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 News-Press. 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, +1-703-532-3267.
SOURCE Falls Church News-Press