In this still-new legislative season, the Virginia legislature already has introduced a staggering array of anti-gay bills, including the latest introduced yesterday that would ban adoptions by gay people. Apparently in Virginia there’s nothing more serious to worry about–jobs, the economy, poverty, education–than us evil horrible queers. Although there already exist two laws in the state against gay marriage, last year’s went further by banning any domestic partnership, civil union or other agreement between gay people, including language that is broad enough that some believe it potentially bans even powers of attorney, medical directives, and other similar contracts by same-sex couples. Nevertheless, this is not enough, as this year the state likely will begin the process of amending its constitution to ban gay marriages, unions and contracts as well. Despite the Supreme Court’s overturning of laws banning gay sex, Virginia has kept its own such laws on the books, and continues to use them to harrass its gay citizens. And, astonishingly, Virginia puts its homophobia even ahead of a Republican pro-business stance, as it is the only state that prohibits, by law, even private companies from offering group health insurance to anyone not related to an employee.
I am saddened and sickened that a state like Virginia, with such an incredibly rich history and that played such a pivotal role in the birth of this nation, one day soon will be known primarily because of its hatefulness towards minorities–already its name is enshrined in the annals of bigotry for its part in Loving v. Virginia in which it tried to continue to justify its antimiscegenation laws. The day will come when the current barbarism will be seen in the same light.
Unfortunately, it likely will be long years before we reach that level of tolerance, understanding and civility, and I’m already reaching a point nearly of numbness. This is why Jeff and I are making plans to leave this state. Virginia has been my home for all but seven years of my life, but it has become clearer and clearer that it is no longer a safe place–I don’t fear for my physical safety, but legally, financially and emotionally the state poses a danger for me–to live as an openly gay man or as part of a loving gay couple, and it is surely not a place worth supporting with my thousands of tax dollars each year.