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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Letter Writing Campaign to the Anti-Gay Democratic Tim Kaine at Daily Kos

I posted Dan's letter to Virginia Governor Tim Kaine earlier. Dan has now posted his letter to the Daily Kos. A commenter there wrote another letter:

Dear Governor Kaine,

I am on my County Democratic Committee, and my partner and I worked very hard for you in your campaign. I live in a rural Republican precinct and worked to get out the vote both in Nelson County and in Charlottesville where I am employed. I worked the polls and forced myself to be pleasant to some very rude people. I believed in you and what you stood for. Our county went blue on all races.

My partner and I sat through the rain for three hours at your inauguration. I was moved to tears in the hopes that my home state was heading in a direction away from bigotry and corruption. I have never felt so proud to be a Virginian. We danced at your ball at Williamsburg and had a wonderful time, and no, we really couldn't afford it, but we felt that it was that important. That is the first time I have ever been to such an event.

Now I understand that you plan to sign the amendment from the legislature which would prohibit marriage and "similar arrangements" in Virginia for same-sex couples. I am sure that you have read that law in its entirety. My partner and are middle aged. We work hard and want to feel safe physically and economically. More importantly though, we want better opportunities for the young gays and lesbians who live in Virginia. The additional language in that bill does not provide for that. It makes us second class citizens.

Governor Kaine, we do not have equal rights under the law and we know it too well. I want to share something personal as one example. In 1986 my bright, beautiful son was eleven years old. We were living in Charlottesville and my ex-husband came from out of state demanding physical custody of our son, though I had legal custody. Even though I told him I would terminate my relationship, had I not cooperated with him, he planned to use my sexual orientation in the courts to obtain custody. Rather than put my son through that, I felt that I had no choice but to go along with him at least in the short term. For brevity I have to omit details, but less than six months later, my son was struck by a pickup truck while his father was sleeping. My son was a heart donor to a father of four. This is the kind of thing that happens when all citizens do not have equal protection under the law. Sometimes victims are innocent. My son would probably be alive today, if I had been in no relationship, a heterosexual relationship, or even several heterosexual relationships.

But somehow, I was left behind, and I really think it was to remind people like yourself what the consequences of prejudice and inequality are. I realize that this bill passed the Senate unanimously. And again, I ask you to please consider the additional language, and make a statement for fair-mindedness for all Virginians. That additional language creates an underclass in our society, and makes a mockery of Virginia's Constitution.

Please veto this amendment and give a voice to those who have supported you. I realize that it may go through anyway. So be it. That is no reason for supporting bigotry and hatred.


Enlisted USMC Vet

Commenter "tiponeil" adds:

Isn't it amazing that here on dKos (none / 0)

every time a Republican makes some anti-gay remark everyone trumpets their bigotry in diaries and headlines.

And every time a Dem does the same thing - not a whimper or a recommendation from the same people ?

Very true. The outrage from many liberals over anti-gay actions is very selective - that is, they are outraged when the usual suspects in the Republican Party are the perps, but stay silent, or say that gays are asking for "too much, too fast" and defend democrats who do the same thing.

Pam Spaulding posted her criticism of the Democrats chosing Tim Kaine to give the response to the State of the Union address to Pendagon. There are a number of interesting comments in response to this.

james Jan 20th, 2006 at 3:22 pm

i voted for Tim Kaine, and i don't regret it. while it's true that his stance on the Marriage Amendment is lamentable, on other issues he's a fine cantidate. especially in comparison to Jerry Kilgore. . .

to characterize what went on during the election as "gay-baiting" is hardly fair; for those not familiar, here's a quick re-cap:

Jerry Kilgore, who was running as the Republican cantidate for governer, has a preposterously effeminate voice. he sounds like a cruel parody of the homosexual-male stereotype, except that that's his actual speaking voice. the Kilgore campaign went with the brilliant stratagy of never allowing their cantidate to speak publicly and not using his voice in radio and TV ads. which meant that they refused to hold any debates between the cantidates for a really long time, and then finally agreed to debate only if no TV or Radio news was present; and the debate happened in West Virginia, as in: a whole different state.

essentially the Kaine campaign just kept saying "why won't you let you cantidate speak in public?" which put the Kilgore camp in a weird position of not being able to answer, because the answer would have been = "our cantidate is running on a platform based on persecuting homosexuals, yet his speaking voice sounds absurdly 'gay' and we don't want conservative voters get confused and think he's gay"

among many other things, Kaine was the only cantidate who presented himself as even remotely competant, and he's hardly a gay-basher. i'm glad he's my governer.

I still think the editorial in the Cavalier Daily says it well (via Pam Spaulding):

So, Jerry Kilgore has a "gay-sounding" voice. This is apparent to almost anyone who has heard him speak. The Republican candidate also has a rural accent, but that's not what his Democratic rival, Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine, has been making fun of. Few outlets have dealt with this issue honestly, though several papers have danced playfully around it, such as the Staunton Daily News Leader, which has commented on "the 'Ned Flanders meets Mr. Rogers' whine that passes for Kilgore's voice."

These comments are, of course, meaningless, and insinuations drawn from Kilgore's "gay-sounding" voice are based solely on unfounded stereotypes. There is no distinct correlation between voice and sexuality and Kilgore, for his part, is married and has two children.

But for Virginia Democrats, the idea of connecting Kilgore to a slate of negative stereotypes associated with gay men -- and to therefore weaken his support among conservative voters -- has proven tempting. Discussion of Kilgore's effeminate tone has been all over the Internet for months, and prominent Virginia bloggers have repeatedly speculated on Kilgore's sexuality and the effect his voice could have on the election. Suggesting that Kilgore's "gay-sounding" voice gives the impression that he is "weak" and effeminate, some online commentators have implored the Kaine campaign to take advantage of Kilgore's voice in order to implicitly connect him to gay stereotypes.

Last week, the Kaine campaign debuted a radio ad, "Weak." As the title would suggest, the spot suggests that Kilgore is "too weak to lead Virginia." Has Kilgore done anything, more than most other politicians, to define himself as "weak?" That's not clear. What is clear is the throwaway line in the "Weak" spot: "Jerry Kilgore is not being straight." The Kaine camp fails to add the obligatory "with voters;" the ad simply observes, "Jerry Kilgore is not being straight," period.

But even if one accepts the principle that ends can justify means, it is not clear that Kaine could ever benefit the gay community as much as he is damaging it with a campaign that insinuates that sexuality is a matter of public discussion and fair ground for humiliation. After all, if such indignity can happen to a conservative, married father of two with a flutter in his inflection, what keeps it from happening to a self-avowed gay man?

Very well said. Pam Spaulding got lots of grief from democrats for raising this issue about Tim Kaine before the election.