the latest from virginia

Though still a finalist and strong contender for the title of most gay-unfriendly state, Virginia looks a little better today than it did yesterday. As the Washington Post reports today, “A Virginia Senate committee yesterday killed a bill [passed by the House of Delegates earlier this month by a vote of 71 to 24] that would have required state officials to report whether a person petitioning to adopt a child is ‘currently engaged in voluntary homosexual activity.'” The original bill would have prohibited gay men and lesbians from becoming adoptive or foster parents outright, though before it moved to the Senate it had been amended merely to require that social service agencies report on the sexual orientation and activity of prospective adoptive parents; social service agencies already have broad latitude in determining parental suitability, so this seemed needlessly intrusive and bigoted.

Also, the delegate who had introduced a bill (also passed by the House) that would have created “Traditional Marriage” vanity license plates has asked the Senate to remove it from their docket, effectively killing it:

He said he wanted to strike the legislation because the General Assembly has already passed separate resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

“The passage of [the measures] better accomplishes the purpose of securing a clear definition of and support for traditional marriage than my bill could achieve,” Lingamfelter said.

More likely, the decision to withdraw the bill was based on strong conjecture that it would be deemed unconstitutional, costing the state a lot of money and time to defend in the courts, and with the likely result (as has been mandated by courts elsewhere) that the state then would have to create a license plate presenting the opposing position of marriage equality.

Of course, the worst damage already has been done, with the House and Senate completing the first steps toward amending the Virginia Constitution to prohibit any legal relationships between same-sex couples, but at least there are a few tiny points of light.