Limited Government, Not Rights

Before I get into this entry, I admit to being guilty of What’s the Matter With… in this entry. Do I get a free pass because I’m complaining about citizens voting away the rights of other citizens, rather than people aren’t behaving the way I want? Yes or no, so be it. Moving on.

I didn’t expect to be as angry as I was when the anti-marriage amendment passed yesterday in Virginia. As I mentioned this morning, I knew it would pass and I still wanted to rant and swear and threaten to leave Virginia. But I’m beyond that, for several reasons. Primarily, I own a home here, so it’s not as easy as just letting my lease run out and then moving away. But that’s only the structural roadblock. There is something more fundamental.

I grew up in Virginia. I went to college in Virginia. This is my home. And I’m not abandoning it to the bigots. Virginia’s role in the founding of America and the enshrinement of our principles in the Constitutions of Virginia and the United States is too proud and too strong to let it slip away just because a majority of adults motivated enough to vote fear gay Virginians. Those of us who know better must stay and fix this mess. As such, I’m not going anywhere. This victory will be Pyrrhic.

With that in mind, I want to bring attention to a few quotes on the anti-marriage amendment. After that, I’ll be done for awhile. Probably.


Attorney General Bob McDonnell said, “Today Virginia said yes to traditional marriage. This amendment to add constitutional protection to traditional marriage gave Virginians the opportunity to directly affirm their longstanding belief that marriage should be between one man and one woman. This is a victory for Virginia families, and the democratic process. Virginia is stronger because of the passage of this amendment.”

Let’s see, this amendment attacks a portion of my family, but it’s a victory for them. It also proves that the democratic process includes the ability to vote away the rights of a group of citizens. How exactly does this make Virginia stronger?


“I’m not an ultraconservative when it comes to homosexuals. I have some wonderful friends who are homosexual, but I think marriage is between a man and a woman,” said Ann Potocnak, 37, of Prince William County.

Forty-five years ago, that would’ve said I’m have some wonderful friends who are black, but…, followed by a self-satisfied cleansing of any possibility she might be wrong. I’m sure her gay friends are content to know what she thinks of them, though. I hope my wonderful friends will stab me in the back when given the chance.

“I feel [same-sex couples] should have rights as far as benefits are concerned, but I feel marriage should be between a man and a woman,” said Chris Murray, 36, a mortgage broker from Fairfax County. He said he realized that there was a chance the amendment would lead to the loss of legal rights for same-sex couples, but “you can’t vote ‘maybe’ or ‘kind of,’ ” he said.

Of course, a logical person might say “you can’t vote ‘maybe’ or ‘kind of,’ ” to Mr. Murray’s unproven fear that a Virginia judge will rule that the state must recognize same-sex marriage. Apparently you can vote maybe or kind of, if the desired outcome fits your personal whim. Collateral damage be damned.

I’m going to end with a nod to someone who gets the obvious:

“It’s already there. Why go on and drag this out, just because some religious groups want to exclude certain things from certain people that have different lifestyles?” asked Frans Hagen, 72, a retired restaurant executive from Annandale who runs an education foundation.

Anti-marriage amendments are just a speed bump in the path of liberty. An ugly, shameful speed bump, but Frans Hagen is correct. History will not be kind to the defenders of these amendments.