Monday, January 23, 2006

GOP Legislators Lead, Propose Constitutional Amendments to Protect Private Property Rights, Definition of Marriage

this is an audio post - click to play

Republican legislators have taken the lead in introducing a pair of proposed amendments to the state constitution to protect private property from eminent domain abuse and protect the definition of marriage from radical activist judges like those on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court who seek to mandate same-sex marriage by judicial fiat.

Senate Joint Resolution 8, introduced by Senator John Yoder, R-Jefferson, and cosponsored by 21 other senators, would prohibit the taking of private property for private use and require property owners, in cases in which property is taken for a legitimate public use, to be more fully compensated for their loss.

Although 22 senators are sponsoring SJR 8, its passage is by no means guaranteed. The only member of the Senate Democratic leadership to cosponsor this resolution is Senate Majority Leader Truman Chafin, D-Mingo. There is quiet opposition--almost entirely from people who would never make their position on this issue public--to this measure from certain members of the "economic development" elite in this state whose belief in centralized state economic planning rather than the free market and capitalism have made West Virginia dead last. Your senators and delegates need to know you support stronger constitutional protections of your property rights.

House Joint Resolution 102, sponsored by Delegate Cindy Frich, R-Monongalia, would amend the state constitution to protect the traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman and prevent the state from creating any counterfeit marriage equivalents such as Vermont's civil unions. Cosponsoring HJR 102 are Delegates Bill Anderson (R-Wood), Sam Argento (D-Nicholas), Craig Blair (R-Berkeley), Larry Border (R-Wood), Jeff Eldridge (D-Lincoln), Eustace Frederick (D-Mercer), Patrick Lane (R-Kanawha), Mike Porter (R-Mercer), Debbie Stevens (R-Tucker), and Jeff Tansill (R-Taylor); other delegates may be added as cosponsors later today.

According to the Heritage Foundation, 19 states (including Kentucky and Ohio) have adopted similar constitutional provisions, 4 others already have proposed amendments appearing on the 2006 ballot, and at least 5 other states (including Virginia) are likely to follow suit. Every state that has held a referendum on a marriage amendment has approved protecting the definition of marriage by a wide margin, ranging from 58% support in Oregon to 86% in Mississippi.

Any proposal to amend the state constitution must receive a 2/3 vote of both houses of the Legislature (23 senators and 67 delegates) and is then submitted to the voters at the next general election. Most proposed amendments must travel through multiple committees in both houses of the Legislature before receiving a floor vote.