Thursday, March 26, 2009

Let The People Vote!

The West Virginia Legislative session is quickly coming to a close, and two Delegates in the House are stonewalling a grass roots movement to define marriage in the Mountain State as a union between one man and one woman.

Legislation has been introduced to allow a proposed constitutional amendment to come before the voters of West Virginia which would prohibit so called "same sex marriage". (For details, click on While he says he does not support same sex marriage, Governor Joe Manchin has refused to lend his support to the proposed marriage amendment. The Governor and some others in the state legislature say that West Virginia already has a "Defense of Marriage Act" that defines marriage in the Mountain State.

This is true. However, other states with similar DOMA's have had their respective laws overturned by liberal activist judges. In fact, the federal DOMA is presently being tested in the court systems, and it is entirely possible that the DOMA could be declared "unconstitutional".

The only action that could insure this would not happen in West Virginia would be if the voters of the Mountain State passed an amendment to the state constitution, defining marriage once and for all. Being part of the state constitution would render it impossible to be deemed unconstitutional. Unfortunately the voters of West Virginia do not have the advantage that the citizens of California have when it comes to this type of referendum. In California, as I'm sure you are aware, a million and a half voters filed a petition to allow for a constitutional amendment to be put before the voters. Proposition 8, thought by many to have no chance of ratification, passed easily when put to the voters. Recent polls show that West Virginians would vote by nearly 90% to affirm the traditional view of marriage, if they were given the opportunity.

However, it looks as though that is not going to happen.

You see, West Virginia laws do not allow for a petition drive to call for a constitutional amendment. The action would have to start in the House of Delegates, and then be placed on the ballot for the voters to make that choice. Voters in 30 other states (including neighboring Kentucky and Ohio) have already passed similar constitutional amendments. The citizens of West Virginia are supportive of traditional marriage, and many are calling for the opportunity to have their voices heard. There are Delegates in the House (both Republican and Democrat) who support the measure, but two powerful committee chairwomen have blocked the bill from going to the full House floor for a vote. These two Delegates, from Kanawha and Monongalia Counties, are preventing the citizens of West Virginia from being able to voice their opinions in the voting booth.

As of March 20th more than 1,000 phone calls have been placed to Delegates Barbara Flesichauer and Carrie Webster, but the powerful Judiciary and Constitutional Committee chairwomen have continued to stonewall all attempts to allow the 1.8 million voters in West Virginia to have their say in the matter. Yesterday, two town meetings were held - one in Charleston, and the other in Morgantown, to give citizens a chance to voice their opinions to their elected representatives. The citizens showed up, the press was there, but Delegates Flesichauer and Webster didn't bother to come.

Delegate Webster, was quoted in the Charleston Gazette as saying the calls coming into her office were attempts at "manipulation". Since when is an elected representative above listening to the concerns of their constituents? When did contacting your representative become an attempt to manipulate? I always thought that was the very basis of our republican form of government.

This writer thinks it unconscionable that elected representatives of the people turn a deaf ear to their constituents on such an important matter. They are not asking the legislature to take this action - but simply allow the people to have their say. This is not a "religious" issue! This is a cultural matter. Traditional marriage between one man and one woman is a bedrock of western civilization. Judicial activists in Massachusetts and Connecticut have stepped in and have ruled same sex marriage legal in those states. The same thing happened in California, until the people rose up and said "NO!" by passing Proposition 8 and amending their state constitution. Today, the legislature of Vermont became the first in the United States to legislatively allow same sex marriage. One lawsuit filed against West Virginia's Defense of Marriage Act, could result in the end of traditional marriage in the Mountain State as well, plus cost the citizens millions in court costs defending our existing laws.

President Lincoln famously described our government as being "of the people, by the people and for the people". So it should be. Let the people decide. Let the people vote!

I encourage the voters in the districts represented by these two women to let their voices be heard! If they won't heed your phone calls and letters, then speak up in the press!

Letters to the editors of the Charleston Gazette, Charleston Daily Mail, and The Dominion Post in Morgantown may be submitted by email to the following addresses:

Send the letter today! Express your support for the right of West Virginia's voters to vote on the definition of marriage. And above all, pray that Almighty God will break the hard hearts of the two individuals who are refusing to allow the people to speak!

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