This is going to include a boring autobiographical note, so bear with me. In the early summer of 1994, my wife and I were preparing to move to southern Virginia where she would take her first charge as pastor of small United Methodist congregation. Before we moved, we were at the Annual Conference, meeting in Norfolk (we stayed in Virginia Beach, in a suite on the beach; sigh, those were the days) and in lieu of our daily dose of the Washington Post, which did not come to Va Beach, we read the Richmond Times-Dispatch. I was totally unprepared for the shock I received at my first exposure to a seriously right-wing paper, and I never resigned myself to the fact that wingers simply do not think about things the same way I do.
At the time, a case was making its way through the Virginia courts that concerned the parental rights of a lesbian single mom, fighting to regain custody of her child from her mother, who objected to her "lifestyle". The editorial position of the T-D was, and I wish I were making this up but I am not, that since the woman in question had admitted in open court to violating state law by performing "sodomy" (oral sex is actually illegal in VA, no matter who does it to whom, or the status of the relationship), she had disqualified herself from custodial parenthood. When I first read the editorial putting forth the paper's position I was, to say the least, aghast. My first thought was that it was a joke, satire to make a point about how ridiculous the Commonwealth's position was. It was only after re-reading it that I realized they were totally serious.
Let us leave aside the whole gay versus straight thing for a moment, and consider the whole situation in terms of Commonwealth law (I have read the statute books on this subject, and they are troglodytic). In Virginia, the only sexual act that is legal is missionary sex between a married man and married woman. Period. Everything else is a violation of the law. Leaving aside the question of enforcement, I goggle when I think about the fact that legislators in Richmond actually care so much about what people do in their private lives. Thousands of married couples in Virginia, according to the logic of the T-D editorial board, are unfit parents.
All this leads up to the whole Cheney-Poe issue because the discrimination against gay couples runs far deeper, and the hated and fear of gay couples is so entrenched (I hate to use these words, but there is really no other way to describe it) that even a high-profile couple like them will be subject to criticism, as is happening already (see here for the beginning of the intrusion of wingers into the private life of this couple). A federal law, not "protecting marriage", but making same-sex marriage (or some legal equivalent thereof, like civil unions) legal, granting full legal and parental rights to same-sex couples is necessary to overturn the horrendous discrimination Cheney and Poe will face in their life as parents. Nothing less will do.
In addition, could someone in Virginia please remove from the statute books those peeping-Tom laws that intrude upon the private acts of consenting adults? Of course, the Supreme Court ruling on the Texas sodomy law case probably has done much to remove the more egregious aspects of the law, but there is still far, far to go.