Saturday, February 4, 2012

Washington Steps Forward, While Virginia Leaps Back In Time

The state of Washington is poised to become the seventh state to approve marriage equality, in a swift, decisive 28-21 vote by its Senate. Four Republicans joined 24 Democrats in supporting the bill, while three Democrats opposed it.

The measure now heads to the Washington House of Reps, where Democrats hold a wider majority; Democrat Governor Chris Gregoire says she will sign the gay marriage bill into law. Starbucks, Microsoft, Nike and other major corporations based in the state have also lent hearty support.

But for every good deed, it seems those opposing equal rights continue to rear their ugly heads. Virginia has flipped its middle finger in the face of equality with passage of an astonishing bill that denies most anyone an agency doesn't care for the right to adopt children in the Bible belt state, including, of course, gays.

The state House voted 71-28 to pass legislation Friday that deems it acceptable for private adoption agencies to deny placements that "conflict with their religious or moral beliefs." The Republican-led state's Senate endorsed the measure. Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell can't wait to sign the bill into law.

The Virginia Board of Social Services in December adopted regulations allowing discrimination against pretty much anyone they don't like, by based on gender, age, religion disability, sexual orientation and family status. Opponents, of course, argue that the government, which contracts with dozens of private, state-licensed child placement agencies, should not sanction discrimination. *