LETTER- Defeat the 'Marriage Amendment'

I would like to thank Bass Mitchell for his June 16 essay, "Thanks but... Anti-gay sermon offer falls on deaf ears" As a relatively new Episcopalian and Christian, I have been very saddened to be targeted for discrimination by the Virginian government and some churches.

I've been talking to people in different churches, and I have learned that most congregations do not fully understand the Virginia Constitution "Marriage Amendment." My partner of 14 years, Chris Zitnay, and I are in medical practice together, own property 

together, and have our investments together. I believe we have contributed much to the community. 

Already, HB751 prohibits us from having durable medical power for one another (meaning if I were 

intubated in the hospital, Chris would not legally be allowed to make decisions for me– instead, my distant blood relatives would). 

If the "Marriage Amendment" passes this Fall, we will probably have to move because all our business and financial agreements together can be perceived as a contractual agreement that married people can have.

I have already seen many gay and lesbian doctors, lawyers, professors, researchers, teachers, patients and friends leave Virginia because of HB 751. I'm afraid if this "Marriage Amendment" passes, there will be a huge exodus of gays, lesbians, and transgenders– which I think Amendment supporters want to see. 

I do hope these people realize that they have friends and family members, and know doctors, lawyers, and other people who are gay and will be discriminated against by their votes.

For those who consider marriage to be holy: let the church decide this, not the government. There is separation between church and state. Also, with the divorce rate up to 60 percent, people marrying each other on TV reality shows, and adultery as high as 50 percent, we should instead work on these issues to keep marriage strong and moral.

John Hong, MD

Hong writes the weekly "Dr. Hook" column in these pages.