Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I was going to write...

...about everything that's happened recently in my life, because there's been a lot. But then I read this, and I got annoyed at the close-mindedness and ignorance of many people, and so before I post about my life, I felt instead, I would very briefly get political and post the following essay. The friend that wrote it asked that their name not be attached if it was forwarded, so I'm going to assume the same applies here.

OK, here'’s the thing. As a journalist, I think it'’s pretty important to stay objective, and to not publicly express my political opinions. Also, as a person, I think it is important not to hammer anyone I want to keep as a friend over the head with my deeply-held beliefs, whether religious or political.

But Question 1 is so scary to me, I'’m sending this out --— only to the friends I would normally feel pretty comfortable talking politics with, specifically, those who can vote in Virginia or who are likely to know others who can. I suspect many people who would be scared, too, just don't know that it's coming up. If you decide to pass any of this along, thank you, thank you, but please take my name off it.

Proponents of Question 1 say it is about gay marriage. Gay marriage has been explicitly illegal in Virginia for 30 years, and same-sex civil unions have been illegal since 2004. If you are unsure of how to feel about gay marriage, I understand, and it is not happening in Virginia any time soon. Whether this passes or not, there is no danger (or hope) of that.

Here'’s the text of Question 1:
Question: Shall Article I (the Bill of Rights) of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to state:
"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."?

And here are the implications:
It means that agreements between unmarried couples (gay and straight) that "“approximate"” marriage are unenforceable, including:
  • end of life decisions
  • medical decisions
  • guardianship of children
  • ownership and transfer of property
  • It means public employers would not be able to offer any health or life insurance benefits to unmarried partners (gay or straight).
  • It means unmarried partners would be unprotected from domestic violence.
OK, I think that'’s probably enough. I should probably come down off my soap box. There'’s a lot more really good information at www.votenova.org, and you can seekout that info if you choose to. There's more at www.tokeepussafe.org, including an excellent checklist of reasons to vote "no" if you click on the "Why Does This Matter" tab.

Really, I just want people to know what that question represents. And, you know, if you talk about it with the people you feel comfortable with, and they talk about it with people they feel comfortable with, yadda yadda yadda.
I think my friend summed it up pretty well. I was reminded by another column I read a few years back on the broader national debate. It makes the points eloquentlyloquently than I ever could, but essentially, you can't grant a right to some of your citizens and not others.

I'm not under the delusion that this blog is read by enough people for this entry to make a difference, but on the other hand, I know a lot of my readers come from Northern VA (the stat's tell me that much). So, who knows, maybe I can help people make us a little less backwards thinking. Can't hurt to try...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And this just in.
My favorite line from that story:
"Under federal law, pensions can be denied only to lawmakers' same-sex partners and people convicted of espionage or treason, Graves said."