May 11, 2012

LGBT Democrats of Virginia respond to Tim Kaine’s reluctance on marriage equality

Tim KaineBrian Boyce, Acting Caucus Chair and Tiffany M. Joslyn, PAC President, of LGBT Democrats of Virginia responded in a letter to Tim Kaine’s apparent reluctance to support full marriage equality in an interview published by the Washington Post blog on May 8, 2012.

While the former Governor, and current Senate candidate, affirmed his support for “relationship equality”, he stopped short of supporting calling the union of same-sex couples “marriage.”

“I believe in the legal equality of relationships,” Kaine said. “The debate about, you know, is it marriage? Is it civil union? Is it domestic partnership? I just kind of let that one go and say should committed couples be treated the same by law, and I think the answer is yes.”

The letter from the leaders of LGBT Democrats of Virginia reads:

On behalf of LGBT Democrats of Virginia, we are writing in response to your remarks on marriage equality as reported by The Washington Post on May 8th.

We applaud your support of relationship equality, adoption equality, and for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  And we have not forgotten your opposition to and work against the 2006 Marshall-Newman Amendment. We are sure that you would agree that as a Commonwealth, and as a nation, we have made progress toward equality for LGBT people and the elimination of discrimination from our laws.

Marriage equality is the next battle, and it is the position of LGBT Democrats of Virginia that a different name for what is in reality marriage for same-sex couples is not only disingenuous, but also opens the door for continued attempts to exempt these relationships from the benefits received by legally married couples as defined in a myriad of state and federal laws and policies. Equality in the naming of the relationship ensures the equality of the treatment of the relationship.

Marriage equality is also more than same-sex couples having the same rights as couples of the opposite sex. Marriage equality also means equality in the process to acquire those rights. There should be no difference in the forms used to apply for marriage licenses, no difference in the procedures followed to approve and issue marriage licenses, and no difference in the legal recognition of all married couples, gay or straight. Separate is not equal.

As a candidate for the United States Senate, we ask you to support the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and open the path for legally married same-sex couples to receive the federal recognition, responsibilities, and benefits that all other married couples receive today. As a leader in Virginia, we ask you to support efforts to repeal the Marshall-Newman Amendment and bring full marriage equality to our Commonwealth so that all couples, regardless of gender, receive equal treatment under our laws. Finally, we ask you to assist with efforts to include marriage equality as part of the Virginia and national Democratic Party Platforms.

Governor Kaine, we ask you to join with us, and President Barack Obama, in calling for full marriage equality for Virginians and all citizens of the United States. The positive impact marriage equality would have on the overall self-worth and happiness of every LGBT person, couple and family is simply undeniable.

Kaine’s remarks were published one day before President Barack Obama endorsed marriage equality during an interview with ABC News.

LGBT Democrats of Virginia is currently organizing efforts to support the passage of resolutions at district Democratic conventions, and the state convention of the Democratic Party of Virginia, supporting the addition of marriage equality to the platform of the Democratic National Committee.