CommunityPam's House Blend

Marriage bill breezes through Virginia's Senate

“I feel an overwhelming sense of sadness today to think we are deliberately doing something so intolerant, so discriminatory and so overreaching.”
— Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, D-Arlington, on the swift thumbs up given by the Senate to send the amendment to the voters.

It’s a sad day in Virginia, where this onerous bill flew through, ready to enshrine discrimination into the state’s constitution after a public vote in November. Virginia will join 18 other states that have amended their constitutions to ban gay marriage if it passes.

Remember, freshly elected Dem Governor (and the party’s pick to give the response to Bush’s State of the Union address) Tim Kaine‘s “not comfortable with the language” but will sign off on it anyway. (VA Daily Press):

With only a fraction of the debate the measure received before a preliminary vote Tuesday, the resolution won final passage in the Senate 28-11.

If voters approve the matter on the November ballot, it becomes part of the Constitution.

…Sen. John Edwards warned that barring contracts that approximate the rights of marriage between two people of the same sex could undermine all private and personal contracts. Edwards, D-Roanoke, noted that last year the legislature passed a bill allowing companies to offer health care benefits for same-sex domestic partners of their employees.

“This constitutional amendment could unravel that,” he said.

Even with the odds squarely in favor of its passage, both sides are planning for a fight to convince voters one way or another.

Victoria Cobb, executive director of the Family Foundation of Virginia, which is among the proposal’s top supporters, said the fall push for voter approval will be high-profile.

The wingers behind Victoria Cobb and Chris Freund of The Family Foundation, Helen Blackwell of the Virginia Eagle Forum, Jeff Caruso of the Virginia Catholic Conference, Dr. Jack Stagman of the Virginia Church Alliance.

“We have seen that it has received a tremendous amount of attention,” she said, referring to campaigns in other states. “It has had millions on both sides poured into the effort.”

Equality Virginia, a gay-rights organization, today plans to announce a coalition of community and religious leaders to work to defeat the amendment this fall.

Dyana Mason of Equality Virginia said it could include business executives who fear the proposal will make it more difficult for their firms to attract and retain top workers who are gay.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding