By Chris Stevenson, Purcellville
Jan 08, 2003 — A front-page article in The Washington Post on Jan. 2 celebrated the first baby in 2003 being one born to a lesbian couple. The author reports the couple moving from Virginia to escape the Commonwealth’s anti-gay/lesbian policies. The next day, the lead editorial condemned Virginia policy, and especially her courts, for such bias: in this case, that in Virginia only a married couple or an unmarried individual may adopt. I thought to reply here, since the recently-departed delegation to Richmond will be interested to know how we feel about this.
I believe it can be agreed by all parties that this Commonwealth, upon her founding, bound together persons in a social contract who believed that homosexuality is unnatural and an affront to their Creator.
Interestingly, Edward Gibbon writes of Roman poets who, toward the end of that civilization, accused citizens of celebrating the “sin against nature.” Such public accommodation of that particular vice has, ever since, been associated with her demise.
Petitioning for civil laws to embrace something so repugnant to history is a brazen undertaking, though that should not necessarily prevent Virginians who believe in it to attempt the task. But Will Durant gives this warning: “Out of every hundred new ideas ninety-nine or more will probably be inferior to the traditional responses which they propose to replace. No one man… can safely judge and dismiss the customs or institutions of his society, for these are the wisdom of generations after centuries of experiment in the laboratory of history.” While no one would argue that practicing homosexuality is illegal, it does not automatically follow that such relationships must be acknowledged by the State in any way, such as granting the right adoption. Homosexual and heterosexual relationships are not equivalent.
The heterosexual relationship, or marriage, is, as Montesquieu writes, “of all human actions that in which society is most interested,” and “should be regulated by the civil laws.” I have not yet read a similar benediction for the homosexual relationship in writings familiar to our founders.
It is with this understanding that Virginians do not want to be dragged, “kicking and screaming” into the 21st century, as quoted in The Post. Rather, in walking forward, we want to do so circumspectly.
[Originally published in Leesburg Today, Jan. 8, 2003]