Falls Church News-Press Reports: Greater Falls Church Chamber of Commerce Goes on Record Against Virginia's Marshall/Newman Amendment

Jun 13, 2006, 01:00 ET from Falls Church News-Press

    FALLS CHURCH, Va., June 13 /PRNewswire/ -- In a landmark development,
 the board of directors of the Greater Falls Church, Virginia, Chamber of
 Commerce voted unanimously to oppose passage of the so-called
 Marshall/Newman Amendment on the ballot in Virginia in November. The
 amendment would place in the Virginia Constitution a ban on gay marriage
 and its benefits.
     Because the amendment language extends beyond same-sex marriage to
 forbid virtually all contracts between unmarried persons "that intend to
 approximate the design, qualities, significance or effects of marriage,"
 the Chamber board's resolution stated, "it would render all business
 partnerships that could be construed or challenged as being organized after
 such a fashion de facto void and punishable by the law, disqualifiable from
 government contract bidding and subject to lawsuits by anyone dealing with
 such a business partnership."
     The board's resolution noted that laws are already on the books in
 Virginia prohibiting marriage and its benefits between two persons of the
 same gender, and because of that declares the amendment "frivolous and its
 appearance on the November ballot and all costs associated with that" as "a
 waste of government resources and taxpayer dollars."
     It was noted that this marked the first action by a Chamber of Commerce
 against the amendment in Virginia, and maybe the nation, in what amendment
 opponents hope will be many more. The board's resolution calls for
 forwarding its contents to the larger, neighboring Fairfax County Chamber
 of Commerce, among other organizations.
     The resolution was initiated, authored and introduced by Nicholas F.
 Benton, long-time Greater Falls Church Chamber of Commerce board member and
 former two-term president who is the owner and editor of the Falls Church
     Present at the board meeting to answer questions about the damaging
 effects on business of the amendment was Leslie A. Nickel of the Arnold and
 Porter Law Firm, representing the Commonwealth Coalition of organizations
 opposed to the amendment.
     Also presented at the meeting was the text of a letter from David
 Snyder, 12-year member of the Falls Church City Council and former
 Republican State Delegate candidate, who stated the proposed amendment "is
 utterly inconsistent with the Virginia Declaration of Rights" that "takes
 away rights from a selected minority when the Declaration of Rights grants
 them to all." He associated the amendment with "the Jim Crow laws that also
 were enacted as popular measures against an unpopular minority."
     CONTACT: Nicholas F. Benton of the Falls Church News-Press,

SOURCE Falls Church News-Press