The gay community made for a colourful group, hard to miss as they marched the near-empty streets of downtown Roanoke, Virginia on Sunday morning.
Armed with bundles of rainbow-coloured balloons and homemade banners — “love makes a family,” and “Virginia is for lovers, some restrictions apply” — Virginia’s gay community chanted, “Vote ‘no,’ Virginia! Vote ‘no,’ Virginia!”
The group of protesters stretched the length of downtown city blocks as they walked, urging anyone within earshot to vote against Virginia’s proposed “gay marriage amendment” on November 7.
The constitutional amendment would reinforce an existing law banning same-sex marriage.
Sunday’s march took place before Roanoke’s annual Pride in the Park event at Elmwood Park.
Before marching, those who believe the amendment should be voted down were urged to unite.
“If they put discrimination into the constitution, it will affect everybody,” Lynn Craven,
who lives in Roanoke with her partner and children, told the Roanoke Times. “We have to be unified as a community.”
Already, 20 states have passed same-sex marriage bans. Virginia and six other states will decide the issue this autumn.
The referendum stops state and local governments from recognising relationships between an unmarried couple “that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effects of marriage.”
While opponents to the ban worry it will affect all unmarried couples Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell said the amendment will not affect contracts, insurance, wills, advance medical directives or shared equity agreements between unmarried individuals.
However Molly McClintock with the Commonwealth Coalition — a group against the amendment — said voters should listen to Mr McDonnell.
She cautioned the attorney general will not be the one making decisions should issues between unmarried couples land in court.
Ms McClintock said the latest Mason-Dixon poll showed 54 percent of Virginia voters support the amendment, down from a previous 56 percent. Through phone-banking, door-to-door information sharing and public events like Sunday’s march, she expressed her hopes to the Roanoke Times that the number drops even more.