Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fight Club

There is nothing scarier than a bigot who doesn’t recognize his own bigotry.

Virginia delegate Robert Marshall has led the effort to block an openly gay man from becoming a district judge.  Marshall argued that a gay person on the bench could show bias when ruling in a case involving a gay and a straight person who got into a fight. 

“If you have a bar room fight between a homosexual and heterosexual, I’m concerned about possible bias,” said Marshall.

I like how his mind immediately goes to a fight between the representatives of morality and immorality.  He doesn't consider an employment case or a contractual dispute.  He goes straight for two men getting physical.  How telling, Mr. Delegate.

In the world of Robert Marshall, heterosexual judges would have no such bias when ruling in such a case.  The hetero judges would never be biased against gays.  Only gays possess the genetic predisposition to discriminate against heterosexuals.
In the world of Robert Marshall, membership in a group equates to a natural bias towards other members of that same group.  Blacks will favor blacks in all judicial proceedings, particularly if they have ever advocated publicly for the equal treatment of blacks in public policy (like Thurgood Marshall).  Women will have a bias towards other women, and in the case of domestic violence, will be too quick to blame the man and accept the testimony of their sisters.  They too must be stopped from becoming judges.

Marshall might argue that it is the potential judges former advocacy for gay rights that disqualifies him.  I doubt given his next statement that he would vote against a judge for advocating against gay rights, but judge for yourself.

Marshall takes his bigotry a step further by adding that “Sodomy is not a civil right.”  Not only is he a bigot, he is incorrect on the legal facts.  The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 2003 Lawrence vs. Texas decision struck down criminal sodomy laws in Texas, rendering these laws unconstitutional.  This activity when conducted in the privacy of one’s own home actually is a civil right.  Unfortunately, your bigotry is also protected, although my right to denounce you is also protected. 

Governor Bob McDonnell, in a deft display of gutless delegation, had his office release a statement in response to Marshall’s bigotry.  In part, the statement made clear that “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is not acceptable in state government.”  Good for you, Bob.  The man certainly knows how to pivot to the center during general election season, and perhaps Mitt Romney’s people are watching.  If he is lucky, the statement from his office will help voters overlook the transvaginal ultrasound debacle when heading to the polls. 

Robert Marshall unfortunately is not an outlier in the Virginia General Assembly.  That body voted against gay prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland’s bid to be a district court judge in Richmond early Tuesday, against the advice of Thorne-Begland’s former boss, Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Michael N. Herring who might have a better grasp on her actual work product.

This is 2012, Virginia.  Can we rise up and speak in one voice that someone's orientation does not disqualify him or her from public service?  The national spotlight in the presidential election will be on Virgina as a critical swing state.  Don't embarrass us with this nonsense.  Do the right thing and allow someone to be considered on their merits

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