforcement officers and deputies to enhance community policing and crime prevention.  COPS Hiring Program grants worth $1,017,469 are awarded to:

  • City of Natchez – $768,319
  • Holmes County Consolidated School District – $125,000
  • City of Picayune – $124,150

CPD grants, used to support creative approaches to preventing crime and promoting safe communities, have been awarded to:

  • City of Jackson – $174,000
  • University of Mississippi Medical Center – $160,000
  • Forrest County – $74,999
  • Pearl River Valley Water Supply District, Ridgeland – $58,000


Wicker, Hyde-Smith Move to Make Distribution of Deadly Fentanyl Chargeable as Felony Murder

Miss. Senators Cosponsor Bill to Toughen Punishment for Knowingly Dealing Lethal Opiate

September 16, 2022

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., on Thursday joined U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in introducing legislation to make the distribution of fentanyl resulting in death chargeable as a felony murder.

In instances of deaths resulting from illegal fentanyl-related opiates, the Felony Murder for Deadly Fentanyl Distribution Act (S.4876) would amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to make it a felony to distribute fentanyl and fentanyl-analogs if the dealer has knowledge or reason to know that the substance they are dealing contains fentanyl or a fentanyl-analog.

“The lethal drug fentanyl is destroying lives across the country, and dealers who put it on our streets should be held responsible,” Wicker said. “This bill would send a strong signal that the federal government will not tolerate this deadly drug which is tearing apart communities, or those who distribute it.”

“The Biden administration has failed to enforce multiple policies to stop fentanyl from coming across the border, even though it is now the leading cause of death for adults aged 18 to 45,” Hyde-Smith said.  “This legislation is desperately needed to protect our communities by ensuring harsher consequences to those who knowingly distribute this deadly drug in Mississippi and across the country.”

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data, authorities seized enough fentanyl in July — 2,071 pounds — to kill 469 million Americans.  That is up from 680 pounds seized in June as the issue continues to hit close to home for far too many Americans, whether or not they live in a border-state. 

Under current law, the CSA treats all Schedule I and Schedule II drugs the same for purposes of distribution resulting in death by mandating a 20-year minimum and no more than life, despite varying degrees of lethality, availability, and medicinal purposes.

A March 2022 Mississippi State Department of Health report shows a sharp escalation of overall deaths in Mississippi involving fentanyl, including a 125 percent increase in overdose fatalities due to synthetic opioids from 2019 to 2020.

Additional S.4876 cosponsors include Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Steve Daines (R-Mont.).

Click here to read the text of S.4876, which has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.


Wicker, Colleagues Protect American Retirement From Woke Politics

Miss. Senator Co-Sponsors “Maximize Americans’ Retirement Security Act”

July 27, 2022


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., joined his Republican colleagues in introducing legislation to strengthen Americans’ retirement funds. Led by Senator Mike Braun, R-Ind., the Maximize Americans’ Retirement Security Act would clarify the fiduciary duty of plan administrators to select and maintain investments based solely on financial factors. 

Recently, the Department of Labor proposed a rule that would allow plan administrators to invest in so-called “environmental, social and governance” (ESG) funds by considering factors not tied to their return on investment. A number of studies have shown that ESG investing policies offer worse return rates in comparison to other investment plans, while ESG investors also generally end up paying higher costs for worse performances.

“Most Americans trust their retirement plan administrators to look out for them and maximize their return on investments, but recent moves by the Biden Administration threaten to upend this longstanding system in favor of “woke” activism,” Wicker said.  “Retirement accounts should be off-limits to the President’s politics.”

“At a time when energy costs are soaring and Hoosiers are grappling with record high inflation, Democrats are politicizing American retirement funds and targeting companies that invest in energy sources that could help alleviate these soaring costs. The Biden Administration should not be sacrificing the retirement savings of thousands of individuals to promote liberal policy objectives,” Braun said.

This legislation would amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to require plan fiduciaries to select investments solely on pecuniary factors. It has been endorsed by Americans for Tax Reform, Institute for the American Worker, Foundation for Government Accountability, and FreedomWorks.

In addition to Wicker and Braun, co-sponsors include Senators Richard Burr, R-N.C., Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., and Roger Marshall, R-Kan.

The full text of the bill can be found here.