Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Virginia Marriage Amendment-What Have We Done?

Because of the media attention to the national election the shocking overwhelming approval of a Virginia constitutional amendment has not received the attention it deserves.

This is not your standard marriage amendment that defines marriage but leaves the door open to marriage-like contractual relationships. It not only bans similar contracts but also extends the ban to anyone having a relationship outside of marriage.

The first sentence of the amendment reads:

"That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions."

Now read the rest of it:

"This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage."

Yes, that is right. If you are not married in a manner approved by the state, you cannot have a legal agreement that even intends to give you the effects of marriage.

Well, if it applies to gays it should apply to everyone. However, did those 57% who voted for it understand the level of this invasion on personal life by the Virginia government. A state that was at the forefront of the formation of the United States? Thomas Jefferson-please come back!

The approval was widespread. The only counties that voted against it were Albemarle, Arlington, and Fairfax. Loudoun supported it at the 54.6 % level. Where were all those people who moved to Loudoun from Fairfax to escape the “communist government” that had taken over?

I was at a tavern where the amendment was discussed in detail on election night eve. Every person participating understood both parts and disapproved. The conversation centered on what legislative body had the nerve to put such an amendment forward. I went home looking forward to seeing it go down by a large margin-at least in Loudoun.

I faced an even bigger surprise than seeing Allen go down.