Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Gov Bob McDonnell Is Stopping Me from Being a Bridesmaid

I am ashamed of Virginia.

Well, not really, but almost. I guess I'm ashamed of the government, duly elected by the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 2009, people stayed home and shrugged and didn't bother to vote, and that gave us our illustrious Governor Robert "Lil'Bob" McDonnell, and his erstwhile Attorney General, Ken "Jersey Shore" Cuccinelli.

Lil'Bob, to whom I refer as "Sponge Bob Square Pants" is a Rightwing Catholic and a Carpetbagger from Philly. The Jersey Shore boy stayed on after my alma mater made the biggest mistake of its history and granted him a law degree. Jersey Boy makes Rick Santorum look liberal.

Sure, Lil'Bob's done stupid things, like campaigning under the Confederate flag and then trying to say slavery wasn't a significant enough factor in the Civil War. (Honey, I am a tenth generation Virginian and I heard that dog bark when I was seven years old).

You'd think Lil'Bob would learn, but he hasn't; and now he's about to sign into law legislation that would prohibit gay people from adopting. As far as same sex marriage is concerned, as Ken Cuccinelli would say (and probably does): Fuggeddaboutit!

That angers me, if for nothing more than a personal reason. Here's why:-

When I was growing up in Virginia - yes, Bob, I was born and raised there - I had three best friends. We all met in seventh grade and spent all sorts of girlie hours - gossiping, sighing over boys and generally bitching - all through high school. We all went to different univeristies and pursued different paths, but guess what? We're all Democrats.

One of us became a successful businesswoman and lobbyist. One is an accountant. One is an environmentalist. I pursued linguistics and a career, first in education, then in translation. Three of us married, two of us twice. One of us had children. Three of us didn't. One of us is a lesbian.

In between staying up all night at slumber parties or riding up and down the Route 29 Bypass on a Friday nights, yelling at boys in other cars, we all used to talk about getting married one day and made solemn promises that we'd all be bridesmaids at each other's wedding.

The first to marry did so in 1974, one year before finishing college, and we all traipsed down the aisle in front of her in green muslin dresses straight from Miss Scarlett on the front porch at Tara. The second to marry did so in 1977, six months pregnant in her parents' living room and the rest of us in attendance to throw confetti. My turn came on a snowy day in January in 1981, with the other three in scarlett red velvet concoctions.

Our last friend has been with her girlfriend for 25 years. They live in Prince William County. They would love to get married - nothing big, you understand, just tasteful and understated. Of course, DC, where it would be legal, is only 45 minutes away, but Virginia wouldn't recognise their union.

None of us are getting any younger and one of us is about to become a grandmother, so we'd dearly love to see our friend and her partner wed before they have to be wheeled down the aisle and we have to attend on Zimmer frames.

But as long as we've got these two phony neo-Confederates in Richmond, pandering up the fundamentalist meanies, it just ain't gonna happen. And that makes me angry.

This is like the Civil War, and Lil'Bob needs to realise that equal rights, completely equal rights, for the gay community is a given and the last hurdle which must be overcome in the Civil Rights movement. It's high time Virginia's governor and its Republican-controlled legislature admits that the times, they are a-changin' and this is one war, like the Civil one, that you lost.

Get over it.

Take a leaf from the book of personal experience, exemplified by Washington state representative
Maureen Walsh, a Republican who bucked her party's policy regarding same sex marriage, realising that her gay child should never ever be regarded as a second class citizen. You can watch her speak eloquently of her ephiphany below:-

Lil'Bob could draw on personal experience too. His wife's sibling is in the process of changing gender, but I suppose Lil'Bob is ok with this person going to the back of society's bus.

He may be, but I am not.

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