Hot on the heels of the announcement by two Virginia governors -- one former, one current, one Republican, one Democrat -- that they are voting "no" on Ballot Question #1, two more Virginia newspapers are urging their readers to oppose the Marshall/Newman amendment.
The Roanoke Times says in today's editions:
The proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage is not about protecting heterosexual marriage. Unions between a man and a woman are now legal and will remain so no matter what voters decide.
It also would not forbid any unions currently legal in the commonwealth. Virginia outlaws same-sex marriage and does not recognize unions from other states. . . .
Even if Virginia someday acknowledged same-sex unions and granted to them all the rights and responsibilities of heterosexual unions -- an extremely unlikely eventuality -- religious groups could still reject them.
Ballot Question No. 1 is an exercise in crass political maneuvering. The amendment appears on the ballot to give social conservatives a feeling that they are running the show, which some hope will turn out the base on Election Day.
Denying people the right to enter into civil arrangements should be unthinkable.
Under the headline, "A 'no' vote is the conservative stand," the Bristol Herald-Courier urges voters in both Virginia and Tennessee to reject similar ballot measures on Election Day:
Same-sex marriage is already illegal in both Virginia and Tennessee. So are civil unions. That’s been the law in Virginia for 30 years and in Tennessee for 10 years. No change is on the horizon.From Hampton Roads to Southwest Virginia, from Roanoke to the D.C. suburbs, from Richmond to Charlottesville, clear-thinking Virginians are voting "no" on Ballot Question #1.
Tampering with either state’s constitution in this manner is redundant. It reinforces an attitude of intolerance or hostility toward those who are different. It is a dangerous government foray into the realm of religion and a blow to individual rights.
In this nation’s history, most constitutional amendments have granted freedoms rather than taking them away – prohibition being the obvious exception. Virginia and Tennessee voters should think twice before altering these hallowed precepts to ban that which is already illegal.
A “no” vote is not a vote for same-sex unions. It is a vote to protect our constitutions and to respect freedom. We cannot think of a more traditionally conservative stand to take.