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MarriageAmendment Fears Dismissed

Attorney General Bob McDonnell (R) issued a formal opinion on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage Thursday, writing that the measure will not affect current legal rights of unmarried people.

"The intent of the amendment is clear," McDonnell said in a statement. "The first sentence defines marriage as solely the union between one man and one woman. The second and third sentences collectively prevent attempts to establish same-sex marriage, or similar relationships that create marriage-like unions by any other name."

Opponents of the proposed amendment say that its vague wording would extend to all unmarried people, putting at risk contracts, wills, medical directives, shared equity agreements, employer insurance policies and protection under domestic violence laws.

The amendment's opponents, led by the Commonwealth Coalition, have produced more than 125 attorneys and legal experts who are concerned about the measure's "significant and largely unpredictable legal consequences." Included among those legal scholars are former attorneys general Stephen D. Rosenthal and Anthony F. Troy.

McDonnell's opinion was requested by Republican lawmakers, including Northern Virginia delegates David Albo (42) and Robert Marshall (13).

Voters across Virginia will be asked to consider the proposed amendment Nov. 7. To read the text of the question, go to www.loudoun.gov/government/election.htm.