In a powerful OpEd written published last week, Delegate Mark D. Sickles came out as a gay and became Virginia’s second openly gay legislator.
Titled “A marriage ruling that counts me in,” Del. Sickles, (D-Alexandria) wrote about the federal marriage ruling out of Norfolk, and compared the current marriage battle to the fight for interracial marriage. He went on to recount the vicious opposition to progress he heard regularly at the General Assembly from his conservative counter parts. Here’s a small excerpt from the OpEd:
Hearing such caustic remarks yet again on the House floor, coupled with the overturning of our same-sex marriage ban, has motivated me to state publicly here what many close friends and family have known for decades: I am a proud, gay man. When I was 21 years old, I realized and accepted that I was different from most of my friends. In my teens, I did not get excited about the prom or asking my girlfriends out for a date. Although many of my closest friends have been women, I felt a deeper connection to men. This acceptance of my sexual orientation, or “coming out” to myself, was such an incredible relief. I have always lived openly with my neighbors, friends and family, lived a full life and never regretted the way I was born. But the current moment in Virginia has convinced me that it could be helpful to share this aspect of my life with all of my constituents.
Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), who first entered the GA in 2004, had been VA’s first openly gay elected official. He’s been publicly out since the 80′s. Both Ebbin and Sickles are running to replace Congressman Jim Moran (D-8) in the upcoming 2014 election.
Religion plays a role in legislation involving everything from firearms to health care to marriage in the Virginia General Assembly. Like their constituents, the vast majority of legislators are Christian. Religious lawmakers say that their faith shapes their values and outlook on life – but that they don’t impose their religious beliefs on others. “We [...]