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GOLDMAN: City Council is same-sex marriage pandering

Paul Goldman is a local lawyer who helped run Doug Wilder's historic campaign for governor of Virginia.

Paul Goldman is a local lawyer who helped run Doug Wilder's historic campaign for governor of Virginia.

Commentary by Paul Goldman

RICHMOND, Va. – Give Richmond City Council President Charles Samuels and council members Chris Hilbert and Parker Agelasto credit. There is no embarrassing or shaming these guys. Really. They feel they run the Plantation and we should be happy they allow us to live here.

They have come up with yet another local ordinance and/or resolution that wastes time and money, but gives them an excuse not to work on real issues. It gives Samuels/Hilbert some talking points when they run for Mayor or citywide office in 2016 as the most pro-gay guys on Council, as the “we are the guys who want to legalize gay marriage, the true believers in equal in this city.”  

Bravo! Pandering to the “gay vote” as it is known in political circles. What principled guys!

Except the City Council doesn’t have that power. It doesn’t have the power to recognize any marriage! All they are doing is forcing the City Council to spend time and money on a matter they concede is not within the Council’s power.

So let me understand. By conceding the pure symbolism of having the Council vote to recognize gay marriages and related matters actually subject to state law or constitutional law, they figure they have justified not spending time on real issues: education, street repair, job development, etc.

Sorry folks. We have to pander to the gay rights vote because we want to run for Mayor.

We already have a Mayor to puts symbolism over achievement according to City Council!!

So what is this: If you can’t beat him, join him?

Oh, I get it. Since the city can charge a fee for gay marriages, these three guys are really showing off how fiscally responsible they are, raising money for the city?

Let’s cut to the bottom line

The three of them are pandering in the worst way to the worst kind of politics. Did the City Council issue a resolution in support of same-sex marriage in 2006 when the voters were called upon to vote up or down on the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages or civil unions? When voters wanted the right to elect their Mayor, what did Council do there?

The point being — what do you think they did when they actually might have made a difference on the issue? One doesn’t have to answer a rhetorical question.

But you say, “Paul, while purely symbolic and toothless, such things are good because they put the Council on record, yada, yada, yada.”

My response, “How naive can you be?”

These guys are only doing this for PURELY POLITICAL TACTICAL REASONS, having to do with running for office, in this case running for Mayor for two of them, or at least running for citywide office which they have never denied said ambitions. THAT IS ALL THERE IS HERE. NOTHING ELSE.

Truth is, they could care less about same-sex marriage or same-day dry cleaning. It is all about the politics, giving them what they believe is “cred” to go after a voting bloc next time. NOTHING MORE REALLY IF YOU KNOW POLITICS.

You can’t build a better city on better symbolism. At some point, Richmonders either decide they don’t want to live on the Plantation, or they resign themselves to lacking the courage to stand-up for the future of family and friends.

As for me, I don’t have time for purely symbolic stuff. Maybe you do, maybe you want to pay for it.

When I was 20, it made some sense. But now, you either have what it takes to make real change or you need to get out of the way.

Marriage is not, and should not, be the subject of any local law. What the hell is the City Council of Richmond telling me or anyone else who I can marry, when I can marry? When has it ever been a local law issue? NEVER.

It’s none of their damn business. Moreover, I have the right to my own religious views, and in that regard, accept or reject those views as to marriage. Who are they to dictate to me, I didn’t elect them for that, there is nothing in the City Charter which says they are to be concerned here.

By what definition of success or qualifications do these three guys have any credibility on the issue of marriage, especially the issue of what they can tell me to do in that regard?

We have important issues in Richmond. Wasting time and money on symbolism isn’t one of them.

Marriage advice from Richmond City Council? They need to focus on the real issues that only a city council can fix: marriage, whether same-sex, opposite-sex, whatever, isn’t one of them.

Paul Goldman is in no way affiliated with WTVR. His comments are his own, and do not reflect the views of WTVR or any related entity. Neither WTVR nor any of its employees or agents participated in any way with the preparation of Mr. Goldman’s comments.