Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Legislators in North Carolina, and Family Policy Council of West Virginia, seek constitutional amendments to deny same-sex couples right to marry

North Carolina Update

03/05/09 ADF Alliance Alert: "North Carolina Democrats block [floor] vote on marriage amendment"

West Virginia Update
03/04/09 ADF Alliance Alert: "Federal Lawsuit Threatens West Virginia’s Defense of Marriage Act"

02/24/09 Although North Carolina already has a law denying same-sex couples the right to marry, Republican state legislators have introduced Senate Bill 272, "Defense of Marriage," as they seek to include that restriction in the state Constitution.

"We are sponsoring this legislation because we firmly believe that North Carolina's marriage laws are at risk of being redefined by activist courts to include same-sex couples," Sen. Jim Forrester, R-Gaston, said. "At any moment, a lawsuit challenging our marriage laws could be filed by a same-sex couple from our state that obtained a marriage license in a state where same-sex marriage is legal."

The proposed amendment reads, "Marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State." Ian Palmquist, director of North Carolina Equality, therefore has grounds to claim that the proposed amendment would "actually prevent any sort of recognition, domestic partnership, health benefits through private employers and really, any sort of rights or protection for same sex couples."

02/26/09 Lincoln Journal (Charleston, WV): The Family Policy Council of West Virginia will sponsor a Stand4Marriage Sunday on March 1st. At this rally of churches, the Council hopes to pressure the state's legislature to call a special election, so that voters can consider a "Marriage Protection Amendment" (MPA) to their state constitution. West Virginia already has a "Defense of Marriage Law" that denies same-sex couples the right to marry, and that does not recognize out-of-state marriages of same sex marriages. See this 12/31/08 Alliance Defense Fund memo on why the Council and allies believe that voters should have opportunity to adopt the proposed MPA. ADF alleges that "[t]he Defense of Marriage Act can be abolished by the West Virginia Supreme Court," and that case law in California may lead to that outcome.

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