CommunityPam's House Blend

Marriage amendments

“New Dem” Virginia Governor Tim Kaine signed off on the language of the proposed marriage amendment, its cleared the legislature and it’s now headed to the voters. Here’s the final language that will go to the voters:

“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.”

Kaine, remember, is opposed to same-sex marriage and civil unions, so his tap dance about tinkering with the accuracy of the language was supposed to mitigate his overall support for bigotry against the tax-paying gay citizens of his state. (SoVo):

It’s a “done deal,” agreed Josh Israel, president of the Virginia Partisans Gay & Lesbian Democratic Club. “Even though the state legislature has not yet accepted equality for all Virginians, they have embraced proper grammar,” joked Israel. “I guess that’s a start.”

Kaine opposes gay marriage and civil unions and has backed amending the state’s constitution to ban both, but he expressed disagreement with the amendment as worded because it may go even further banning legal recognition for gay couples. The governor’s office was not available for comment.

WTF is that supposed to mean? Exactly what legal recognition is left based on that amendment’s language? All this is going to lead to, when it passes, is endless litigation because of the extreme nature of it. Josh Israel and other anti-amendment organizations have their hands full trying to educate the public at how dangerous and negative this amendment is before the fall.

Tim Kaine — the future of the Democratic party. As I’ve said before, Kaine decided long ago that the severe and permanent impact that the amendment will have on VA gays and lesbians really doesn’t matter as long as his shining “rising star” rep is preserved. I’m not sure what is left to educate him about on this issue for him to publicly oppose the amendment before the referendum. The political tap dance for Kaine is not an abstraction to the gays and lesbians who will officially have second-class citizenship in Virginia if this passes.

* Anti-gay Dem Tim Kaine tapped for response to SOTU
* Battling Virginia’s marriage amendment


Update on Pennsylvania and its marriage amendment, which cleared a House state government committee vote 15 to 3. It now moves on the the full House for a vote, which could occur as soon as next month.

The language reads: “Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this Commonwealth, and neither the Commonwealth nor any of its political subdivisions shall create or recognize a legal status identical or substantially equivalent to that of marriage for unmarried individuals.” (Lancaster Online):

If the House approves the amendment in April, it would remain on pace for a voter referendum in 2007.

“We’re one step closer,” said state Rep. Scott Boyd, a Lampeter Republican and the amendment’s prime sponsor in the House. “But we still have a long way to go.”

Opponents said they felt disappointed, but not surprised, by the committee’s decision. “It goes out of its way to be discriminatory,” state Rep. Mike Sturla, a Lancaster city Democrat, said about the amendment. “Why would we emblazon that in our constitution?”

Gary at American Agenda, who’s fighting the battle in PA, has an great post up, Marriage: The Facts, And Why it Matters. It’s a must-read.


And in Wisconsin, as the amendment opposition group FairWisconsin notes, “it’s 236 days until Wisconsin votes no on the civil unions and marriage ban.” This group is working hard to prevent passage of this amendment, which bans same-sex marriage and civil unions. The text:

“Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state.”

FairWisconsin believes that there is a good chance to defeat this, because 60% of voters in the state support civil unions at minimum, they have the upper hand.

The number one factor is time. The 11 states that passed constitutional bans in November 2004 had only a handful of months to do the hard work of educating and mobilizing hundreds of thousands of voters around this issue.

We have already been having a major public conversation about the ban since January 2004, when state lawmakers first introduced it.

…In 1982, we were the first state in the nation to pass a nondiscrimination law that includes sexual orientation. We have elected some of the first openly lesbian and gay officials, including the first openly gay newcomer to Congress, Rep. Tammy Baldwin. And thanks to Governor Jim Doyle, we are the only state with a veto still standing against a so-called defense of marriage act.

Good luck Wisconsin, the wingers have deep pockets and loud mouths.

There was a great letter to the editor that appeared in the Appleton Post-Crescent that must give FairWisconsin hope about the fairness of average people:

Gay marriage no threat to traditional unions

Oh, I’ll sleep better tonight! Wisconsin lawmakers have made safe the sanctity of marriage — the sanctity that only heterosexuals are capable of, the sanctity that has resulted in a divorce rate nearing 60 percent, extramarital affairs and an explosion of Internet porn sites by “happily married” men. By all means, let’s preserve that!

Exactly how does allowing same-sex unions threaten your happy home? I’m appalled by pornography and strip clubs because they’re destructive and degrading. So guess what? I don’t look at it or go there. I don’t need an amendment to the state constitution to validate my views.

This isn’t about preserving anything. The motives aren’t that pure. This is about sex. Upstanding, morally superior heterosexuals can’t stand the thought of two people of the same gender engaging in sexual activity. It’s disturbing. It’s threatening.

OK, fine. I suggest you never have relations with anyone whose genitalia resembles your own. But you, and most particularly the government, need to keep your noses out of people’s bedrooms.

I’m sure I wouldn’t approve of what goes on behind a lot of closed doors, especially those of politicians, but I’m not going to demand that my preferences be legislated. What colossal arrogance. Gay unions don’t endanger my family or anyone else’s.

Leave the moral judgments to
the church. If the Christian right or the Catholic church want to ban gay marriage, let them, but the government has no right to an opinion on the matter. It’s flat-out none of their business and sets a dangerous precedent. Don’t let them get away with it, Wisconsin.

I’d also ask that all of you “sanctity preservers” refrain from nasty messages on my answering machine and hate-filled anonymous letters. They disturb me. They threaten my family. Maybe I should propose an amendment against mean-spiritedness and stupidity. Sanctity — hmmph — try sanctimonious.

Laurie Friedman Fannin,

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding