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Equal Rights: When will it be Virginia's Time?

by: Aimee Fausser

Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 12:39:29 PM EDT

There's been a lot of talk about marriage equality in the past few days, due to the progress we've seen in Iowa, Vermont, and DC. When will be Virginia's turn? If Nate Silver is correct, it looks like it will be a while--he predicts that it will be 2015 before Virginia becomes an equal rights state. We've got a lot of work to do.

One of the people willing to advocate for this cause is Miles Grant, who is currently running for Delegate in the 47th district. In his press release today, he says

"With each passing day, Virginia's harsh restrictions on marriage and even simple domestic partnerships are cast in deeper contrast to the steady march of progress we're seeing across America. We take pride in Virginia's policies that attract world-class businesses. But the best businesses in the world need the top workers in the world. What message are we sending about Virginia's values when we tell some of those workers they're not allowed to commit their lives to the person they love and start a family together?

More below the cut.

Aimee Fausser :: Equal Rights: When will it be Virginia's Time?
"It's time to move our Commonwealth forward by repealing the Marshall-Newman amendment and recognizing full marriage rights for all Virginians. We're not talking about special protections - these actions would simply ensure that all families receive basic rights, including financial protections, hospital visitation access and ability to adopt and retain custody of their children. As delegate, I'll make it one of my top priorities to ensure civil liberties for all Virginians."

Way to go, Miles. We need to start putting people in office to make marriage equality in Virginia a reality.

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Don't Hold Your Breath
"Virginia's time" will be a long, long time coming. Remember the history of civil rights in this state, how Virginia always had to be dragged kicking and screaming toward change.

Remember the aptly named "Loving v. Virginia" case, with its eternal blot upon Virginia's character for criminalizing interracial marriage.

Remember schools that were shut down so little white Virginians wouldn't have to study with non-white kids.

Remember that gay and lesbian Virginians were felons until the U.S. Supreme Court ended that in 2003 -- and remember that Virginia's law remains on the books even if it can't be enforced.

And remember Virginia's hateful marriage amendment, unrighteously jammed not just into the state constitution, but right in the middle of the Virginia Bill of Rights.

Yes, we need to work to elect Democrats with spine enough to stare down the Republican hate-mongers.

And -- given that, when it comes to gay and lesbian equality, all the Democrats in Virginia don't have among them enough vertebrae to make a spine -- we also need to make damned sure we elect Democrats as president, because the marriage ban in Virginia is likely to remain in full force until some future U.S. Supreme Court (sans Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts) strikes it down.  

Not a profile in courage here
considering the district.  Also, what are the other 47th district candidates' position on this?

The real key here is not the people from the most liberal districts in the Commonwealth.  It is basically voters outside the 8th Congressional District that need to be convinced.  And unless a delegate can convince the constituents of another delegate to support equality, nothing will change in terms of vote break downs.  An election of another Democrat in the 47th does nothing to change the equation.  

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