Defense of Marriage in Virginia

The following question will appear on the ballot when Virginians go to vote on the 7th:

Some brief research, same sex marriage was outlawed in VA in 1975, recognition of same sex coupless married in other states was outlawed in 1997, and civil unions were banned in 2004. According to proponents, this amendment will have virtually no affect on current law or its enforcement and is mainly intended to protect the existing laws from “activist judges”. I’m not convinced by this argument, because Virginia is fairly conservative, and I imagine any activist judge could easily be overturned via an appearl. Opponents have claimed everything from bigotry to GOP posturing. I’m not convinced by this argument either because these laws are already on the books.

Are “activist judges” really enough of a problem to require a constituional amendment, if one supports this position? If this vote were to fail, where does that put the potential for same sex marriage in Virginia’s future?

I’m also confused by what “rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage” means. From what I understand, current legislation has no effect on the ability to will property, live with whomever one desires, domestic abuse laws, etc. So, if this were to pass, other than the obvious title of “married”, what exactly is being denied same sex couples?

I’m familiar with the religious/moral arguments in favor of these sorts of amendment; however, on a website for this amendment,, there are arguments stating that this is primarily meant to protect children. According to them, the percentage of children born outside of wedlock has increased dramatically since they legalized same sex marriage. I’m having trouble determining if this is merely a coincidence or if it is causation. Is there any research that this legalization is necessarily causing a higher rate? Assuming it is true, is this necessarily a bad thing? If so, is it necessarily the government’s responsibility to protect children from it?

As a person of libertarian persuasion, I’m leaning toward voting against this bill for several of the reasons outlined above as well as the idea that I don’t care what two adults do, from a legality standpoint, all moral objections aside, as long as they both consent. So I suppose what I’m really asking is if anyone out there who supports this legislation (or would if they lived in Virginia) can address those issues; or for any lawyer-types to chime in with the potential legal ramifications.

There’s a big outcry in New Jersey, as some “activist judges” just declared that the legislature must pass a law allowing SSM.

That’s a new one to me. Just when I thought they were out of new arguments…

They learned several years ago that going into a more conservative state and putting something on the ballot to stop gay marriage brings out the conservative voters. From the polls I’ve seen republicans tend to favor these amendments and the more of them that come out, the better for the GOP.

It happened in MA, HI, VT, and NJ. Since this amendment is targeted at civil unions (when equivlant to marriage) as well as marriage, I think the rulings in the last three states are applicable. I’d say it’s enough of a “problem” if one supports the position expressed in that ballot initiative. It might not be very likely, but it’s certainly possible that “activist judges” in VA could rule similarly.

I would not hesitate to vote against such a measure myself, and as a libertarian leaning person, I would suggest you should, too. I have little doubt, though, that it will pass. I don’t think such initiatives have ever failed so far, and VA isn’t exactly the most liberal state in the union.

However, could not the possible be true as well… that many of the democrats and pro-SSM citizens come out to vote against it? From what I understand because I’m only there long enough to attend class is that there’s been a lot of huss and fuss on campus from opponents trying to get the students to come out and vote against this. Considering that this is already outlawed, I can’t see that many people being inclined to go vote for it. Further, I’d guess that most of those who would oppose it enough to go vote JUST because of this amendment, were probably going to go vote anyway. As I understand it, the RR has a pretty strong voter turn out as it is.

Possible. But there are many more anti- than pro- in almost every state. I suspect VA is one of those states.

[QUOTE=Blaster Master]
However, could not the possible be true as well… QUOTE]
Urm… “could not the opposite possibly be true as well…”

At this point, that’s how I expect I’ll vote. I just have the feeling that I’m missing something somewhere, because I just plain don’t understand the non-moral, non-religious arguments for it.

I don’t think there are any. There is an argument that the state has an interest in recognizing heterosexual unions because those unions might produce children, but that’s in support of a rational basis test which is a very low bar to pass. And of course, gays can have kids these days, too, so it really only makes sense in the most legalistic type of argument. In real life, it just doesn’t pass the smell test.

One could just as easily argue that the rates of children being born out of wedlock has increased since Republicans have started using marriage as a political issue to attack a minority.

Actually, I can’t find where on the cite that the OP gave there was an argument about children born out of wedlock. Maybe th OP can quote the section he’s talking about.

From here,

The results were rather dramatic in all of those amendments in that they all passed, all but 2 with a substantial majority. The only two of those eleven states that went to Kerry were Oregon and Michigan which had the closest results in the SSM vote, oregon was 57-43 and Michigan was 59-41. The rest all passed with between 62 and 81% voting for the amendment.

I’m not saying it’s the whole or even main reason, but it could very likely be at least part of it.

Allowing homosexual couples…who can’t conceive children…to get married somehow causes more children to be born out of wedlock? Color me skeptical. To say the least.

Well, you see, it erodes the general moral tone of society, so that staight singles who otherwise would exercise some restraint are more easily tempted to get all reckless. Because they know that lucky gay couple across the street is having hot monkey sex every night.

I guess.

Steven den Beste has written an interesting article on this.

Yes, decent God-fearing people only have sex to have children (and **of course ** they must be married). :rolleyes:

First they give slaves rights, then women, then blacks. Now they want gays to have them. Whatever next? :confused:

Here’s the thing. The amendment does not just affect homosexual couples. It also would have a pretty big affect on hetersexual, unmarried couples. I attended a few meetings of the Vote No committee here at my college, and this is how it was explained to me:

Let’s say that Bob and Sue had, for whatever reason, never wanted to get married, but they have a civil union. There are some companies (I believe the Sallie May Foundation is one of them, but I’m not positive) that do give benefits to their employee’s partner in a relationship like that. These places would no longer be allowed to do so, so they might actually move to another state.

Now, let’s talk about Dave and Alice, who are not married but living together and have been doing so for many years. If Dave physically abuses Alice, it would not be domestic violence, it would be battery, which is a lesser charge. Thus, Dave would face fewer penalties for beating up the woman he’s been living with for years than he would have had they been married. Unless you’re married or related to a person, legally, you’d beconsidered no more than strangers on the street.

You can find it under their FAQs:

Look specifically at the questions “Have any other contries legalized same-sex marriage?” and “What, if any, effect, has Scandinavian same-sex marriage had on children?”

What concerns me about these arguments is that they seem compelling, but they just say things like “social science research” and don’t give any cites for studies. The only cite they give is to a likely very biased book. Granted, this website is to convince people to vote for the amendment, not have serious debate… so I suppose that explains why.

To my knowledge, homosexuals still have the same bits and pieces the rest of us do :wink: . I’ve seen many cases having friends impregnate them or impregnating a friend so they can have children; I’ve also seen cases with them adopting. I don’t the issue at hand is explicitly with homosexuals having children (though it is certainly part of the perception).

I think the argument is that by allowing SSM, it somehow discourages heterosexual couples from getting married by “demeaning” it. Or, it makes it more socially acceptable to be in a relationship without being married and thus makes having children out of wedlock more acceptable.

I think it is clear that the institution of marriage is starting to come to terms with modern society (more divorces, fewer people even bothering in the first place); but I’m not sure how much, if any, of that is due to homosexuality in general, or SSM more specifically. If I were to take a guess, I’d assign a lot more “blame” to general sexual promiscuity.

I’m still left with the question that, if it is true that the number of children being born out of wedlock is increasing, regardless of the cause, is that necessarily a bad thing and is it the government’s responsibility to end it?

Same place it is already: nowhere.

According to this cite, global warming has increased dramatically since pirates were driven off the high seas.

It means the Happy Hunting Ground for sharp lawyers looking for ways to get their clients out of domestic violence raps, contracts, etc.