The following remarks by Del. Patrick Hope are in response to the statement by Bishop Paul Loverde, the leader of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, who said "the vote would likely force the diocese to reconsider sponsoring troops in about 50 of its parishes." It goes without saying that I strongly agree with Del. Hope.
Delegate Hope's Response to Bishop Loverde's Remarks on Gay Youth in the Boy Scouts of America
Arlington - As a Catholic, I am offended and deeply disappointed in the leader of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington County, Bishop Paul Loverde's statement that the Boy Scouts of America's vote would force the diocese to reconsider sponsoring troops in about 50 of its parishes.
The decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow openly gay youth to participate is in direct line with the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. Bishop Loverde's statement is made out of fear and ignorance and should not be tolerated. I hope and pray the Bishop will reconsider and continue to support Boy Scouts of America.
Patrick A. Hope is a Member of the Virginia General Assembly as the Delegate from the 47th District representing part of Arlington County. He serves on the Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee and House Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee.
Over at Think ProgressJosh Israel - former president of the Virginia Partisans Gay & Lesbian Democratic Club - has a must-read piece entitled, "Virginia Republicans Nominate Rabidly Anti-LGBT Ticket." Here are a few "highlights."
Over his seven-and-a-half years as a state senator and his four year as attorney general, Cuccinelli earned a reputation as Virginia’s Todd Akin. He opposes even the most basic legal protections for LGBT people because he believes same-sex relationships are immoral — previously explaining, "My view is that homosexual acts, not homosexuality, but homosexual acts are wrong. They're intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law based country it's appropriate to have policies that reflect that." Even after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in its 2003 Lawrence v. Texas case that such bans were unconstitutional, he helped defeat an effort to repeal the state law making consensual sodomy a felony. This maneuver came back to haunt him earlier this year, when prosecutors tried to make use of the law to prosecute a statutory rape case and courts rejected the case on constitutional grounds.
Mark Warner: "My hope and prayer is that on this issue of civil rights, and on this issue of basic constitutional rights, Virginia will not be one of the laggards but one of the leaders. And part of the way you do that is by having a legislature that is reflective of the face of Virginia face, a face that is increasingly diverse, a face that's no longer just white and black but a whole lot of other folks...And for all the challenges we've got in the Democratic Party, and all of the flaws, we still look more like the face of Virginia as a political entity than the other guys..."
Please click here or on the image to view the entire "Equality Agenda," in .pdf format, from Virginia's next Attorney General - one we can all be proud of for a change! - Mark Herring. Here are a few highlights, and note the glaring contrast with Ken Cuccinelli's far-right-wing, ideologically extremist, homophobic and anti-women's-rights agenda. Note also that the two Republicans (Mark Obenshain and Rob Bell) running for AG have talked about how Cuccinelli is a model for them. In short, they are "Cuccinelli clones," as Mark Herring puts it. And that's the LAST thing Virginia needs! Instead, how about....
*"Mark will use the power of the Attorney General to support initiatives to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Virginians from discrimination and disparate treatment in state and local agencies and programs."
*"As Attorney General, Mark will partner with local school divisions to implement the new law and adopt anti-bullying policies that include and protect LGBT students"
*"Mark Herring believes that civil marriage is a fundamental right, and he supports marriage equality for same-gender couples."
*"Mark believes that it is wrong that Virginia law currently requires state and local government social services agencies to contract with, and fund with taxpayer dollars, adoption and foster care agencies that actively discriminate against LGBT Virginians seeking to adopt children."
This is great stuff, far beyond what any other candidate for Virginia Attorney General has ever proposed, and a strong reason to enthusiastically support Mark Herring's campaign. Thanks.
UPDATE: On a conference call a few minutes ago, Sen. Adam Ebbin said that Sen. Herring is "running without reservation...about his support for [the LGBT] community." More broadly, Ebbin argued that Mark Herring is the best person to restore the integrity of the office of Attorney General after Ken Cuccinelli has "lowered it in a non-professional way." Ebbin added that the public is more than ready for - in fact expects - an AG like Mark Herring who stands up for equality for all Virginians, and has done so for many years. Ebbin added that Mark Herring has shown his electability over the years by winning votes from independents, and is the most electable Democratic candidate as well as the best candidate for AG on the merits. Ebbin added, "the Republican alternatives are frightening."
Respected Virginia LGBT activist Charley Conrad talked about his strong support for Mark Herring. Conrad talked specifically about the importance of strong anti-bullying measures being implemented, and praised Sen. Herring for supporting these measures. Conrad also said he is very pleased by Sen. Herring's non-discrimination pledge in his own office. Conrad added that we can't afford any more of the "craziness" we've seen from the AG's office, but instead we need "true equality leadership" from Mark Herring.
UPDATE #2: Sen. Herring was asked (by the Washington Blade) about the controversy over Cuccinelli's defense of Virginia's "Crimes Against Nature" (anti-sodomy) law. Herring responded, "Ken Cuccinelli is wrong on this, and it shows he is captive of the hard right wing of the Republican Party and he's using this to try to galvanize the far right in his campaign, and shows why he would be a bad governor and why he's not been a good Attorney General."
Sen. Herring ripped Ken Cuccinelli on his persecution of leading climate scientist Michael Mann as "wrong" and "downright unAmerican." Herring added, "That kind of attack on science went out with Galileo.."
Sen. Herring said that Mark Obenshain and Rob Bell would take the AG office in the same direction as Ken Cuccinelli has done - they've both voted in lockstep against a woman's right to choose, supported anti-LGBT legislation, etc. Sen. Ebbin added that Sen. Obenshain carried the bill to allow discrimination at Virginia universities. Herring emphasized that "Virginia deserves better" than the type of policies pushed by Ken Cuccinelli and his clones, Mark Obenshain and Rob Bell.
As supporters of equality all across the country have turned their eyes to the Supreme Court this week to watch arguments about California's Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, Corey Stewart has issued a statement regarding his views on "traditional marriage." No, Corey Stewart has not joined "moderates" such as Dick Cheney, Bill O'Reilly and Rob Portman in supporting the rights of all people in this country. After all, how would doing something like THAT help Corey win the LG nomination at the Virginia Republican convention in May?
Instead, earlier today on his website, Stewart published a bizarre video (see above) reaffirming his support for what he calls "God Ordained Marriage". According to Stewart, "Public policy should first be aimed at strengthening families, whether that be economic policy, education policy or family policy.
Let's take a look at Corey Stewart's record on these three key public policy areas.
After Stewart's failed, hate-fueled immigrant bashing in 2007, Prince William County became the epicenter of the underwater housing crisis and one of the largest foreclosure markets in the country. Businesses and consumers fled Prince William County for a more stable business climate. Prince William County has still not fully recovered, with empty store fronts all along major business corridors in the county.
I support marriage equality because it is the fair and right thing to do. Like many Virginians and Americans, my views on gay marriage have evolved, and this is the inevitable extension of my efforts to promote equality and opportunity for everyone. I was proud to be the first Virginia governor to extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBT state workers. In 2010, I supported an end to the military's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy, and earlier this month I signed an amicus brief urging the repeal of DOMA. I believe we should continue working to expand equal rights and opportunities for all Americans.
Now that Sen. Warner's done the right thing on this crucial LGBT equality issue, I hope that he also "evolves" on a couple other issues: 1) saving our planet from climate disaster by getting off of fossil fuels (including opposition to the Keystone Canadian tar sands pipeline) and onto clean energy ASAP; and 2) focusing his efforts far more on economic fairness and social justice, and far less on obsessing over the deficit/debt with his Republican pals (e.g., Saxby) in the "Gang." Hey, a progressive can dream, can't he? :)
P.S. Oh yeah, he could also tell the NRA where to shove it...
If you hadn't heard, SB701 - a bill that would have protected lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender state employees in Virginia - was tabled in the House subcommittee last night. Here's some video demonstrating the type of mentality that leads to a no-brainer bill like this being voted down, as opposed to being passed unanimously as it should be. Sadly, it's the unbelievable ignorance of people like Virginia Del. Todd Gilbert (R-15th) - as exhibited in this video; see transcript of Gilbert's remarks below - that result in the kind of travesty we saw last year, with Judge Tracy Thorne-Begland being rejected simply because of his sexual orientation (note that Del. Gilbert refused to vote for Thorne-Begland's nomination last year). And no, although judicial nominees would not have been affected by this bill, Thorne-Begland's example demonstrates in a glaring way that discrimination is alive and well in Virginia, and in public employment.
I've heard this bill several years in a row. Among all the people who spoke, there was not a single example of one that was discriminated against in public employment. I challenge those in the room to bring forth an example.
I was told the following year that there would be a line out the door of people with examples of having been discriminated against in public employment. There was not a single example anyone that felt that except that abstract fear that we've heard testified here today. I heard the gentlewoman today say that Virginia Commonwealth - VCU is this oppressive and intolerant environment. I dare say that's probably not true. The examples we've heard from today have actually reaffirmed that people are interested in coming to Virginia and engaging in careers here and are thriving in the process of engaging in those careers. I think the many people that testify in their roles in higher education demonstrate that there is no problem this bill solves and once again, we've heard from many people about this specter of oppression that really doesn't exist because we don't have a single example of anyone who has been discriminated against for this reason.
Thanks to Del. Surovell, and let's all support him in his fight for a fundamental American value: that all citizens should be treated equally before the law, and that no group of citizens should be discriminated against because of who they are. Why this even has to be debated in the United States of American in the year 2013 is beyond me...
Yep, it's "Bobby" McDonnell's "dear friend" Pat Robertson (that's what Pat Robertson calls our governor) at it once again. In this installment, our favorite ignoramus and raging homophobic bigot (and misogynist) claims hysterically that the Boy Scouts letting LGBT people to be members, they're essentially letting in "predators" and "pedophiles." I'm sure he has all kinds of evidence to back up that assertion, too. Wait, he's just pulling it out of his a**? Ahhhh.
Nobody deserves to be discriminated against, and I will use the full powers of the law to protect your rights...on [LGBT] equality issues, I support marriage equality, I have consistently voted for legislation that would prohibit discrimination in state employment, and I will use the powers of the office and the law to support your civil rights.
Equality Virginia Statement on Thorne-Begland's Appointment to the Bench
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 15, 2013
Richmond, VA - Today, Equality Virginia applauds the House of Delegates for making the right decision and confirming Tracy Thorne-Begland's appointment to the Richmond General District Court.
"This is a big step forward after last year's actions made embarrassing national headlines," Executive Director James Parrish said.
"Equality Virginia is pleased that the House of Delegates could see that Thorne-Begland is a qualified candidate with integrity and a long history of public service," Parrish said. "Thorne-Begland has served his country and his city with honor and unquestioned competence first as a Navy pilot and then as a prosecutor."
"We're glad the House of Delegates took a second look at his candidacy and this time the decision was based on his qualifications and not on who he is or who he loves," Parrish said. "While Thorne-Begland has been given another opportunity, without employment protections, most Virginians do not get a second chance at their jobs after being fired or not hired because of their sexual orientation."
Equality Virginia is a statewide, non-partisan education, outreach, and advocacy organization seeking equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Virginians. Since 1989, EV has worked to end discrimination, protect families and build safe communities. More information is online at EqualityVirginia.org. Connect on Facebook.com/EqualityVA or Twitter @EqualityVA.
I wonder if Pat Robertson's "dear friend" "Bobby" McDonnell (that's what Robertson calls him) agrees with his mentor - and big donor - that gay weddings at West Point are making former generals roll over in their graves? Will "Bobby" refuse to take any more donations from Robertson, will he not associate with this guy anymore, will he condemn this bigot? Wait, what's that? Ah yes, it is the distinct sound of crickets quietly chirping. Heh.
Many of us are at least fleetingly aware of Uganda’s so called “kill the gays bill,” a bill before their parliament which would make homosexuality punishable by death.
Those of us fortunate enough to live in more civilized parts of the world have doubtless been relieved to know that the odds of us personally having to face such legislation is remote at the very worst, but Scott Wooledge’s excellent article up at Daily Kos today shines some alarming light conservative American Christian movement’s response to this bill.
Let’s pretend for a moment that fracking, something which I suspect many of us on this site oppose, was about to be declared illegal by Uganda. Surely we would rejoice at that, but wouldn’t we also temper our enthusiasm if the bill contained the death penalty for anyone found to have engaged in fracking in any way, shape, or form, and provided for other severe penalties for anyone who even knew a fracker?
Hahahahaha, the worst nightmares (or are they fantasies?) of rabid homophobes like Loudoun County Supervisor Embarrassment Eugene Delgaudio, State Sen. Dick Black, Del. Bob Marshall, Virginia AG Ken Kookinelli, and many others (e.g., "Bobby" McDonnell's BFF Pat Robertson) come to life. Is this what Delgaudio et al. imagined our macho troops (in this case, in Afghanistan) would turn into if Congress repealed "Don't Ask Don't Tell?" Miami Dolphins cheerleader impersonators? Hahahahahahaha.
Delgaudio's full-time job is agitating against gay people with his group Public Advocate of the United States. Presumably the 2,836 people who voted for him in the Sterling district in November know this. That was nearly 53 percent of the vote in a three-candidate race, and was his fourth time winning the seat. The Loudoun Times-Mirror endorsed him and said his "strong constituent service and unabashed push for additional resources have improved life in the Sterling District."
P.S. The full video, including Delgaudio's bizarre "explanation" of what he and his fellow loons are doing out there.
Remember the May 15 fiasco in the Virginia General Assembly, when a bunch of homophobic bigots rejected the nomination of the eminently qualified Tracy Thorne-Begland to the Richmond District Court, simply because Thorne-Begland's an openly gay man? Well, now, it appears that sanity and decency have regained the upper hand in Virginia, at least for the time being. Heck, even Governor Bob McDonnell's spokesman has showed class on this one, commenting that "The governor believes Mr. Thorne-Begland is well-qualified to serve on the bench" and that
[Governor McDonnell] congratulates him on the appointment." Wow, is hell about to freeze over or what? Here's the order by Richmond Circuit Court Chief Judge Richard D. Taylor.
P.S. Also, see the "flip" for Sen. McEachin's statement regarding the reversal by Del. Richard Morris (R-Isle of Wight) on this matter. Good for Del. Morris, now if he could only convince a few of his Republican colleagues...
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