Should any polls suggesting that Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban will fail needs to focus on stories like this one from Manassas:
In the past three years, the Manassas City Council has received two applications for home-based massage therapy businesses, and members have approved both. Then Howard Daniel, who is gay, applied.
The backlash against Daniel’s request began last month when nearly two dozen people, many of them members of a local church, spoke in opposition to it at a public hearing. When it came time for the city to decide on Daniel’s application the next week, council members balked and voted instead to consider changing the city’s zoning laws.
The city’s response and the community opposition have blindsided Daniel and his supporters, one of whom had an anti-gay message written on his car.
Manassas should be familiar to anyone who cares about individual rights.
Questions of discrimination are already sensitive in Manassas, which is currently under federal investigation for housing policies that allegedly target Hispanic residents, a violation of the Fair Housing Act.
It’s all okay in this case, though, because the members of the council are principled:
If the council votes on Daniel’s application at next Monday’s meeting, at least three of the council’s six members said they are likely to vote against it. One is Jackson H. Miller, the Republican candidate for the 50th District of the House of Delegates, who introduced the motion to approve another massage therapy business a year earlier.
“I’ve had a mixed record on home businesses,” Miller said. “I’m opposed if neighbors are opposed. That’s been my standard,” he said, noting that he voted with the council earlier this year to reject an application for a home-based optometry clinic.
This majoritarian belief that individual rights are subject to the review of others must stop. Until it does, it just reveals bigotry. It’s that simple.