Photos, Rallies, Marriage, and Boy Scouts:
All in the Life of People of Faith
by Rev. Dr. Robin H. Gorsline, President
On Tuesday this past week, I spent considerable time in downtown Richmond during EV's Lobby Day. At midday, I stood with dozens of others on the steps of the Virginia State Capitol for a photo—we had been trudging the halls of the General Assembly Building visiting the offices of Senators and Representatives, and now it was time to have our picture taken. I enjoy this annual photographic ritual, especially in good weather (this year, we actually were very warm!).Of course, the picture is for us mostly, but the work of talking with legislators and their aides is truly important—as are the workshops in the afternoon, and the reception at the State Library in the evening.
Earlier on Tuesday, I joined about 150 folks at the Bell Tower on the Capitol grounds for a rally sponsored by the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, protesting many proposals and actions going on in the General Assembly right now, including issues of voting access and voting rights, reproductive justice, and redistricting. Many of these issues do not seem, at first glance, to touch on our focus as POFEV—equality for LGBT Virginians—but I spoke on behalf of People of Faith because I believe that the oppression of one is connected to the oppression of all of us.
I was especially concerned about the failure, so far, to enact the excellent proposal by Governor McDonnell to restore voting rights to non-violent ex-felons. You can read the prepared text of my remarks by clicking here (and please note that as a preacher I smoothed out the text a bit, as well as added a few phrases that I cannot remember now!).
But of course, our work is not limited to the General Assembly.
We will be working with many around the Commonwealth to conduct public witnesses for marriage equality on February 14, Valentine’s Day. Right now, it seems we will be having actions in Arlington, Winchester, Richmond, Charlottesville, and Hampton Roads. This is a larger number of locations than ever before, and I am very grateful for the active assistance this year of Equality Virginia in making this happen.
One other new thing this year in this work: we will be holding a press conference with Del. Scott Surovell (D-44th District) at 11:00 am that day. He is the sponsor of House Joint Resolution 665, which began the process for repealing the Marshall-Newman Anti-Marriage Amendment to Virginia’s constitution. We are so grateful to him for keeping the cause alive in the General Assembly.
We will have more about all this in a couple of days, and will be sending out alerts all the way to February 14. Please spread the excitement that is already building!