Saturday, February 27, 2010

Proposed Amendment Banning Gay Marriage Dies in WV Senate

Mannix Porterfield reports for the Register-Herald that "the door is closed" for efforts to place a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in West Virginia on the ballot this November.

Republicans in the House of Delegates tried unsuccessfully to force a vote on the issue earlier this week, but their procedural motion was defeated before the issue reached the floor. On Thursday, supporters of the amendment held a rally at the Capitol in an effort to urge State Senators to adopt the Joint Resolution.

However, after discussing the issue in Democrtic Caucuses, Sen. Jeffrey Kessler, Chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee, stated he does not plan to put the bill on his committee's busy agenda prior to the deadline next Wednesday for bills to pass from their House of origin.

Kessler noted that West Virginia already has a DOMA law defining marriage as between a man and a woman and questioned the urgency of the issue in light of more pressing issues such as unemployment and the economy.

As the Register-Herald reports:
“There doesn’t seem to be any march to the courthouse by any gay couples to try to get married in this state,” Kessler said afterward.

“It doesn’t seem to be a problem. It appears to be more of a manufactured problem or crisis than it is to be one of actuality.”

Kessler said he is yet to see anyone turned down at the courthouse seeking a marriage license, or even any homosexuals asking for one.

“I just don’t see it being worthy of the limited time we have left to fight that battle,”

Kessler also commented, “I’ve always been very skeptical of making discriminatory behavior constitutional,” Kessler said. “The Constitution, as I view it, protects the rights of the minority.(emphasis added)
Congratulations to Senator Kessler and other members of the Legislature for having the courage to stand up against discrimination and focus the Legislature on more important issues affecting the lives of West Virginians.

-- Cross posted at WVaBlue.com.

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