Virginia Is Still For Lovers. As Long as You're Not Gay. Or Not Married.

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One of the more depressing ballot initiatives coming up for a vote in November comes from Virginia. Voters there will have a chance to pass a "marriage amendment" designed to define marriage as a deal between one man and one woman. But in fact the legislation would do much more, all of it stupid and ugly:

The proposal also forbids the Commonwealth and its subdivisions from creating or recognizing "another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage." Nobody knows what that sentence means. At the very least it means there could never be any kind of recognition for legally defined civil unions or domestic partnerships for gay couples….

More troubling is the effect the amendment might have on private arrangements such as domestic partnership health benefits now widely offered by major employers in Virginia. A typical partnership-benefit program requires the individuals involved to demonstrate a joint household and economic interdependence to prove their "partnership." The benefits conferred often parallel those for married employees. It would be a rational legal conclusion that such programs create either a "partnership" or a "legal status" that Virginia's courts could not recognize.

Even private contracts cannot violate the Commonwealth's public policy and it is not inconceivable that the courts could read the new amendment broadly enough to create a public policy against such contracts.

More here.

If this sort of proposed law moves you to anger (and especially if you live in the Old Dominion), go here for more information.

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  1. You know, I never liked that Equal Protection clause. Get me a ballot initiative, immediately.

  2. i live in hampton, va. why am i not seeing this on the news?? this makes me angry.

  3. Hey, if you’re one o’ them ho-moes or lez-beans, why should us red-blooded, god-fearin’ Virginians have to recognize your right to enter into a private contract that effects nobody but those named in said contract? And Jesus said, “if ye shall dip yon winkie in the wrong orifice, ye shall be cast down from the mountain and lose all contractual rights!”

    No, I’ve no illusions about the simple fact that my poor state is largely populated by hateful, backwards, hillbilly halfwits who enthusiastically support Bush’s quest to spread “freedom”, but will turn around and readily deny those very same freedoms to those who do things that they find unfavorable. In other words, a bunch of assholes.

  4. I am very surprised to hear businesses tolerating this kind of nonsense. Benefits for domestic partners have become standard practice for most companies and the bill would clearly be anticompetitive. It also moves beyond state discrimination into mandatory private discrimination and interference in private contracts.

  5. Yet another reason why Northern Virginia should secede from the rest of the state. I look around here in Alexandria and cannot imagine where this mindset is coming from. I then remember my time living in Norfolk and say “oh, yeah”.

  6. Nick or Evan:

    Could you provide a little more information as to A) Who is promoting this amendment? & B) What the local politicos & talking heads are saying?

    From the link, it seems that the legislative assembly (whatever it’s called in VA) has put this measure on the ballot. Also from the link, it sounds like at least one old-line conservative is opposed to it – at least that is what I assume given that he is a “former Republican judge.”

  7. No doubt, mk, but the rest of VA would never stand for such a thing. While they claim to hate NoVA, they absolutely love NoVA tax dollars. In return for our dough, they give us policy that we hate and forbid us from building roads (after all, our money could be used for redundant roads in Roanoke instead).

  8. No doubt, mk, but the rest of VA would never stand for such a thing. While they claim to hate NoVA, they absolutely love NoVA tax dollars. In return for our dough, they give us policy that we hate and forbid us from building roads (after all, our money could be used for redundant roads in Roanoke instead).

  9. Previous commenters Evan! and Lamar should join forces. I miss the heady days of Lamar! mania back in 2000 when wearing buffalo plaid was all the rage.

  10. Well, I was born in Norfolk and live in Virginia Beach and I think this amendment is crap. That must make just one of us. For some odd reason we Hampton Roaders think NoVa folks are sanctimonious and pretentious. Can’t imagine why.

    On a different note, Aresen, more info here:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/14/AR2006091401556.html

  11. This Richmonder also thinks the amendment is bull crap.

  12. “i live in hampton, va. why am i not seeing this on the news?? this makes me angry.”

    it is all over the news… i keep wishing they would stop covering it… it’s gonna pass… i am surprised it has taken this long for VA to do one of these…

  13. Thanks Cab.

    What is the requirement for this to go through?

    50%, 60%, 66.67% in favor?

  14. I wonder if the language will affect business contracts as well. It seems broad enough (“other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage”) that if they mean to outlaw ANY of the effects of marriage, that could included unintended business contracts. If, on the other hand, they mean to outlaw ALL of the effects of marriage, then a crafty domestic partner attorney could just eliminate one provision and no law is broken.

  15. Aresen, I think it is just a simple majority. Most of the hoops have already been jumped through to get it on the ballot (to amend the Virginia Constitution, a proposal must be passed by legislators in two years separated by a House election, then be put to a statewide referendum). A simple majority of idiots will decide this.

    WSDave, those in favor argue contracts like you mentioned won’t be affected because they are independent of marital rights. I think they are wrong.

  16. mk–It’s pretty to think that NoVa’s a different state, but acutally two of the big supporters of the amendment are Robert Marshall (R-Manassas) and Richard Black (R-Sterling). Both NoVa districts.

  17. mk–It’s pretty to think that NoVa’s a different state, but acutally two of the big supporters of the amendment are Robert Marshall (R-Manassas) and Richard Black (R-Sterling). Both NoVa districts.

  18. “Robert Marshall (R-Manassas) and Richard Black (R-Sterling)”

    not traditionally No.Va. though… manassas and sterling have long been the “real virginia.” it’s only recently they have been included in No.Va.

  19. But guys, Republican Bob McDonnell assures us that the bill is very specific and would not be used to do anything more than protect marriage!

    I mean, it’s not like in other states where they passed these vauge bans, that they promised the same thing and then, once it passed pun around and sued unions, schools, and anything else that conferred same sex partner benefits…

    right? right?

    But it’s okay. You can lie through your teeth as long as its about fags, and get away with it.

  20. Sounds like exactly what was struck down by the Supreme Court in Romer v. Evans.

  21. i hate where i live.

  22. i hate where i live.

  23. I live in VA, and have heard nothing about this untill now. Not to worry though, I have a long standing tradition of voting “no” on any and everything that shows up at the bottom of the ballot.

    I feel that it’s in my best interests to stop the jokers in government from doing this kind of stuff to “them” while it’s still “them” that’s getting shafted. Could be “us”, i.e. me, the next time.

  24. I live in No. Va., and I swear, I hate it sometimes; we should seceded. Oh, and if anyone wonders: the Dem. Gov. spoke out against it, but there’s nothing he could do. As for Del. Black, didn’t he get defeated (thank God) last election (Marshall’s still around unforunately). Plunge: examples please?

  25. There should be no roads built in Virginia. Deviants drive on roads to get to abortion clinics and gay bars.

  26. This law, if implemented, could have some serious unintended consequences. This line, “another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage.”, is just asking for trouble.

    For instance, if I have sex with a woman (not my wife), and she becomes pregnant, would I be under any leal obligation for supporting that child? One of the common “effects of marriage” for men are the reponsibilities of fatherhood. Would this law remove from men all legal responsibilties for children fathered outside of marriage?

  27. I will not take any “define marriage as the union of a man and a woman” initiative seriously until it includes the phrase:

    “. . . and is irrevocable except by death.”

    Now THAT will separate the men from the boys, when it comes to being serious about marriage.

  28. I’m against the amendment, but these arguments about the breadth of its potential effect are phony PR crap. There is some fundamental contradiction between the views of those favor legalization of same sex marriage, when they say private arrangements are not as good as what married couples get, and yet now in opposition to the ban they claim that all these private arrangements are somehow related to marriage. It’s bogus, it’s hype, and it should convince no one. I’m against the amendment, but not for these phony reasons.

  29. Is anyone upset at the continuing image of the Commonwealth as a sate full of reactionary morons?

    One thing that makes me very angry about this amendment, is that it only propagates this image.

    Virginia in 2006 isn’t the Virginia of 1960. Or at least I would hope not.

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