The Washington Post today reported that Governor Timothy Kaine will “use the power of his office” to educate voters about the consequences of the Marshall/Newman amendment.
“This is language I don’t feel comfortable putting into the constitution,” said Kaine, who opposes gay marriage. “I’m married. You ask what the benefits of marriage are? They are infinite. . . . Unmarried individuals are not entitled to any of those?”
Well, it’s hard to say, since we don’t know what a judge might think they are. Predictably, the Attorney General told reporters that his office has done “hundreds of hours of legal research” to discover that he is still an aggressive proponent of the amendment, and determined to mislead voters into thinking it “only defines marriage.” The tenuous claim that certain contractual rights like medical directives are not vulnerable because they (individually) “are not rights that arise from marriage” has aged rather quickly. As Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the Commonwealth Coalition, points out, “All the attorney general has done is proved my point: The only thing we know for sure is that there are lawyers that are saying . . . diametrically opposed things.”
Kaine said he expects to spend considerable time talking to voters about the issue to counteract claims that the amendment merely bans same-sex marriage. “I suspect I won’t be talking to just one or two people, but in a way a lot of Virginians will hear,” Kaine said.
That is excellent news.