In one of the funniest things another blogger has ever said to me, Insider made this earth-stopping observation:
Gee, David. I’m noticing you refuse to say you oppose gay marriage.
More about that later, because I couldn’t help noticing this.
The Virginian-Pilot has an article about growing business community opposition to the Marshall/Newman amendment. In contrast to business leaders who are concerned about interference with their ability to be competitive in the marketplace,
The Family Foundation lobbied unsuccessfully against a 2005 law that allowed businesses to extend health insurance coverage to domestic partners as well as siblings, in-laws and others living in the same household as an employee.
Under previous law, Virginia allowed businesses to offer such benefits only to spouses and dependent children. Companies large enough to be self-insured were not required to comply with the old law, but businesses pressed lawmakers to remove the restriction because it hampered efforts to recruit workers to the state.
Are we to believe that this organization and the legislators who do its bidding, having tried so hard to prevent private companies from winning this right, have made an about face and would now defend the right of private companies to insure the family members of their employees? That’s what they’re asking voters to believe when they claim that the concerns of the business community are a “red herring.”
There is nothing that would prevent someone (with help from the Some Families Foundation and the ADF, of course) from filing a lawsuit challenging the provision of domestic partner benefits as an attempt to “approximate” the benefits of marriage. For the government to “recognize” a status simply means in this context for the government to uphold the enforcement of that status in the face of legal challenge. As Jackson Landers points out, there is nothing in the amendment language that makes an exception for any kind of contract or arrangement. For a judge to rule that the paamendment doesn’t apply to any specific arrangement would require legislating from the bench. It would mean that a judge, instead of taking the language at face value, would have to (wink, wink) decide what the legislature meant to include and exclude.
If I’m wrong about the intent of the anti-gay organizations that are advocating for this amendment, please educate me. Demonstrate my error by stating, on the record, that if a private business were sued for providing domestic partner benefits, on the grounds that doing so creates a status that “intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage” or “to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage” that these organizations would defend the legal right of this business to extend benefits to the partners of gay employees.
This invitation is extended to anyone representing an organization that is working to pass this amendment, or any individual working to pass the amendment.