VA LGBT Dems Host Equality Breakfast, Herring and Kaine Reaffirm LGBT Support
The LGBT Democrats of Virginia held an Equality Breakfast this past Saturday at the Richmond Convention Center. The event was the first of it’s kind hosted by the organization.
Hosted by Senators Adam Ebbin and Donald McEachin, the event had Tim Kaine as the keynote speaker and included members of the democratic ticket for this year’s state elections speaking at the event. Awards were also presented by LGBT Democrats of Virginia. The Mark R. Warner Award of Political Leadership was presented by Warner himself to Senator Tim Kaine and the Community Action Award for Equality was presented to democratic activist, Charley Conrad.
The event was held just days after the Supreme Court struck down DOMA and Prop 8 as unconstitutional, meaning that same-sex married couples are recognized by the federal government and California’s ban on gay marriage has to be lifted.
Kaine spoke of how the Supreme Court decision has been a long time coming and promoted the idea of it being a landmark ruling in the history of the court, invoking Thomas Jefferson’s idea of all men being created equal, “The language is so simple, equality means equality. So it was 90 years for African-Americans, 110 years for women, and what Wednesday was about, is that it’s 145 years later and the Supreme Court is saying the same thing that equality means what it says when it comes to people, regardless of sexual orientation.” Kaine also said that he hopes when people are reminded of the Declaration of Independence this week during the 4th of July, they’ll remember the American ideal of all men being created equal and and put the recent Supreme Court ruling in perspective.
See all of Kaine’s speech below
Kaine also mentioned in his keynote that, while LGBT supporters do have reason to celebrate right now, the recent ruling on the voting rights act should concern the LGBT community in addition to other minority voters.
Speakers at the breakfast celebrated the recent Supreme Court rulings, but also made mention that Virginia still has strides to be made in the effort for marriage and LGBT equality. Virginia has a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, the Marshall-Newman amendment, which was passed back in 2006. It would take at least 3 years for that amendment to be over turned, and then another year for both Virginia governing bodies to pass a law that would allow same-sex marriage.
But Kaine made a commitment to lobby for the repeal of Marshall Newman Amendment.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli was mentioned during the event, as the election for governor between him and democratic candidate, Terry McAuliffe approaches. Democrats fear that if Cuccinelli is elected governor, the policies and agenda that he’s pushed for will continue and any legislation for LGBT equality will be ignored.
Senator Mark Herring who iss running for Attorney General said Cuccinelli discredited his title as the state’s attorney general. “Time and time again, he (Cuccinelli) would miss-state the law, or manipulate and twist it in order get to a policy position that was way outside of the mainstream and impose that on Virginia, and that’s an abuse of office.”
See Senator Herrings speech below:
Herring said that he would work in conjunction with McAuliffe to end discrimination against the LGBT community and to use his office as a “bully pulpit” to repeal the Marshall-Newman Amendment as well.
Surrogates for Ralph Northam and Terry McAuliffe, the candidates running for Lt. Governor and Governor, also spoke to promote the state democratic party’s ticket and push it’s policies and agendas for this November’s election.
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