Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Anti-Marriage Amendment

As is now well-known, Virginia this week passed Ballot Question Number 1, which amends the so-called Bill of Rights of the Constitution of Virginia by adding the following language:
"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 assinged the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage."
In other words, not only does Virginia not recognize a marriage between people of the same gender, but also does not and cannot in the future recognize any relationship bewteen unmarried individuals that approximates marriage, whether those people are of the same gender or different genders. The proponents of this overbroad piece of nonsense call it the "Marriage Amendment" but it seems to me that a more appropriate name is the "Anti-Marriage Amendment."

Today in the Staunton News Leader there were a couple of letters praising the amendment and attacking the newspaper for opposing it, and one letter condemning the amendment as supporting discrimination. Especially because the second sentence of the amendment goes far beyond the objective of the first sentence (which itself is unnecessary because a Virginia law that says exactly the same thing), this controversy is not going to go away. Litigation will rage for a decade or so and then, inevitably, the process of repeal will begin.

And not only will the controversy not go away, but neither will gay couples. Whether or not they are allowed to marry (or enter into Civil Unions, the solution I favor), gay and lesbian couples will still enter into committed, loving relationships. One of today's letter writers is typical of the amendment's illogical supporters. John Fiske of Waynesboro writes, "We are outlawing sin. Homosexuality is sin." First, homosexuality is not being outlawed by the amendment, obviously. Second, Fiske's opinion is derived from his interpretation of the Christian Bible (or an interpretation that has been fed to him), and should not be imposed on non-Christians. Third, Fiske asserts that homosexuality is a choice, like drinking or drug use. Again, that's what his church has convinced him is true, but the weight of science is against him. Homosexuality isn't a choice, it just is.

Which is why this amendment, as letter writer Judith Fitzgeral says, represents "continued discrimination." The most amusing of today's letters was from Gary and Deanna Persinger of Raphine, who ask why the newspaper is "persecuting Christians for exercising their peaceable Constitutional right to vote?" Persecution? Please. The only persecution going on is by the Christian church against anyone who doesn't believe as they do. Christians are free to do as they wish--criticism doesn't even come close to persecution; they are the ones who want to compel others to act against their natures. If Christians are opposed to gay marriage, there is a simple solution for them: don't marry someone who is gay. End of problem. But leave everyone else alone.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

I think there is a sense of "not in my backyard" about gay marriage in America, and what people don't realize is that, like you said, an anti-marriage amendment doesn't just affect same-sex couples, it affects everyone in the country. Not only are the direct effects being completely looked over by those that are not against same-sex marriages, but just don't care enough to say anything, but so many people seem to be ignoring the fact that this is only the beginning of the long line of ridiculous, illogical laws that are sure to follow.

And you're right, banning gay marriages doesn't outlaw homosexuality in any way, it only pushes us all further apart and makes life a lot harder for gays and lesbians. I'm hoping that now the Democrats won't pussyfoot around the subject, and we can get this mess cleaned up, because at this point, we are one of the most ridiculous states in the world.