After a victory in the Senate, one VA delegate just won’t let go of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Bob Marshall (Republican – Prince William, VA) wants to pass a bill banning gays from openly serving in the Virginia National Guard. This isn’t his first homophobic moment in the spot light. Delegate Marshall says on his website: “I authored the ‘Marriage Amendment‘ (one man, one woman) which was approved by voters and became part of our Virginia Constitution in 2006. A stable society depends in large part upon stable family units. Therefore, we must protect the institution of marriage to keep the basic unit of society, the family, strong.” Now he’s afraid gays will bring their so-called “practices” to the job: “It’s a distraction when I’m on the battlefield and have to concentrate on the enemy 600 yards away and I’m worried about this guy who’s got eyes on me.” Marshall said his bill “would bar ‘active homosexuals’ from serving in the Virginia National Guard.”
According to Equality Loudoun in their Index of Loudoun anti-gay activists: “One of the most outspokenly anti-gay legislators in Virginia (describing himself, only somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as ‘Virginia’s Chief Homophobe.'”
Marshall calls letting gays serve a “social experiment”: “After 232 years of prohibiting active, open homosexuals from enlisting in our military, President Obama and a majority in Congress are conducting a social experiment with our troops and our national security while Americans in uniform are fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and, indeed, might be called into battle in Korea.”
But you don’t have to take my word for it; hear it from Delegate Marshall himself (though I must note that I find the author of this post’s statement: “There’s a new battle of Richmond brewing! And this time it feels as if, no matter who wins, the South is definitely losing” a rather disgusting generalization full of assumptions. Virginia is not the South, and Bob Marshall isn’t Virginia. He sure as hell doesn’t represent me, a Richmonder, born and raised). And here’s one of our local station’s story.
From a local news station in Charleston, SC: “Delegate Bob Marshall made some very controversial remarks, saying gay troops would be a distraction from war because they may choose to sexually assault a guard member.
Marshall hopes to introduce the bill in January. Gay rights groups are speaking out against the remarks.”
He’s even tried to make it about states’ rights: “The Constitution never would have been ratified if states were not [guaranteed] unqualified control of the militia, now called the National Guard.” According to the Washington Examiner: “Citing Article 1, Section 8, Clause 16 of the Constitution which ‘reserv[es] to the States respectively. the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.'”
Ideas like Marshall’s are old news at this point; he “quoted Army chief of staff Gen. George Casey, who said that the repealed ban had ‘nothing to do with discrimination, and everything to do with unit cohesiveness’ dating back to the Revolutionary War.”
Luckily, VA’s governor isn’t with him on this one: “The idea (…) has already met with resistance from Republican Governor Bob McDonnell, who said through a spokesman that ‘it is critically important that there be one set of rules for all our men and women in the military.'”
Delegate Marshall, if your whole “every gay man will be staring at me” phobia were even remotely legitimate, why can straight men and women serve together as is? And how is this plan not discrimination? To be clear, do you know what “discrimination” means?
Merriam Webster’s Definition of DISCRIMINATION:
1a : the act of discriminating
b : the process by which two stimuli differing in some aspect are responded to differently
2: the quality or power of finely distinguishing
3a : the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating categorically rather than individually
b : prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment <racial discrimination>
The ACLU is threatening to sue him (you can read the letter they sent him). Change.org says “Marshall is planning to
waste Virginia’s time and resources introduce legislation that would bar gay soldiers from serving in the Virginia National Guard. For Marshall, though the federal government may be moving toward opening the U.S. military up to gay servicemembers, that doesn’t mean he has to sit idly by and let equality thrive.” As Mindy Townsend wrote, even though “this entire endeavor by Del. Marshall is probably for naught. (The general and legislative counsel for Equality Virginia says that ‘any state statute seeking to set different standards for the Virginia National Guard would be a nullity with no effect.),” “Del. Marshall has made it clear that, while the DADT repeal was an important step in LGBT equality, there are many battles yet to wage.”
What can you do about it?
- Tell the Virginia General Assembly to support DADT repeal
- Contact Delegate Robert “Bob” Marshall:
Robert G. Marshall
Delegate of 13th District
P.O. Box 421
Manassas, VA 20108
703 – 361 – 5416 (office and fax)
703 – 853 – 4213 (cell) (preferred)