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Republican Conservatives Taking Over Senate?

LGBT media and bloggers give their take on a Republican majority in Virginia's Senate.

GayRVA Staff | November 18, 2011

Washington Blade reports that with last week’s elections, Christian conservatives may be in the drivers seat in the General Assembly.

The Virginia Senate now has a 20-20 split between both parties, but it’s the Lt. Governor that may lead to a one vote majority by Republicans.

From the Blade:

Under the Virginia Constitution, the lieutenant governor — in this case Republican Bill Bolling — has authority to cast the deciding vote in any tie on bills coming up for a vote, effectively giving Republicans a razor-thin majority in the Senate…

“We can certainly expect that there’s going to be a cascade of really unsavory bills flooding over to the Senate from the House as there have been in recent years pertaining to issues of immigration, women’s rights and obviously gay rights, too,” said Nick Benton, editor and publisher of the Falls Church News-Press and board member of LGBT Democrats of Virginia.

EV spokesperson Claire Gastanaga questions the legal implications in her Change Servant blog saying it would be unconstitutional.  Gastanaga writes:

The Lieutenant Governor is a member of the Executive Branch and is not an elected “member” of “the Senate” as defined in Article IV, Section 7 of the Virginia Constitution. Therefore, it is unconstitutional for him to participate in organizing the Senate since he is not one of the 40 elected Senators who make up “the Senate.”

Michael Hamar, an attorney in Norfolk, expresses his concern with the new Senate.  He paints this picture:

Disturbing days are likely ahead and if the Christianists in the Republican Party of Virginia have their way, Virginia will be racing backwards in time and will become increasingly unattractive for modern progressive businesses which will find their employees unwilling to relocate to a quasi-theocracy.

What’s your take?