Equal Justice Under the Law – Unless You’re Gay

Our Governor is not the worst homophobe in America but he is a contender.

Our Commonwealth is not the worst in its intolerance of gays but it’s got nothing to be proud of either.

In Loudoun County, we have a Board of Supervisors indifferent to the fact that one of its members, Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, is a gay bashing demagogue.

I wrote each member of the Board of Supervisors to ask them to disavow this bigotry.  Our Board has no shame in its silence. As that old 60s tune went, “Hello Darkness my old friend.”  Janet Clarke wrote she felt no obligation to respond at all.  And she didn’t.  By their silence, may we know them.

Virginia has had a discouraging history when it comes to individual rights and liberties.

Virginia had to be told by the Supreme Court in 1967 that a ban on mixed-race marriages was unconstitutional as it violated “one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”

No doubt Virginia will have to be told its constitutional amendment against same sex marriage is unconstitutional as our General Assembly has presently decreed – VIRGINIA IS NOT FOR GAY LOVERS.

A Roman Senator once said that the fates lead you to your destiny, or they drag you to it.  Our Commonwealth has had to dragged before to its destiny and forced to end slavery, to grant women suffrage, to end segregation, to stop its massive resistance to integration.  Not too many years ago, our General Assembly defeated the equal rights amendment for women.

The Commonwealth is like a child that must be forced to do what’s right because it won’t do what’s right on its own.  It’s hard to support the Commonwealth’s insistence on its State’s rights when that means violating individual rights for its citizens.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said that “the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

The test is whether Justice Kennedy will follow his own teaching and provide the swing vote to affirm same sex marriage as a right.

If not, then what Kennedy said, is an example of “people talking without speaking,” afraid to disturb the “sound of silence” that embraces such bigotry.

I am reminded of that popular Simon and Garfunkel song from the sixties, the “Sounds of Silence,” because it reminds us how the more we think we’ve advanced in tolerance, the more we must confess that we’ve advanced hardly at all.

So many who discriminate against gays hide behind some religious text or other that finds no support in anything that Jesus ever said.  Apparently we are all made in the image of God – unless, by the twisted view of some Christians, your image is gay.

Nor is there much validity to the notion marriage is only to procreate, especially given our nation’s over-copulating population with so many children born orphans and unwanted who can’t find adopting families.

When the mind of man scours the Old Testament to find support in Leviticus for a biblical sound bite to justify discrimination, they defy the teachings of Jesus to love one another.

Ask yourself if Leviticus is really where we should be getting guidance anyhow?  Leviticus insists women are unclean and sinful after child birth (Leviticus 15:19-30), that a man who has sex with a slave woman won’t be punished, but the slave will be (Leviticus 19:20-22), and priests may only marry virgins (Leviticus 21:13-14).  Perhaps the Old South found comfort in Leviticus (Leviticus 25:44), stating “you may buy male and female slaves” but only from the surrounding “heathen” nations, a passage obscured in some translations, and,  of course, you may keep the children of these slaves as well (Leviticus 24: 45).  Some casuists say their slavery (in the time of Leviticus) was not like our slavery.  Oh really?

But I digress.

Our government is not the Holy Roman Catholic Church, nor any other Theistic entity, by which we are constrained to measure the rights of an individual in our constitutional society.

It is time to end this foul form of discrimination against gays so easily embraced by our political leaders and by our friends and neighbors.

Our individual dignity is insulted and abused by this persistent permeating prejudice visited on others.  Our silence is acquiescence and does “like a cancer grow.”

Some travel on missions around the globe to inform other nations of the values of democracy and others travel to teach the word of God.  We have plenty of soul work to do here in America to dismantle the neon God we’ve built that allows many to say this discrimination against gays is what God wants.  We have plenty of work to perfect our union, and to find our voice again, rather than remaining silent in the face of such bigotry.