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May 10, 2004

Comments

There's a long, long comments thread about this nasty piece of work on livejournal (cite). It's a completely absurd piece of legislation - it can't possibly stand up to any serious legal challenge - but while challenges are working their way through the courts, things could get very damned messy and painful for same-sex couples in Virginia.

Penknife on livejournal quotes a legislator: "Well, one legislator was kind enough to provide an explanation: to drive homosexuals in the state of Virginia into a legal limbo, so that they'll either have to become heterosexual or leave, and to break the power of homosexuals in state business and politics."

This rationale is almost more disgusting than the thing itself.

Just when you think government has nothing in the way of nasty surprises for you...

I don't think it could possibly go as far and you suggest. Though it could use a comma, for clarity, after the word "arrangement," a "partnership contract or other arrangement between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage" does not appear to include business contracts, since they rarely, if ever, include among their purposes, bestowing the privileges or obligations of marriage."

I don't think it could possibly go as far and you suggest.

Let me make it really clear, Lex Icon. No one is voiding medical powers of attorney or any other such arrangements I legally make with my partner, regardless of whether they consider it too close to "marriage" privileges for their personal comfort. Not without the fucking fight of their life coming swiftly on the heels of it.

While they're passing this law, they should also make sure to change the state slogan to "Virginia is for (opposite-sex) lovers!".

Anyone know if there's a campaign in the works to boycott Virginia products and tourist spots because of this?

Edward: Not without the fucking fight of their life coming swiftly on the heels of it.

And this is me cheering you on. This piece of legislation is just pure evil.

kenB: Anyone know if there's a campaign in the works to boycott Virginia products and tourist spots because of this?

I certainly wouldn't go there after this... but as I've never been there yet, that's not very meaningful.

If any of the regulars live in Virginia, there's a site to e-mail the legislators here.

I don't know well organized it is yet, but clearly there are efforts KenB.

As I wrote to some friends, they are free to bring their intelligence, love and tax-dollars to the golden state. Love to have'em.

And this is me cheering you on. This piece of legislation is just pure evil.

Thanks Jes. For that and the link to the thread.

e

You know, you think you just can't underestimate how idiotic lawmakers can be, and then you read the actual justification for this legislation. It reads like a junior high school civics essay:

Whereas, same sex advocates seek to curb the free speech rights of their opponents, for instance, in Saskatchewan, Canada, the Human Rights Commission has ordered both the Saskatoon Star Phoenix newspaper and Hugh Owens of Regina to pay $1,500 Canadian to three homosexual activists for publishing an ad in the Saskatoon newspaper quoting Bible versus regarding homosexuality

They had to reach clear up to Saskatchewan for anecdotal evidence to prove this legislation was necessary? Is this the Jamie Kennedy Experiment? I mean they KNOW that's in another country, right?

You know, some of us Virginians are on your side, Edward, but if you and Jesusrgislac want to condemn, and boycott, the whole state in a fit of anger, do so to your heart's content.

All the good tourist stuff is in Northern Virginia anyway, which is pretty gay-friendly, to say the least.

some of us Virginians are on your side, Edward, but if you and Jesusrgislac want to condemn, and boycott, the whole state in a fit of anger

I'd like to chime in on that point. I'm a Virginian going back many generations, and I'm effing SICK of blog commenters suggesting that my state and other hotbeds of fundamentalism secede, be eliminated, etc. etc.

There are decent, fair people here, and not some tiny minority, either. We had NO IDEA this legislation was in the works, especially as the leg was in special session for the single purpose of getting a budget passed.

Please, people, stop and think about what you're saying when you write off whole communities and regions. It doesn't help build the alliances we're going to need to throw off the witless panderers who "represent" us now...

Phil and Nell,

I've lived in Virginia and still have very close friends who live there. I know it's, in virtually every other way, a really lovely place with wonderful people.

We had NO IDEA this legislation was in the works,

Then just where the hell did this rubbish come from?

As for condeming a boycott, and being sick of folks from other states voicing their outrage, what other action would you recommend for people who can't vote there to take a stand?

It's not anger either. It's fury. And it's totally defendable. To get some sense of why I feel so strongly, imagine if legal contracts you had (such as your will or medical power of attorney) with people you care about were voided upon your entry into New York. Think about the way you'd feel if (God forbid) your partner was in a car accident and you were told your previously paid for, legal-everywhere-else power of attorney meant nothing here.

Edward, thanks for the link. It was instructive to read comments there which, like Phil's and Nell's, point out that the proposed boycotts might very well hit hardest the people and organizations who are already opposed to the legislation. OTOH, it's hard not to want to find some way to send an economically painful message to those responsible for this bit of intolerance (and other similar acts, which I just read about here).

There were calls for boycotts of Colorado a few years back when they passed the nasty, anti-gay amendment that was overturned in Romer v. Evans. I remember reading one Op-Ed that suggested that gay couples instead descend en masse, in the most glaring manner possible--people wondered whether staying out of the state was the best response to a big STAY OUT OF OUR STATE sign.

But when they're refusing to recognize people's health care arrangements and insurance, it's simple prudence. And even if it weren't, there's no universal moral obligation to support the Virginia tourist industry.

Massachusetts is lovely in May, they say....wedding bells in the air.

Gee, Edward, I wasn't suggesting that this law is an act of kindness. I was only saying that the law was not nearly as broad as suggested. It's not like I was tossing around Leviticus quotes and condemning you to hell with the shrimp eaters and the guys who touch their wives while they are unclean. Sheesh.

There's a part of me that really wants to thank Phil and Nell for their statements of qualified support, and I suppose if folks were ranting against New York for legislation I opposed I'd ask them to keep in mind that I am not the Governor. But there's an overpowering part of me that understands gay Virginans' need to protect their families and doesn't feel any obligation to to worry about who they (or I) may offend in doing so. I know that's not necessarily a helpful or fair position. But have someone threaten your family and see how much you care about being fair.

Lex Icon, you're right. It was an unfair set-up for me to "defy" anyone to defend this legislation. I apologize for taking your comment as a challenge to that inappropriate stance. Clearly, I should have taken that walk in the open air before I posted. It's simply an unforgivable piece of legislation and it's a threat to my ability to protect my own. If a bit of irrational ranting makes that clear, then perhaps that's some excuse for the lapse in manners.

And this is me cheering you on. This piece of legislation is just pure evil.

I second Jes. With a stress on the evil.

I'm not saying your anger isn't justified, Edward. I'm saying it isn't justified towards me or towards literally hundreds of thousand of other gay-rights-supporting Virginians. The problem here isn't Virginia, it's conservative Christianity.

Granted, I've been out of town for four days for a funeral, but this is quite literally the first time I've ever heard of this. And rest assured that I will write Sen. Cuccinelli about this piece of crap. I've written my legislators over things as relatively inconsequential as "moments of silence" in school, I see no reason not to do the same for this.

The only way to square this:
"There are decent, fair people here, and not some tiny minority, either."

with this:
"passed with veto-proof majorities"

is to assume that the fair decent people of Virginia have not done enough to make sure their legislature represents their interests. I'll be interested to see in the next Virginia state election whether that's changed.

Well, if it makes anyone here feel any better, demographic trends in Virgina portend that this thing will be reversed ere long.

It's about the only positive outcome of sprawl I can imagine.

Pure evil? Allow me a derisive snort.

What, pray tell, would executing homosexuals for their homosexuality be then? Super pure evil?

Sorry, Nathan. Gary Farber does this kind of picky stuff so much better than you.

Stripped of extraneous material, your comment appears to parse down to your claiming that the Virginia legislature shouldn't be condemned too hard because after all, they're not actually executing gay people for being gay.

Well, that's true. They're not. They're just attempting to strip all gay people in Virginia of basic legal rights, motivated (apparently) by the wish that all those nasty gay people should move away from Virginia and leave it to respectable straights, die-hard closet cases, and frightened children counting the days till they can leave their home state forever.

No, Nathan, this law is pure evil. There is nothing good in it. You cannot claim that it's only 99% evil because they haven't actually voted to strip gay people of their lives: mere refraining from committing crimes against humanity does not qualify as "goodness".

For further information on why "homosexual" is the wrong word to use, read this.

Pure evil? Allow me a derisive snort.

Is there anything about your character this does not reveal Nathan? Just curious.

Now, wait a second. I think that the law in question is wrong, cruel and, yes, evil - but I also take Nathan's point about the hyperbole involved here. Jes aside, you can say that something is 99% evil; you can even say that something is 45.665% evil if you like, and in neither case does such an assessment prevent you from opposing it. Calling something 'pure evil' may make you feel better, but it doesn't actually solve the problem. I really would like some distinct layers of badness here - unless you wanted us to go in and take down the Virginia legislature? I ask because it's the prevailing social custom around here to do that to people actively attempting to kill fellow Americans.

There's a world of difference in tone between your thoughtful explanation and Nathan's "derisive snort," Moe.

He offers no context in which to take his comment. There's no other way to interpret his remark other than to assume he feels homosexuals should not feel outraged until they're being slaughtered.

This is supposed to be worthy of civil comment?

I took Nathan's statement as an objection to the hyperbole, although given the way he expressed it, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that, far from being pure evil, he might consider the legislation unobjectionable or even justified.

Personally, I don't see "evil" in the act, just ignorance and fear.

The confusion here is obviously between determination of the pureness (or if you prefer, the unadulturated quality of the evil) and the quantity or volume of it.

I believe it is right to say that the evil here is pure, if you believe that discriminating against homosexuals is evil, because the intent is exactly that and uncontaminated. There's no couching it in ominous subterfuges about states rights. . it's a blatant attempt to discriminate on its own merits.

But the amount of this pure evil is not the same as would be the case if they were killing people.

I recommend Archimedes' method for determining the quantity of the evil and spectral chromatography to determine the purity.

Fine. I'll play along.

If "evil" is the opposite of "good," and being concerned with protecting one's family is universally seen as "good," I can find no more appropriate word for this legislation than "evil."

It's purity therein is debatable, surely, but that's as generous as I can be on the matter.

But if anyone is sincerely concerned that "pure evil" is unfairly hyperbolic (unfair to whom exactly still a bit of a mystery to me), I'll be happy to email you my uncensored feelings on the matter so you'll have something to compare it to. I wouldn't recommend you use your work email though.

Calling this piece of legislation pure evil makes truly evil acts appear less than they are. One may call it bigoted or stupid, but to call it pure evil is plain wrong.

Additionally, Edward, I can understand how you would be quite upset about something like this. I think that I have correctly shown courtesy in my objection to the language, even though I agree that the law is wrong.

You will note, perhaps, that even though I am strongly pro-life (or anti-abortion, if you prefer) I do not tend to insinuate that my opponents on this matter are hateful, have ulterior motives, or are unworthy of civil comment. I would ask the same courtesy from you.

"spectral chromatography"

I'm just going to borrow this, if you don't mind... much obliged.

Calling this piece of legislation pure evil makes truly evil acts appear less than they are. One may call it bigoted or stupid, but to call it pure evil is plain wrong.

Why? What goodness can you discover in this legislation that makes you say it's not "pure evil"? It's not a very long piece of legislation: please quote the part you think is good.

sidereal: I believe it is right to say that the evil here is pure, if you believe that discriminating against homosexuals is evil, because the intent is exactly that and uncontaminated. There's no couching it in ominous subterfuges about states rights. . it's a blatant attempt to discriminate on its own merits.

But the amount of this pure evil is not the same as would be the case if they were killing people.

Good, thoughtful response: I agree.

" I think that I have correctly shown courtesy in my objection to the language"

"Allow me a derisive snort."

Huh.

I am as opposed to this hateful bill as you, Edward. I'd probably be willing to support a boycott of the state, if it proves necessary to undo it. But what I get REALLY tired of is cracks like " If Virginia has seceded from the Union by the time I get back, there'll be a round of whiskeys for everyone on me."

For gay residents of Virginia, that kind of talk just reinforces the stated objective of the bill: to make things so awful that we have no choice but to leave.

We have a part-time legislature, whose session was extended solely to get a budget passed. The bill was not brought up in the regular session, and no one I know saw it coming. I plan to try to make our empty-suit Delegate pay for this hateful "law" (sure to be substantially struck down by the courts), but it's going to be extremely hard to unelect him. In the meantime, it would help if you didn't blame the victims for the crime.

But what I get REALLY tired of is cracks like " If Virginia has seceded from the Union by the time I get back, there'll be a round of whiskeys for everyone on me."

Sorry Nell, that was a poor attempt at trying to mix anger and humor. I thought it was absurd enough to indicate that it was meant to show I can laugh at myself, but I can see, with all the venom I was spewing around it, that it didn't come off that way.

Again, sorry.

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