Thomas Jefferson famously wrote in the Declaration in Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Jefferson chose Charlottesville, Virginia to build his storied home, Monticello. I can see why. We had a great time in Charlottesville! It is a beautiful city with a vibrant community. We spent the night at a campground outside of the city. For breakfast we went to IHOP and had “all you can eat” pancakes. After breakfast we had some time to work on setting up future interviews. We hope to meet with some folks in West Virginia tomorrow.
We filmed a great discussion tonight with some of Charlottesville’s local LGBT leaders. We talked about Virginia’s lack of workplace anti-discrimination laws and a recent anti-gay hate-crime that took place in the city. Virginia does not have a hate-crimes law that protects LGBT people.
There is progress being made in this state though. We spoke with a straight ally who works with religious communities to advance queer equality. We also met with a woman (the local Join The Impact organizer!) who organized a “marriage-in” at the Charlottesville City Hall on Valentine’s Day. Same-sex couples took to City Hall and requested marriage licenses from the clerk. They were denied, but kept the event fun with chocolates for the city workers.
Special thanks to Ed for inviting us to Charlottesville and putting this event together. Also, thanks to David and the Virginia Film Festival for allowing us to use the great space. We are leaving town with a wonderful impression of Charlottesville. The people of Virginia deserve, and will have, full equality.
Onward to West Virginia!
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