Stopping West Virginia’s anti-marriage equality amendment

Posted by Tom Basgil on

"Sixth time’s the charm? I sure hope not.

"For the sixth year in a row, West Virginia will be considering a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between 'one man and one woman.' Last Thursday, the WV Senate and House issued a joint resolution calling for a public vote on marriage in 2012. Spearheaded in the Senate by Republican Senators David Nohe and Donna Boley, the Marriage Protection Amendment will force the state to ban all recognition of marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships between same-gender couples. It reads:

'Only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this state and its political subdivisions. This state and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for same-sex relationships to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities or effects of marriage.'

"The state already has a law banning the recognition of any sort of same-sex relationship. Some voters are still fearful that boogie-men and women (i.e. 'activist judges') might creep out from under their beds and force marriage equality on them without an official constitutional amendment. To protect against this fear, the WV Republican caucus made cementing marriage inequality into the constitution one of their top five issues of the year. Not content to stop there, the language of the bill will also prohibit municipalities from giving benefits to same-gender spouses.

... "Republican House member Rick Snuffer has some words of wisdom. 'A lot of times our friends across the aisle will say they are pro-choice, but … [t]hey don’t want you to choose your definition of marriage, so they’re not really pro-choice. If they’re pro-choice, let the people choose their definition of marriage,' Snuffer said. Thus, West Virginians' choices will still be a.) heterosexual marriage, or b.) heterosexual marriage. Apparently, Snuffer wants to rewrite the dictionary’s definition of choice. Wouldn’t a real choice be to allow two adults to decide what kind of relationship they would like?

"I don’t know about you, but no one voted on whether my parents could get married, and I turned out just fine. Hopefully, some legislators in West Virginia will get the message."

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