June 28, 2004

Virginia Laws

I grew up in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It's been my home since I was four years old. I love this state: the history, the geographic diversity, the peanuts, whatever. It's my home, after all. But I hate Virginia politics. It is impossible to live here and not be aware of how far right the politics are. However Northern Virginia, where we live, is more politically diverse than the rest of the state. Not that it makes that big a difference.

It's never been a good place to be gay. But is there really any place in America where it is good to be gay? One can look at the debates regarding gay marriage and civil unions and such and believe that change is happening in America. Being an eternal optimist, I'll even be so bold as to call it progress.

Virginia, however, is about to become the WORST place in America to be gay. We, as a Commonwealth, are moving backward. Our General Assembly in their infinite wisdom passed HR 751, The Affirmation of Marriage Act. It takes effect July 1.

It's not particularly surprising to me for Virginia to outlaw any form of civil union or partnership benefits between members of the same sex. Really not surprising at all. Virginia is a very conservative state. But this bill does more than just ban same sex unions or recognition of same sex unions from other states. Due to it's broad language, it can be interpreted to declare null and void ANY contractual agreements between members of the same sex---ANY legal agreements, including medical powers of attorney or contracts to share assets. Any contract between two members of the same sex can be called into question.

Talking Heads agree it is most likely unenforceable under Federal laws. Gee how special. But our Assembly in their infinite wisdom went ahead and passed it anyway. Surely Virginia taxpayers (of which I am one) won't mind their tax dollars spent to defend legal challenges to this law. After all, it's the principle of the thing isn't it? We Virginians are far too moral to ever allow such an atrocity as equal rights for all citizens in our state.

Why isn't being a good citizen enough? Why isn't being a good person enough? Why is it that paying taxes and voting and being a caring citizen and raising responsible children and being active in my community is not enough to afford my partner and I equal rights under and access to the law? I might even be satisfied just with the right to just be left alone. Okay, so don't allow gay marriage in Virginia. BUT DON'T TAKE AWAY RIGHTS GIVEN TO ANY OTHER VIRGINIAN JUST BECAUSE I HAPPEN TO SHARE MY LIFE WITH ANOTHER WOMAN.

I just don't get it and it makes me crazy to think about it. Just how un-American can Virginia become?


Robin said...

I read that one of the gay/lesbian groups there is distributing bumper stickers that read:

Virginia is for Lovers

*some restrictions apply

WordsRock said...

Hey there Robin,

You have it backward. :) Since 1969, our state tourism slogan has been "Virginia is for Lovers".

The new stickers that are out are "Virginia is for Haters". Breaks my heart.