Virginia Anti Gay Law is Astoundingly Hateful

Virginia House Bill 1414by William Eamon Workman

A person seeking to obtain or renew a license, registration, or certificate from the Commonwealth, its political subdivisions, or any agency, authority, board, department, or other entity thereof, shall not be required to perform, assist, consent to, or participate in any action or refrain from performing, assisting, consenting to, or participating in any action as a condition of obtaining or renewing the license, registration, or certificate where such condition would violate the religious or moral convictions of such person with respect to same-sex “marriage” or homosexual behavior.

This is the way the proposal of Virginia House Bill 1414 reads.  This bill was offered to the Virginia General Assembly by Delegate R.G. “Bob” Marshall on January 14.  Bob Marshall has a long track record of homophobic legislation but this has to be the worst yet.  In fact, this is probably the most despicable and hateful law I’ve seen in my lifetime.

This bill is proposing to allow any professional to deny service to anyone that they even perceive to be homosexual.  This means that when you take your significant other on a date, you could come across a sign in a restaurant reading “No Gays Allowed.”  Or after paying thousands of dollars for a university education, your professor could kick you out of class because he heard you kissed someone of the same sex.  Or even when you are in dire need, those public servants like police officers, firefighters, nurses, and doctors could simply say “No” to helping you.

All of this is somehow justifiable because they don’t agree with your lifestyle based on “religious convictions.”  Somehow Mr. Marshall and his supporters have come to believe that it’s morally right to ignore the needs of others just because you don’t like them.  This is legalized discrimination and segregation that he is proposing.  What’s ironic is that the first paragraph introducing this bill reads “…a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers…”  Unfortunately, he doesn’t see the irony because he doesn’t see how this bill is an abuse of power.

When I heard of this bill I was floored.  I was enraged, terrified, and deeply saddened to know that there are people, specifically those who hold office in our government, who are willing to ignore the needs of persons in their own community and to allow legal abuse of marginalized individuals.  I was immediately reminded of history lessons in high school when I was taught about the era of Nazi Germany and my teacher showed us pictures of shop windows with huge signs reading, “No gays, no Jews, no gypsies…” etc.  Maybe I’m wrong, but I thought the point was to learn how wrong and terrible that was.  I had no idea there might be people like Bob Marshall sitting quietly in the back thinking, “That’s a great idea!”

I’ve expressed this view on social media already and have been told that I’m exaggerating.  Am I?  Hitler didn’t start the Holocaust all in one day.  He didn’t form troops and yank people out of their homes all at once.  He was slow and systematic, making sure that he first isolated, demonized, and segregated his targets to remove them from the rest of society so that it would not be known or even cared what he did to them.  So I’m not saying that America is building concentration camps for gays (although, the “conversion therapy” camps that so many have been tortured, injured, or died in are too close for comfort) but I am saying that we are on a slippery slope if even one of the many laws like this that have now been proposed in several states ever get passed.

Luckily, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has already promised to veto this bill if it makes it that far.  Hopefully it won’t because unlike the 1930s we now have social media.  This allows us to vigilantly watch our political leaders, spread information among ourselves, and voice our opinions and our outrage when our government tries to oppress us.  This is what separates us from Nazi Germany and this is what we cannot forget.  We must always remember to stay informed and engaged in the workings of our government.  It’s about us, it controls us, it should be for us!

So yes, it shakes me to my core to know that one of our state governments is even considering this law.  It horrifies me that there is anyone who believes that LGBT people deserve to be refused a meal, an education, or even medical attention simply because of who they are.  It should upset you as well, but only so much as to inspire you to take action against such hateful legislation.  Write to Virginia representatives and tell them how you feel.  Share your outrage on social media.  Sign petitions and threaten to do sit-ins in any business that turns down LGBT persons.  Together we stand… for what is right!

To read, click HB 1414 .

William Eamon Workman headshotWilliam Eamon Workman is a LGBT advocate working primarily on expanding understanding and acceptance of the Trans* community.  He uses YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/EamonWill) to advance his ideas and experiences to the world at large and is excited to have his personal blog (keepingwithnature.blogspot.com/) now featured on Las Vegas Informer.  He writes not only for the LGBT community but also to build understanding in the straight community and dispel archaic stereotypes and prejudices.  He also feels strongly for the feminist movement, given his time spent as a woman.  He will bring a fresh perspective to current Trans* and LGB topics every Thursday and on Fridays he will post LGBT movie reviews.  Feel free to follow him on Twitter at: twitter.com/EamonWill

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3 Responses to Virginia Anti Gay Law is Astoundingly Hateful

  1. HB 1414 is truly an awful piece of legislation. Mr. Marshall is up for reelection this year and with everyone’s help, we can #RetireBobMarshall this year.

    I am running against him and for the residents of the VA 13th House District.

    My website is http://www.shawfordelegate.com and the campaign Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/ShawforDelegate.

    Campaign contributions are greatly appreciated – #RetireBobMarshall!

  2. Excellent article, well researched, constructed and full of common sense and personal feeling. Well done, Will!

    Since some homophobes are closeted gays, I guess that would be enough of a reason for any restaurant to refuse to serve Bob Marshall ;), according to his own presumption-of-being-gay proposal, that thankfully stands absolutely no chance to pass.

  3. I was telling my husband about this bill while reading this wonderful commentary. The first thing out of his mouth was, “It’s like the Nazis.” Then I got to that part of the commentary. No, that is NOT an exaggeration. It is right on point. We just don’t understand how people can be so mean spirited. Why are these people so afraid of gays? It boggles the mind. Even my 14 year old autistic son understands how wrong this discrimination is. Thank goodness that Bob Mc is not still our governor. Bob Marshall violates every moral conviction I have!

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