Thursday, March 26, 2009

Does West Virginia need a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions? Comment on similar proposed amendments in other states


This local television station covered a public forum in Morgantown of the West Virginia Family Policy Council. Jeremy Dys, the organization's president and general counsel, engaged public comment on the Council's proposal to amend the state's constitution to ban same-sex marriages. Although the forum appeared to have few participants, the Council is lobbying the state legislature to introduce the proposed amendment. Dys claims that state legislators have already received more than 1000 communications from citizens asking them to act.

The state has a DOMA, and, according to Dys, over 90% of West Virginians oppose same-sex marriages. Nevertheless, he told WDTV that West Virginians need opportunity to preempt the preceived risk of judicial intervention by voting for a constitutional ban. West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin opposes a constitutional amendment until a test case provides what would represent, in his opinion, the need for one.

Source: ADF Alliance Alert

03/24/09 West Virginia MetroNews

On February 11th, several West Virginia House Delegates introduced a resolution to amend the state constitution, so that the constitution would prohibit same-sex marriages and civil unions. Similar amendments have proposed with respect to the state constitutions of Iowa, Delaware and North Carolina.

(In fact, the Delaware Senate Small Business Committee has held hearings today to consider that state's proposed amendment. One of its sponsors - Sen. Robert Venables - characterizes the amendment as allowing the state legislature to enact a civil unions law. But S.B. 27 reads: "A marriage between a man and a woman is the only legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state." So Venable appears to misunderstand or misrepresent the larger scope of the amendment.)

MetroNews hosted a discussion of West Virginia's proposed constitutional amendment. Participants included Stephen Skinner, an attorney and board member of Fairness West Virginia, and Jeremy Dys, president and general counsel of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia. Family Policy Council is supporting the proposed amendment. Although the state legislature enacted a Defense of Marriage Act nine years ago, Dys believes that "[w]e are burying our head[s] in the sand if we think that it's not going to come to West Virginia."

You can hear part of their debate here.

(source of MetroNews reference: ADF Alliance Alert)

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