Bills to Remove Same-sex Marriage Ban in VA Introduced in House and Senate
Two identical bills have been introduced in the VA House and Senate aiming to remove the 2006 constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in Virginia.
Proposes the repeal of the constitutional amendment dealing with marriage that was approved by referendum at the November 2006 election. That amendment to the Bill of Rights (i) defines marriage as “only a union between one man and one woman”; (ii) prohibits the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions from creating or recognizing “a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage”; and (iii) prohibits the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions from creating or recognizing “another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage.”
Virginia’s Marshall-Newman amendment won by popular vote in the 2006 election by 57 percent, however July Quinnipiac University polls showed 50 percent of Virginians supporting same-sex marriage and 43 percent against it.
Repealing a constitutional amendment in Virginia is no easy task – a bill must past the house and senate over two sessions (two years) and then go before a popular vote before the change is made.
The last attempt to remove the state’s same-sex marriage ban happened in this years General Assembly – Delegate Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) introduced the amendment (HJ665). At the time, Sorovell admitted the amendment was unlikely to pass, but he said it was a matter of fighting for whats right, and carrying the torch for his former colleague Delegate Englin, who had worked to remove the language in the past, but has since retired from the GA.
HJ665 failed to get out of committee, never receiving a House vote.
Equality Virginia was there for the subcommittee meeting, but was not surprised by the amendments failure. “While the tide is turning across the nation in favor of marriage equality, it’s sad to see that Virginia cannot catch up to even recognize loving couples.” Said EV’s Executive Director James Parrish via e-mail.
The future of these bills will be decided once the GA enters session in early January 2014.
In a 13-3 vote, the measure passed with Republicans breaking tradition in supporting it.January 23, 2017
- First same-sex marriage related bill dies in VA Senate committee (expectedly), January 16, 2017
- Openly gay legislators rally to remove defunct same-sex marriage bans from Virginia law and constitution, October 19, 2016
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