Wednesday, July 8, 2009

West Virginia to Review Marriage Equality Ban

The is reporting that West Virginia state lawmakers are planning a public hearing to discuss whether or not the state should amend its constitution to limit marriage between a man and a woman.

Why even consider passing an amendment when the state already has its own Defense of Marriage Act banning marriage equality? Because opponents, such as Family Policy Center and Alliance Defense Fund claim that the law could be thrown out if challenged, and they point to Iowa as an example. If there's an amendment, like Prop 8, then any court challenge to the ban has very little chance.

"We're thankful that the Legislature is setting aside time to carefully study this issue," said Family Policy Council President Jeremiah Dys whose organization plans on appearing at the hearing as a proponent to an amendment. "To my knowledge, this is the first time the West Virginia Legislature has ever officially discussed the Marriage Protection Amendment."

Dys and a representative of the Alliance Defense Fund -- a conservative organization that says it seeks to "aggressively defend religious liberty" -- will speak in favor of the amendment.

Fairness West Virginia board President Stephen Skinner and a representative of the ACLU of West Virginia will speak against a constitutional amendment.

"I think it's important to get out there and have some of these conversations in a public way," Skinner said. "Lesbian and gay people are not threatening quote-unquote traditional marriage."

"We shouldn't be wasting our money trying to ban something in West Virginia that's already banned under statute," Skinner said.

In March, Republicans in the House of Delegates tried to force a floor vote on a bipartisan resolution calling for a statewide referendum to define marriage. Democrats blocked their attempts.

Legislators later voted to have an interim committee study the amendment issue. Now a meeting has been set for 11 a.m. July 14 in the Senate Judiciary Committee room.

ACTION: If you live in West Virginia, go to the public hearing and tell them you do not support a marriage equality ban.

DATE: July 14
TIME: 11am
WHERE: Senate Judiciary Committee room (Location: 208 West)
State Capitol Complex
Charleston, WV 25305

CONTACT the judiciary committee and tell them not to support the amendment!

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