More Profiles in Courage … State Senate version

This morning, I read this ditty about Senator Creigh Deed from George Loper’s Charlottesville web site and have attached the latest Equality Virginia press release as well.

Any thoughts, or comments, or bacon bits?

Per Loper email: In May of 2004 Creigh blasted GOP legislators for a “mean-spirited and unnecessary” bill banning gay marriage and legal contracts between unmarried partners.” At the time, he was reported as opposing gay marriage and supporting a different version of the Senate bill, to which Warner added amendments limiting its impact on legal contracts. See

On February 7 of 2005 Creigh voted for a constitutional amendment [SJ337] stating:

“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 effect of marriage.”

Voting yea were: Bell, Blevins, Bolling, Chichester, Colgan, Cuccinelli, Deeds, Devolites Davis, Hanger, Hawkins, Houck, Martin, Miller, Mims, Newman, Norment, Obenshain, O’Brien, Potts, Puckett, Quayle, Rerras, Reynolds, Ruff, Stolle, Stosch, Wagner, Wampler, Watkins, Williams – 30.

Voting nay were: Edwards, Howell, Lambert, Locke, Lucas, Marsh, Puller, Saslaw, Ticer, Whipple – 10.

Asked about his position on SJ337, he said:

“I believe marriage is uniquely a matter of state law and that marriage is the union between one man and one woman.”

“In committee, I voted for an amendment to take out the second sentence of the amendment,” but was outvoted. He said his objection to the second sentence was that “it takes the peoples’ branch of government out of consideration about whether contracts are similar to marriage and throws it into the courts.”

When it came before the floor, he said he “had to make a decision” and “wanted people to have a choice.”

Assuming that the bill is passed, it will have to go before a second session of the Virginia General Assembly in 2006, before going to the ballot as a voter referendum.

Please send your thoughts about Creigh’s vote to where the most representative comments will be placed on my web site with full attribution.

Given the fact that the amendment will probably come again before the Virginia General Assembly and also the fact that Creigh is running for AG, you might want to drop him a line yourself. His email address is His phone number at the VA Gen Assembly is 804-698-7525.

Per Equality Virginia Press Release: EV NewsFebruary 9, 2005

Virginia’s New #1 Ranking: Most Anti-Gay State in Nation?

(Richmond, Virginia) Virginia moved farther along the path to becoming the most anti-gay state in the nation as the 2005 General Assembly arrived at the mid-point of the legislative session.

Proposals to constitutionalize a ban on same sex marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships have powered through both houses of the legislature on lop-sided votes. Other legislation that would have made Virginia only the second state to prohibit “homosexuals” from adopting children and directed local school officials to ban student organizations that provide support to gay and lesbian teens have been modified in the legislative process but are still under consideration.

“Virginia has real problems to fix, like growing traffic congestion, the health care crisis, job losses in Southwest and Southside Virginia and underperforming schools. It’s shameful that our legislators have spent their time this session fiddling with the constitution, and otherwise being quite creative in attempting to deny tax-paying gay and lesbian Virginians equal protection under the law. This is the worst case of ‘piling on’ seen in decades,” said Dyana Mason, Equality Virginia Executive Director. “It’s obvious that our opponents feel threatened by the progress made towards equality in recent years, here and around the country.”

Virginia has had a law banning same sex marriage since 1986, which has been strengthened twice since, most recently with the passage of HB 751 passed just last year. There has never been a case in which Virginia’s definition of marriage has been challenged. Despite this fact, legislative sponsors argue that there is an urgent need to act to change the constitution to protect Virginia’s definition of marriage from some unspecified threat posed by judges in Massachusetts and California.

“This argument shows how little moral force there is behind the arguments of marriage amendment proponents. The reality is that any threat to Virginia’s definition of marriage is posed, not by unknown rogue judges or gay and lesbian Virginians seeking to forge recognized, committed relationships, but by other factors, such as poverty, lack of commitment to stated religious and moral vows, and the divorce rate,” said Equality Virginia Board Chair, Joseph R. Price.

Prior to the start of the session, Equality Virginia hired a professional lobbyist, started organizing grassroots Community Action Teams in districts across the state, and organized the largest ever gay and lesbian Lobby Day attended by over 250 volunteer activists. The growing strength of Equality Virginia and its supporters has already had an impact this session and is reflected in the changes made to moderate the proposed adoption and Gay Straight Alliance bills.

Equality Virginia and allied groups are also currently organizing a set of community meetings statewide to update our members and supporters on the actions taken by the General Assembly, and encourage them to get involved.

“We will continue to bring to bear on the legislative process the collective power of Equality Virginia and our allies, Virginians of reason and faith, who oppose discrimination in all of its forms,” said David Lampo, Chair of the Political Committee of Equality Virginia.


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  1. Will Vehrs Avatar

    Democratic voters tolerate anti-gay votes by their legislators because they know it’s not what they really believe–it’s what they have to do to stay in office.

    It’s like a Democrat saying “I will not raise taxes.” All that’s missing is the wink and the nod.

    Republican duplicity is widely reported; the Democrats, because of their relatively small numbers, get a pass.

  2. DEMOCRATS??? Sleeping at the wheel, bud?

    Enter the Blue Dog no spin zone …

    Last year’s wink and nod: Norment, Chichester, Hanger, and Potts along with 17-House Republican voted to raise taxes by 1.5 billion with a 2 billion dollar surplus.

    Can you say assist and layup?

  3. The real question is what candidates like Kaine will say. Of course may see this anti-gay legislation as a divisive tactic by Republicans, but that does not mean that there is not a lot at stake here. As I have said before, what good are our representatives if they do not defend our citizens against state discrimination?
    Its about time Democrats stood up for something that means something. Otherwise, VOTE GREEN!

  4. Will Vehrs Avatar

    Like I said, Republican duplicity has been widely reported. Wink .)

  5. Blue Dog slogan of the day, “In the world according to Garp, we are all terminal cases.”

    What’s a Green Party?

  6. The Green Party is right here and growing. But what is the Democratic Party?
    And what about Virginia Democrats?

    Rebel Dean inspires gays in Florida

    A Democratic caucus meeting in Orlando sets its sights on revitalizing unity in the gay community.

    By Tania deLuzuriaga
    Sentinel Staff Writer
    Posted February 13 2005

    With a rebel now heading the Democratic Party, Florida’s gay Democrats vowed Saturday to be puppets of their party no longer and to bring social issues to the front of their party’s concerns.

    “I don’t want to reach across the aisle; I want to win,” said Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, who is openly gay. “Republicans used our community as a wedge in the [2004] election.”

    Sheehan was one of about 40 Democrats from across the state to attend the quarterly meeting of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transsexual Caucus of the Florida Democratic Party in Orlando. Agreeing that a lack of organization hurt Democrats in November, they said unity will be vital if they are to overcome roadblocks to gay civil rights.

    “We have four more years with [President] George [Bush], and we have a big X on our heads,” caucus President Michael Albetta said.

    Already, a group with ties to conservative Christians has launched a petition to ban gay marriage in Florida. The group hopes voters in 2006 will amend the state constitution to declare that marriage is a union between “only one man and one woman” and that no other kind of union is equivalent to marriage.

    State law bans same-sex marriage, but an amendment would remove the Legislature’s authority to change that.

    In addition to social issues, the caucus is focused on the re-election campaign of Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and the Florida governor’s race, both in 2006.

    November’s election, in which the issue of gay marriage figured prominently, “was a real wake-up for a lot of gays,” said delegate Warren Day of Pompano Beach. “A lot of us hadn’t realized how hostile things were. We thought we were beyond that.”

    The caucus also heard from Scott Maddox, chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, who called Saturday afternoon from the Democratic National Committee meeting in Washington.

    Maddox promised to offer more political candidates “with guts,” saying that in the last election “our candidates were afraid to tell what was exactly in their hearts.” Several members of the caucus criticized Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry for running a presidential campaign that was too cautious and never took a hard stand.

    “We’re liberal; we’re not in the middle,” said Donnell Morris of Fort Lauderdale. “Let’s get away from that.”

    News that former Vermont governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean had been elected the new chairman of the DNC was met with cheers and a standing ovation from the crowd.

    Although Dean’s strong opinions and caustic comments have sometimes led to controversy, caucus members said he understands gay issues and realizes that gays and lesbians are a vital part of the Democratic Party.

    “Democrats have always prided themselves on being a grass-roots party,” said Katy Peterson of Wilton Manors. “That’s what we’re getting back to.”

    Tania deLuzuriaga can be reached at or 407-931-5934.

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