When the polls close November 7, 2006, I suspect I’m not going to appreciate my neighbors:
The state Senate all but guaranteed on Wednesday that Virginia will hold a November referendum on whether to amend its 230-year-old Bill of Rights to bar same-sex marriages.
The Senate voted 28 to 11 to follow the House of Delegates in approving the amendment. Though each chamber still must pass the measure adopted by the other, their wording is identical and support among the senators and delegates is strong.
There’s nothing new here, of course. Already codifying a ban on same-sex marriage and adding an additional, stricter law against binding personal relationship intentions through contracts wasn’t enough. Fine, Virginia, I get it. I live in a state full of anti-gay bigots who can’t see the reality that allowing same-sex marriage will mean nothing in your life other than a growing respect for equal treatment under civil law. (Hint: no one will force you, or your children, to marry anyone of the same sex. Shocking, I know.) But can’t you fathom the lunacy involved in modifying the Virginia Bill of Rights to impose the will of the majority on the minority? Or is this too hard to grasp:
The state Bill of Rights was last amended in 1996, when voters supported adding a section protecting the rights of crime victims. Although changes to the state constitution are common, the 1996 action was the only time the Bill of Rights has been amended since 1970, when voters ratified a new version of the constitution.
“The only place in the constitution to put this is in the Bill of Rights,” said Sen. Stephen D. Newman (R-Lynchburg). “There is currently no right in the United States, or certainly not in Virginia, for anything other than a marriage between one man and one woman.”
That’ll look real nice merged into Section 15 of the Virginia Bill of Rights (Qualities necessary to preservation of free government):
That no free government, nor the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people, but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles; and by the recognition by all citizens that they have duties as well as rights, and that such rights cannot be enjoyed save in a society where law is respected and due process is observed.
That free government rests, as does all progress, upon the broadest possible diffusion of knowledge, and that the Commonwealth should avail itself of those talents which nature has sown so liberally among its people by assuring the opportunity for their fullest development by an effective system of education throughout the Commonwealth.
From protecting victims to victimizing in ten years. Well done, Virginia.