Conservatives See Fisette Appointment as a Threat
July 11, 2002
1150 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20071
By Fredrick Kunkle
Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette sees his new appointment to the
Virginia Housing Development Authority’s board as an opportunity to help
create more affordable housing throughout the state.
Victoria Cobb, legislative affairs director for the Richmond-based Family
Foundation, sees the authority’s appointment of Fisette, who is openly gay,
as part of a stealth campaign by Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) to transform the
commonwealth into Sodom and Gomorrah.
Warning of the public danger of allowing homosexuality to flourish, Cobb
said in an interview last week that Fisette’s appointment poses a threat
that goes beyond the authority’s so-called "family rule"
prohibiting loans to gay couples.
"It’s the Commonwealth endorsing homosexual relationships,"
Cobb said. "In the Commonwealth of Virginia the act of sodomy—which, in
law, is considered a crime against nature—is still a felony. It has
dangerous health risks to Virginia." Fisette, whose election in 1997 was
seen as a milestone by gay activists, chuckled at the attack.
"I didn’t realize I was that important," said Fisette, who
shares a home with his partner of more than 19 years. But he said he would
have been more shocked if the Family Foundation had supported his appointment.
"Their limited view of the world, and families, is clearly a step back in
time and quite different from the world we live in."
The rule banning low-interest loans to gay couples was rescinded briefly in
the 1990s but then reinstated in 1996 under Gov. George Allen (R).
In January, the Virginia Housing Development Authority board defeated a
Warner-inspired attempt to repeal regulations that prohibit financing
low-interest loans to joint home buyers unless they are "related by
blood, birth, marriage or custodial guardianship." Instead, the board
voted only to extend loans to single parents and elderly or disabled buyers.
All of the authority’s 10 members are appointed by the governor. Fisette’s
appointment—Warner’s first to the agency—sends a clear message that his
administration will keep working to change the rule, Warner press secretary
Ellen Qualls said. She said that the loan policy is the most restrictive in
the nation and that it’s out of step with the private market, which lends to
unmarried couples of any persuasion as long as their credit is good.
"Fisette is the kind of person the governor is looking for, because he’s
looking for people to vote to expand the lending policy to serve more
Virginians," Qualls said.
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