When Bob McDonnell championed Virginia’s largest-ever tax hike as his signature achievement, a lot of us on the conservative side thought there couldn’t possibly be any worse way for McDonnell to seal the memory of his administration. Today, he attempts to eclipse that outrageous betrayal of the principles he claimed he held by disregarding the state Constitution and extending benefits to same-sex “married” persons. One wonders at this point whether there’s any previously “deeply held” convictions remaining in Bob McDonnell that haven’t been casually discarded for one reason or another.
Voters in 2006 approved a constitutional amendment that added the following language to our state constitution:
That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions. This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage.
Nowhere in that language is the Governor empowered to unilaterally alter the state tax code or change regulations in the Department of Taxation to provide benefits to same-sex couples similar to what married persons enjoy. For someone who is supposedly an attorney, how that escapes Bob McDonnell is beyond any rabid speculation. The law doesn’t allow this in any way, and actually forbids it, but McDonnell decided to do it anyways.
Whether this amendment should or should not have passed or otherwise been enacted isn’t the point. There is either a law that constrains the actions of government officials, or it is nothing but a meaningless subterfuge and we are ruled by kings and tyrants who will do whatever they please. If you don’t like the law, work to change it. Until that happens what the law says is the law we follow.
Governor McDonnell, you are astoundingly, unbelievably wrong on this.
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