I came across two curious quotes about Virginia’s proposed amendment designed to diminish the Bill of Rights.
“Nothing will change,” said Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), one of the amendment’s sponsors. “All this would do is prevent the gay rights crowd from gaining any perceived right to marry by going to the courts.”
If nothing will change, why go through the process of putting a hateful limitation in the Bill of Rights? Oh, right, activist judges who might find a “perceived” right. I keep forgetting that our rights are open to the subjective view of the not-really-a-majority majority. If enough people don’t like you for their own reasons, you’re out of luck. As a bonus, there’s no need to consider whether or not a judge would actually interpret Virginia’s Constitution so that gays “gain” the right to marry.
“Opponents are looking for every single nuance to say why we’ve put this on the ballot,” said Del. John A. Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake), another sponsor of the amendment. “All the brouhaha about unintended consequences and any partisan motivations are just scare tactics.”
I’m an opponent, but I’m not looking for nuance here. The wording and hysteria makes it fairly obvious that bigotry explains this proposed amendment. But Del Cosgrove’s dismissal of the brouhaha about unintended consequences is an amusing insight into his understanding of government action, as well as his shameful agreement with exclusionary politics at the expense of justice and logic. He wants this amendments language to fight the potential for activist judges to read a right in the Virginia Constitution that he claims isn’t there. Okay, so a strict textual interpretation. So how would he decipher this, without needing an activist judge to decide that unmarried individuals actually means same-sex individuals?
“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.”
Allow me to grant for a moment the notion that this language achieves the specific “interest” of the Commonwealth. This is still nothing more than a bigoted assault on the Bill of Rights. That’s shameful, whatever the excuse.