A Letter to Del. Bob Marshall
By Mike Signer | April 7, 2011 | One Comment
The following letter was sent to Delegate Bob Marshall on April 7, 2011
We write to you today in response to your statement on a Fox News program that Virginia’s gays and lesbians are “disordered” and should be barred from bringing babies and children into stable homes and loving, healthy families.
These harsh and untrue words attack Virginians from all walks of life, including our brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors, mothers and fathers, coworkers and colleagues, and students and teachers. They also ignore years of longitudinal social science research showing gays and lesbians can be loving, effective parents. The American Academy of Pediatrics, for instance, has concluded, “A growing body of scientific literature demonstrates that children who grow up with 1 or 2 gay and/or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual.”
The New Dominion Project is an organization working for innovation, reform, and unity in the Commonwealth. We affirm your right to express these ideas, just as we believe they will ultimately end up where they belong—the dustbin of history. We pray you will find illumination in a Virginia that is evolving toward greater understanding, fairness, and unity.
We stand with Virginians, including members of the business community, who believe we must move beyond discrimination to achieve a fair, prosperous Virginia. Until 2005, for instance, Virginia was the last state in the union to prohibit businesses from offering insurance coverage to same-sex partners. This policy was changed only with the help of the business community.
In just these ways, we believe the nation is steadily repudiating your views. In recent years, a conservative vice president of the United States has embraced his openly gay daughter, her partner, and their own child (all Virginians). Military leaders from across the aisle have declared that gays and lesbians can and should serve our country with distinction in the armed services. Gays and lesbians have been elected to state and federal office, have founded successful businesses, and have taken other positions of national distinction.
In his book From Jim Crow to Civil Rights, Professor Michael Klarman observes how the decision of Birmingham, Alabama, to turn water hoses on civil rights protesters actually helped promote equal rights, by rapidly turning the nation against Jim Crow and for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Your recent statements are the rhetorical equivalent of Bull Conner’s water hoses. We believe they will also lead to a backlash from commonsense Virginians who realize this is no way to run a forward-looking Commonwealth.
Virginia is the birthplace of the ideas about freedom that are America’s greatest gift to the world and to history. Jefferson’s declaration that all men are declared equal (another misnomer with thousands of years of history behind it—of course, he should have said “people”) was born here. Madison devised his brilliant framework for religious freedom here. You also make your statements against our fellow Virginians here. And so it is here, today, where we, along with hundreds of thousands of Virginians, reject your ideas.
Mike Signer, Arlington
Chair, New Dominion Project
Catherine Brillhart, Bristol
Linda Brooks, Newport News
Charley Conrad, Arlington
Tom Ford, Page County
Chris Graham, Augusta County
Christine Gresser, Charlottesville
Catherine Hobbs, Fluvanna County
Rebecca Jaramillo, Fauquier County
Sandra Klassen, Fairfax County
Valerie L’Herrou, Albemarle County
Gene Magruder, Newport News
Ivy Main, McLean
Carrie Nixon, Vienna
Elle Scott, Manassas
Terron Sims, Arlington
Brian Straw, Arlington
Members, New Dominion Project Steering Committee