Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Bob Marshall -- More Labeling and Stereotypes

When it comes to a willingness to label and stereotype to serve his cause, Bob Marshall appears to have no limits.

Casting aside his penchant for papering over his personal agenda with cites to peer reviewed studies and research, Marshall shot from the lip again yesterday in an AP story by Bob Lewis about Equality Virginia's legislation to protect state workers from discrimination.

This time his target was gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender Virginians.

Lewis' story says opponents of SB 66, which would prohibit discrimination in state employment, believe it is unnecessary and, then, quotes Delegate Marshall:

"I think there first should be some finding that homosexuals, as a class, are being discriminated against," said Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, an ardent social conservative. "In all of my experience and reading, gay individuals seem to have more income, to attend more cultural events, to take more vacations than the rest of us. Show me where this discrimination is going on."

So, Bob, what do the studies show?

Took me less than two minutes to find these facts this morning:

Workplace protection is linked to higher earnings for gay men. Median earnings for gay men are $3,000 below the income of men with female partners, though the gap shrinks in states with workplace-protection laws and increases where none exist. Among less-educated men in the 11 states that protect workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation, earnings of partnered gay men come closer to earnings of men with female partners.
For more information:
Gates, Gary. 2003. "Income of Gay Men Lags Behind that of Men Partnered with Women." Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.
Gates, Gary. 2003. "Workplace Protection Linked to Higher Earnings for Less-Educated Gay Men." Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.
Gates, Gary. 2001. "Domestic Partner Benefits Won't Break the Bank." Commentary in Population Today. April 1.

I know there's more "evidence" out there, and, Bob, if you'd talk to the GLBT people who live in your district, I'm sure they'd provide many personal stories of discrimination, and confront your offensive stereotype of them as the ballet going, beach partying, comfortably rich.

Bob, here's my question for you ... what would you say if I had been quoted as saying, "in all my reading and experience, social conservatives are all poorly educated, hard drinking people whose idea of entertainment is to stay home and make babies?" You'd be righteously outraged, wouldn't you?

So, why shouldn't your ignorant use of gross stereotypes to defend your indefensible objection to granting all Virginians the basic human right of a workplace free from discrimination provoke the same outrage among fair minded people?

The answer is, it should, and it does.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Video Coverage of Equality Virginia's Press Conference on SB 66, March 1, 2010

Thanks to Rick Sincere of the Republican Liberty Caucus you can watch video of Equality Virginia's press conference today focused on the need to pass SB 66, the bill that would codify protections against discrimination for all Virginia state employees.

Watch Viola Baskerville, former Secretary of Administration in the Kaine Administration; Equality Virginia CEO, Jon Blair; Glen Pond on behalf of the Virginia Governmental Employees Association, and Dr. Patricia Cummins on behalf of the AAUP here.

Watch Rick Sincere on behalf of the Republican Liberty Caucus;Andres Tobar on behalf of the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations; Irving Taylor on behalf of the AARP; Ben Greenberg of the Virginia Organizing Project; Lawrence Webb, member of the Falls Church City Council and first out gay African American elected official in Virginia; and Delegate Adam Ebbin, the first out gay member of the Virginia House of Delegates, here.

Watch Senator Donald McEachin and questions and answer session, here.

The "Natural Consequences" of Hate

Christina got this exactly right. Once you let "hate" define your views (even if it is just to "hate the sin"), you can't control how it eats away at your soul and undermines your humanity. (See, Keeping it Civil re: hate as the language of politics).

Bob is a friend whose inability to accept responsibility for the natural consequences of his own actions and choices erodes his credibility as a messenger to others on the consequences of theirs.


By Christina Nuckols

The Virginian-Pilot Column

DEL. BOB Marshall looked haggard and bewildered as he searched his cluttered desk Wednesday for a way to explain and soften the hurtful words he had spoken a few days earlier.

“The Bible regards barrenness as a curse, not children,” he muttered as he leafed through the Encyclopedia of Judaism, then reached for a medical journal. “I should have used the term 'physical complications.’ ”

The Prince William County Republican insists his comments at a Feb. 18 press conference were taken out of context, but that rant against Planned Parenthood isn’t easily explained away.

“The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion who have handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first-born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children,” he said in a videotaped speech. “In the Old Testament, the first-born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There’s a special punishment, Christians would suggest, and with (sic) the knowledge that they have from faith has been verified by a study from the Virginia Commonwealth University. First abortions of the first pregnancy are much more damaging to a woman than latter abortions.”

Advocates for the disabled were enraged when they learned of the remarks, but there was a delayed reaction. Early media reports didn’t include the quote, in part because Marshall was sandwiched between other speakers accusing Planned Parenthood of racial genocide. But the slow response may also stem from Marshall’s split personality. Journalists and fellow legislators struggle to reconcile the rumpled, self-deprecating fellow most genuinely like with the steely crusader who too often wages misplaced attacks on the innocent.

When I first met Marshall in 1998, he handed me a computer disc filled with pornography. It was a startling introduction, but 12 years later he can walk up to me and start discussing the evils of bestiality without inspiring a blush, much less a call to 911. I’ve grown accustomed to his campaigns against abortion and gay rights, but also his work for autistic children. I know all of his tales about tormenting nuns at Catholic school, taking judo lessons from a bodyguard of Chiang Kai-shek and meeting Harry Truman.

His kids have grown from teenagers to adults. Except Chris, who died at age 19 when the pickup truck he was a passenger in struck a tractor-trailer one night in 2001. Since then, I’ve rarely seen Marshall without a camera around his neck.

“I just wanted people to have memories,” Marshall said. “I cried for nine months after his death. A friend of mine who’s a photographer said I needed therapy.”

If I sometimes feel a little protective toward him, I’m also troubled by that other, darker side of Marshall, the one he presents to the rest of the world. My own religious beliefs make it easy to understand his opposition to abortion, but I cannot condone his harshness toward the women who have made that difficult choice.

“I feel sorry for these women,” he said. “I’m the occasion of an unresolved conflict for some women who’ve had an abortion. It’s still bothering them.”

His words are far from convincing, and it’s even harder to explain his attitudes toward gay people. Some of the unborn whose lives he says he is fighting to save would certainly grow up to be gay and therefore second-class Virginians under the laws he has written.

Marshall is consumed by a moral code that blinds him to the consequences of his own actions and words. “Hate the sin, love the sinner” is a nice-sounding mantra that is rarely achieved. Hate isn’t something so easily contained and channeled. It’s a corrosive force that eats away at both the guilty and the innocent, even disabled children and their parents.

I still believe there’s a part of Marshall who understands that and would do anything to retract his malevolent words. But he won’t find it flipping through his theology and medical books.