Virginia Outrage

Right-wing VA Del. Bob Marshall wants to stick it to queers during the 2004 legislative season. Maryland’s neighbor to the south will also consider anti-GLBT bills during its legislative session. AF&O contributor Michael Hamar, who lives in Virginia and provided the pointer, calls the effort “the latest religious crusade of Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Manassas), which seeks to marginalize a category of Virginia’s citizens who do not live their lives according to Mr. Marshall’s nazi-like religious beliefs.”

The Washington Blade reports:

Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Manassas) said in December he plans to introduce a bill in the upcoming General Assembly session that would prevent the state from recognizing civil unions between gay couples from other states. He did not return Blade calls seeking comment.

While Virginia has a law that bans the recognition of gay marriages from other states, it does not have a similar law targeting civil unions. Only Vermont allows civil unions between gays.
And Marshall has said he is also working on legislation that would charge gay couples with a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison, for marrying outside the state and then returning to Virginia to have the marriage recognized.

Presently, the state’s code says that gay marriages are “void in all respects in Virginia and any contractual rights created by such marriage shall be void and unenforceable.”
Delegate-elect Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), who will be sworn in as the state’s first openly gay delegate when the General Assembly reconvenes, said that much of the anti-gay legislation being proposed will force gay advocates into a more “defensive posture” during this session. …

David Lampo, of the Log Cabin Republican Club of Virginia, agreed that in some respects, gays will be forced into a more defensive mode this legislative session because of the many strides gays made nationally and locally last year.

“In terms of these social issues, we have this small, rabid group of legislators that are just intent on putting their religious views into law,” Lampo said. “The fact that we are in a defensive mode is partly because we were successful on a number of fronts last year. Whenever we win victories like that, that always fires up the conservative rightwing. Hate is a strong motivator and they’ve got a lot of it. We hope that because of the tax and budget issues, people will be focused on that and not be side-tracked by the Bob Marshalls of the world and not get into these petty fights over social issues.”

Michael Hamar, of course, rails against this latest news: “When is the Republican Party of Virginia going to distance itself from lunatics like Delegate Marshall, who cannot seem to understand that HIS religious views should not be forced on all other citizens of Virginia? Marshall continuously attempts to apply defacto religious belief tests to Virginians in deciding what legal rights they may or may not receive and whether or not they are categorized as criminals. In short, he engages in precisely the conduct condemned by Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers of this Commonwealth and this country. Meanwhile, the leadership of the Republican Party of Virginia sits on its hands and allows this demagogue to hold sway.”

Is it because so many Virginia residents are comfortable with allowing the demagogue to hold sway? Methinks I will avoid the state for a while. Just thinking about the notion that it will even consider labeling gays as criminals for trying to have their marriages from other jurisdictions — their very equality — recognized in their home state makes my blood run cold. Change the bumper sticker, folks: Virginia is for haters.

I pray good people of the Commonwealth will stand up and defend what is supposed to be an American value — justice for all.

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2 thoughts on “Virginia Outrage

  1. The bizarre angle on this is the similarity to Loving v. Virginia, isn’t it? The Lovings were married in DC, returned to Virginia to live, where he was convicted of a felony (marrying a non-white person), sentenced to a year in prison, and given a suspended sentence in exchange for a promise not to return to Virginia for 25 years.

    Leaves me wondering whether Mr. Marshall has read his own state’s history books!

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