The Richmond Times Dispatch Reluctantly Opposes The Virginia Marriage Amendment

The Richmond Times Dispatch editorial in opposition of the marriage amendment was the most unenthusiastic, begrudging argument I’ve ever read. It’s almost as if they felt they could just not put together a credible and intellectually honest position to support this outrageous amendment no matter how hard they tried, and so reluctantly had their most junior and pathetic writer put together this drivel.

No mention of the impact this will have on the ability of this state’s gay and lesbian citizens, in the light of the growing tolerance of young people and educated people, to revisit this subject in the future. No mention of the real threats to traditional marriage. No suggestion that homosexuality is now known by medicine and science to be a state of being and not a moral choice. No mention of the trend of giving gays equal civil rights in many western countries with the lack of any noticeable consequence other than an expansion of societal inclusion.

So much for authentic conservative principles – so much for the courage of a paper that resides in the same city as the setting of Patrick Henry’s great oratory. Give me liberty or withhold our café latte this morning.


Robinitaface said…
Mr. Garnett, you are correct. One can tell by reading the editorial that it was being written while treading on extremely thin ice. It was an editorial where every single word was carefully chosen, and it showed. The Times-Dispatch has a base of reader, and, unfortunately, a vast majority of that base will most likely vote for the Marriage Amendment.

The fact they did not mention mention the impact the amendment will have on gays and lesbians - or homosexuality in general- i imagine, was actually a calculated move. How are you going to speak logically on a hot-button issue, if you fire people up as soon as you say the ONE hot-button word? Sadly (and I make a generalization here), as soon as you say "Gay" alot of people get angry and just stop listening. Therefore, I think, they appealed to the fine print. The part that alot of voters actually still don't know about.

They also used an argument made my you in a previous blog. The one about Thomas Jefferson turning over in his grave?

"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

They didn't use the same quote you did, but it was obvious you guys were on the same page as far as TJ goes.

Look, the editorial obviously wasn't a big fanfare of "VOTE NO! IT'S WRONG!!" I'll give you that. It was more of a "Hey, look. We know you don't like gay people. Let's not focus on that. Let me tell you the other reasons why right now you should not vote for this amendment."

I'm not saying that casually because I think it's ok to not like gay people. FAR FROM IT. I'm saying that if a vast community of people is homophobic (to whatever degree), it's going to take alot more time than campaigning against this amendment has allowed to change that. So if the Times-Dispatch's editorial has offered a "conservative" voice (without the preconceived "homosexual" notions already attached to make the people automatically not listen) to spell things out for other "conservatives," I think it can add up to be a good thing.
Bill Garnett said…

I really appreciate your reply and I think I can understand your reasoning.

But I politely disagree.

As far as I know we have one short time in all of eternity to experience being alive and human and having the chance to make a difference. And making a difference takes courage. How ironic that we celebrate George Washington, and Martin Luther King, and Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela – all who stood up with courage to fight for a better world and broader rights for individuals to be equally valued. Yet we dampen down today someone who would dare stand up to ignorance, bias, prejudice, and intolerance – “please don’t disturb or upset these bigots”. “Give them time, eventually they may come around”.

Bull shit (sorry, but sometimes no other expression works) but its our time to stand up, to come out into the light of day and say we are no less than you, we will not be diminished by your ignorance.

I know some will find this a far-fetched metaphor, but watching Michael J. Fox with his courage and his honesty speak out for stem cell research and for hope for Parkinson’s victims resonated with me. He talked about how many would just rather these victims go away, shut their curtains and just suffer alone.

Well I and many I’ve known through life who happen to be gay have withheld their suffering, have accepted their second class status, have accepted some small degree of tolerance in exchange for not standing up as full and complete human beings. And I am so disappointed with our gay community who are not just absent from this fight but often enablers of the bigots who foisted this amendment.

I know how my sexual orientation and its perception by those around me has burdened my life – and I stand willing to confront anyone who suggests this inequality be fostered a day longer in our society.
Robinitaface said…
Mr. Garnett,

I want to make it clear that it seems we are on the same page as far as the amendment goes. I oppose it for every single reason it should be opposed. I believe in equal rights for EVERYONE. I'm the product of a divorced heterosexual family - Go sanctity of marriage! I also know a few homosexual families that couldn't be more loving and supportive...the children involved are in no danger of being scarred, except by ridicule from the children at their schools being raised by bigoted parents. It is also unnecessary, what with the laws already on the books. It is poorly written, with so many interpretations, unmarried straight couples... yaddah, yaddah, yaddah...but you've heard all this...

People who know me would agree that I'm not one to back down from something that I believe in. Almost to a fault. One thing that I am learning though, is that at some point you start screaming loud enough that people stop listening to you. They tune you out. Goodness knows, sometimes if I hear Bush say "stay the course" too many times in a speech, I change the channel. I'm through listening to it. So, while you may wish the T-D had written more in support of gay rights, people may have actually heard more than you realize.

With Election Day a week away, I'm suggesting that the editorial be taken as a battle victory in the war for Equal Rights (I can't believe I just used a military analogy). And it makes sense strategically to try to defeat the amendment as the most immediate concern. I'm not saying you have to sit and wait for people to come around, but it takes time to change people's way of thinking. You can sign Equal Rights into law, but people aren't just going to be accepting overnight. That's a fact. I, obviously, was not alive during the 60's, but know quite a few people who were, and I hear the way some of them talk - and the way they taught their children. It has to be filtered out. Now maybe you can pull back, rest you voice a little, and maybe find a different way of saying things so that people start hearing, and listening again.

They didn't have to publish any opinion at all, or worse, it could have been *for* the amendment. I would take it for what it is, a vote on our side. Hopefully, the readers will already realize that there should be equal rights for everyone. If they're not there yet, hopefully the editorial will help them still to vote against it. Maybe those friends of yours (and mine) who have accepted their "second class status" might see that the fight isn't over yet, and catch their second wind.
Joe Stanley said…
Totally off-topic from what you and Robin are discussing, Mr. Garnett, if you could please link me to the newest information about homosexuality being a state of being as opposed to choice, I'd certainly like it to fall back on in my debates.

However, I do have one question for you: How quickly do you use that line of reasoning? I feel it is more of a half-victory to convince people to vote on any measures on those grounds, simply because it does nothing to validate the choice. I feel in the spirit of American values, we should allow same sex marriages (the governmental versions as opposed to the religious) on the grounds of choice, not just because it is a biological fact.

Don't get me wrong, I'll take a half-victory over a loss, but I'd much rather convince people even if homosexuals were simply making a choice.
Bill Garnett said…
Joe, This is the webpage I most often refer to:

It has links to legally recognized experts on both sides of the argument, and the arguments are more rational and objective than many of the emotional and belief based arguments found elsewhere.

I agree with you that the reality is there are gay and lesbian people in our world, who want to form committed state recognized relationships. And that reality exists regardless of where it originates. The state should view this rationally and in the context of the protection and extension of minority rights – in my opinion.

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