Unnecessary and dangerous question on the Virginia ballot

Next Tuesday, Virginians will vote on whether or not to enshrine in the state Constitution the removal of the right of unmarried people to make contracts with each other. This is being sold as the “gay marriage ban,” but that’s not really what it will do.

Here’s what the first sentence of the proposed amendment says:

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.

It’s already illegal in Virginia for gays to marry, and Virginia is not exactly a hotbed of so-called “activist judges” that would overturn it. So this provision wouldn’t accomplish anything new.

The real problem, though, is the rest of the proposed amendment:

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.

Take a close look at that second sentence. Do you know anyone who is not married and has dependent children? Do they have wills and custody agreements with anyone else specifying what will happen to their children and property if something should happen to them?

As “benefits” or “effects” of marriage, these agreements and wills could very well be invalidated if challenged. Is this what Republicans mean when they say government should stay out of our private lives?

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One Response to “Unnecessary and dangerous question on the Virginia ballot”

  • Dan says:

    The core issue is the purpose of a Constitution. I consider this document the pinnacle of contracts between the government and the people. The contract has always been used to spell out rights we are gauranteed. Now we are actually looking at spelling out the removal of rights.

    Religous extremism is not a talent left to the Middle East.

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