01 March 2010

Legislature 2010: Wedge Issues

While attempts by House Republicans to highlight or advance measures targeting gay marriage and abortion (among other issues) foundered last week, the Senate saw action on those fronts.

As The Associated Press noted earlier, a leading proponent of a constitutional amendment defining marriage opposed its inclusion by GOP delegates in their discharge motion gambit.

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia has instead touted a resolution co-sponsored by nearly half the 34-member Senate. It also held a rally outside the Capitol last week that drew around 150. AP had coverage, as did The Charleston Gazette and MetroNews, while the group also posted a press release.

Following the rally, the council delivered petitions to lawmakers they said had been signed by thousands of voters, The Register-Herald reports. But Senate Judiciary Chairman Jeffrey Kessler told the Beckley newspaper that "in Democratic caucuses...the general sentiment has been to let the matter drop."

The Marshall County Democrat said "he isn’t going to bother with it, given the crush of major issues left in the final two weeks of the session and the absence of a floodtide of homosexuals seeking marriage permits in West Virginia," that article said.

The Register-Herald also reports separately that Kessler's committee has advanced a bill he's sponsored "compelling an ultrasound image of the unborn child be shown to a woman who is contemplating an abortion at least an hour before the operation."

The Gazette also reports on the bill, describing it as "a measure to require health-care providers to tell a woman she can look at an ultrasound image of the fetus at least one hour before an abortion."

AP earlier previewed the bill, which is headed toward a vote by the full Senate.

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