Following is the full text of the Virginia Marriage Amendment (aka the
Marshall-Newman Amendment). This is being sold as a ban on gay
marriage, but is much more than that. Virginia already has a law
defining marriage between one man and one woman. The text of the
amendment we are voting on in November may criminalize any cohabitating
relationship outside of heterosexual marriage. Further, legal precedent
in this area may also be invoked to nullify marriages officiated in
non-religious ceremonies, or even marriages in which no children have
this a stretch? Sure, but why the redundant law? Why the ambiguous
language? If this is really aimed at same-sex unions, why not clean up
the language so there is no doubt?
This amendment gives the
state nearly absolute authority to make determinations on what
consitutes a legitimate marriage (or other union) and what does not.
However the biggest red flag, in my estimation, is that this amendment
writes discrimination into the state constitution. Even those confident
they won't be affected by this law should be concerned, because
discrimination rarely EVER stops with one victory. Most all of us have
people who are close to us whom could be adversely affected by such a
I urge all Virginians, regardless of political stripe, to vote 'No' on the Marshall-Newman Marriage Amendment.
ARTICLE I BILL OF RIGHTS
Section 15-A. Marriage.
only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in
or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions.
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.
Attorney General's Office 5/9/06 Explanation -- 473 words
Approved by House Committee on Privileges and Elections 5/10/06
Approved by Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections 5/12/06
Read some interesting Blogger commentary regarding the amendment: