Friday, January 29, 2016

Anti-Gay Republicans Advance Virginia Gay Marriage Opt-Out Bill

Anti-gay Sen. Tommy Norment
One thing that one can always count on is that if the Virginia general Assembly is in session, Virginia Republicans in the legislature will be striving to make life Hell for LGBT Virginians while working to grant special rights to extremist Christians.  The 2016 session of the Virginia General Assembly is keeping up this tradition as Republicans advance anti-gay bills while killing gay friendly bills.  Some of the usual crackpots and extremist have introduced anti-gay bills, and the rest of the GOP members with few exceptions, are supporting them so as to not run afoul of Victoria Cobb, the queen of hate and president of The Family Foundation, Virginia's leading hate group. One has to wonder how the GOP House member caught on Grindr - some believe his identity has been confirmed - will vote if the bills reach the floor of the House of Delegates.  Local Senator, Tommy Norment, cast his vote with the hate merchants.   Here are highlights from the Daily Press on the GOP support of special rights for Christofascists:

Senate Bill 40 is heading for the Senate floor. If it passes the full General Assembly, it's a lock for a gubernatorial veto.  Gov. Terry McAuliffe's administration sent someone to Wednesday's committee meeting to note his disapproval, a step the governor doesn't typically take on pending legislation.

Sponsoring state Sen. Bill Carrico, R-Galax, said the bill is a response to the arrest of Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue licenses to gay couples in the wake of last year's U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage. She spent five days in jail.

Carrico's bill would have the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles issue marriage licenses whenever a local clerk objects on "personal, ethical, moral or religious grounds."

The legislation passed the Senate Courts of Justice Committee 8-7. Committee Democrats voted against the bill. Freshman Republican state Sen. Glen Sturtevant, R-Richmond, was the only Republican to join them.

State Sen. Thomas K. "Tommy" Norment Jr., the only Peninsula senator on the committee, voted for the bill.

A number of religious groups supported the bill, including The Family Foundation. Spokesman Chris Freund called the bill "a win-win," because marriage licenses will be available even if clerks don't want to issue them.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Equality Virginia opposed the bill. ACLU lobbyist Claire Guthrie GastaƱaga said clerks have a duty "to serve all members of the public equally."  "It's any personal whim you're authorizing people to discriminate on," she said.

The committee also dealt Wednesday with Senate Bill 10, which would strip various gay marriage prohibitions from Virginia state code, comporting Virginia law with the Supreme Court's ruling and current practice.  The committee's Republican majority declined to approve the bill, with Chairman Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, saying it's better to leave those changes to a more comprehensive editing being undertaken by the Virginia Code Commission.

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