Thank you, Mildred Loving

Loving vs Virginia was the seminal 1967 US Supreme Court case that finally recognized that despite a majority of Americans being opposed to it, it was simply wrong to make interracial marriage illegal. And now on the 40th anniversary of that decision, the wonderful Mrs Loving reflects on that time and how it applies to our situation today. You must read and be moved by the entire statement, but I wanted to highlight this part:

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others.

Thank you, Mrs Loving, for your bravery then and your wisdom now.

richmond virginia hates left turns

3 rights turns could equal a left, so what’s the point in turning left directly?  This was the thought running through the head of whoever designed traffic flow in this city.  If you have to come to Richmond on business, and drive the ultra powerful (sarcasm) and thoughtfully laid out (sarcasm again) Saturn Ion, prepare yourself for the delight of your life.  The concrete median that divides every major street in this city provides many opportunities for people that don’t like anything to do with the left, to go straight.  Not even at stoplights are you allowed to turn left.  Do you see a store you want to go in across the street?  It’s easy and convenient to drive 5 miles down the road where you can wait in line for 29 minutes for the opportunity to U-Turn (but you can’t turn left there because there is no street to left turn onto) in front of a speeding Semi.  Or maybe it’s fun and exciting to park across the street and Frogger your way across to your destination (maybe this is why the Vick brothers are so good at not getting tackled).  Richmond Virginia hates left turns (because they don’t go Right… Wing).

West Virginia is also for haters

Robert Bowman, a West Virginia police chief, stops at the roadside scene where Billy Snead is performing CPR on his gay friend Claude Green. The Chief tells Billy to stop, or else he’ll catch AIDS. (Green did not have HIV.) Billy continues, and according to the New York Times (reg req’d) the Chief “grabbed Mr. Snead’s shoulder, pulling him away from his friend”. Green died in the hospital less than an hour later, and if the report is accurate, it seems to me that’s exactly the way the chief wanted things. Unbelievable. Kudos to the ACLU for taking on this case.

Another reason to avoid Virginia

A middle-aged couple in Virginia have been sentenced to over 2 years in prison for serving alcohol at their son’s 16th birthday party. That’s down from 8 years on appeal, which is small comfort given the ludicrous sentence for something that should never be a target for prosecution in the first place. (Hat tip: Overlawyered.) Incredibly, the appeal focused on the question on the issue of the arresting policeman not having a warrant to search the home where the party was held, and not that arresting these people is totally counterproductive (not to mention totally fucking stupid). As others have pointed out, isn’t it better that these kids were drinking in a safe environment where parents were supervising and making sure none would drive home drunk, rather than in some parking lot somewhere?

And who was it that thought prohibition was a good idea anyway? When will legislators finally realise that banning things that aren’t directly harmful and that people want or need to do — drink booze, smoke pot, have sex, have an abortion — doesn’t make that activity go away. All these laws serve is to make legislators feel morally superior.

File under: ingrate

While I prefer to focus my frustrations on the good targets, some people just like to be pissed off at everyone. Not since my New Journal days have I been the object of such vituperation from someone so clearly in the grip of the narcissism of small differences!

Despite my repeated efforts to find middle ground, one gay business owner in Virginia keeps bashing us for launching VAhaters. Mind you plenty of straight Virginians have emailed to tell me they don’t mind if it hurts their business–an honorable stance if ever there was one. But not this guy. He thinks we are out to shut down his internet radio station. Whatev.

Y’all know I never was very good at minding my own business, a fact that really seems to bother this guy. Apparently he thinks Viriginian homos can fight this one alone… given that the bill passed by an 80% margin, I beg to differ.

Gary, I’ve been thinking a lot about your “good Jews” post in conjuction with this, as you’ll see if you read my latest response to this guy. Good jews and good germans–those are the officially sanctioned options these day, aren’t they? F*** that.

Great new blog

One of the only pleasant things about being locked in mortal combat with Virginia and its bumper crop of haters is getting email from thoughtful and intelligent gays and lesbians from across the country. Tim, one such person, posted a really thoughtful comment on the site today, about needing to state more clearly that companies can “escape the boycott” by publicly urging the Commonwealth to reconsider. Turns out he has a brand new blog, security risk, which is as well-designed as it is well-written. And lo and behold, he has a whole mini-VAhaters thing going on there… including a much more economical summary of what the boycott is about that I have produced to date. In addition to that, there’s a wealth of insightful posts based on great links–more than anyone’s average week worth, if you ask me. If the death of Reagan isn’t a good reason to start blogging, I don’t know what is. But welcome Timothy to the blogosphere with a little traffic, won’t you?

Site goes up, Virginia goes down

The site is back up, thanks to donations that will cover several months of our new hosting service. We can’t thank those of you who donated enough. If everyone could visit the site and post a comment, we might be able to keep ahead of the crazy people who enjoy posting sermons and/or detailed descriptions of gay sex acts. Thanks!

Virginia: “If there’s grass on the field…”

OK, OK… check out this Washington Post article and tell me: are same-sex couples really the biggest thing Virginia has to worry about?

RICHMOND, June 14 — The blunt message will be pasted on billboards and barroom coasters across Virginia: “Isn’t she a little young?” it will ask in bold pink and white lettering against a black backdrop. “Sex with a minor,” the wording will continue. “Don’t go there.”
The Virginia Department of Health is launching a campaign in Northern Virginia, Richmond and Roanoke to stop men from engaging in sex with underage girls. Health officials say they hope their program will reduce the number of pregnancies that result from such illegal conduct.
The campaign, to begin this month with the distribution of hundreds of thousands of coasters, cocktail napkins and postcard-size messages in Arlington, Alexandria and Falls Church, is one of the few such programs in the nation, public health officials and consultants said.
“We are concerned about minors who are coerced into sexual relationships with adult men and the resulting health and social problems, which include pregnancy, fatherless children, sexually transmitted diseases and mental health problems,” state Health Commissioner Robert B. Stroube said.

So gays and lesbians get a law stripping us of our right to private contract because we (horror of horrors!) want to protect our consensual adult relationships. The horny straight guys get posters in bars–and only a misdemeanor for sex with a 15-year-old?

So many posters to the boycott site hewed to the tired old line about gays recruiting children. Does the Virginia Department of Health see that happening? Nope. As respected social scientists have known for years, straight men make up the vast majority of sexual predators. Maybe church groups could start there, do you think? Naaah. It’s just more fun to pick on gays.

As my colleague Diane said in forwarding the article to me, “This article needs some audio with it–a banjo, perhaps?” forced offline

Jay and I regret to report that the Virginia is for Haters site has been forced offline by unknown anti-gay groups that wish to silence us. After switching to a new hosting service, a second denial-of-service attack (apparently a distributed attack out of China) has caused the hosting company to drop us. We seem to be out of options. My submitted question to Ask Slashdot (which was rejected) summarizes the problem:

Several weeks ago, my partner and I created, to raise awareness about a damaging and patently unconstitutional law to come into effect in Virginia on July 1, which seeks to nullify contracts (such as wills and healthcare directives) between same-sex couples. We finally got some media coverage on Friday, but by Saturday the site was down: some anti-gay geek had launched a denial-of-service attack which overwhelmed our provider. We switched to a new provider which claimed to have DOS provisions, but following a second, distributed attack launched out of China they dropped us before the site was even live. They recommended switching to RackSpace, but we can’t afford the several hundred dollars a month that would cost. It seems we’re out of options for getting the site back up. Is there some other way we can continue to exercise our First Amendment rights on the Web?

Any suggestions?

[Update by Jay: Assuming we do get a new hoster–and I think we’re close–you can help us pay the $100+/month fees by donating even a few bucks at our Amazon Honor System page.]

Fun with http

Wow. 150 newspapers publish the AP story about and as a reward we get a denial of service attack that our hosting provider couldn’t handle. So thanks to one idiot 17-year-old in California, VAhaters has no host. And I have a mailbox full of the most vile email imaginable. Who knew there were so many ways to misspell “faggot.” We have all these media interviews set up, and no website to point them to. It’s really, really frustrating. What a crazy couple of days.

On the plus side, a couple million more people know about the Virginia law. But then again, 70% of them are now more likely to support Virginia. Australia now doesn’t recognize gay marriage, and now even Canada looks shaky. Does everyone hate us? Should we just go eat worms and die??? Somebody cheer me up.