There's so much great reading in the progressive Virginia blogosphere these days! (Check out the lnks to Virginia blogs on the right.)
An editorial in today's Richmond Times-Dispatch discusses the "worst bill" of this session of the Virginia General Assembly (via The Virginia Progressive). The volunteer citizen sentries of Democracy for Virginia can be proud of the opening:
The competition for the worst bill of the legislative session always is fierce. Now that Delegate John Cosgrove has withdrawn his proposal requiring women to report miscarriages to the police, the smart money this year is placing bets on a couple of bills.
One of the two "runner up" bills in the editorial has also been vigorously opposed by Democracy for Virginia, the proposed ban on adoption by gay Virginians introduced by the Dynamic Duo of Discrimination, Delegate Robert Marshall and Delegate Dick "Baby Pesticides" Black. On this bill, the Times Dispatch opines:
[T]he adoption bill...goes too far. It could prevent, for instance, the lifetime partner of a single mother from adopting her child for estate purposes. What, precisely, would be the point of that? Marshall has said the "order of Nature strongly suggests a father and mother are necessary for proper development of a child and that means a heterosexual relationship." It also means, presumably, stronger prohibitions against divorce, and -- taken to its logical conclusion -- re-assigning custody of the children of single parents to intact couples. Do Black and Marshall mean what they say, or are they once more modifying what they mean -- and in the process rendering homosexuals non-persons?
If an individual can meet all the other stringent criteria required to adopt a child, then his or her sexual orientation should not bar the door to doing so.
The Virginia Progressive has an information on the House compromise and floor debate about this bill, as well as a discussion of a thoughtful editorial in the Virginian-Pilot that correctly places the right-wing pursuit of a constitutional amendment to restrict freedom to marry in Virginia in the context of George Allen's bid for re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2006. Republicans successfully mobilized gay-hating voters to go to the polls in states that had similar amendments on the ballot last November; it's no surprise that it would be part of George Allen's re-election strategy in '06.
Let's see here. We have bills before the General Assembly to:
Promote "traditional marriage" via license plates.
Involve the state in internal church disputes.
Ban adoptions by gay couples.
And restrict the activities of nudists.
What do you want to guess that the proponents of these bills also profess to be conservative and enthusiastic celebrants of "freedom"?
Conservatism comes in different stripes. In one place, there are libertarians, who emphasize individual rights and rigorously resist governmental intrusion into private choices. For them, government just cannot be too "hands off."
Then we have the "hands-on" conservatives. For them, public intrusion into private conduct is a way of life. Government becomes an instrument for shaping society, suppressing individualism and ordering behavior. It is the philosophy of nannyism, of "you-do-as-I-do" or else.
There seems to be a passel of the "hands-on" conservatives running around in Virginia these days, and they are well represented in the Virginia House of Delegates, the source of much of the aforementioned legislation. It's a brand of politics that is in your face, in your lives and, if need be, in your bedroom.
The whole editorial is a great read.
Finally, if you missed Saturday's Jefferson Jackson Dinner, Raising Kaine has some great, detailed reporting of impressions from the event.