The Final Solution

<< The following are my impressions and imaginings of the recent Town Hall Meeting
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
7:00 PM

with

Senator John C. Watkins
Delegate John M. O?Bannon, III
Delegate Katherine B. Waddell

I admit I am trying to tell a story and not be a reporter - but to give my point of view. I want to also say I applaud the contributions these elected officials make, and only want to catch their, and the public’s, attention to this issue.
>>

So, Senator Watkins, you’ve said that the senate is a bit different in character than the house, and that senators are more “big picture”, broader perspective, longer range – wiser. So, senator, since we are about to engrave discrimination to second-class citizenship for all homosexuals in the state, tell me, what role do you want us to play? What fundamentalist, conservative, religious right behavioral model do you suggest we play?

Remain in the closet, out of sight, out of mind? Or should we immigrate to more progressive enlightened regions of western civilization, such as most of Europe, Canada, Massachusetts, California – or to where even conservatives like Rudy Giuliani, Barry Goldwater, John McCain can draw a line in the sand?

And as you have suggested in your town hall meeting last week, that “there are all sorts of ways around the legal conundrums – all sorts of ruses that will give gays an approximation of what straights take for granted: wills, contracts - probably a whole other legion of lawyers will arise to help you gays devise some sort of contract marriage – now that sounds close enough to me to civil marriage – Hell, you’d have your cake and we’d have ours. Why, Virginians will be in all perpetuity safe from homosexuals by having their relationships officially not recognized. We have saved the core traditional 1950’s American family!”

And if I may summarize your position, Senator Watkins, you believe marriage is only and should only be between a man and a woman? That, that’s traditional, and has important sociological and shared meaning? That it will alter the fabric of the traditional American family? That to tamper with this truth would be to underpin the very rock our democracy stands on?

Hyperbole? Sure, but how easily is dismissed the analogy with black civil rights. No analogy is perfect, but they are often instructive. I lived in the 50’s and can imagine a previous Senator Watkins who would say, “You blacks have a water fountain and a toilet and a public school system – you blacks have a different but fairly equal access to everything we whites do. Just keep your hands off our daughters”. And in that time, Senator Watkins, would you have had the courage and the wisdom to stand up and say, that whether or not second-class citizenship for some minority is accepted by both majority and that minority, it is still wrong – and in opposition to the greater traditions of this country and is not a road to the future we really want?

And Representative Waddell, you voted against aspects of the amendment three times, but still voted for the amendment, that included the aspects you previously voted against. I credit you with being consistent with your campaign position. But, was that not an opportunity for you to change your vote for cause?

And Representative O’Bannon, you retort that you have supported some gay friendly legislation, but that there are realities of being a politician, and that this <not voting for what one knows is right> is sometimes a political necessity.

So Senator Watkins, the Germans had what was called a final solution for the Jews, what is to be ours? What is the final solution for us gays?

Just how difficult do you want to make an already difficult life more difficult? How separate do want to make us from our family and our friends and our neighbors and our colleagues? For this certainly does not make life easier or more connected. And the real benefit to you? – well, Senator Watkins, you have still been unable to explain that.

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