Long-time Richmonder and recent LGBTQ activist Joyce Scher (top image) passed away last week, leaving behind her a legacy of support for some of the Commonwealth’s most in need populations.
In December 2006, following the passage of the so-called “Marriage Amendment,” two Richmond mothers – Joyce Scher and Ellen Shelton - pledged to create an organization to fight for their children’s rights. The amendment, approved by the majority of legislators in the General Assembly and ratified by voters in Virginia, denied LGBT citizens inherent rights guaranteed by our country’s Constitution.
In January 2007, Scher and Shelton invited supportive friends and family members of LGBT persons to a luncheon discussion to share their plans and invite membership. A steering committee was formed and began meeting weekly to create Mothers and Others of Virginia (MOVA).
MOVA, under the leadership of Scher, worked tirelessly on issues like same-sex marriage, but also adoption rights for same-sex parents, and the broader cause of LGBTQ equality across the state.
In May 2012, MOVA bought billbaord space in Carytown and put up the following message, garnering additional support for the community, including those who might not be aware of the issues facing Virginia’s LGBTQs.
“I believe it was the amendment to the state constitution took away my gay son’s rights,” Scher told WTVR at the time. “That’s when I became an activist because he had all those rights, until he stood up and said at the age of 21 and said, ‘I am gay, and I have always been gay.’”
This year Scher was honored as part of Equality Virginia’s Outstanding Virginians for her work with MOVA. Details via EV:
“By talking to opponents of marriage equality about their daughters and sons, members of Mothers & Others have established personal bonds with listeners and have changed a lot of hearts and minds over the years. Even now that Virginia has gained the freedom to marry, Scher says they are “fighting as hard as ever” because there is much more work to be done.”
A memorial service will be held at Congregation Beth Ahabah on Tuesday, December 22, at 2 p.m. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to Congregation Beth Ahabah, 1111 W. Franklin St., Richmond, Va. 23220 or to ROSMY, P.O. Box 5542, Richmond, Va. 23220, www.rosmy.org.