In February 2011, President Obama instructed Attorney General Eric Holder not to defend DOMA, and I believed we had jumped a major hurdle on our way to civil rights for all our citizenry. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell had been repealed in 2010. Then came the push by VP Joe Biden, and the President announced on May 9, 2012, he was in favor of marriage equality. Then in June 2013 we had the Supreme Court decision on DOMA, in which Justice Scalia foretold of state marriage bans being challenged across the country. Those lawsuits were filed, some have been heard before federal courts across the country and to date all have been found to be unconstitutional.
Last year during the Commonwealth’s statewide elections, I repeatedly heard our candidates speak in favor of full and equal civil rights for all of the citizens of the Virginia including marriage equality. Newly elected Attorney General Mark Herring stood tall when he refused to defend Virginia’s same sex marriage ban because he believed it to be unconstitutional.
Then on Friday, we hear that Governor McAuliffe wants Dwight Jones to be the new chair of the DPVA. I don’t know Dwight Jones, other than to know he is mayor of Richmond. I’ve done a bit of research since the news on Friday, and it seems Mayor Jones has taken steps to stop discrimination during his tenure. However, he refuses to acknowledge the most basic of civil rights for the LGBT community….the right to marry whom they love.
While Gov. McAuliffe has made his pick, the choice, in my opinion, is not merely his to make. The Central Committee has to vote on March 15. Of course, I expect the governor believes the Central Committee will rubberstamp his choice. However, I cannot and will not vote for someone whom believes it wrong for my daughter to marry the love of her life…who happens to be a woman. There are a lot of people like me who have a daughter, a son, a nephew, a niece, a friend who are gay. I love my daughter and her happiness is my happiness, her pain, my pain. Gov. McAuliffe has the capacity and the compassion to realize the harm being caused by his choice. The choice is tearing our party to shreds from within. Mayor Jones might be a great guy, a good mayor, but he can’t be DPVA chair.
My friend, Kathy Gerber, said it best last night when she wrote on her Facebook page: “Somebody help me out. The RTD (Richmond Times Dispatch) features a very married DeGeneres, and meanwhile the DPVA wallows in some kind of autophagic attack.”