Sunday, May 20, 2012
It Really is Just Bigotry
This past week the Virginia House of Delegates killed the nomination of Tracy Thorne-Begland for a judgeship in the Richmond General District Court. Mr. Thorne-Begland is a former Navy fighter pilot and has a stellar record as a state prosecutor. He is also openly gay and, together with his domestic partner, is currently raising seven year old twins. At the behest of the Family Foundation, Republicans in the Virginia House waged a campaign against Mr. Thorne-Begland which was unabashedly based on Mr. Thorne-Begland’s sexual orientation. Although 8 Republicans supported Mr. Thorne Begland, all 31 nay votes were cast by Republicans.
Opponents of marriage equality for gays react angrily when they are called bigots. They assert that they are merely expressing their deeply held religious beliefs and their rapturous adoration for the word marriage – which they claim throughout human history has always been between one man and one woman. Of course, they are ignoring the fact that throughout most of human history, at least as documented in such ancient texts as the Bible, men who were sufficiently rich and powerful accumulated as many wives as they could. In more recent times right here in the USA, the Mormon Church promoted polygamy as a matter of religious faith until governmental intervention forced them to abandon the doctrine. We are told that putting the name marriage on a union between two men or two women would somehow irreparably damage the marriages of the religiously devout. Similarly, allowing two men or two women to marry would infringe on the religious liberty of the faithful by denying the faithful the ability to impose their religious dictates on others.
However, none of these arguments apply to the case of Mr. Thorne-Begland. The Virginia House of Delegates was not voting on whether Mr. Thorne-Begland should be allowed to marry his partner; they were voting on his nomination for a state position for which he was eminently qualified. He was denied a judgeship simply on the basis that he was gay – and openly so. In whatever way the homophobes attempt to dress up their opposition to uncloseted gays – the naked truth is that their opposition is simply bigotry.