Sunday, January 09, 2005

"Affirming Marriage"

If you haven't seen this piece in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, go check it out. The article, by Laura L. Hutchison -- my new favorite VA journalist -- , describes the relationship of a same-sex couple from Fredericksburg. Barbara and Tibby met in high school and fell in love later in life.

After returning to Utah, Barbara began an art career and invited Tibby to see her work.Their friendship grew. They fell in love...

Like many same-sex couples, Barbara and Tibby had taken legal steps to ensure the other would always be taken care of. They bought a house together and shared bank accounts. They drew up wills, powers of attorney and medical directives that would give one the authority to make life-or-death decisions if the other became unable to do so...

Barbara and Tibby have not been activists in the gay-rights movement. "They simply want the ability to grow old together, to take care of the one they love..."

"It's a political thing," Tibby said in the film. "We are easy to scapegoat. We're easy for people to say 'they are immoral.' Well I'll tell you, I'm the most boringly moral person."

Bob Marshall's bill, HB 571, restricts the rights of same-sex couples to enter into a slew of legal contracts. Marshall gets all worked over the idea of granting anything close to equal rights to those who practice "sodomy." His legislation and divisive comments are a kick in the face to law-abiding, responsible citizens like Barbara and Tibby.

Barbara and Tibby are leaving Virginia. Thanks to Marshall and his conservative cohorts, the people of Virginia have lost an inspired personal therapist and a talented artist. But more significantly, we've lost a loving and committed couple, something we need more of.

Restricting the rights of same-sex couples does not "sanctify" nor does it "affirm" marriage. Loving relationships like Barbara and Tibby's make our state richer, happier and, yes, more moral. The day Barbara and Tibby leave will be a sad day, a sad indeed.

Please link to and e-mail this story. The vast majority of those who wish to restrict the rights of same-sex couples do so because they buy into the stereotypes of the "homosexual lifestyle." The reality is that most same-sex couples are "boringly moral," just like Barbara and Tibby. The battle for equal rights will NOT be won not in state legislatures or in Congress, but in the hearts and minds of everyday people. Let's start changing those hearts and minds!

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