Short attention span?

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.

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9 Responses to Short attention span?

  1. Jonathan says:

    If your feeling blue, please, read the Virginia Pilot article and then the “some families” foundation analysis, below. God must have granted our friend Chris “special fibbing rights”.

    Chris Freund, Director of Communications
    Monday, August 28, 2006

    Information Alert: Marriage is Good for VA Business

    Opponents to Virginia’s marriage amendment have been desperately trying to spread fear and confusion regarding the impact the amendment will have on Virginia. One tactic they have used is to find random business owners or groups who will carry the opposition’s “unintended consequences” argument to the media and say that it is bad for business.

    This weekend, that tactic took a blow in an article found in the Virginian Pilot.

    In that article, spokespersons for both the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and America Online, one of Virginia’s largest employers, dismissed opponents fear tactics.

    According to the article, Keith Cheatham, vice president of government affairs for the Virginia Chamber of Commerce “dismissed arguments that the amendment could discourage some businesses from moving to Virginia.

    “‘There will be a lot of fear-mongering about what this amendment does and doesn’t do,” he said, noting that Virginia already has laws banning gay marriage and civil unions. ‘I personally don’t see the amendment doing anything more than what the law already says.”‘

    Also in the article, a spokesperson for American Online reversed that companies public position, saying that the are “not certain” that their earlier “concerns” are “valid.”

    Virginia is currently the #1 ranked state when it comes to positive business climate, according to Forbes Magazine. Opponents to the amendment have opined that the amendment makes Virginia “less attractive” to businesses.

    Such claims are nonsense. Currently 20 states have marriage amendments and 25 others have statutes banning same sex marriage. Only 5 states have no laws regarding same sex marriage, and only one has legalized it, Massachusetts. And my guess is, the tax rates for business in Massachusetts are such that it’s not too attractive to many businesses that want to make money. Businesses are far more concerned about tax rates and infrastructure than they are about marriage laws.

    The truth is, strong, vibrant and lifelong traditional marriage is GREAT for business! When families stay together they are more economically productive and, dare I say, spend more money. That is, after all, what businesses are usually trying to do – make money.

    The Virginia marriage amendment is good for families, its good for business and its good for Virginia. It is good to see leaders in Virginia’s business community dismiss opponent’s baseless fear tactics.

  2. David says:

    Oh my.

    I don’t believe Chris READ THE WHOLE THING.

    They do seem to have a problem in that area.

  3. Jack says:


    I have read the Amendment repeatedly, and I cannot see how it might be construed to prevent a business from providing domestic partner benefits. Please explain.

    Second, if a couple has a common law marriage in another state, they are married. Nothing in the Amendment contradicts this. If I am wrong, please make the case.

  4. Jonathan says:


    You apologized for putting words in peoples mouths over at novatownhall, and yet continue to bear false witness over a simple statement of fact regarding the ability and desire of the anti-gay industry to challenge the 2005 insurance law.

    A common law marriage challenge may occur if a spouse “divorce shops” by moving to Virginia and claims that the common law marriage from the other state is a:

    legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, opligations, qualities, or effects of marriage

  5. Jack says:


    First, I was wrong. Many states, including Virginia, do NOT recognize common-law marriages from other states. That said, I still don’t see the problem. If a couple wants the benefits of marriage, why don’t they get married?

    As for the ability and desire of “the anti-gay industry to challenge the 2005 insurance law,” the “gay industry” is making the claim that such ability and desire exists. I am sure that some groups and individual have that desire. I am neither a member of any anti-gay group, nor do I advocate challenging the law.

    YOU claim that the ability is there to challenge the 2005 insurance law, based on the wording of the Amendment. I have borne no “false witness” by saying that I cannot see how the Amendment can be so interpreted. I have simply asked you, and others, to back up your claim by providing some semblance of a legal argument. YOU are asking people to vote NO on the Amendment based on this claim, so YOU need to show how the Amendment can be interpreted to overturn this law.

  6. Jack says:

    BTW, one aspect of bringing such a lawsuit involves showing standing to do so. The individual or group filing such a lawsuit would have to show that he or members of the group are being harmed by the company’s giving benefits to homosexual couples.

  7. Jonathan says:


    Isn’t the entire point of the amendment that same-sex marriage, the intent to approximate marriage, and the assignment of a benefit of marriage all cause harm the institution of marriage which is, in the words of our President an “invisible pillar” of civilization? Given the stakes, surely many “Christians” working for various companies are ready and willing to test the law, and surely they will find an ADF lawyer to represent them.

  8. David says:

    Virginia currently recognizes common law marriages entered into in other states. It no longer has common law provisions for Virginia residents.

    The Ohio elected official who filed the lawsuit challenging Miami University’s domestic partner benefits claims to have standing because he has a child enrolled there. Standing doesn’t require much.

    Let me try to resolve the apparent miscommunication between you and Jonathan. The statement that the amendment renders a policy of providing domestic partner benefits vulnerable to legal challenge is NOT the same as the statement that the amendment would “prevent a business from providing” domestic partner benefits.

    You seem to have restated the former as the latter. Whether or not this was intentional we can’t know, but you made the same restatement on another blog.

  9. Jack says:

    Jonathan, I agree; I am sure someone will bring a lawsuit. Lawsuits are all too common these days. However, I can think of no argument that can withstand reason. Can you?

    David, thank you for the correction on common-law marriages. I had thought that was correct, then read one site that said common-law marriages in other states were not recognized in VA. I either misread it, or it was wrong. Either way, thanks for the correction.

    I’ll grant that the Miami case is pretty lame. (Is that Miami, FL, or Miami of Ohio?) If I were the judge, I’d figure out what portion of the tuition goes to such benefits, and grant him a refund of that amount, less court costs. 🙂

    I think you far overstate the vulnerability of the 2005 Insurance Law to challenge should the Marriage Amendment pass. If not, you would be able to come up with some legal argument against that Law, based on the wording of the Amendment. So far, no one has been able to do that for me.