Election Tomorrow: Know the Amendments

Y’all know there’s an election tomorrow, y’all know you’re picking sides in the U.S. Senate race, between Republican George Allen and Democrat Jim Webb. But don’t forget that there are three proposed amendments to the state constitution.

Amendment 1 has gotten lots of attention — that’s the proposal to prevent two people (of any sex) from forming a contract that provides any of the privileges of marriage. Its advocates say that it would bar gay marriage, although it’s already illegal. Its opponents (including me) say that it’s a terribly-written bill that’s way too far-reaching, and will create huge hassles for folks like you and me who are looking to start a business, buy real estate, create a living will, or engage any many other routine legal transactions.

Amendment 2 would permit churches to incorporate. Currently the state constitution bars church incorporation, but the courts have ruled that unconstitutional. The goal is to make the constitution (code law) match the courts’ interpretation of it (case law). If anybody objects to this, I don’t know who they are.

Amendment 3 would allow localities to partially exempt real estate value from taxation for the purpose of rehabilitation or conservation. The amendment itself would do nothing — it would only give localities the power to provide tax breaks to encourage development if they decided to do so. Again, if anybody objects to this, I don’t know who they are.

Bob Gibson explains these in more detail in today’s Progress.