I have always known no one's rights are secure until everyone's rights are secured.
I was a civil rights worker during the 1960's --and even marched with Dr. Martin Luther King -- because I believe in the innate worth, equality and dignity of every human being.
Virginia has not been good to the GLBT community. I have fought against every negative bill.
- I strongly opposed the hateful Marshall/ Newman constitutional amendment (DOMA). I voted against it in Committee and I spoke and voted against it on the floor of the Senate, and campaigned against it in my district;
- As a member of the Education and Health Committee I helped defeat the bill that would have prohibited public schools from having gay/straight alliance clubs;
- As a member of the Courts Committee, I worked to defeat bills to limit the ability of gays and lesbians to adopt children;
- Also as a member of the Courts committee I have voted to get our unconstitutional sodomy laws taken off the books.
A few good things have happened for the GLBT community. I am proud to have been chief patron of them all.
I patroned the bill in 2006 which allowed employers to provide medical insurance for domestic partners. Equality Virginia selected me to carry that bill and I was proud to do it! It was a very difficult fight and we got the bill out of the House of Delegates with only a one vote margin.
Two years ago I introduced the bill to allow employers to offer life insurance for domestic partners. That passed too!
Almost every year I have introduced budget amendments to provide services for people suffering from HIV/AIDs. Most years we were able to secure additional money.
Looking forward, we must pass anti-discrimination legislation. We must affirm the right of members of the LBGT community to marry and to adopt children. Also, we must provide additional funds for ADAP and prevention programs.
I encourage you to CLICK HERE to read more about my advocacy for equality for the GLBT community in Virginia.