Author Archives: Epluribusunum

Column attacking trans child published in Purcellville Gazette

The following column was published in the April 11 edition of the Purcellville Gazette after the editor, Kim Weber, was warned that it was riddled with known defamatory falsehoods and endangered a child. Ms. Weber was offered assistance and education by two different individuals in the community with expertise in this area, and failed to respond to those offers. The email from Equality Loudoun is reproduced below.

After being contacted by the child’s family’s attorney and others, Ms. Weber pulled the column from the Purcellville Gazette website. However, the same personally identifying information (redacted here) appears in the print edition of the paper, now distributed all over western Loudoun.

The column was also published earlier on a local political blog, “The Bull Elephant,” by Republican activist Jeanine Martin. It was sent to her by Delegate David LaRock (and initially falsely attributed to him). We do not link to it here because it also contains the personal information endangering the child. The comments to that blog post follow at the end.

The removal of the online article by Ms. Weber constitutes acknowledgement of her poor judgment in publishing it. Unfortunately, she is unable to retract the print edition that has been distributed to, by the Gazette’s own estimation, “over 40,000 readers.” Other measures will be required to address the damage done by this entirely avoidable error in judgment.

Contact information:

Publisher & Editor-In-Chief: Kim Pregartner-Weber
Phone: 540.431.8507

Mailing Address:
PO Box 65
Purcellville, VA 20134

Physical Address:
130 North 21st Street
Purcellville, VA 20132

Email from Equality Loudoun, (April 7, 2015):

Dear Kim,

I suspect that Mr. Markert submitted a version of this defamatory garbage for publication in your newspaper. It was brought to my attention by a Republican candidate who found it appalling. My hope is that it has already been rejected as unsuitable for a responsible publication, and that is why it has now been published on a blog (although he has used your paper as his credential).

In America, we do not punish an entire category of person because the ignorance of others leads them to fear that a member of that category might theoretically do something wrong. This is a child. She has been publicly called by members of the Stafford community “it,” a “freak on a leash,” and other similar terms implying that she is not human. This child and her family now have to fear for her safety because of the behavior of people like Charles Markert. Here is just a brief list of the outright falsehoods contained in his disgusting smear job, in which he repeatedly slurs her by referring to her as “he” and “a boy”:

“Transgenderism” is not a word.

The condition of being a transgender person, i.e., having a medical intersex condition that results in the wrong gender assignment at birth, is NOT “classified as a mental disorder.”

[Name redacted] is a girl, not a boy. She has been diagnosed by a medical team with expertise in this condition. This is not a matter of “wanting” to “self-identify as a girl” any more than for any other girl, and is not subject to others’ opinion or so-called “disagreement.”

There is nothing “experimental” about school policies that acknowledge the medical reality of students like [Name redacted]. There are jurisdictions that have had such policies in place for years.

Kevin Jennings is not a member of “NAMBLA.” That one sounds legally actionable and should alone be grounds for rejection. I will be contacting Mr. Jennings shortly.

Gender identity (neurological gender) has absolutely nothing to do with sex, sexuality, pornography, or sexual misconduct by anyone.

There has never been an instance of a trans person “violating the privacy” of or posing a threat to anyone else in a public restroom. There has similarly never been an instance of a man or a boy falsely claiming to be a trans woman or girl in order to gain access to a female restroom, another common lie deployed by the Charles Markerts of the world. To the contrary, it is trans people who are frequently the victims of harassment and violence at the hands of people who are misinformed and frightened by hit pieces such as this.

The lies in this piece are the equivalent of lies about racial and religious minorities from an earlier era that I know you and any other responsible publisher would instantly recognize as outside the boundaries of legitimate debate and unprintable. Trans kids are at a tremendously elevated risk for suicide because exactly this kind of defamation convinces them that things will never get better. Leelah Alcorn committed suicide because her parents were influenced by misinformation like this. Google her. There are trans children attending Loudoun schools and they don’t deserve to be subjected to this. What they need is protection from such people and to have the adults around them educated. I would be happy to work with you on this.

I’m still waiting to hear from you about that meeting. I won’t have my community abused.

Best regards,
David Weintraub
Equality Loudoun

Column by Charles Markert as published in the Purcellville Gazette, April 11 2015, with personal identifying information about the child redacted:

It’s Just Common Sense: Virginia Schools Set To Make a Transgender Policy Change

By Charles D. Markert.

Virginia Schools are poised to make a transgender policy change without even consulting parents. Before you yield to that impulse to write this off, think again. It is too important not to have an opinion. In Virginia, and all across America, promoters of the homosexual agenda claim to be opposing bullying, discrimination, intolerance, inequality, and abuse of individual rights, but in reality they are guilty of all the above.

Every once in a while though they push too far too fast and some brave people say no. That recently happened in [Name of school redacted] in nearby Stafford County, Virginia, when a [grade redacted] boy, [Name redacted], decided “he” wanted to “self-identify as a girl” and was allowed to dress as a girl in class, including make-up, jewelry, and high heels: excessive for any [redacted] grader. The school came up with a plan to allow him to use two different single restrooms in the school. But for those who want transgenderism to be accepted and embraced by everyone as normal that was discriminatory, so the school granted [Name redacted] access to the same bathroom the girls use.

In this case and many others, the discrimination is flipped around and targeted against other students who said they disagreed. At least one female student who disagreed with the new school policy was told she could use the girls bathroom after everyone else to accommodate her discomfort with this new policy. The young girls who disagreed with the special treatment of [Name redacted] which compromised their privacy, got a dose of what happens when clear thinking collides with the politically correct thinking on the meaning of tolerance, discrimination, and individual rights. They became the targets of discrimination for not embracing the gender biased policy formed to coddle kids whose behavior is classified in psychiatric journals as a mental disorder.

Fortunately Stafford parents spoke out and the policy was quickly reversed.

Closer to home, the Fairfax County School Board intends to make a similar move in the next few weeks. Unless parents speak out against this social experiment the nonsense will come to Fairfax schools and perhaps Loudoun will be next? The pretense for this social experiment is to provide protection for kids from bullying, but it ignores the fact that current school policies and Virginia laws already prohibit all forms of bullying.

Many schools are encouraging children to embrace and even indulge in behavior that is counter to their individual beliefs and those of their families. This is part of a broad conspiracy which violates individual rights in the name of tolerance. Across the country more and more schools are teaching children very inappropriate and explicit information about sex, and at very young ages. There has been a massive push by groups like the Gay Lesbian Straight Educational Network to push homosexuality into our schools. In Fact, one of the leading members of GLSEN, Kevin Jennings, the safe school czar appointed by Obama, has all but admitted a need to infiltrate our schools by saying that one of the biggest challenges the gay movement faces is recruiting young people to the movement. They were able to infiltrate by using words like homophobia, or using AIDS education as a cover. Parents need to wake up and speak out to demand that we keep education the focus of schools and not promoting sexuality that many find offensive for good reason. Parents do not send kids to school to be exposed to these bizarre distractions and potentially dangerous experiments. Unless parents speak, out these policies will come to Fairfax schools and then Loudoun schools. What value do we put on the safety and wellbeing of our children? If you choose not to speak up, our children will pay the price.

Stay vigilant my friends.

Comments to Purcellville Gazette column as of 2:00 pm, April 11:


11 Responses to “It’s Just Common Sense: Virginia Schools Set To Make a Transgender Policy Change”

Mr. Markert -This child (whose name you had no right printing) doesn’t “want” to be a girl or didn’t decide to be a girl, she IS a girl. Being transgender is medical not psychological. Gender is not the same thing as sexuality. Next time please do proper research before you print an article. And yes, we will stay vigilant.

Posted by Gail Boone | April 11, 2015, 1:52 pm
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Absolutely true. However, it is the Editor/Publisher of this newspaper who is responsible for fact-checking and rejecting submissions that do not merit publication. As pointed out below, Kim Weber was provided with corrections to the factually inaccurate nonsense in this piece. She is the one who will ultimately be held accountable for publishing a combination of known defamatory falsehoods and personally identifying information about a minor child. This was a profoundly irresponsible act that was entirely avoidable.

Posted by David Weintraub | April 11, 2015, 2:01 pm
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To the author of this piece ~ Quoting this: “… whose behavior is classified in psychiatric journals as a mental disorder….” ~ uhm, no, actually, it is NOT. That diagnostic categorization was removed from the DSM-5 (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, most recent/current edition).by the APA in 2012. If one is going to attempt to provide proof of their position, one should be able to do so with actual facts. If, by “scientific journals” you are referencing publications that support conversion therapy, those are being discredited as harmful, religiously-biased materials that do not have any real science backing them up. As a professional counselor, I find your misrepresentation of the “facts” quite disturbing.

Being transgender is not a disease, disorder, nor a fabrication. It is not sinful, either. Being a theologian and scholar of spiritual and religious scriptures/texts, I have yet to locate ANY passages that declare such a thing. Oh yes, and equating gender identity with sexuality and sexual orientation is simply wrong; they are not at all the same thing; they are separate facets of our beings. Transgender people, unless they actually identify such, are not gay people. They are not driven by depraved urges. Their sexuality is not the motive for changing their bodies ~ aligning with their actual gender identity so as to live the fullest, most authentic life that they can, IS. To harbor neurotic, paranoid thoughts about some imaginary “gay (or trans) agenda” (really??!) and to suspect any and every trans person of being a pervert is a sadly fear-driven perspective that perpetuates hatred, ignorance, divisiveness, and violence.

Anyone who wants to wage a war of “values” over this, claiming to be be in the right and holding the moral “high ground” because their “values” justify cultivating fear, resentment, and aggression towards a whole segment of the population (be it the gay and/or transgender population)… sorry, but i think that there is a failure there to understand what “righteousness” truly is.

Fear-mongering and manipulation under the guise of “protection” ~ claiming to be the victim while being an oppressor ~ are we, as humans, and as a society, STILL playing these games? How sad.

Posted by Adam Lodestone | April 11, 2015, 12:58 pm
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Beautifully said, Adam Lodestone. Thank you.

Posted by Alison Boissonnas | April 11, 2015, 1:47 pm
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James Randle

I find this article well-intentioned, but ultimately wrong. Science is coming to show what many cultures have understood or hundreds of years: that gender identity and biological sex are not linked 1-to-1.

Most people will never encounter a dissonance between their outer sex and their gender; this is called being cisgender.

For some others, the gender a person feels they are (current thinking suggests this is a combination of brain chemistry and psychology) and their outward sex do not match; there are variations, but in general this is called being transgender.

It does credit to this phenomena, this very real human experience, that even at a young age individuals can identify as trans. Perceiving society’s model for “male” and “female,” and having the self-awareness to express for themselves where in the mix they belong, transgender people should be supported.

For perspective’s sake, the cultures that accept the reality of transgederism include the oh-so-liberal Islamic Republic of Iran. In our own homeland, Native Americans have been aware of non-binary sexuality and transgederism for a very long time – longer, I might add, than we have been a country.

I don’t think ad-hominem attacks are helpful in advancing discussions like this one, so I will refrain from labeling the author with unflattering words. However, I will say this: I find the opinion he has expressed and the policy recommendations he advocates to be despicable.

Virginia can do better.

Posted by James Michael Randle | April 11, 2015, 12:21 pm
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I’m fairly certain that this “newspaper” doesn’t have a fact checker. First and foremost, the fact that so much fear-mongering and blatantly inaccurate reporting is even published is irresponsible beyond words. You are talking about a CHILD with a MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS, there is no reasonable explanation for printing this garbage other than to engender fear from people unwilling to educate themselves. If you really want to protect children, protect all of them. Do some research and try publishing some facts rather than this…whatever it is. Transgender kids are just like every other kid, they go in the bathroom to GO TO THE BATHROOM. I don’t know what this guy is doing in there but noone I know goes sightseeing in a restroom.

Posted by Tristan Linquist | April 11, 2015, 12:20 pm
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This has nothing to do with “common sense;” it is a matter of law. Refusing a student who self-identifies as female to use the girl’s restroom is a violation under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 which “protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities which receive Federal financial assistance….” Recent guidance from the US Department of Education has confirmed that such includes transgender students… and legally always has. A student CANNOT be required to use a private restroom either, though a child may be given the OPTION to do so.

If we put any value on the “safety and wellbeing of our children,” that includes ALL children.

Posted by PFLAG of Winchester and the Lower Shenandoah Valley | April 11, 2015, 11:56 am
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While we recognize that this is an “opinion” piece, we are tremendously concerned that virtually every sentence in this article is wrong factually, morally, ethically, and/or legally.

Posted by PFLAG of Winchester and the Lower Shenandoah Valley | April 11, 2015, 12:20 pm
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Please spell “optional” correctly following “Leave a Reply”.

Posted by Kimberly LaFave | April 11, 2015, 11:42 am
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Statistics and facts were provided to the Purcellville Gazette, and it chose to ignore them and instead run this defamatory and inaccurate article. No examples of transgender people attacking others in bathrooms exist in the United States. None. What is true is that transgender people are the most discriminated against, most assaulted, and most murdered identifiable group on the planet.

The Purcellville Gazette has decided that facts don’t matter and that spreading baseless hate speech does. I once had a Scout ask me how the Nazi’s turned so many people against the Jews when the case against them was so fantastic and crazy…here is an example of how it was done.

Connie Rice Leesburg, Virginia

Posted by Connie Rice | April 11, 2015, 11:38 am
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Exactly right, Connie. I agree completely.

Posted by Katie Neville | April 11, 2015, 11:53 am
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Comments to the same column, published on the blog “The Bull Elephant” on April 5, 2015 (as of April 13, 5:30 pm the post is still online with the personal information intact.):

The Bull Elephant

Join the discussion…

bleufishcat • 6 days ago
Wanting to use the loo in privacy isn’t bullying. How come the trans kid isn’t seen as the bully for pushing his way into the girls bathroom? ONE kid parts the sea?! Come on!

Liz • 6 days ago
Thanks to Susan Stimpson, who is running against Speaker Bill Howell, for bringing this issue into the spotlight. Bill Howell seems to have taken a lot of money from Equality VA, which is promoting this kind of thing. Voters need to know more about their candidates and what their actions when it comes to issues like these. #weknowbill #wearenotimpressed

David Dickinson • 6 days ago
30 miles to the north, a couple of free-range parents found themselves being interviewed by the police and threatened by Child Protective Services for letting their kids walk a mile home from a museum.
But here we have a couple of parents who are abusing their own child by pushing their deluded concepts onto this poor 4th grader. Here is a clear case where CPS needs to get involved and save this kid from further harm. Instead, we are having an absurd public debate.

Matt Leeds • 6 days ago
I’m another day closer to my head exploding. The more I hear about what is promulgated and goes on in the public schools, the closer I come to believing I’ve been transported back to 1st Century Rome and the rule of Caligula. There will be no doubt if a horse makes it onto the ballot for school board. 20 years ago, I didn’t like what was going on in the Fairfax County public schools and decided my children would be home schooled; a prescient decision. What happened to schools teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic? Now it’s degeneracy, cross dressing, and perversion. Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, I think we’ve done you proud.

lisalake • 6 days ago
Some one tell Virginia that when a tranny dies and/or gets DNA tested to identify the body… they will still be the gender they were born with.

Catherine Stone McNickle • 6 days ago
I hope the LC School Board is researching what the current policy is on this issue, and starting discussions on whether or not the policy needs to be revisited.

Reinhardt Reganbacker lll • 5 days ago
Please don’t give these people the platform they so desperately are seeking.

However, do not forget to give me the platform I am seeking!

Disappointed In LaRock • 6 days ago
Does Mr. LaRock have any citations or is this just HIS religion speaking?

“They became the targets of discrimination for not embracing the gender biased policy formed to coddle kids whose behavior is classified in psychiatric journals as a mental disorder.”

The Bulletproof Monk -> Disappointed In LaRock • 6 days ago
It is most definitely a mental disorder. Case in point is a man who became a woman, but found it didn’t make him any happier…so he turned around and sued the doctor for not talking him out of it. They ain’t playin with a full deck.

Both websites have been captured, and screenshots are available on request.

Yes, Virginia, Marriage is a Fundamental Right

wedding-ringsSpecial op-ed by David Weintraub published in the Purcellville Gazette, August 2 2014.

On November 7, 2006, Virginia voters were presented with the choice to add an amendment to our state constitution. This amendment would not only prohibit civil marriage between two people of the same sex – which had already been banned legislatively several times over – but would also ban any other “union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage,” or which “intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage.” This expansive language gave Virginia the dubious honor of having adopted the most extreme so-called “marriage amendment” in the nation.

In a decision announced Monday, The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals found that prohibition unconstitutional, joining an unbroken series of rulings affirming marriage as a fundamental right that cannot be denied because of gender.

At the time of the amendment’s passage (it was approved by 57 percent of voters), I was told jubilantly by a local supporter that it would “protect” his model of marriage in Virginia “for at least a decade.” This prediction has turned out to be remarkably accurate. In the past decade, we have witnessed a shift in opinion like no other toward support of the right for loving gay and lesbian couples to marry. At the same time, courts have come to the long overdue conclusion that the U.S. Constitution really does mean what it says about the rights guaranteed to ALL Americans.

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Benefit concert for People of Faith for Equality in Virginia

Genuine religious freedom is on the move in Virginia. This concert benefits some of that work.


Support People of Faith for Equality in VA!
Friday May 9th, 2014
Doors Open, Tapas, Bar – 6:30pm
Concert Begins – 7:30pm

This is the third annual Gay Men’s Chorus of DC concert in Sterling, VA. This is a night to celebrate the inherent worth and dignity of all people with music for the sake of joy!

Order your tickets now. [Note: the POFEV website is temporarily down; you can also contact them via facebook.]

Tickets purchased on the night of the event may be standing room only.

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC, is one of the Washington area’s most acclaimed musical groups. GMCW won WAMMIES for Best Choral Recording in 2013 and 2014 from the Washington Area Music Association. Their Potomac Fever/Rock Creek Singer CD recording TOGETHER AGAIN won this year. ALEXANDER’S HOUSE CD won in 2013. You can hear and see some of their amazing performances on the GMCW website.

Please join us for this joyous and inspiring evening of music to hear one of the D.C. area’s most acclaimed singing groups!

Child care will be available at the event. Donations are welcome!

We hope to see you May 9th in Sterling!

Brought to you by: Beth Chaverim Reform Congregation, Loudoun Out Loud, St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, St. James United Church of Christ, Sha’re Shalom Synagogue, Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun, Unity of Loudoun, and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Sterling.

This week in anti-gay temper tantrums

We-dont-discriminate-stickerFirst up: Oral arguments in Bostic v. Schaefer before the Fourth District Court of Appeals are scheduled for May 13. The court will be hearing the appeal of Judge Arenda Wright Allen’s ruling that struck down Virginia’s anti-marriage Marshall-Newman amendment.

The Virginia “Family” (not yours) Foundation, in anticipation, is holding a 40 day “fast.” Don’t be alarmed, though. They won’t starve, or even lose any weight. The word “fast,” according to the clarification that appears on their website, and contrary to its common meaning, “does not translate” to “hunger strike.” It only means temporarily giving up something you kind of enjoy, like Diet Coke. Yes, Diet Coke is actually the example they cite. This word salad, apparently intended to explain the aforementioned desperate action, also appears:

Our state and nation are mired in a morass of confusion and post-modern thinking that does not believe in absolutes nor that any truth can even be known..

Huh? A bizarre statement, until you realize that it perfectly describes their own post-modern thinking. Martyrdom is just not what it used to be.

Next, from the Magnolia State: As you might imagine, Mississippi, like Virginia, has no civil rights provisions protecting LGBTI people from discrimination. Unlike, for example, in New Mexico, it is perfectly legal for the proprietor of a Mississippi business or public accommodation to refuse service to someone on the basis of their actual or perceived gender presentation or sexual orientation. It’s also perfectly legal to fire someone, deny them housing, deny them a bank loan, or any other form of discrimination that would be prohibited if it were on the basis of race, nationality, or religion.

That wasn’t enough for those in the state who see imaginary violations of their constitutionally protected religious freedom in every shadow, however. Earlier this month, the state legislature passed a bill, similar to the one famously vetoed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, that reiterates the “right” to discriminate that anti-gay bigots in Mississippi already enjoy, and effectively expands their “right” to discriminate against anyone else they dislike as long as they claim the discrimination is motivated by a “sincerely held religious belief.”

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Religious freedom is for everybody

idologo400A funny thing happened when those who find marriage equality so upsetting started loudly complaining about alleged violations of their religious freedom: People whose religious freedom actually is being violated stepped forward.

As reported here last month, the first ever Witness for Love held in Loudoun County drew a number of local clergy, who testified to being barred from performing the rites of marriage for same gender couples in accordance with their faith. Many people don’t realize that Virginia law includes a provision that makes it unlawful for an officiant to perform a marriage ceremony unless the couple has a legal marriage license. This provision does exactly what it sounds like it would do: It erases the supposed distinction between ‘civil’ and ‘religious’ marriage by restricting religious marriage celebration to what is permitted by civil law.

While no clergy or denomination ever has, nor ever will, be required to perform the rites of a same-gender marriage, an interracial marriage, an interfaith marriage, a marriage involving a divorced person, or any other marriage that fails to meet their particular religious criteria, those clergy and denominations that actively seek to celebrate the marriages of same gender couples in their communities are instead required to treat those couples as if they are unworthy of such celebration. That requirement (unlike the make-believe scenarios of anti-gay activists) is a very real and grievous violation of religious conscience. It unmistakably, to use the current language of the anti-gay crowd, “violates their sincerely held religious belief” in the equal dignity and humanity of their LGBT parishioners. Today, one of those denominations finally filed a lawsuit seeking the restoration of First Amendment rights to its clergy.

In what is believed to the first-ever challenge by a national Christian denomination of a state’s marriage laws, the UCC filed the lawsuit Monday morning, April 28, in U.S. District Court in Charlotte, N.C.

Under Amendment One, which passed in late 2012, it is a crime in the State of North Carolina for clergy to officiate a marriage ceremony without determining whether the couple involved has a valid marriage license. United Church of Christ ministers interested in conducting a religious marriage ceremony for same-gender couples could face up to 120 days of jail and/or probation and community service if found guilty, since North Carolina marriage laws define and regulate marriage as being between only a man and a woman. As lead plaintiff in this lawsuit against the State, the United Church of Christ asserts that these laws are unconstitutional and violate clergy’s First Amendment rights.

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Delgaudio attorney apparently switching sides

EugeneDelgaudioSadPandaLeesburg Today reports that Charlie King, the attorney representing Eugene Delgaudio in the citizens’ effort to have Delgaudio removed from office by the Circuit Court, has filed a subpoena seeking documents from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The rationale for the subpoena, according to Charlie King:

“Almost every article written about Supervisor Delgaudio mentions the designation of Public Advocate as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center,” King said in an email statement. “The Sterling petitioners (in a petition to remove Delgaudio from office) cited Public Advocate’s hate group status as one basis for removing him from office. In today’s America, calling somebody a member of a hate group is serious.”

Yes, it certainly is. And now I don’t know who, if anyone, is in charge of strategy over at Public Advocate/Office of the Sterling Supervisor.

Regarding SPLC’s 2012 addition of “Public Advocate of the U.S.” to its short list of anti-gay organizations extreme enough to be called “active hate groups,” Delgaudio only sings one note. Every transparently planted online comment, every press release, every public utterance directed at Loudoun County we’ve seen has repeated the same monotonous talking point: That the SPLC designation was made “because Public Advocate upholds traditional marriage.”

The repetition of this talking point has been so consistent that it could not possibly be accidental. The propagation of this lie has been the centerpiece of Delgaudio’s public relations management of the revelations about the co-mingling of his hate group’s fundraising activities with the privileges of his public office.

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Stop trying to focus on the word you used. The word you used is not the problem.

Bob FitzSimmonds (l) and Steve Martin (r)

Bob FitzSimmonds (l) and Steve Martin (r)

It’s possible, of course, that Bob FitzSimmonds doesn’t know what a common slang word for a part of the female anatomy means (he’s now claiming to have confused it with “twaddle”), although it’s hard to believe – even if he is “an old white guy who needs to get out more.”

If he and his supporters have any sense at all, though, they will stop trying to “explain.” When people try to “explain” to those whom they have just offended not only why they should not be offended, but how their being offended is actually an unfair attack on themselves, it does not go well. (Just ask Virginia State Senator Steve Martin. Actually, don’t ask him, because he still doesn’t get it.)

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Patrick Henry College to sexual assault survivors: “If you were telling the truth, God would have kept you conscious”

The administrators at Patrick Henry College have had a tough week.

Beginning on Sunday, PHC founder and chancellor Michael Farris posted a public statement about the recent disgrace of two important leaders within the religious homeschooling and “parental rights” movement, both of them because young women have come forward with testimony of sexual misconduct and abuse of power. Former Home School Legal Defense Association attorney Doug Phillips resigned last fall from the separatist group he had founded after it was revealed that he pursued a sexual relationship with a young woman, under 18, who was under his “authority.” Bill Gothard, leader of an influential Christian Patriarchy instruction program, is slowly being exposed as a predator who has for decades sexually molested young women sent to him, often at his personal invitation, to be his interns.

Farris did not dispute the misconduct of these men, seeming to accept evidence of their “protracted patterns of sin.” Instead, he tried to distance his own kind of “leadership” from theirs. But his statement is very strange. Attempting to avoid criticism of the authoritarianism that undergirds his own position, it ends up reading as if he thinks these “leaders,” these powerful men, should rightly have such control over the women and children under their authority, and that maintaining this position of male authority is a “basic strength.” The only problem with these men is that their strength was allowed to “get out of control.” The statement then ends with a lighthearted punchline normalizing the idea that men naturally want to pursue young women, but are inhibited by the fear that their wives will shoot them.

What came the next day must have been a surprise, although one is at pains to imagine why.

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Virginia gets a Valentine

U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen begins her opinion striking down the Marshall-Newman amendment by quoting Mildred Loving:

We made a commitment to each other in our love and lives, and now had the legal commitment, called marriage, to match. Isn’t that what marriage is? . . . I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry. Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. . . . I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.”

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More marriage news that will upset Bob Marshall

yardsignsUpdate: As expected, Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto has filed a motion to withdraw the state’s brief in defense of Nevada’s ban on same sex marriage. A statement from Republican Governor Brian Sandoval’s office says “based upon the advice of the Attorney General’s office and their interpretation of relevant case law, it has become clear that this case is no longer defensible in court.” The only remaining party willing to defend the amendment is now the “Coalition for the Protection of Marriage,” the third party intervenor responsible for putting it on the ballot in 2002. Given the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hollingsworth v. Perry that such an intervenor does not have standing to appeal, it’s likely that a Ninth Circuit ruling in favor of the couples seeking to overturn the ban will be the end of the line for the so-called “Protection of Marriage Initiative.” The plaintiffs are seeking an expedited hearing.

Now, can we finally put to rest the notion that our Attorney General is “out there on a limb by himself,” per Mr. Marshall?

(Originally published January 27, 2014) Over the weekend there were two more developments toward the ultimate demise of anti-marriage state measures like Virginia’s Marshall-Newman Amendment.

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