West Virginia
West Virginia

July 26, 2007

‘Marriage’ Definition Withheld from Citizens

With the West Virginia legislature closed, it’s time to review notable bills.

Two measures were introduced that would have given the people of West Virginia the power to define “marriage.” The resolutions would have put a constitutional amendment defining “marriage” on the November ballot. Without this protection, judges have essentially unrestricted power to define it any way that suits them.

The legislature refused to let the people decide. Both resolutions died in committee, and the legislative session came to an end with the citizens still vulnerable to the whims of a capricious judiciary.

A bill that would have pushed West Virginia toward statewide taxpayer-financed schools for 4-year-olds passed the Senate, but died in the House. For decades, tax revenue has been spent on a variety of government programs aimed at getting 4-year-olds away from parents and into institutions. The nation’s chief financial watchdog, the Government Accounting Office, has repeatedly pointed out that these programs are a waste of educational money, because the academic benefits disappear after a few years of school. But this has not stopped the teachers’ unions from vigorously pushing these bills, in an effort to boost the size of their clientele.

Legislatures get swept up in fads like others do. The big legislative fad all across the nation this year was trying to mandate that teenage girls receive vaccinations for human papillomavirus (HPV). It started with tremendous momentum, but before the bills could become law in West Virginia and most other states, troubling questions were raised about the vaccine's efficacy in preventing cancer—the supposed benefit which justified the very expensive vaccine. The West Virginia bill failed to become law—but so did a bill that would have given West Virginians a right to object to immunizations on religious grounds, a right already enjoyed in nearly every other state.

Two bills raising the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18 were introduced. Legislators were promptly made aware that homeschoolers opposed these, and they died in committee.

Thank you for responding when HSLDA asked for phone calls during the legislative session. Your willingness to stand up for what is right is tremendously helpful in protecting freedom.