Carnival of WIJF: Marriage Amendment Roundup

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  • Gay activists, Sharpton and the war on words, By Star Parker

    Discusses the use of verbiage and terminology in the marriage debate, specifically in light of the recent New York case rejecting the litigation brought forth by same-sex “marriage” advocates in an attempt to redefine marriage:

    For the gay activist plaintiffs the offense here is that there is something _ in this case marriage _ that might actually have some real, irreducible meaning, not accessible to political activism. Sort of the opposite of Shakespeare's point that "...a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." That is, I commit a hate crime if I deny your claim that your dandelion is a rose.

    The strategy in the assault on marriage is that if the institution is not providing what you want, change the meaning of the institution. Why it is the way it is, the fact that it has been this way from time immemorial and, indeed, the idea that there might be anything objectively true, becomes irrelevant.

    The problem gets transformed from the preservation of the integrity of marriage, which was the original point of the law, to a claim that the law discriminates and "restricts an individual's right to marry the person of his or her choice."

  • Spank that Donkey has a post up discussing the state’s interest in protecting marriage from radical redefinition. There is also a follow up post addressing some of the complaints from same-sex “marriage” activists.

    In conclusion, I am not even touching the "moral arguments" involved in why we shouldn't have same sex marriage, I am just trying to "flesh out" the human side of why "same sex marriage" is not a good idea for our country, or really even the world in the long run... We need the One Man, One Woman Marriage Amendment to be implemented into our U.S. Constitution period. Let the rest of the world pursue their own social experiments.

  • With Pope Benedict XVI in Valencia, By Jennifer Roback Morse

    Discusses Spain’s Socialist government in relation to Pope Benedict’s pro-marriage, pro-family message during his visit to Valencia to close the Fifth World Meeting of Families:

    So why would the Socialist government care about the Pope’s broadcast? They are afraid that they will become the next in line of governments that have been peacefully up-ended by the power of a pontiff’s message to the ordinary people. John Paul II famously inspired the Velvet Revolution in Poland, which led to the end of Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. John Paul was a thorn in the side of the Nicaraguan Sandinistas. Benedict may prove to be a trial to the Socialist government of Spain.

    The Socialist government was not elected to impose same sex marriage on an overwhelmingly Catholic country. When the legislation was proposed, over a million people marched in Madrid to protest. Neither the President nor the Vice-President of Spain attended the Papal Mass, as is customary for heads of state. The Spanish government even financed a pro-homosexual conference that met at approximately the same time as the World Meeting of Families.

    The Socialists may have overplayed their hand in Spain. People are sick of the social experiments. Pope Benedict XVI’s inspiring words and gentle demeanor may just be the encouragement people need to push back decisively against the trends of redefining marriage and the family. People are ready to restore the ideal of one man, one woman, for life.

  • Constitutional isogesis, By Mark M. Alexander

    Compares Biblical isogesis to Constitutional isogesis… helping to explain the foundation of judicial activism and where why we end up with such horrendous and legally indefensible decisions such as Roe and Goodridge:

    The belief in a Constitution subject to the evolving interpretation of the judiciary has as its origin the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison, where Chief Justice John Marshall ruled, "It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is." All well and good if the courts would continue to interpret the law exegetically, but as history would soon show, constitutional isogesis was lurking just around the corner.

    In fact, by the early 20th century the isogetical interpretation of the Constitution had been given a name, courtesy of Howard McBain's 1927 book, The Living Constitution. In the decades that followed, this notion of a "living" Constitution, one subject to all manner of judicial interpretation, took hold in the federal courts. Judicial activists, who legislate from the bench by issuing rulings based on their personal interpretation of the Constitution, or at the behest of like-minded special-interest constituencies, were nominated for the federal bench and confirmed in droves.

    This degradation of law was codified by the Warren Court, under the influence of Justice William Brennan, Jr., in Trop v. Dulles (1958). In that ruling, the High Court noted that the Constitution should comport with "evolving standards ... that mark the progress of a maturing society." In other words, it had now become a fully pliable document -- one that Jefferson had warned us would be a "mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary which they may twist and shape into any form they please."

  • Shaun Kenney: Your Marriage is Outdated and Bigoted , So sayeth Howard Dean:

    Some great comments discussing Dean’s absurd (and self-contradictory) comments… as always Shaun proves to be one of the most eloquent defenders of family in the blogosphere, well worth a read.

  • High courts rebuke activist judges, By Kevin McCullough

    Discusses the two recent court decisions in New York and Georgia as well as some other litigation coming down the pipe in other states:

    Of course, both decisions are hated by liberals and therefore received spotty coverage in the media, but make no mistake, these decisions portend large in the upcoming decisions in New Jersey (which can't even seem to stay open), California (which seldom ever makes sense), and Washington. The Washington case being the biggest one of all.

    In Washington there is no residency requirement for marriages to be performed. Simply put, if Washington courts go all Massachusetts on their voters—suddenly couples from every state in the union could apply for marriage licenses, be pronounced man and husband, or woman and bride, and return to their state to then test the federal statute called the Defense of Marriage Act…

    …The sides who have lost in each of these cases have pledged to work night and day to get legislative approval to redefine marriage. In New York—if Elliot Spitzer is elected governor, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg does throw in the millions of dollars and manpower to conduct a grassroots efforts—who knows what could happen! But at least such a scenario would still have to drive millions of voters to voting booths to get such a result. A good test of such a drive might be seen this fall in Massachusetts as the voters there will be allowed to weigh in on the issue for the very first time.

    As you can easily see, the fight isn't over. It's barely just begun.

    But it's always a good day to see activist judges get their lunch handed to them.

  • Virginia Conservative Analysis chimes in with his/her support of the Marriage Amendment… he/she rightly sees through the red-herring argument that the Marriage Amendment (similar to the 20 that have already been enacted in other states) will invalidate “any and all relationships between unmarried individuals” and thus rejects this misinformation campaign designed to leave Virginia’s definition of marriage vulnerable to same-sex “marriage” litigation.

  • Mocking the rules in Massachusetts, By Jeff Jacoby

    Discusses the Constitutional Convention called due to the record-setting 170,000+ signatures collected in favor of restoring the definition of marriage, specifically the efforts of same-sex “marriage” advocates to unconstitutionally derail the democratic process:

    But for weeks now, same-sex marriage advocates have been telegraphing their intention to kill the marriage amendment through just such an unconstitutional ploy. "Every possible option is on the table," says the head of MassEquality, a powerful coalition opposed to the amendment. Among the tactics being discussed: adjourning the joint session before the amendment is brought up, or arranging for enough legislators to stay away in order to prevent a quorum…

    …Those intoxicated with their own moral superiority often find it easy to believe that it is "perfectly acceptable" to make a mockery of the rules that ensure fairness for those they look down upon. Homosexual marriage is widely supported by Massachusetts elites; few of them are likely to lose much sleep if the proposed amendment is derailed by an illegal parliamentary maneuver. In a newspaper ad appearing this week, 165 Massachusetts business executives and civic leaders endorse same-sex marriage and urge the Legislature to reject any amendment "that would take away rights." But the ad says nothing about the right of 170,000 Massachusets citizens to have their petition put to a vote on Beacon Hill.

    "I think we have had enough of this debate," says Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick, siding with those who favor procedural tricks to cheat the amendment's supporters out of a vote. "The basic question here is whether people come before their government as equals." His position, in other words, is that scores of thousands of petitioners must be treated as second-class citizens in order to ensure that people aren't treated as second-class citizens.

  • CNN Politics: Massachusetts court OKs same-sex marriage referendum

    Discusses the defeat of the same-sex “marriage” activists’ final attempt to deny the people of Massachusetts their constitutional rights as the state prepares to convene a Constitutional Convention tomorrow. Also has some quotes exhibiting the raw arrogance of Supreme Judicial Court Justice John Greaney as he sits in his ivory tower and blasts the legitimate efforts of the people (with record setting number of petition signatures) to undo his act of judicial tyranny and restore the definition of marriage.

    In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Judicial Court said the proposed amendment is not a "reversal" of the court's ruling legalizing same-sex marriage but a proposed change to the state constitution, which can be legally done through a citizen initiative...

    ...Justice John M. Greaney, in a concurring opinion, warned that approving an amendment banning same-sex marriage would be discriminatory because it would remove the rights of same-sex couples to the legal, social and financial benefits of marriage.

If you’d like to help protect the definition of marriage from having its very core (the union of a man and a woman… the complementary parts of the complete human organism and the foundation of the family unit) ripped out, please check out VA4Marriage and NOVA4Marriage and sign-up to get involved in our positive campaign to protect marriage here in the Commonwealth.

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32 Comments

Terry M said:

Positive campaign?? Core ripped out?? My goodness. Again, the fight against this particular amendment is to keep the state constitution safe from legialized discrimination.

Providing activist judges a constitutional reason to side against gay couples in healthcare decisions or legal contracts challenged by outside forces will represent state sanctioned discrimination against gay couples. Couples who's only crime is an attempt to live together as a family in Virginia and seek to protect that family through private legal contracts.

The core of Man-women marriage is already protected in Virginia law... Adding a civil marriage equality clause to cover same sex couples would actually expand the protection of marriage and family for all Virginia taxpayers and citizens. But unfortunately, that's not what's on the ballot, is it? And neither is the safety and future of man-women marriage.

Then again you only see civil marriage equality as a benefit if you are able and willing to accept gay couples as a family unit. Many of you can't or won't. Which is the real core of this issue. And a real shame. Sigh.

NOVA Scout said:

You overstate the argument (unless it's being made by people who don't understand it thoroughly) that the proposed Marshall/Newman amendment would invalidate "any and all" contracts between unmarried individuals. To refute that position is to attack a straw man.

The problem that many of us have, particularly among constitutional conservatives, is that the language is so poorly drafted that it would present grounds for legal attack or defense for arrangements that could be argued to replicate teh "rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects" of marriage. This language is radically, liberally broad. For example, it could arguably extend to insurance contracts, whether inter-personal or to corporate decisions to grant insured status to non-married partners. The list is potentially endless. I have not yet heard any proponent of the amendment defend the breadth of this language. At minimum, it's vague and incompetent drafting. At its worst, it is intentionally broad and absolutely intended to deprive anyone outside a 1 man/1 woman marriage of "effects" or "qualities" of marriage even where the possession of such effects does nothing to denigrate the status of heterosexual marriage under existing state law.

There are many points of view even within what we call the "conservative" end of the political spectrum. One school of thought is that stupidity is never a good governmental attribute. Another is that the Virginia Constitution is a revered structural document that should not be used legislatively. Those two elements of the conservative community (along with some others) will get out and vote emphatically against Marshall-Newman.

Aislinn said:

Current law does not view partners (i.e. same sex or opposite sex) the same way as married persons, and this amendment would also not view them in the same light. NOVA Scout, you argue as if unmarried partners will have no rights whatsoever. The amendment does not prohibit the passing of laws by the state or local government which would confer rights to unmarried persons as long as the laws passed are not intended to treat unmarried relationships as marriage. There’s nothing too broad about the language. It plainly states that other partnerships are not to have the same rights.

Sophrosyne said:

NOVA Scout—

I am in no way overstating the argument of the Marriage Amendment opponents (although I would agree with you that they don’t seem to understand the issue fully). I have already clocked many hours at fairs and events and have seen first-hand this re-herring doomsday “any and all unmarried relationships will crumble, including Powers of Attorney, Wills, Domestic Violence laws, etc” argument being presented by individuals whose true agenda is to leave the Commonwealth of Virginia vulnerable to litigation designed to establish same-sex “marriage” via judicial decree. But don’t take my word for it… just read the some of what the Anti-Marriage Amendment coalition is saying in its formal communications [emphasis mine]:

“…the language of the proposed constitutional amendment goes too far in denying legal recognition to all unmarried relationships and not just same-sex relationships”
From the list of “reasons to vote no” on the palm-card being distributed at events.

“Under this proposal, no civil unions, no domestic partnerships and no other legal agreements will be allowed for any unmarried couples in Virginia (gay or straight, young or old).”
http://www.votenova.org/

“…disallowing any recognition of any unmarried relationships”
Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, Anti-Marriage Amendment coalition campaign manager
http://votenova.wordpress.com/2006/06/27/the-amendment-in-the-blogosphere/#comments

As you can see the Anti-Marriage Amendment folks are pretty clear when employing their scare-tactic red-herring arguments… they would have us believe that Virginia’s Marriage Amendment, which is nearly identical to many of the 20 that have already passed in other states without any of these dire consequences being realized and sustained, would suddenly destroy all our contract rights (which are protected under Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution) here in Virginia?

The Marriage Amendment’s allegedly “poorly drafted” language has passed through the most thorough legislative process we have in the Commonwealth and has been given an overwhelming bipartisan stamp of approval twice (79-17 & 30-10 in 2005 and 76-22 and 29-11 in 2006). You really contend that so many of these legislators who as lawyers deal with these contract issues every day somehow missed the doom-and-gloom effects claimed by same-sex “marriage” activists? Given the input from all of these men and women of law (Democrat and Republican) and the fact that there are no sustained examples (only two rogue Ohio rulings that have since been overturned and were based on law fundamentally different than Virginia’s) to back up any of these decoy claims when 20 states already have enacted Marriage Protection Amendments… it seems to me that the Anti-Marriage Amendment coalition and its supporters are just shopping for an excuse to cloak their true disagreement with the amendment (that it defines marriage as one man and one woman).

As to the legalities of the argument being pushed that “recognition of any unmarried relationships” will be disallowed… please see existing Virginia law (15 VA. CODE ANN. §8; VA. CODE ANN. §20-45.2; VA. CODE ANN. §20-45.3.) stating that:

“Marriage is the legally recognized union of one man and one woman. … A marriage between persons of the same sex is prohibited. Any marriage entered into by persons of the same sex in another state or jurisdiction shall be void in all respects in Virginia and any contractual rights created by such marriage shall be void and unenforceable. … A civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage is prohibited. Any such civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement entered into by persons of the same sex in another state or jurisdiction shall be void in all respects in Virginia and any contractual rights created thereby shall be void and unenforceable.”

As I have said numerous times before, existing statute already bans anything designed to approximate marriage or “bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage” between members of the same-sex. The only difference is that this extends this ban on civil unions-like relationships to everyone (sounds fair to me, right… why single out same-sex relationships?). Now, if you want us to believe that the Marriage Amendment will destroy contracts, wills, and other legal documents/relationships between everyone then you’ll have to demonstrate how this has already happened to same-sex couples (or any two heterosexual individuals of the same gender who enter into any contract, Power of Attorney, etc) since we’ve already been under this language for years.

I've asked this question countless times and I never get an answer, but here I go again: Has any court in Virginia ruled that because of this existing language (currently applicable to every relationship between members of the same-sex) “recognition of any unmarried relationships” (i.e. basic contracts, Power of Attorney, or living wills, etc) are invalidated? The answer is of course not. There is no rational reason to believe a judge will somehow swoop in and invalidate all contract rights because we changed the ban on Civil Unions from “persons of the same sex” to “unmarried individuals.”

I also feel compelled to point out (as I have in the past) that the basis of thus misinformation strategy is clearly spelled out by the head of the Marriage Project for the pro same-sex “marriage” Human Rights Campaign, Seth Kilbourn, who said that their strategy [in opposing State Marriage Amendments] has been to claim “that amendments go too far, that the effects are unknown, that you should be careful what you put in the constitution” despite the fact that there is no credibility to such an argument. Nova Scout-- their claims have not been realized elsewhere so why buy their Trojan Horse argument now?

Despite all the spin, this debate is about democratically elevating existing statute into the Virginia Constitution to protect marriage as the union of the complementary parts of the human organism (one-man, one-woman, the foundation of the family) from judicial activism/litigation. The danger of inaction is very real (see Massachusetts) meanwhile the danger claimed by same-sex marriage advocates is not so real and is really just a hollow attempt to spew enough misinformation to confuse Virginia voters and make Virginia more susceptible to litigation and judicial activism.

zimzo said:

Again Sophrosyne you try to have it both ways. On the one hand you claim "There is no rational reason to believe a judge will somehow swoop in and invalidate all contract rights because we changed the ban on Civil Unions from “persons of the same sex” to “unmarried individuals.”" Then you warn us that an amendment is necessary ward off the possibility that judges will "swoop in" and uphold rights for gay couples. So on the one hand you mock the idea of judicial activism occurring when it suits you and then you issue dire warnings that this amendment is necessary because of judicial activism. You are arguing from both sides of your mouth in order to confuse Virginia voters and obscure your real intention which is to enshrine in the Bill of Rights of the Virginia Constitution discrimination against gay people. In order to give your homophobic views the force of law you are willing not only to punish the children of gay couples but also to put at risk, by for example making it illegal for a public university or municipality to offer health insurance to the children of gay couples but you are also willing to put at risk contracts entered into by straight unmarried couples, which although they may not have been challenged in the courts yet could very well be in the future and will become even harder to defend against if this amendment is passed.

Sophrosyne said:

Actually, no…. but thanks for sharing the usual knee jerk rhetoric of the No-Fault Freedom Left and calling marriage “discrimination” and my view that children shouldn’t be willfully denied a mother or a father “homophobic.” At least we know where you’re coming from. You again try to misrepresent my argument as if I was arbitrarily arguing that one form of hypothetical judicial activism will occur while another hypothetical form of judicial activism will not. Of course that is not what I am saying.

On one hand we have factual, sustained evidence verifying what was once a hypothetical concern that some judge or panel of judges would legislate from the bench and redefine marriage (stripping its very core in the process- the union of the two complementary parts of the human organism as the foundation of the family)… i.e. the Goodridge decision in Massachusetts (which the people of Massachusetts are in the process of undoing as we speak). This is not some hypothetical fear but a very real threat. And look at Washington State where a case is coming down the pipe threatening the definition of marriage and they lack the Massachusetts law permitting marriages only to in-state residents so if we get a flawed Goodridge-esque decision we will immediately need the highest level of protection possible if we are to sustain Virginians’ definition of marriage.

On the other hand you have the fact-less, unsustained, red-herring claim being presented by same-sex “marriage” activists that “any and all relationships between unmarried couples will be destroyed”. No judge has ruled as such, a massive bi-partisan supermajority of legislators has rejected this fringe-hypothetical argument, and 20 states have enacted similar Marriage Amendments with none of these claims being realized and sustained. Sound comparable to the first situation? I think not…

Sure, on some level both of these are still “hypothetical” because they haven’t yet happened in Virginia… but that doesn’t mean they share remotely the same probability. And according to the logical extension of your own argument we are already horribly susceptible to some activist judge invalidating a Power of Attorney between a father and his son due the H.B. 751 which is already on the books banning pseudo-marriage… so nothing changes to that effect when/if the Marriage Amendment is enacted.

Again we can tell by your other comments your real disagreement is over the very definition of marriage and the “any and all relationships will crumble” argument is just an excuse to confuse and misinform Virginians believe in marriage as the union of one-man, one-woman. Why use a red-herring argument and hide the true intentions of those who oppose this amendment?

(Probably can't get back to this thread until tomorrow, FYI, but I look forward to your reply)

Gnossis said:

Soph,

You've used the phrase children shouldn’t be willfully denied a mother or a father many times when discussing this topic. Could you please expand on what exactly you mean by this?

Also, you lambast Seth Kilbourn's assertion that amendments go too far, that the effects are unknown, that you should be careful what you put in the constitution, and you go on to label gay marriage as a "danger" (presumably to society). A danger to what or to whom, and in what way?
If the Goodridge case is in the process of being overturned, as you claim, doesn't that prove that the system is working and so-called "activist" judges will be checked by the voters when necessary? By elevating the existing statute to an amendment (with some allegedly minor re-phrasing), won't the democratic process effectively be short-circuited?

David said:

You have an interesting understanding of the term "hypothetical." In fact, as we speak, unmarried victims of domestic violence in Ohio are being told not to bother seeking protective orders, and the University of Michigan is being sued for offering domestic partner benefits to its employees.

The idea that the intent behind the Ohio amendment was simply to "protect the definition of marriage" is particularly laughable in light of the amicus brief filed by your Ohio allies, "Citizens for Community Values," in which they argue that protection under Ohio's domestic violence law is a benefit of marriage.

I suspect that if the Marshall-Newman amendment were to pass, we would see a remarkable transformation in the list of things you consider to be the "rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage." Nova Scout has nailed this perfectly.

Jonathan W. said:

Saw a blog that tears apart a Townhall.com columnist that commends the Pope for throwing his hate speech about marriage to the Spain. Can we lock this guy in the Vatican?

zimzo said:

I don't think you are homophobic because you say you believe "that children shouldn’t be willfully denied a mother or a father." I think you're homophobic because you admit that you believe a child living with gay parents is no better off than a child living with abusive straight parents. And to tell you the truth I don't believe that your biggest concern is "that children shouldn’t be willfully denied a mother or a father." If that were true then you would not be working to pass an amendment outlawing gay and straight civil unions, which actually affects a very small number of children in Virginia, but instead would be working to pass an amendment outlawing the greatest cause of children being "willfully denied a mother or a father": Divorce.

The truth is you cannot prove that children of gay parents are worse off than children of straight parents. The only statistics you can come up with relate to divorce, which is a traumatic occurence for children and not at all related to children growing up happily in intact gay families. So, again, why aren't you trying to outlaw divorce?

Failing to prove any actual harm from gay marriages you warn ominously against "judicial activism." But then when it is pointed out that the amendment may actually encourage "judicial activism" because of its broad wording, you then suddenly reverse yourself and claim that judicial activism is no problem at all.

The only honest person from your side in this debate has been Charles, who says that he wants to return to real traditional marriage, that is marriage that is not based on love but is a business contract, just as it was a few hundred years ago. Your idea of what constitutes "traditional" marriage isn't very traditional at all. And he also admits he believes that homosexuality is harmful to society and that is what is behind his support of the amendment.

Most people might think these ideas are extreme and reactionary but they are the real motivations behind this amendment. At least he is willing to admit it and not try to hide his extreme and reactionary beliefs with apparently reasonable but circular and illogical arguments.

Soph:
I know that it is inconvenient to acknowledge any of the responses to your arguments that are, in fact, responsive, refute your arguments and point out blatent factual errors (like your assertions about the Ohio courts), but it isn't fair to excerpt from our exchanges in a way that suggests that I haven't offered answers to your questions, as in fact I have in this exchange over on Blogging the Amendment,
http://votenova.wordpress.com/2006/06/27/the-amendment-in-the-blogosphere/#comments

NOVA Scout said:

Soph: I take the point that there are folks on both sides of this argument who are overstating the issue for polemical purposes. But both you and your opponents need to cut it out. Taht a whole bund of legislators, some of whom are lawyers, bough inot this doesn't reassure me and shouldn't reassure you. There are some serious good governance, constitutional, and legislative competence issues here that shouldn't get obscured by both sides' impulses to condense this to something that fits on a bumper sticker or direct mail pamphlet. Marshall/Newman is an unnecessary and poorly drafted bit of superfluity. I would oppose it for mechanical and structural reasons even if it did not have this inexplicable "obligations, effects, benefits" language. But because that language is there, and because the language could have stopped before it and still have accomplished the stated objectives of the proponents of the amendment, I can only conclude that the more sentient of its proponents are not particularly concerned with "marriage" (defined clearly by statute in Virginia as Mommy/Daddy), but are also trying to use the processes of secular government to burden human relationships with vague and indeterminate standards of legality in hopes of inflicting disabilities on particular relationships that they don't particularly care for. A lot of conservatives don't approve of government being harnessed up that way. I'm one of them.

stay puft marshmallow man said:

"No Fault Freedom Left" : A new term for anyone who doesn't agree with Sofrozyn, nice.

Soph: what happened 400 years ago? RSVP

http://www.novatownhall.com/blog/2006/07/_and_the_battle_to_protect_mar.php#comment-2298

Aislinn: you're a smooth talker, I'm watching you!

Blake said:

The Day after passage.. will my will, power of attorney and other legal instruments I have set up to safeguard my partner be null and void? probably not.. but... and the big but that this thread misses is that a non-supportive relative will now have standing to challege those documents by arguing that they were drawn up to circumvent the marriage ban. It allows "activist judges" to step in deny me my first article rights in the VA Constitution... Section 1. Equality and rights of men.

That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

This amendment will contradict my First Article Rights and relegate me to second class citizenship in the Commonwealth.

David said:

The purpose of the amendment is exactly to hand "non-supportive" or hostile relatives a litigation weapon with which to bludgeon people in families they don't approve of.

And is there reason to think it would stop at those whom we would consider to have standing? I don't know, based on this: http://belowthebeltway.com/2006/07/12/the-nanny-state-vs-the-family/

Sophrosyne said:

So many things to address, so little time! First it is important to differentiate between the two clear topics of discussion (and I hope the below is much clearer than the arbitrary Group A, Group B distinctions over at TC… if they don’t seem lucid then please let me know so I can hopefully further expand on this).

Topic A: “The Marriage Amendment and its Impact” This is a discussion over the alleged impact of the Marriage Amendment (which I contend is simply a red-herring tactic without any sustained basis in reality designed to confuse and misinform voters in order to further same-sex “marriage” advocates’ true goal/agenda, which really belongs in the second topic/issue). This discussion covers the gamut of “judicial activism” concerns, Goodridge in Massachusetts, etc as well as the “any and all contract rights between unmarried individuals will vanish” argument.

Topic B: “The Fundamentals of Marriage and Family” This is a discussion over why society has a vested interest in protecting marriage as a man-woman union, the impact of same-sex “marriage” in countries like Scandinavia, and why mothers and fathers both matter and are not simply replaceable androgynous components providing “stability.”

In my view both are extremely important issues to investigate and discuss, however we all obviously have limited time and need to select priorities… thus I have decided through November 7th my personal priority is in addressing/discussing Topic A because I believe most Virginians don’t need to have the value of mom and dad explained to them and understand why marriage has always been understood as the union of the two sexes (not to mention the fact that the Marriage Amendment makes zero change to policy in regards to Topic B). From time to time I’ll discuss Topic B, but given the short timeframe heading into November and the $3 million misinformation campaign designed to ignore Topic B (which they know they can’t win) and deceive on Topic A… I think it is best to primarily engage in conversation over the alleged doomsday impact of the Marriage Amendment and cut through the BS surrounding this issue. This is what comes up most in talking to everyday people when going door-to-door, at events, etc (at least in my experience the past 2 months).

As you may have noticed my blogging has been lighter than usual as of late and it is related to this discussion of priorities. Like Singleton (who has far more willpower than I and was able to fully set aside blogging through November), I have been spending more and more time doing grassroots work to help spread the word about the Marriage Amendment and warn folks about the absurd red-herring arguments being presented by the anti-Marriage Amendment coalition in an attempt to leave Virginia unnecessarily vulnerable to same-sex “marriage” litigation in the future.

Hope the above makes sense… I guess I felt the need to explain the above as things yet again heat up and the two arguments are mixed together. Anyways…

David—

“In fact, as we speak, unmarried victims of domestic violence in Ohio are being told not to bother seeking protective orders.”

Told by who? Do you or Jonathan have any news links, etc to verify this claim and give us more depth of understanding? I am genuinely interested.

That said there is clearly no sustained court ruling holding that the Marriage Amendment has any impact on domestic violence (or any other non-marriage benefit) legislation in any of the 20 states that have passed a Marriage Amendment. That is the reality of this situation…. More below on this point and in past (and probably future) posts.

Zizmo—

Where did I “admit that [I] believe a child living with gay parents is no better off than a child living with abusive straight parents”? The answer of course is nowhere. You again are twisting and distorting what I say. I did say that both situations (being denied a mom or a dad and living with two same-sex partners or living with abusive biological parents) are not as desirable as a healthy (non-abusive) family with a mother and a father- but this is clearly not the same as saying that either of those two less-than-desirable situations are equal. Sure the ideal is never fully attainable by 100% of our society and there are plenty of examples of families without this ideal situation due to divorce and unforeseen circumstances (a terrible accident kills one parent, etc)… but our laws should always encourage and support the healthiest option for our children and should not sanction a relationship that will deliberately and explicitly deny children a mother and a father.

You go on to try and argue that despite countless studies again and again indicating the healthiest environment for children is with their biological mother and father (and this not only is a comparison to divorce as you claim) we should embark on some grand social experiment with our children without even one methodologically sound study indicating this denial of a mom or a dad will not cause harm (and obviously millions upon millions of Americans raised by a mom and a dad who played distinct gender-roles in their upbringing rightfully take issue with this approach). You are the one advocating for a dramatic change in the fabric of society in claiming that being raised by a mother and father don’t matter and that only having two androgynous parents does… and thus the burden of proof falls on your side. I for one am not in favor of gambling with children’s’ lives.

I do agree that same-sex “marriage” is not the only threat to marriage and family. I think the high divorce rate, even within “religious” communities is a huge problem along with some other cultural issues that pose significant challenges and need to be addressed. However they don’t present the same constitutional urgency b/c they lack the threat of judicial activism a la Goodridge… they are (for the most part) still addressable via the legislature. Honestly I am very interested in the concept of Covenant Marriage (actually reading a book on it right now)… but I digress- we’ve been all over this before.

Claire—

I hardly think restating the key points of what I have said previously is inappropriate or unfair. As to your contentions regarding the Ohio situation, I believe it is you who is spinning reality (in order to further your campaign to leave Virginia’s definition of marriage vulnerable to judicial attack). There is no sustained ruling in Ohio invalidating domestic violence laws due to their Marriage Amendment… only 2 lower court rulings (with 5 others disagreeing). That aside, lets look at exactly what those two courts said when they did claim that the Ohio Marriage Amendment invalidated domestic violence law applicability to non-married couples who were cohabitating (and thus examine whether or not this entire example applies to Virginia).

Ohio law (Revised Code 2919.25) clearly defines “family or household member” (which is used in determining if cases of abuse are domestic violence and not assault or something else) as any of the following:
(a) Any of the following who is residing or has resided with the offender:
(i) A spouse, a person living as a spouse, or a former spouse of the offender;
(ii) A parent or a child of the offender, or another person related by consanguinity or affinity to the offender;
(iii) A parent or a child of a spouse, person living as a spouse, or former spouse of the offender, or another person related by consanguinity or affinity to a spouse, person living as a spouse, or former spouse of the offender.
(b) The natural parent of any child of whom the offender is the other natural parent or is the putative other natural parent.

As you can see every single definition of family and household member that is not related to parent-child relationships includes a requirement that the individuals have been living as the "spouse.” Thus, in Ohio there is no non-parental situation (which is what we are talking about here) that does not include this explicit reference to marriage (via spouse). In the Ohio cases in question the very basis for their invalidation of domestic violence legislation was that by using the term "spouse" in every situation, the DV statute explicitly violated the Marriage Amendment, by according some legal status to the relationship of unmarried individuals.

Is Virginia equally vulnerable due to explicitly linking every non-parent definition of “family and household member” to “spouse” or “marriage”? Of course not. See Virginia law (Virginia Code 18.2-57.2):

“Family or household member” means:
(i) the person’s spouse, whether or not he or she resides in the same home with the person,
(ii) the person’s former spouse, whether or not he or she resides in the same home with the person,
(iii) the person’s parents, stepparents, children, stepchildren, brothers, sisters, half-brothers, half-sisters, grandparents and grandchildren, regardless of whether such persons reside in the same home with the person,
(iv) the person’s mother-in-law, father-in-law, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law who reside in the same home with the person,
(v) any individual who has a child in common with the person, whether or not the person and that individual have been married or have resided together at any time, or
(vi) any individual who cohabits or who, within the previous 12 months, cohabited with the person, and any children of either of them then residing in the same home with the person.

As you can see Virginia law contains section 6, “any individual who cohabits or who, within the previous 12 months, cohabited with the person, and any children of either of them then residing in the same home with the person.”… now you try and twist this using non-binding interpretations from the Attorney General in 1994 (I wonder if you’ll give as much credence to Attorney General McDonnell’s interpretation of the affects of the Marriage Amendment due out any day now… hmmm) but you’re really grasping at straws.

The term “cohabit” is not equivalent to “spouse” as any legal scholar will be quick to point out. For those curious to learn more about the definition of “cohabits” and “cohabitation” in Code 16.1-228 as understood by Virginia courts (and not in some non-binding AG’s opinion) see Rickman v. Commonwealth, 33 Va. App. 550, 558, 535 S.E.2d 187, 191 (2000). Cohabitation clearly takes on different meanings depending on context but is generally understood to contain the essential elements of (1) sharing of familial or financial responsibilities and (2) consortium…. Characteristics not exclusive to married relationships (and thus cohabiting is obviously different than marriage).

There is a world of difference (legally speaking) between the relationship Ohio’s domestic violence law has with their Marriage Amendment and the relationship Virginia’s domestic violence law will have with ours (assuming it is enacted). Again, the fact that this is really the only “proof” anti-Marriage Amendment activists have to validate their “any and all relationships between unmarried individuals will crumble” is really telling… it is clear your real opposition is to the definition of marriage as one-man and one-woman but rather than fight a losing battle over that you have chosen the political tactic of confusing and scaring voters with this red-herring misinformation tactic.

NOVA Scout—

As to your comments that some “are also trying to use the processes of secular government to burden human relationships with vague and indeterminate standards of legality in hopes of inflicting disabilities on particular relationships that they don't particularly care for”…? Huh? You really think the overwhelming number of legislators who voted for this Marriage Amendment over the course of two years are out to inflict “disabilities on particular relationships”? If that is the case so does current law… are you in favor of revoking H.B. 751?

You continue to claim the Marriage Amendment invokes “vague” standards. I disagree. I think it clearly accomplishes the single purpose of limiting the definition of marriage to one-man and one-woman.

StayPuft—

I wish I could take credit for the term “No Fault Freedom” but I can’t… it is a term used by many, most recently in Senator Santorum’s book “It Takes a Family”… I suggest reading it!

As to the “400 year comment” I was referring to the fact that the Pilgrims established civil marriage (one-man, one-woman) at Plymouth almost immediately after landing in 1620… the first marriage was performed on 12 May 1621 by Governor William Bradford. The context of this comment (which I am surprised you’re so interested in) was “Nearly 400 years of civil marriage between one-man and one-woman did not prevent 4 state judges from exercising the power to legislative from the bench and radically alter the definition of marriage”… basically in response to the argument that marriage has been defined as one-man, one-woman in Virginia for over 30 years so we’re totally safe from same-sex “marriage” litigation despite what is happening all around us.

And you’re right about Aislinn… he/she is going to put the rest of us NOVA TownHall bloggers to shame with his/her wit and wisdom!

Sophrosyne said:

Whew... too much text!

zimzo said:

Sophrosybe: Here is where you implied that abusive heterosexual parents were the equivalent of gay parents: "it's always pleasant to read Zimmy's tired old comparison of terrible abusive heterosexual parents to lovely Mary Poppins-esque same-sex couples... talk about a Hobson’s choice!"
http://www.novatownhall.com/blog/2006/07/all_good_things.php#comments

A Hobson's Choice of course is no choice at all. So basically you were saying they are equally bad.

You claim there are "countless studies" that show that children who grow up in a home with two parents of the opposite sex are better off than children who grow up in homes with parents of the same sex. In fact, there are none. You weren't even able to link to one the last time you made this claim. In fact, the studies that have been done show the opposite.

Then you let your homophobia slip again by calling same-sex parents "androgynous parents." Are you actually making the claim that all gay people are androgynous? Wow.

Then you make the outlandish claim that there is more urgency for denying recognition of gay marriage than there is for ending divorce, even though divorce threatens far more children with being "denied a mother or a father" than gay marriage does. In fact, even if the amendment passes it will do nothing to stop children from being raised in households of gay parents. All it will do is deny them certain benefits such as health care. Way to go! In fact if you really cared about the frightful denial of a mother or a father to children you would be supporting an amendment to ban divorce and an amendment to ban gay adoptions, both of which would be politically unpopular, which is the real reason you are not supporting these measures. Your claim that you are saving children from being denied a mother and a father is the biggest red herring of them all.

David said:

Buried in all that text about the supposed difference between Ohio and Virginia domestic violence law is the fact that both the categories "spouse," and "living as a spouse" appear in the Ohio definition of household. If they meant the same thing (legal spouse) they wouldn't both be there, would they?

According to reports directly from the Ohio Domestic Violence Coalition (the people who advocate for victims and see what actually goes on in court and law enforcement), Ohio domestic violence advocates are being told by the courts and prosecutors to not even bring unmarried domestic violence victims to court to request protective orders against a family or household member, because they are not eligible. As a result, unmarried victims aren't even able to access the civil or criminal justice systems.

You still have not addressed the fact that your Ohio allies, Citizens for Community Values, have filed an amicus brief in support of this denial of protections for unmarried victims - after they made exactly the same argument that you are making now.

What do you have to say about that?

aislinn said:

Hey Zimzo-

Just to add to what Soph said regarding children being better off, if they grow up in a home with two parents of the opposite sex…

There is statistical evidence that children in a homosexual household are much more likely to be abused.

From “Questions and Answers: What’s Wrong with Letting Same-Sex Couples ‘Marry’?” By Peter Sprigg (http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IF03H01)

“Homosexual men are far more likely to engage in child sexual abuse than are heterosexuals. The evidence for this lies in the findings that:
• Almost all child sexual abuse is committed by men; and
• Less than three percent of American men identify themselves as homosexual; yet
• Nearly a third of all cases of child sexual abuse are homosexual in nature (that is, they involve men molesting boys). This is a rate of homosexual child abuse about ten times higher than one would expect based on the first two facts.
These figures are essentially undisputed. However, pro-homosexual activists seek to explain them away by claiming that men who molest boys are not usually homosexual in their adult sexual orientation. Yet a study of convicted child molesters, published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, found that "86 percent of offenders against males described themselves as homosexual or bisexual" (W. D. Erickson, M.D., et al., in Archives of Sexual Behavior 17:1, 1988).
This does not mean that all, or even most, homosexual men are child molesters--but it does prove that homosexuality is a significant risk factor for this horrible crime.”

I would not necessarily argue that those homosexual parents of the child would be the ones to abuse the child. I think it would much more likely come from friends of the parents. Since the child would be exposed to homosexuals much more if the parents were homosexual, than if he/she was raised with a mother/ father in the same household, there would be a more likely chance that he/ she would be sexually abused.

I recently read an interview with a girl (now in her thirties) that grew up with her father and his homosexual partner. It was appalling to hear how she was sexually abused by her father’s friends. She also stated that this was not uncommon in the homosexual community, for she knew of others who were in the same situation. She is now in the process of writing her story to help people understand the dangers that homosexual marriages would pose for children.

(Not jumping in to argue or defend Soph, just to clarify some things for myself)

Zimzo: You mention "health care" for children as something at risk if there is no possibility of SSM. Do you mean health insurance coverage, or what? I think dependent children are eligible to be on their parent's health insurance policy regardless of the parent's marital status. And GLBT couples can already adopt. Sorry if I am missing something...

David: You've now mentioned our "allies" a few times. I didn't know we had any, but the more the merrier. Anyway, can you send any links at all about CCV and the other group's efforts to expand the application of the amendment's legal definition of marriage? I honestly haven't seen anything about these two efforts and, in the process of completing my magnum opus, would greatly appreciate some factual information. Thanks in advance.

Gnossis said:

Aislinn said:
I recently read an interview with a girl (now in her thirties) that grew up with her father and his homosexual partner. It was appalling to hear how she was sexually abused by her father’s friends.

And I recently read an op-ed piece in the Post (7/12) by Richard Cohen that talks about a well-adjusted young (straight) woman raised by two gay parents. It was refreshing to read that (not surprisingly) a person with loving parents can turn out to be a "regular" person.

I'm dismissing the FRC study you cite on the grounds that the group has a clear political agenda and probably went into the study knowing exactly what results it'd like to see. But even if its results were semi-legit, how would banning same-sex marraige reduce the incidences of homosexual child molesters? By that logic, we should ban marriage altogether since over two-thirds of child moelstation cases are perpetrated by straight people (according to the 3rd bullet you cite).

Aislinn said:

Gnossis:

The statistics that were quoted by the FRC writer, were not from a study by FRC. Here’s the info. & sources in more detail:

• Pedophiles are invariably males: A report by the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children states: "In both clinical and non-clinical samples, the vast majority of offenders are male."1 The book Sexual Offending Against Children reports that only 12 of 3,000 incarcerated pedophiles in England were women."2

• Significant numbers of victims are males: A study of 457 male sex offenders against children in Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy found that "approximately one-third of these sexual offenders directed their sexual activity against males."3

• Homosexuals comprise less than 3 percent of the population. Relying upon three large data sets: the General Social Survey, the National Health and Social Life Survey, and the U.S. census, a recent study in Demography estimates the number of exclusive male homosexuals in the general population at 2.5 percent, and the number of exclusive lesbians at 1.4 percent.4

• Homosexuals are overrepresented in child sex offenses: Individuals from the 1 to 3 percent of the population that is sexually attracted to the same sex are committing up to one-third of the sex crimes against children. A study in the Journal of Sex Research found that although heterosexuals outnumber homosexuals by a ratio of at least 20 to 1, homosexual pedophiles commit about one-third of the total number of child sex offenses.5

http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IF02G2

Also, my basic point was not to say that all children growing up in same-sex households were going to be sexually abused, just that the statistics work against them. Considering the fact that 30% of sexual child abuse cases come from the 3% of the population that is homosexual, there’s a more likely chance of sexual abuse for a child growing up in a same sex household. Finally, if we allow same-sex marriage then what’s to stop these “married couples” from adopting? So, this is one of the reasons I would argue against adoption of children by same sex couples, and in order to help prevent that we should pass the Marriage Amendment.

Gnossis said:

Aislinn stated:
...the statistics work against [children in same-sex households]. Considering the fact that 30% of sexual child abuse cases come from the 3% of the population that is homosexual, there’s a more likely chance of sexual abuse for a child growing up in a same sex household. Finally, if we allow same-sex marriage then what’s to stop these “married couples” from adopting? So, this is one of the reasons I would argue against adoption of children by same sex couples, and in order to help prevent that we should pass the Marriage Amendment.

California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Washington, D.C. already allow same-sex couples to adopt. (Just thought I'd share in case you were un-aware.)

I'm trying to find research that confirms the "30% of all sex abuse..." rationale. Because I don't have access to the particular articles/books the FRC cites, I have no way of educating myself on the matter. And as I noted before, the FRC's overt political bent gives me the suspicion that their analysis was less than complete. Are you aware of any resources that support the 30% claim that are available on the 'net (i.e., full-text scientific articles)?

You and the FRC fail to look at the rate of abuse by homosexuals of their adopted children. Do such statistics exist? If so, does the trend hold in such situations?

I don't doubt that the article the FRC cites says what they claim it says, I'm just highly skeptical of the context in which those results were obtained, and whether or not there is a substantial body of research to confirm it. My gut instinct is that if there were an overwhelming amount of research, the FRC and other far-right organizations would have made more noise about it by now...

NoVA Scout said:

Sophrosyne: Isn't it a simpler and better reason not to discuss Topic B that it is totally irrelevant to the merits of Marshall/Newman? In any event, you're right not to waste too much time on it.

Assuming Virginia were to reach a position where it needed a constitutional amendment to define "marriage" under state law as the union of 1 man/1woman, would it not be sufficient at that point to have language that says: "The term 'marriage'as used in the laws of the Commonwealth shall mean the union of one man and one woman. Unions that do not conform to this requirement shall not be recognized as 'marriage' under Virginia law" ? Full stop. What's all this other garbage?

Of course, we don't need the constitutional amendment because we have a clear statute. If the statute is unconstitutional under federal law, the state amendment won't help.

You guys are way down in the weeds of irrelevancy on all this other stuff about impacts on raising kids etc. Not germane to the amendment. It's unnecessary, overly broad, and has no business in a constitutional document.

Glad we got that settled.

zimzo said:

Aislinn, I'm afraid your twisted logic has only proven how dangerous heterosexual marriage is to children. According to the Department of Health and Human Services' Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect GIRLS are THREE TIMES more likely to be sexually abused than boys. Heterosexual men are far more dangerous to children than homosexual men and therefore if we are to follow your ridiculous claims to their logical conclusion the best way to safeguard the children of America would be to ban heterosexual marriage.

Welcome to this blog Aislinn.

The Virignia Supreme Court in Schweider v. Schweider, defined “cohabit” to mean living “together in the same house as married people live together, or in the manner of husband and wife.” Sexual relations and the “continuing condition” of living together with shared responsibilities were factors for consideration.

So, in Ohio the domestic violence laws apply to a person "living as a spouse" and in Virginia to a person who is "cohabiting" with a person. And, what does "cohabiting" mean?
"living together in the manner of husband and wife."

The fact is, like it or not, the Ohio constitutional amendment contains language identical to one of the three sentences in the Marshall/Newman amendment and the domestic violence statutes of the two states are indistinguishable for all intents and purposes in their application to people "cohabiting as man and wife" or "living as spouses."

And, here's the real catch... even if the Ohio Supreme Court decides that the language the two amendments have in common does not preclude application of the domestic violence law to unmarried persons... Virginia has a third sentence that may, in fact, be more problemmatic legally than the language that parallels the Ohio amendment.

Face it... if this fight were simply about "defining" marriage... there would, like in many other states, be only one sentence ... the first one.

This proposal is nothing more than another government intrusion into our private lives.

What's next?

David said:

Actually, I have to disagree with Scout on this one issue: I don't think these folks are down in the weeds with the discussion of fundamental liberties for gay and lesbian people, because the true objective of this amendment, and why "all this other stuff" is in it, is to undermine and ultimately eliminate our freedom to live freely in society, build a life with the person we love, and establish and care for our families. When you dig beneath the surface, as we have been doing here, there is no motivation behind this other than animus.

Joe: there are links to the Ohio case documenting the CCV amicus brief on our blog and on the voteNOva.wordpress.com blog. Information on Citizens for Community Values, which is the Ohio analog to groups like the Some Families Foundation and VA 4 marriage, et al, is readily obtainable by Google search. I will be discussing them further in future blog entries.

Your statement that gay couples can adopt in Virginia is incorrect. Unmarried individuals can adopt, but couples must be married.

Aislinn: In fact, 20 years of research has established that about 90% of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by heterosexual men who are the husbands or boyfriends of the victim's mother. It is estimated that a child is 100 times more likely to be abused by a heterosexual man. The data you cite has been thoroughly debunked. Dick Black tried to use it too, going so far as to fly in Paul Cameron, a pretend "sociologist" who has no credentials, has been expelled from at least two professional associations, and been reprimanded by a judge for misrepresenting other people's research in a court of law, to testify before the Senate in favor of his bill to prohibit gay people from adopting. He was essentially laughed off the Senate floor. Welcome to the blog

David, thank you for the link. It does not seem to contain the text of the CCV brief filed on 6/19. I guess the nature of the case leads to the assumption CCV is arguing the marriage amendment nullifies the domestic violence complaint?

I'd love to see CCV's reasioning on that.

zimzo said:

Just to clarify my claim about health insurance, I believe under Virginia law (please correct me if I am wrong) that a gay couple cannot jointly adopt meaning that a child would not be covered by the insurance of the non-adoptive parent. If a public university or municipality decided it wanted to recognize gay couples for the purpose of health insurance eligibility this amendment would make it even more difficult for them to do so. This is merely one example of how this amendment is not "family friendly."

Thanks, Zimzo.

Bill Garnett said:

What times we live in! This threat to our democracy – a threat that is not communists, or socialists, or fascists, but is fundamental religious zealots. Zealots, who in a power grab, overrun that bright line, that firewall, that separates church and state – and leads those who will follow the rest of the crowd. We have seen those crowds before - all through history - do I need to list them out for you? Good people who do bad things caught up behind the seemingly God inspired leaders.

No, I’m not speaking of Hezbollah, or Hamas, or the Islamic Jihad, or even Al-Qaida.

I’m talking about Southern Baptists. Baptists, who not too many years ago were relatively independent and loosely associated Protestant churches, that have now been overtaken and strictly organized by an aging but fanatical, and inerrantly believing their word-by-word interpretation of the King James Version of the Christian Bible, group of zealots -- who believe they alone have God’s personal blessing.

They hate the direction that American families have gone, adultery, rampant unwed mothers the rule, single family parenting, abortions, soaring divorce. And like the power grabs of religious fundamentalists everywhere – there has to be a devil. For the Islamic zealots – it’s Israel. For Southern Baptists – it’s the queers. Queers are responsible for the decline of the American family and their queer agenda has to be stopped.

How stupid really are Americans? Didn’t Lincoln say you can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time – but you can’t fool the American people forever. Hopefully forever comes before November – because in November the Virginia electorate go to the polls – those relatively few who can drag themselves away from work and shopping to take the few minutes behind the curtain. And fewer still will have any idea what the first ballot issue is about – an amendment – to our Bill of Rights – to for the first time in our history to engrave in our most hallowed document of state, a state endorsed and prescribed discrimination against a minority of our citizens.

Why? Because it is a low and debased trick to energize the fundamentalist Republican base, who might otherwise notice that in the past six years, with their party in control of all branches of federal and most state governments – that just about any measurable quality of life has deteriorated. It plays on ignorance and it plays on fear and it plays on bigotry and it plays on the basest of human emotions.

They know – science and medicine knows – enlightened people know – homosexuality is NOT a moral choice – it IS a condition of being – probably closer to being left-handed. There is not an iota of evidence that giving our gay citizens equal civil rights to their straight families, neighbors, coworkers – there is not one iota of valid argument that giving homosexuals equality in civil law with heterosexuals will adversely affect anyone’s marriage or anyone’s family.

Virginians – where is your commonsense? Commonsense argues that allowing, finally, for gays to have stable and civil recognized relationships, and the attendant responsibilities and benefits, will be a step towards embracing family values. To offer equal protection to the gay children, natural or adopted, by gay parents is an embracing of family values.

But, I have to say, by making an issue out of gay marriage Republicans cleverly hope to divert attention. Gays have little if anything to do with the state of marriage today in America and legislating away their arguably inalienable rights is not going to either help marriage or help homosexuals. But that is not the intention. The intention is to divert attention – and to ensure their hold on the reins of power.

Sort of like the Muslim religious fundamentalists – who also have crossed long ago that bright line, that firewall between church and state - a protection our forebears so wisely crafted when they originally formed this union.

========================

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Martin Niemoelle

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