So says Lambda Legal, who report that they have “been fighting to stem the tide of antigay litigation unleashed by Proposition One, Ohio’s constitutional amendment banning marriage for same-sex couples, ever since the law passed.”
For proof that the real intent behind the proposed Marshall-Newman amendment in Virginia is to undermine and ultimately eliminate the ability of GLBT people to live freely in society, build a life with the person we love, and establish and care for our families, you need look no farther than Ohio and Michigan, where very similar amendments have been in effect since 2004.
In Michigan, a national anti-gay organization is suing the University of Michigan for offering domestic partner benefits to employees. A similar lawsuit has been filed against Miami University in Ohio.
The Ohio amendment was also used as the basis of a custody suit involving two mothers and their son. The women had received joint custody from an Ohio court, but the biological mother later sought to invalidate the agreement on the basis of Ohio’s amendment. The domestic relations court defended the nonbiological mother’s custody rights and stated that the marriage-related amendment has no bearing on the parent-child relationship. The court’s ruling in the case, according to Lambda Legal attorney Camilla Taylor, shows that “you can’t use a constitutional amendment as a weapon to attack a cherished relationship between a child and an adult that that child considers a parent.”
“As well you shouldn’t,” adds Charles at Two Conservatives.
While we certainly agree, Charles then goes on to argue that the ruling in this Ohio case proves that concerns about the consequences of the Marshall-Newman amendment are misplaced, or even fabricated:
These two people were in love, and wanted to raise a family. They received protection to make medical decisions that was legally binding, and the Ohio amendment, which is essentially the same as Virginia’s amendment, had no effect on that agreement to provide for medical decisions.
It’s very interesting that he says this. In an almost identical case heard in Virginia, with the additional complication that the complaining parent kidnapped the couple’s daughter, fled to Virginia, and then filed for sole custody in violation of the federal law designed to prevent this sort of jurisdiction shopping, the Virginia court came to exactly the opposite conclusion.
The Winchester judge openly affirmed the argument of the attorney for Lisa Miller-Jenkins: That Virginia’s “Affirmation of Marriage Act” was intended to be used precisely as the means to attack a cherished relationship between a child and an adult that that child considers a parent. “This is clearly what the law was intended to do,” said the judge in rendering his opinion that Lisa was not obligated to honor the custody decision of a Vermont court that awarded visitation rights to her former partner.
Hopefully, (though he is still expressing support for the amendment) Charles will be kind enough to share with us his views on the outcome of this case. Considering his strongly stated opinion that the Ohio domestic relations court ruled correctly in affirming the parent-child relationship, and his (erroneous) assumption that a Virginia court would do the same, will he advocate for a humane ruling to reunite Isabella Miller-Jenkins with both of her parents?
Furthermore, since the language of the amendment extends the restrictions imposed by the “Affirmation of Marriage Act” to ALL unmarried couples, not only same sex couples, the opportunity for this sort of mischief increases exponentially. It’s time for advocates of the amendment to stop making the erroneous statement that it “only adds to the constitution what already exists in law.” It does not.
It’s obvious from this already existing opinion from a Virginia court that the pro-family victory in Ohio cannot be relied upon as evidence of what the Virginia amendment will and won’t be used for. We’ve already seen what it will be used for.