AAUW Opposes Ballot Question #1 — Cites Unpredictable and Unknown Effects of the Amendment
TO BRANCH PRESIDENTS, AAUW of
Rebecca Bronson, VP for State Public Policy, asked that the message below be distributed as widely as possible. It concerns the forthcoming vote on the Marriage Amendment by the State of
PLEASE DISTRIBUTE WIDELY TO YOUR BRANCHES It seems that there may be some confusion over AAUW of Virginia’s position on the upcoming Marriage Amendment proposed for the state constitution and on the ballot next month. I know there are strong feelings against this measure and we voted as a state board in July to oppose it, but not to join the Commonwealth Coalition, one of the groups in the forefront opposing the amendment. Why? you may ask. Your state board recognized that once we sign on to a coalition, we may not always control the message that coalition puts out. Since Association does not take a position on gay marriage, we felt it best to decline to join this particular coalition so we could better control the message that AAUW of Virginia puts out.AAUW does not take a position on gay marriage, either pro or con. However, the AAUW State Board voted to oppose this amendment based on its vague wording and potentially broad implications. “Unmarried individuals” can mean anyone: a brother and sister, two sisters, cousins, a parent and child, best friends or business partners. “Partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage” can cover a lot of ground: married people own property together. Does this then mean that two sisters or a brother and sister or a parent and child could not own property? Who knows; the courts will have to decide. Married people raise children. Does this mean that unmarried people will be unable to designate care for their child in the event of their own incapaciation? Again, the courts will have to decide. What about unmarried persons who need protection from domestic abuse? Will this new wrinkle in the state constitution still permit such protection? Again, the courts will have to decide.
The lucky thing is, we get to decide first.See you at the polls on November. 7.
Vice President for State Public Policy
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