April 30th, 2004


(no subject)


"Marriage Affirmation Act."

The Bill:


The Justification:

Virginia just passed the "Marriage Affirmation Act." Not only does it ban
gay marriage or civil union, and ban recognizing gay marriages or civil
unions performed in other states, but it bans any "partnership contract or
other arrangements that purport to provide the benefits of marriage."

What benefits are those? Probably means the following, according to the
lawyers looking at the bill:

Powers of attorney. Custody arrangements. Health insurance coverage for
same-sex domestic partners. Joint ownership of property. And--most
sickeningly--wills leaving property to a same-sex partner.

It means that starting July 1, when this bill goes into effect, anyone who
dies with a will that leaves their property to their same-sex partner can
be treated as if they died without a will. Their property goes to their
blood relatives. Don't have any? Sorry, your property's forfeit to the
state of Virginia.

The last time we had laws about who you could leave property to in a will,
those laws were to forbid people from leaving property to slaves.

Anyone living in Virginia with a child they've adopted in a second-parent
adoption? Sorry, you're a legal stranger to your kid in Virginia. If your
partner dies, your kid goes to your partner's relatives or becomes a ward
of the state. Have a custody order from another state? Thrown out. Have an
order to pay child support to your ex's biological child? Probably thrown
out too.

Anyone have a power of attorney for your elderly or disabled partner?
Sorry, those decisions have to be made by a "real" relative. Or a
court-appointed guardian, if you don't have one. Get in a wreck on the
Virginia side of the state line, with a health-care power of attorney from
another state authorizing your partner to make medical decisions for you?
It's probably a worthless piece of paper,


and email your representatives. It's easy to do, and it really does make a

If you're an LGBT person living in Virginia, Lambda Legal's Help Desk can
answer the question of what this law means to you personally. They can
also help you find a lawyer in your area if you need one.


This was orignally from an e-mail and a blog before that.