While canvassing a concert in Leesburg, I encountered only two of roughly thirty people who actually supported the Marshall/Newman amendment. The first supporter explained that she would vote yes “for religious reasons.” She felt entitled to impose her personal religious beliefs on all Virginians. I left her with one thought.
I’d just like you to know that if this amendment passes, it will harm my family, and I don’t think that you intend to cause harm.
This statement usually ends the conversation, however the second proponent retorted:
You’re harming my family!
How so? A recent study of 67,000 adults revealed that those who never marry have a higher risk of premature death, and the risk is highest for younger people and people in good health. The risk is lower for those who are widowed, divorced or separated, but still present.
It should be obvious to even the most ardent supporters of the amendment that family formation is the heart of liberty. To devote your life and love to a life partner, to take care of another person and to be taken care of by that person, unconditionally is a precious gift. If that devotion is not “the pursuit of happiness”, people will be hard pressed to explain what is.
Empirical studies prove the benefits of pair bonding. If a shortened lifespan does not harm, what does? This is all the more reason to call this amendment what it really is: The anti-gay so-called “marriage amendment.”. And please, tell the press to call it what it is. The amendment forecloses our ability to petition for civil union or domestic partnership rights. It creates uncertainty, and it makes permanent a misguided policy that shortens our precious time here on this earth. It’s anti-gay, and it’s immoral.