The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Del. Charles Poindexter
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer
Del. Charles Poindexter (R-Glade Hill) said he is "deeply disappointed" and "angry" over the 4th U.S. Circuit Court's ruling against Virginia's Constitution that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
"This ruling goes against nature, God, and common sense," Poindexter said. "Yet, I am not surprised as 'political correctness' as practiced by the Obama administration, activists judges, the liberal media, most higher education institutions, and progressive social groups has about destroyed the social fabric of our great country."
The federal appeals court ruled Monday that Virginia's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. A panel of three judges -- Paul V. Niemeyer, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, Roger L. Gregory, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton, and Henry F. Floyd, who was appointed by President Barack Obama -- ruled that "state constitutional and statutory provisions barring gay marriage and denying recognition of such unions performed in other states violate the U.S. Constitution." The decision was 2-1 with Niemeyer casting the dissenting vote.
"The decision itself is predicated upon an erroneous basis, as the 14th Amendment was passed soon after the Civil War to ensure the freedom and rights of former slaves," Poindexter said. "It was not a social life, sexual choice, behavioral or lifestyle amendment. Applying the 14th Amendment in this case tosses out the lessons learned from all of mankind's history and, in my opinion, the religious guidance from God as found in the Bible."
The challenge to Virginia's Marriage Amendment, which was approved by 57 percent of Virginia voters in 2006, came from Timothy Bostic and Tony London, a gay couple from Norfolk, who filed a lawsuit in July 2013 when they were denied a marriage license. Soon afterward, Carol Schall and Mary Townley of Chesterfield signed on as plaintiffs, along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia.
The case garnered national attention in January when Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring sided with the plaintiffs and refused to defend the state.
In a statement Monday, Herring said, "Today is yet another victory for the principle of equality that is so central to the American experience, and I am proud that the Commonwealth of Virginia is leading on one of the most important civil rights issues of our day. The Fourth Circuit, the 10th Circuit, and every federal district court that has considered the question since Windsor has reached the same conclusion we did about the Constitutional guarantee of marriage equality."
"But this is about much more than who wins or loses in court," Herring added. "We should never lose sight of the fact that we are fighting for the right of loving, committed couples to enter into the bonds of marriage. These fellow Virginians are asking the commonwealth to convey to them the same rights and responsibilities that every other couple enjoys. They are asking to be treated equally, and if our Constitution guarantees anything, surely it is that."
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe also said he was "overjoyed" with the ruling.
"I am overjoyed by the news that, as a result of today's ruling, Virginia will become a state where two people who love each other can get married regardless of their sexual orientation," McAuliffe said. "This is a historic ruling for our commonwealth, and its effect will affirm once again that Virginia is a state that is open and welcoming to all."
"I want to thank Attorney General Mark Herring for his leadership in this case, and all of the men and women who fought for years to make this day a reality," McAuliffe added. "Progress does not always come as quickly as we hope it will, but today is yet another example of how justice, equality and the people who fight for those values will always persevere in the end."
Poindexter, however, called the decision "radical" and said it "flaunts the laws of God and nature."
"The family unit of a father and mother and children yields the best social fabric for a community or a nation," Poindexter added. "I am absolutely convinced that the break-up of the traditional family structure is the cause of far too many of today's problems, both in Virginia and across America, including poverty, poor personal behavior, lack of personal responsibility, unsatisfactory education achievement, drug abuse, criminal behavior, and so much more."
The ruling will affect other states with similar laws in the 4th District, including West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Maryland, which also lies in the 4th Circuit, has already legalized same-sex marriage.