Guest blog by Paula Prettyman, President, Equality Fairfax.
I attended the amendment debate Friday night and witnessed Victoria Cobb of the Family Foundation snidely refer to a lesbian couple with children as a “so-called family.” The immediate and overwhelmingly displeased audience response to that comment distracted from the rest of her statement about that particular couple, but it was clear to me in that instant that this amendment campaign really is about more than marriage.
The cynical activist in me believes she did it to dehumanize an entire group of people, including my family. But the kind woman my mother and father believe they raised suspects she and the people she speaks for really don’t know any better. I spent much of this weekend wondering if I have done what I can to make it clear to my parents, sister, cousins, aunts and uncles, co-workers, neighbors, etc. that I absolutely consider Kelly family.
Do they know that I wake up beside her every morning and fall comfortably into another mundane cycle of chores, work, bill paying and errands; then thank God every night that I found her and that she makes my mundane life exciting and fulfilling? Do all the people in my life know that I feel more like myself now than I ever have and that I believe it’s because I am sharing my life with someone I love more than I ever knew was possible? Do they know how much I trust her and that I want her to speak for me if I am unable to speak for myself? Do they know I intend to spend the rest of my life with her and that at the end, I want her to accompany my body from the hospital to the funeral home, that I want her to sit nearby, that I want the others in my life to acknowledge that she was my partner/spouse/best friend/wife and take care of her when I cannot? I’ve silently counted on most of the people in my life seeing us together and knowing these things instinctively, but I’m not sure if I have done all I can to make it clear to them that I consider her my family.
If Victoria Cobb and the Family Foundation are able to turn out more votes than the Commonwealth Coalition, Equality Virginia, Equality Fairfax and the dozens of other Equality groups across Virginia, they will consider the result a mandate to continue to demean our families. The only way they will stop is if we say “enough” and turn out more votes against this amendment.
Polling shows we can win. In the last week of this campaign, please reach out to every Virginian you know, tell them about your family, explain to them that the amendment will keep your family from having the legal recognition and security you need. Explain to them that this amendment is discriminatory and that discrimination shouldn’t be written into the Virginia Bill of Rights. Ask them to do all they can to take a stand and keep government out of our private lives. Ask them specifically to support ALL families. Ask them to Vote NO on November 7th.
Thank you for doing what you can, for all of our families.