The newspaper with a circulation area that includes Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty University -- that is, Jerry Falwell's backyard -- advises its readers in a lead editorial on Sunday to reject Ballot Question No. 1, the proposed Marshall/Newman amendment, because "it goes far beyond prohibiting same-sex marriages." The editorial in the Lynchburg News & Advance says the amendment is "overkill."
On the same page, the newspaper endorses Senator George F. Allen for re-election, saying that as a "self-described 'common sense Jeffersonian Conservative,' Allen will work for the people of the commonwealth to secure their dreams: free enterprise and free people."
In its lead editorial in its November 5 editions, the News & Advance explains that it understands the motivation behind lawmakers' desire to put the amendment on the ballot, and praises them for doing so:
... while we applaud the effort of the amendment, proposed by Lynchburg’s state Sen. Steve Newman and co-sponsored by Campbell County Del. Kathy Byron for having their fingers on the pulse of the majority of voters, the amendment is simply overkill.The paper also explains why the proposed amendment is unnecessary, since it incorporates law that already exists even while going too far. It also points out that a "no" votes is not a vote in favor of same-sex marriage:
While the idea of the amendment resonates with many, its core is already law.The News & Advance also reinforces a message of core conservative values -- personal and family responsibility for moral decisionmaking as opposed to the liberal view of government as nanny and nursemaid:
Voting “no” on the proposed amendment - as it’s worded - is not voting against traditional marriages; if voters consider how judges throughout the country have been ruling during the past year, they will see that time and time again, the legal definition of marriage remains a contract between one man and one woman.
While the intent is laudable - to translate the majority’s morality into a code of laws - the amendment’s language misses the mark.
Because it goes far beyond prohibiting same-sex marriages, we should be the first state in the country to defeat a same-sex marriage amendment. Not because we don’t adhere to a strict moral code, but because amending the constitution just isn’t necessary.
What is necessary is parents sharing their moral values with their children, having open and honest discussions about how they feel and why.So that is why the Reverend Jerry Falwell's hometown newspaper joins the vast majority of other Virginia dailies in urging its readers to vote "no" on Ballot Question No. 1 on November 7.
What is necessary is families taking responsibilities - and the consequences, good or bad - for their lifestyles decisions.
The proper role of government is not that of parent - or big brother.
Update: I note, belatedly, that Charlottesville-area writer Dahlia Lithwick, who covers legal affairs for the on-line magazine Slate, has an incisive op-ed in the Outlook section of Sunday's Washington Post. I recommend it highly, especially this amusing passage:
Why the terrific urgency to gild the state's anti-gay-marriage lily? The measure's supporters advance a single argument: It's an insurance policy against "activist judges" who might someday strike down the many state laws banning same- sex marriage. Last week, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling announced that the "amendment is necessary to protect traditional marriage from possible judicial assault." Judicial assault from whom? The hemp-wearing, incense-burning vegetarians who dominate the Virginia bench? The state's judges are extremely conservative, having been selected by the extremely conservative legislature. A Web site is carrying out an enthusiastic search for Virginia's unhinged liberal activist judges. They're proving tough to find.Read the whole article, "Please Say 'I Don't'," in tomorrow morning's Post. (It is also available on Slate as "Yes, Virginia, This Is a Terrible Amendment: Why the Gay Marriage Ban Is Bad for All Virginians.")