Via VA Politics Blog, appellate judge J. Harvie Wilkinson has an op-ed against marriage amendments generally. He makes a decent case against marriage amendments generally, but I think a better case can be made against Virginia’s proposed constitutional amendment in particular, which would add a new Article I, Section 15-A to the Constitution to read as follows:
That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions.
This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage.
Just for grits and shins, the same legislators who thought we really, really, really needed a constitutional amendment to repeat what our statutes already made clear, and what none of our judges have challenged to date, also thought it would be cute to stick the marriage prohibition in the Bill of Rights. Here’s a brief summary of how our Bill of Rights will look like
if when this thing passes:
1. Right to life, liberty, and pursuant of happiness – unless you’re a poofter. Technically, poofters can still pursue happiness, provided the General Assembly makes sure they never attain it.
2. All power is vested in the people, unless they are poofters.
3. Government exists for benefit of the people – or at least, all people who aren’t poofters – and if found contrary to such purposes, may be abolished by the non-poofters among them.
4. No exclusive emoluments or privileges, offices not to be hereditary. No problem there; poofters tend not to reproduce, so pooftery is unlikely to be inherited anyway.
5. Separation of powers, periodic elections. No poofters!
6. All elections must be free. More specifically, they must be free of any legislation designed to benefit poofters, at least if such legislation looks, feels or smells like marriage.
7. Laws not to be suspended – even if they target poofters.
8. Right to speedy trial by unanimous jury by one’s heterosexual peers (or bench trial, at defendant’s option), privilege against self-incrimination, other basic procedural rights for accused criminals not suspected of being poofters.
8-A. Rights of crime victims, possibly to their families, but not if the family members are “family” by reason of pooftery.
9. No excessive fines or bails, no cruel and unusual punishment, no ex post facto laws, no bills of attainder – unless, of course, you count a bill attainting all poofters equally. No suspending habeas corpus unless you have a really good reason for it. Fear of pooftery probably isn’t a good enough reason, but who knows?
10. No general warrants, resulting in unreasonable searches and seizures. This one applies especially to poofters; there’s no telling what kind of kinky stuff you might find while unreasonably searching or seizing them. Eeeewww!
11. No deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process of law, right to trial by jury, no laws impairing the obligations of contracts, no takings without just compensation, and no discrimination by race, color, sex, national origin or anything else except pooftery. No poofters! Separate but equal bathrooms for men and women are OK, though, so don’t try suing over that, ya perv.
12. Freedom of speech and of the press; right peaceably to assemble, and to petition for redress of grievances unrelated to pooftery.
13. Right to keep and bear arms – even for poofters.
14. No Hezbollah-esque state-within-a-state shall be formed, so forget about establishing gay marriage or civil unions that way, you poofters.
15. Citizens have rights to be straight as well as duties not to be gay, and public schools are neat-o.
15A. No poofters!
16. Freedom of religion, no religious tests for government. Testing for pooftery is fine, though.
17. The rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights shall not be construed to limit other rights of the people not therein expressed – unless you’re a poofter.