On July 14, 2009, the West Virginia Legislature held a public hearing on whether or not the people of West Virginia should be given the opportunity to vote on the definition of marriage.
The West Virginia Family Foundation (WVFF) was not invited to provide live testimony to the weak joint resolution, in favor of allowing the people to vote on defining marriage as only between “one man and one woman”, despite the fact that WVFF initiated and lead this special project back on January 30, 2006. (HJR-106) Our resolution’s language was stronger and prevented counterfeit marriages.
WVFF was sidelined from providing testimony because the weak Marriage Protection Amendment would prohibit “civil unions” and “domestic partner benefits”, which would legally afford homosexuals all the benefits provided to married couples, just under different names.
During the 2008 legislative session, we were informed by a senator that there was opposition from his colleagues in the WV Senate to the Marriage Protection Amendment for this very reason. The senator stated consideration would be given to a constitutional amendment if the language did not prohibit “civil unions” and “domestic partner benefits”.
Ironically, on February 22, 2010, a watered down ‘homosexual civil unions amendment’ was introduced in the WV Senate, (SJR-14), but fortunately too late for passage in the session. If passage of this amendment language by the WV Legislature ever occurs, it will meet the senator’s stated requirements but of a certainty be to the detriment of the families of West Virginia!
Although WVFF was not permitted to provide live testimony, Chairman Ray Lambert attended, unannounced, the public hearing and requested to be permitted to read a prepared statement by President Kevin McCoy, who was unable to attend the hearing. The letter stating the urgent need for legislators to afford West Virginians the opportunity to vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment was requested and accepted into the official record.