A Dangerous Amendment
October 27, 2006
EVEN IF YOU oppose same-sex marriage and think its prohibition should be enshrined in state laws and constitutions, there are ample compelling reasons to oppose Virginia’s Ballot Question No. 1 on Nov. 7. The amendment, intended to forbid a practice that Virginia already forbids, is vague and fraught with potential for unintended harm to gays and straights alike. Its adoption would herald a season of chaos in the state’s courts.
If the proposed amendment simply defined marriage as between a man and a woman, we would still disagree, but at least it would represent no major change from the status quo, since Virginia law has outlawed same-sex marriage for 30 years. But the amendment as written is far broader and murkier.
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and scores of legal scholars and lawyers in Virginia have warned of the judicial mayhem that might result from this amendment. They are not being alarmist: A similar constitutional amendment in Ohio has been fought over in state courts for months and remains in limbo. Virginia voters can avoid such a mess by rejecting this unneeded, pernicious measure.
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