Blogging the Amendment

Offering a Forum to Discuss the Pros and Cons of the Marshall/Newman Amendment

Vote NO Rally at GMU Draws Crowd of 650!

Laura Robertson, NOVA Field Organizer for The Comonwealth Coalition filed this report on the October 5th Rally at GMU that drew a crowd counted as numbering around 650: 

Thursday, Virginians came together at George Mason University in opposition to ballot question #1, an amendment to the Virginia Bill of Rights which would, among other things, deny legal rights to all unmarried couples.   The program inspired and motivated people who are working against the amendment, and began with an interfaith vigil with leaders like David Ensign, the pastor at Clarendon Presbyterian Church, Rabbi Berner of Congregation Kol Ami, and Kharma Amos, the pastor at the Metropolitan Community Church of Northern Virginia. 

Roger Wilkins, a George Mason University Professor and leader in the American Civil Rights Movement discussed how discriminatory Ballot Question #1 is, and reminded all of those people working against this amendment that our efforts we were joined by the spirit of Martin Luther King and other leaders of his day.  

Paula Prettyman, the President of Equality Fairfax discussed how we must work together against this amendment, stating, “We can make history by being the first state to reject one of these mean-spirited initiatives…There is such broad opposition to the Virginia amendment because every unmarried couple, gay and straight, young and old, would be affected – but we also know that gay and lesbian families are the ones with a target on our back, and we are the ones who must lead this fight.”   

Also speaking about the broad consequences of this amendment were Connie Kirkland, the Sexual Assault Services Director at GMU, Jay Fisette of the Arlington County Board and Doug Koelemay, the managing director at Quorvis Communications and member of the Commonwealth Coalition’s advisory board. 

This rally was put together by “Vote No, GMU”, which is a group created to educate George Mason students and the surrounding community about the true meaning of the amendment for ALL unmarried Virginians, and to point out the discriminatory nature upon which the amendment is based. 

“We are finding consistently that when people read the full text of the amendment, they are not comfortable with adding it to our Bill of Rights,” said Erin Neff of Vote No, GMU, a student group that has performed voter education work in partnership with The Commonwealth Coalition.  “We have to get the message out to voters to read the whole thing, and we need to convince our supporters that we can and will win in November. This rally is a part of our efforts to do both of those things,” Neff added.

Update:  Pictures of the rally here.


October 6, 2006 - Posted by | discrimination, domestic violence, politics of marriage, unintended consequences

1 Comment »

  1. I actually was able to catch some of the rally on my way to class. Although I didn’t catch enough of the speakers (I only heard two) to give a fair interpretation of what they had to say, I thought it was a very good sign that the Vote NO crowd has a significant amount of people wearing stickers and actually sticking around to hear what the speakers had to say. On the other hand, the amendment’s supporters didn’t have much of a turnout at all.

    When I got to my class many of the people knew that I was involved in Virginia’s political scene so they were asking me what the rally was about and wanted info on the amendment. After I explained the Marshall Newman amendment several of them expressed their disguist even before I gave my personal interpretation.

    Furthermore, after I discussed the topic a little further it appeared as though there wasn’t a person in the room who wanted the amendment passed. The few people that were extremely anti-gay marriage even stated that they had already heard about the amendment and were planning on voting no.

    Comment by Bryan J. Scrafford | October 12, 2006 | Reply

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