Doug Thompson


Second Virginia legislator: ‘I’m gay’

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Delegate Mark Sickles with Senator Mark Warner.

Delegate Mark Sickles with Senator Mark Warner.

The Commonwealth of Virginia now has two members of the General Assembly — one delegate and one senator — out of the closet and acknowledging they are gay.

Del. Mark Sickles, Democrat from Fairfax, confirmed his homosexuality Friday in a column published in The Washington Post.

Sickles joins Sen. Adam Ebbin, an Alexandria Democrat who is openly gay.

Both are running for the Democratic nomination to replace retiring Congressman James Moran, also a Democrat.

Sickles said the open homophobia demonstrated on the floor of the Virginia legislature and other governmental bodies helped him decide to go public with his sexual orientation.

“Hearing such caustic remarks yet again on the House floor, couples with the overturning of the marriage ban, has motivated me to state publicly here what many close friends and family have known for decades:  I am a proud, gay man,” Sickles wrote in his Op-Ed column in the Post.

Sickles was referring to the outright homophobia often expressed by the rabid right wing in Virginia and throughout the South and, in particular, remarks by Prince William Del. Robert Marshall, who called the gay lifestyle “life shortening and health compromising.”

Virginia’s ban on gay marriages was recently overturned by a federal judge who called the law “unconstitutional” and cited reasons that were also used years ago to overturn the Commonwealth’s ban on inter-racial marriage.

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7 Responses to Second Virginia legislator: ‘I’m gay’

  1. Rob February 24, 2014 at 8:24 am

    The word “admitting” has an unavoidable association with “guilt.” I don’t “admit” I’m heterosexual…? These men are gay. Big deal. Hopefully someday things like this won’t be “news.”

  2. Doug Thompson February 24, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Oh, I don’t know. I openly admit that I’m a flaming heterosexual. Have been since puberty (and maybe before). :)

  3. Rob February 24, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Doug Thompson, flaming heterosexual? Now that’s news! Wait’ll Amy finds out…

  4. Jim P February 24, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    How can a federal judge declare it unconstitutional? He only has authority over the constitution of the US, and that says nothing about it. That means that, by the 10th Amendments, it is up to the individual states. Only a state judge can decide.

    That being said, I find it troublesome that this is even a news article. No one should care about it as long as he is doing his job well. And if he isn’t then there should be much more important things to write about him.

    • Doug Thompson February 24, 2014 at 6:03 pm

      If Virginia were not a state with a record of outright homophobia it probably wouldn’t be a good story but given the bigoted record of the rabid right it is a place where tolerance if neither practiced or encouraged. And you misinterpretation of the 10th amendment is standard procedure of those who oppose adhering to the reality of the Constitution rather than a polarized and propaganda-driven misinterpretation. Nice try, but partisanship will never go unchallenged here.

  5. Jim P February 24, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    No abmiguity or room for misinterpretation here:

    “Amendment X: States’ rights

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    And if you are thinking of the first amendment prohibiting laws relating to religion then that only refers to restrictions on the Congress of the US, not on the individual states. Virginia is free to make any laws about it as long as they do not contradict the state’s own constiution.

    • Doug Thompson February 24, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      The judge’s decision clearly stated that the Virginia law violated the U.S. Constitutional rules on equality, the same way an earlier federal court told the Commonwealth that it could not have a law that prohibited interracial marriage. The protections of the U.S. Constitution apply to citizens of the United States and, like it or not, a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia is a U.S. citizen first and that takes precedence over any claim of sovereignty by a state. Virginia is not free to make any laws that violate equality and freedoms that are protected by the Constitution. I realize that some think states should pass any laws they want and do whatever they want to restrict freedom. Let’s remember that question was answered in the Civil War when the South lost.