Personally, I am ashamed that we even had to vote on Ballot Question One yesterday:
VA State Amendment: Marriage
"That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage
valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political
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."?
(quote taken from www.washingtonpost.com this morning as I had lost my paper with the ballot questions last night)
Come on Virginia, did we really need to vote on this??? And to have it win? WTF? Dani and I were discussing this last night – it’s not like I expected anything else from the state, but on top of declaring all marriages as unions "between one man and one woman" they folded the issue of common-law marriage into it as well?!?!
I’m sorry, but we’re saying that we’ll recognize the union between a man and woman who meet and barely know each other, but decide to get married b/c it’s a "fun idea" and barely know each other (trust me, I know of people like this), giving them all the legal rights and privileges of such a union, but we won’t recognize two people in a loving, committed relationship who have been together for 20 years? That is fucking ridiculous!
Yes, the argument for a man and woman in a relationship like this is that they could just get married. Well, yes. However, some people just don’t have the inclination to marry and are happy with their situation as is. My "aunt" and uncle had such a relationship. For whatever reason, my uncle was marriage-shy (he was a bit of a bastard, but that’s another story). He and my aunt were together for 30+ years… she thought that being his partner for so long would afford her certain benefits of a common-law marriage upon his death, so she never really pressed the subject, having no idea that VA was not a common-law marriage state. When he died, his children from a previous relationship pushed her out of the way, leaving her destitute – at 70. When she tried to get a lawyer to sue for a portion of the estate, no one would take the case saying that they should have just gotten married. Nice way to treat a woman who’s just lost the love of her life, right?
For same sex couples, why shouldn’t they be allowed to have the same rights and privileges as a heterosexual couple? Why shouldn’t they be allowed to be listed as each other’s legal spouse, to make the important decisions together, to file taxes together, to be put on each other’s health insurance – as a spouse? Yes, many committed couples will have a "committment ceremony" and declare their love and devotion to each other before family, friends, and in some cases, God. So why shouldn’t they be allowed to declare it to the state of Virginia?
The biggest arguement I’ve gotten for this is that "God doesn’t approve. He states that homosexuality is a sin. God states that marriage is a union between a man and a woman." When did God become political? (Okay, scratch that… He’s always been a political hotbed.) While I wasn’t raised in a completely religious, right-wing household, I was always taught that God (and Jesus) loved everyone. Even sinners.
What’s next, Virginia? Are we going to crack down on those cohabitation laws that are still on the books from, literally, centuries ago? Are we going to reintroduce the miscegenation laws that were finally struck from the books in the 1960s (and that had been on the books since the Revolution)? Are we going to take even more steps backwards instead of forward? When will we learn?