The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

West Virginia Legislature: Should the people be allowed to define marriage?

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“It is no longer debatable that there exists a coordinated, nationwide effort to redefine marriage.” These words were part of the testimony given by president and general counsel of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia, Jeremy Dys. (Click here to download the entire testimony)

This testimony was part of a two-hour legislative hearing by a special study committee to research the implications of whether or not to proceed with a statewide ballot measure to allow the people of West Virginia to vote on the permanent definition of marriage between one man and one woman. Among those testifying were representatives from the ACLU and Fairness West Virginia, both in opposition to such a measure, and the Family Policy Council and Alliance Defense Fund, speaking in support of the people’s right to vote.

The opposition argued that since West Virginia has a DOMA law that a constitutional amendment is “unnecessary” and “redundant,” according to Seth DiStefano of the ACLUWV. But obviously Mr. DiStefano has not been paying attention to other states as activist judges and courts have single handedly struck down those DOMA laws and, without any input from its citizens, legalized same-sex marriage. It is quite obvious to any astute observer that DOMA laws are not safe without constitutional amendments.

Further arguments were made that since no dispute over the definition of marriage in West Virginia has occurred to date, that there is not urgency in a marriage amendment. But those remarks were rebuffed by ADF senior counsel Jordan Lorence,

“Taking no preventative measures because disputes over the definition of marriage have not occurred in West Virginia is ‘like saying we don’t need a swine flu vaccination because we don’t have an epidemic. You don’t wait until the controversy is on you before you start dealing with (it), when you see a problem elsewhere; prevention is always a wise course of action.’”

Later in the hearing, when committee members asked Dys about the idea of allowing civil unions, he simply pointed to the precedent of other states on the issue.

“Dys said those in favor of same-sex marriage are not satisfied with the ‘everything but name only approach.’ [He] added that legislatures in Vermont and New Hampshire had taken such approaches. ‘People there were not satisfied with that, they wanted to go one step further and so they advocated for same-sex marriage, and Vermont, New Hampshire have now legislatively redefined marriage without the input of citizens.’” (Charleston Daily Mail)

The truth is that proponents of same-sex marriage will by any means necessary keep voters out of the decision making process on this issue because they know that the majority of voters in nearly every state support the traditional definition of marriage; were these not true groups such as the ACLU and Fairness WV would support the people’s right to vote. The only reason not to support the people’s right to vote is when you know that such a vote will not go in your favor. And traditional marriage advocates know that if the people are given the opportunity to vote that traditional marriage will be sealed for good.

“Advocates of same-sex “marriage” know they cannot win at the ballot box, and so they deploy a variety of strategies designed to take the question of marriage out of the hands of the people,” Dys said in a recent article for the FPCWV’s blog Engage

But thanks to Dys and the FPCWV, along with support from the ADF, the voices of 94% of West Virginians that believe it is their job and not judges or the courts to define marriage in their state were heard. And our message will continue to be:

“The Constitution of the State of West Virginia belongs to its people.  There being no legitimate reason to preclude West Virginians from voting on it, we urge the Legislature to protect every West Virginian’s right to vote on whether the legal definition of marriage ought to be between one man and one woman.”

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One Response

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  1. For those who think we in the LGBTQ community should call our marriages something else remember it is an issue of “KINSHIP”.
    There are only 3 legal ways to establish Kinship: by Marriage, Blood (birth) or adoption. Until the legal definition of Kinship is changed the only way to acquire the rights and responsibilities for same-sex couples is through Marriage.

    Brock Neeley

    August 5, 2009 at 5:06 pm


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