In a case where reverse discrimination rules, some Democrats in Virginia oppose Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s choice to head the Old Dominion’s Democratic Party because that pick hasn’t come out publicly in favor of gay marriage.
For Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, it’s a political case of damned if he does or damned if he doesn’t. In a state where same sex unions are now center stage, Jones has yet to take a stand on the issue.
The city of Richmond appeared to establish itself as a leader on extending rights to gays when the city council last year passed an ordinance to extend benefits to gay municipal employees but the ordinance also had a big “if” clause that said the state would also have to pass a law extending such rights to gays before the Richmond ordinance cold take effect.
Jones, a Baptist minister, stayed silent on the issue and some Democrats feel that silence sends a mixed signal if he becomes chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party.
The Baptist church, as a general rule, opposes gay marriage and often cites Biblical passage as justification for that opposition.
So where does the mayor stand? He’s still not saying and his spokesman, Tammy Hawley, gave this statement Monday to the Richmond Times Dispatch:
The mayor has always made it clear that he will stand up for all laws that protect constitutional rights and that he does not believe that our laws should be discriminatory. What he believes in is equal protection under the law for all persons.
Virginia is one of a growing list of states where the federal court has ruled laws against gay marriage are “unconstitutional” but the issue is still unresolved in the Old Dominion, where Bible-belt intolerance and arch-conservative views still reign in many areas.
Yet it could be argued that Jones, a black politician in a state where discrimination was — and many believe still is — a way of life is, himself, a political hypocrite by his refusal to take a public stand in support of gays.
That’s a growing feeling within the Democratic party.