Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Weighing-in on the ballot issue

I wasn't going to weigh-in on this issue, but I'm compelled this morning. No, there was nothing that set me off, but rather the building buzz.

On the ballot come November here in the Commonwealth of Virginia, we will have the opportunity to vote on an amendment to the Constitution of Virginia. Here's the ballot question:
BALLOT QUESTION NUMBER 1

Question: Shall Article I (the Bill of Rights) of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to state:

"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.

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."?
I'm not going to get into a discussion of gay marriage... but I will go here: this ammendment goes too far. It would be one thing if the ammendment stopped at the first sentence. Perhaps I'd have heartburn with that, even, but the way it is written, it goes to far. As I read this, and as plenty of other people read it, two unmarried people, under this construct, cannot have agreements about health care or finances or property. Partnerships would be at risk. As noted elsewhere, the ammendment would "prohibit the state and its localities from providing any legal recognition to any relationship between unmarried individuals."

This is, I believe, a case where those who wrote the measure had too much law school training (although perhaps not; these lawyers see the holes) and too much ambition. Keep it simple.

In the mean time, join me and Vote No on Number One.

For information, see the Commonwealth Coalition, this op-ed piece in the Daily Press, and a great article in the Cavalier Daily. For up-to-minute on talk about the ammendment on the web, search Google.

In the mean time, vote no, and send those who favor an ammendment to ban same sex marriage to go back to the drawing board and craft something that doesn't go over the top.

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