I try not to get too political on this blog, but there's been a development in state politics that I simply can't ignore. If you don't want to read my furious rant, I understand. Tomorrow, I'll blog about ANTM or maybe Top Chef, but today I'm heartbroken and livid.
Yesterday, voters in Virginia approved an amendment to the state constitution that not only defined marriage as only existing between a man and a woman; it made any other kind of legal relationship between people not related by blood null and void. It's the most imbecilic, draconian bullshit piece of legislation, and a majority of people in this damn state are A-OK with it.
May I suggest a new state motto:
(I'm also considering "Is It 1300 AD Yet?" and "Yes, We Hate Gays! Why?")
I wasn't terribly surprised that this horrible amendment passed; Virginia has never been on the right side of social history. Slave state? Check. Refused to ratify the 19th Amendment (the one that allowed women to vote)? Check. Closed schools rather than integrate them in the 1950s? Check. Made gay marriage illegal? Check. And now this.
(Photos from The Commonwealth Coalition Web site with text added by me.)
Here's what appeared on the ballots in Virginia yesterday:
Question: Shall Article I (the Bill of Rights) of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to state:
"That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions.
This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage."?
Basically, this amendment says that unless you share some DNA, the legal standing of your relationship with someone is as follows: married or strangers. Jason and I are now strangers who share a house. My cousin and his girlfriend are now strangers who share a house and a baby. (If they break up, his legal status in terms of custody and visitation is roughly nil.)
But at least my cousin and I can marry our beloveds, if we need to have some legal standing. It's a shitty, craven reason to get married, and none of the government's goddamn business, but at least it's an option. My friends Kristen and Angela are now strangers who share a home and that's all they can ever be as long as they live in Bigots' Paradise. And 58% of the voting population of this state thinks that's as it should be.
Gay couples in Virginia now have constitutional proof that a majority of the folks in this state hate them. That's the only reason to ban gay marriage, no matter what rationalization people try to put on it. All the talk about "defending marriage" or "traditional values" boils down to one thing and one thing only: hatred of gay relationships and the belief that they are inherently inferior to straight relationships and should always be codified as such. It's ugly and pathetic, and it's now written into the constitution of this godforsaken backwater of humanity.
Recently, I've heard some whining from folks who live in the South that Southerners are considered easy targets for mocking, that they're always portrayed as stupid, prejudiced rednecks. But then something like the passage of this amendment happens and essentially proves that stereotype right. Memo to Virginians: if you don't want to be portrayed as ignorant, bigoted assholes, stop voting like ignorant, bigoted assholes.
I'm almost positive that 50 years from now, Virginians will look back on the passage of this amendment with the same shame and horror that greets the whole "you closed the schools?" business. But that's pretty cold comfort to gay couples across the state, their families and friends, and, really, anybody of any orientation who doesn't want the government defining their relationship.