Virginia’s Constitution is really a work to behold. Its priorities are evident from the moment you start reading it – the first article is entitled Bill of Rights, and the very first section reads:
“That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”
That was written 230 years ago, before the colonies had even declared independence, nevermind adopted the U.S. Constitution. Its ideas – of liberty, independence, and equality – served as a model for many. And now those ideas are under direct attack in Virginia.
Vivian Page brings us the highlights the Virginian Pilots’ editorial against the proposed amendment that Virginia voters will be facing on November 7th:
Parse them anyway you like, but those 87 words [of the amendment] seek no less than to undo what Mason wrought in Virginia’s first days, sentiments that have stood the test of 230 years.
The mere possibility that such gracelessness might find its way into Virginia’s high-minded Bill of Rights – among protections for religious liberties, assembly and free elections – is insult enough to the commonwealth’s founding sentiments.
But the marriage amendment’s intent – to deprive unmarried people of basic legal rights otherwise guaranteed by Virginia’s constitution and by common law – makes a mockery of Mason’s hope of protecting the inherent rights of all men to be equally free and independent.