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Virginia Will Pay a Price

by: Elaine in Roanoke

Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 13:07:30 PM EST

The decision by the majority of those who bothered to go to the polls last November to put a fundamentalist in the governor's mansion and a far-right, homophobic guy in the attorney general's office will surely cause problems for Virginia. I'll get to one relating to attracting employment to Virginia later. But, first, the side show that has become Virginia governance.

We all know by now that incoming Republican Bob McDonnell did not see fit to continue the eight-year pattern by Democratic governors of  issuing a non-discrimination policy that rejected bias in hiring and promotion of state employees based on their sexual orientation.

He contended that only the legislature had the ability to protect those citizens from the actions of bigots. That is his "opinion," despite the fact that the Code of Virginia gives the governor the right to set policy for state agencies, unless prohibited from doing so by the Code of Virginia.

Meanwhile, certifiable nutjob Del. Bob Marshall (R-Far Right Field) has made another ridiculous, homophobic comment about a bill introduced by Democratic Sen. Don McEachin to do what the governor said was necessary - make discrimination in state hiring on the basis of sexual orientation illegal by legislative action.

"I think there first should be some finding that homosexuals, as a class, are being discriminated against," Marshall said. "In all of my experience and reading, gay individuals seem to have more income, to attend more cultural events, to take more vacations than the rest of us."

Words escape me in commenting on the stupidity of that remark.  So, I'll just move on to the harm these homophobes may cause the state.  

Elaine in Roanoke :: Virginia Will Pay a Price
Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia  are vying right now to be the site of a new corporate headquarters for defense giant Northrup Grumman. A Maryland state senator has asked Northrop Grumman to reject Virginia as a location because of the Commonwealth's position on state protections for gay employees.

According to the Washington Post, Maryland State Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery) in a letter to the CEO of Northrup argued his state's stand on gay rights better mirrors the company's own longstanding commitment to its gay and lesbian employees.

"Here in Maryland, we value our gay and lesbian citizens as part of a diverse population that makes the state strong," Madaleno wrote. "Virginia is doing the opposite and letting its LGBT citizens - and those considering whether to move and work there - know that they and their families are unwelcome, second-class citizens. And they are counting on corporations like yours not to care."

While Virginia enshrined discrimination against gay persons into its constitution in 2006 by outlawing gay marriage, civil unions, or anything that resembles either, Maryland's attorney general has announced the state will recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, Madaleno pointed out.

The chief executive office of Equality Virginia, a gay rights group, also sent Northrop Grumman CEO Wesley Bush a similar letter.

Dan McClain, a spokesman for Northrop Grumman, said Bush has not yet read the letters and declined to comment on specific factors going into the company's relocation decision. But, he added, the company believes "a workplace that values diversity and fosters inclusion is pivotal to promoting innovation and increasing productivity."

For several years, Northrop Grumman has received a perfect rating from the Human Rights Campaign for its protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees. The corporation also offers family health benefits to the partners of its gay employees.

The letters pointed out that Gov. Bob McDonnell, citing advice from AG Ken Cuccinelli, refused to extend health benefits to other adults living in the homes of state employees, including gay partners, as had been proposed by former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine.

At some point, the decisions being made right now in Virginia - whether it's refusing to protect gay Virginians, slashing public school funding, decimating and ultimately destroying state aid for the arts, treating the poor and sick as disposable people, etc. - may well result in a blowback that will harm all of the state's citizens.

We will lose out on attracting business. We will create larger social problems to leave for our children. We will make Virginia a meaner, harder place to live.

In the name of full disclosure: I am a married, straight woman. My marriage has never been threatened by people of the same sex who want God to bless their union. I am a retired public school teacher who taught with both closeted and out-of-the closet gays during my career. None of them ever harmed a child, to my knowledge. I have had several good friends in my life who were lesbians. None of them ever tried to seduce or "turn" me. I firmly believe that bigotry against homosexuality is often caused by insecurity about one's own sexuality.

"War. Rape. Murder. Poverty. Equal rights for gays. Guess which one the Southern Baptist Convention is protesting?" - The Value of Families

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only the most vigilant will realize what is happening in our state. The morons who voted in these nutjobs won't even "get" how bad our state is getting. How mwan, how hate filled, how bigoted, how homophobic and how socially unjust we will become in the years to come.

I will be disappointed if Northrup does come here-and I know their LGBT employees will hate it. Make no mistake, I am all for jobs but not at the price of giving up the rights of many.

for not being PC but it seems to me that, judging by Marshall's:

gay individuals seem to have more income, to attend more cultural events, to take more vacations than the rest of us.

for some people at least, "teh Gay" is the new "Jew". The suggestion that the "moneyed, educated elite" is behind all the ills plaguing the country was a big part of the official argument in purging the Jews of Poland in 1968. And, for all I'm too young to remember it personally, the same was true in Poland of 1948 and in Germany of 1938...

I find such "group hatreds" viscerally repugnant. Though, to be sure, I myself am edging towards a point where I'll hate all Repubs, sight unseen...

Is He Afraid?
Perhaps Bob Marshall - in talking about "them" vs "the rest of us" - is subconsciously fearful about his own sexuality.

He certainly does seem jealous of "their" money and cultural acuity and ability to vacation well.

Maybe he wishes he could be like that...Snark.

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