You’d think that Virginia, having only 30 years ago fought all the way to the Supreme Court to defend its ban on inter-racial marriage, would have learned a lesson or two about bigotry since then. You’d be wrong. The state just enacted a law that bans gay people from entering any private contractual arrangement that provides any benefit even vaguely smelling of marriage. What does that mean? Gay couples’ wills are now invalid – no more inheritance. Any legal documents they sign about taking custody of each other’s children should one parent die, gone. And if one partner lies dying in a Virginia hospital bed, too bad – the other partner can sit home and watch TV. Virginia will not recognize any agreements the parties have to arrange for each other’s affairs during a health crisis, e.g., make last-minute life-and-death medical decisions (including whether to pull the plug). My read of the legislation (the actual text is below) is that it could even prohibit employers from giving health and domestic partner benefits to their own gay employees.
It amazes me why anyone chooses to live or work in a state that has such an august record of bigotry and intolerance. This is the state that only five years ago took Sharon Bottoms’ child away from her, and gave custody instead to Sharon’s mother, simply because Sharon was a lesbian. Yes, the state of Virginia said she was an unfit mother simply because she’s gay, and THEY TOOK HER KID AWAY. This is what George Bush’s constitutional amendment debate has led to. States jumping over each other to see which can be more bigoted towards its gay citizens, all in the name of preserving marriage just like our president wants.
“A civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage is prohibited. Any such civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement entered into by persons of the same sex in another state or jurisdiction shall be void in all respects in Virginia and any contractual rights created thereby shall be void and unenforceable.”” – Washington Blade