Sunday, October 15, 2006

Another GOP Opponent to Question No. 1

I just have to stop retrieving the Sunday paper from my front lawn before going to bed on Saturday night. Even though the delivery comes well past midnight, I can't resist checking out the Washington Post Outlook and Style sections.

That is how I discovered yet another prominent Republican's opposition to the Marshall/Newman Amendment, or Ballot Question #1, in this fall's election.

As recently as yesterday I blogged about former GOP Congressman M. Caldwell Butler's recent op-ed piece arguing against the amendment. In August, it was Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson -- a Reagan appointee to the federal bench -- who said the language of proposals like the Marshall/Newman amendment does not belong in state or federal constitutions. And not long before that, I listed a number of Republicans who had opposed parallel proposals to amend the U.S. Constitution to limit marriage rights.

This time, the opponent is Ray Warren, a former Republican member of the North Carolina General Assembly, who now lives in Arlington County.

On the "Close to Home" page of the Post's Outlook section, Warren writes:

On Nov. 7, Virginia will experience a Republican Moment.

The election presents the commonwealth's long-neglected moderate and libertarian Republican voters with a rare opportunity to challenge the party's religious extremists without supporting a Democrat .

Warren then notes that, as everybody already knows, same-sex marriage is already prohibited by Virginia statute. (That has been true for more than 30 years.) He also notes that "There is no prospect of the situation changing through legislative or judicial action," which means that defeating the amendment will not mean that same-sex marriage will become legal. Far from it -- it will remain illegal for the foreseeable future.

He then goes on to argue that the amendment
violates important Republican values.

By prohibiting legal recognition of civil unions or domestic partnerships, the amendment would take away the right of the people to consider alternative approaches to a difficult issue -- and vest the final say in the courts.

Whether or not they support such legislation, conservatives should be deeply offended by an amendment that would grant more power to the judiciary.

Warren further develops his argument by showing how, because of the legal uncertainty that would be generated if the amendment passes, it is "bad for business." (These arguments have been made before, and often.)

Warren concludes:
Faced with a proposal that empowers the judiciary and threatens business competitiveness, libertarian and moderate Republicans in Virginia have a chance to reiterate their party's values -- and challenge the kind of intolerance that cost their party the governorship last year. It does not require crossing party lines -- merely the casting of a "no" vote in support of traditional Republican values.
That means that Republican voters can go to the polls on election day and put an X next to the name of George Allen for Senate and for Jo Ann Davis, Thelma Drake, Randy Forbes, Virgil Goode, Bob Goodlatte, Eric Cantor, Tom O'Donoghue, Bill Carrico, Frank Wolf, or Tom Davis for the U.S. House of Representatives. At the same time, those Virginia Republican voters can put an X next to "No" on Ballot Question No. 1. And they can do both with a clear conscience and the knowledge that both choices are in full accord with time-tested, conservative Republican values of limited government and personal responsibility.

It's not either/or. It's both/and. It's win/win.

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