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Governor Kaine Becomes 200th Lawyer to Join Legal Review Committee; Governor Holton and First Lady Anne Holton Also Sign On

Governor Timothy M. Kaine today became the 200th lawyer in Virginia to sign the statement of the Virginia Legal Review Committee, which expresses concern about the significant and largely unpredictable legal consequences of the amendment to the Virginia constitution proposed in Ballot Question #1. Governor Kaine’s wife, First Lady Anne Holton, and father-in-law, former Republican Governor Linwood Holton, also signed the statement.

Governor Kaine made his announcement standing in front of the Executive Mansion with his wife and in-laws.

Representing a combined 75 years of marriage, Governors Kaine and Holton and the two Holton First Ladies also announced today that they will be voting NO on Ballot Question #1 on November 7th.

Governor Kaine reaffirmed his strong personal belief in marriage between one man and one woman. “Virginia law on that point is well-settled and is not challenged by the proposed amendment,” Governor Kaine said. “But the vague language of the amendment could upend this well-settled law.”

The Governor reviewed the range of potential unintended consequences presented by the proposed amendment, including the denial of domestic violence and family court protection to unmarried victims of family abuse, and the threat to the validity of private agreements between any unmarried individuals.

Speaking from her perspective as a former judge, First Lady Anne Holton, characterized the proposed amendment as a “legal morass.” “Defense lawyers will be obligated to represent their clients by using every loophole in the language of the amendment,” the First Lady said. “There are lots of loopholes in the proposed amendment for them to use to try to overturn a conviction.”

Governor Holton described the Bill of Rights in the Virginia Constitution, which Ballot Question #1 would amend, as a “sacred document” that “must be protected.” “The Bill of Rights has never in Virginia’s 200 year history been amended to take rights away,” Governor Holton said. “I urge voters to vote No on this effort to do so.”

Former First Lady “Jinks” Holton spoke as the non-lawyer in the family. “I’m not a lawyer,” she said, “but I know that when hundreds of lawyers are already fighting over what the language means, we shouldn’t be voting to put it in the constitution.”

The Virginia Legal Review Committee is made up of lawyers and legal scholars who have signed a statement expressing concern about the “significant and largely unpredictable legal consequences” of Ballot Question #1, the proposed amendment to the Virginia Bill of Rights that will be before the voters on November 7th.

Among the 200 attorneys and legal scholars, who have given permission for their names to be included on a growing list of those concerned about the legal consequences of the so-called marriage amendment, are former Attorneys General Stephen D. Rosenthal, Mary Sue Terry and Anthony F. Troy, former Republican candidate for Attorney General and Governor Wyatt B. Durette and former Republican Congressman M. Caldwell Butler.

Also included are former Chair of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and Virginia Secretary of Education during the Wilder Administration, The Honorable James W. Dyke and former Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade, The Honorable Michael J. Schewel.

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October 24, 2006 - Posted by | unintended consequences

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