Bigot-Bigot Bigot Amendment

Delegate Robert Marshall co-sponsored the proposed amendment to the Virginia Bill of Rights that voters will likely pass next Tuesday. In his determination to show that he really isn’t a bigot, he included a nice bit in his latest newsletter. I’ve scanned the original for proof, but a few thoughts are warranted, so I’ve transcribed the text.

Marshall-Newman Marriage Amendment

This November citizens will be able to vote for Del. Marshall’s proposed Marriage Amendment to the Virginia Constitution defining marriage as the union of one-man and one-woman. In four states (MD, MA, VT, and HI) courts have, on their own and without legislative input or sanction, granted same sex couples the legal authority to “marry” or enter into “Marriage lite,” i.e., a civil union.

One-man and One-woman. [sic] and [sic]. Del. Marshall can’t grasp the English language, yet he’s qualified to propose a wordy amendment that goes beyond his stated goal of banning what’s already been banned twice by Virginia. This will go well. Of course, I’m sure he wishes he could have this newsletter back to amend New Jersey into his parenthetical proof that Virginia’s courts will catch The Gay. Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Maryland. It’s spreading south, can’t we see?

But the ability to register to vote, enter a contract, have a joint bank account, write a will, buy a house with a friend, start a business, receive job benefits from an employer, designate a friend to carry out advance medical directives, or the right to be free from assault belong to any competent adult. These rights do not derive from marriage or a legal relationship approximating marriage, and are not altered by the Marriage Amendment.

So, if these rights – excuse me, “abilities” – are still in effect, in spite of the wording of the proposed amendment, why do we need this amendment? Again, two laws against same-sex marriage already exist in Virginia, as well as the indefensible-yet-still-accepted federal DOMA. Same-sex marriage isn’t coming to Virginia any time soon, amendment or not. That leaves one explanation, which is quite unbecoming of an elected official. But maybe Del. Marshall can save himself with an example.

When Massachusetts parents objected to a public school requiring their second graders to read a story with pictures about two princes who “marry,” the school said, “We couldn’t run a public school system if every parent who feels some topic is objectionable to them … decides their child should be removed. [This community] is committed to teaching children about the world they live in, and in Massachusetts same-sex marriage is legal.”

Bonus libertarian points if you’ve already figured out what I’m going to say about this paragraph. Ready? Is this paragraph support for a bigoted marriage amendment, or would it be better support for eliminating the public provision of education? Without public provisioning, parents could send their children to whichever school sells their preferred bigotry, if that pleases them. Instead, Del. Marshall believes we should all be sold bigotry, in the Virginia Bill of Reduced-at-the-Whim-of-the-Majority Rights, no less. Del. Marshall seems to be on the wrong side of (at least) two issues. Let’s bump that to three, just for fun, since it’s clear he favors mob rule over republicanism.

The Amendment reads:

“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.”

Remember, Del. Marshall says no rights will be eliminated because they do not derive from marriage. So why do we need the second paragraph in the amendment, in as much as we (don’t) need any of it? I’m trying to draw a conclusion other than bigotry, but I can’t.