Va. lawmakers introduce bills to repeal state’s ban on same-sex marriage

Staff Reports

RICHMOND, Va. — Two Virginia lawmakers have introduced a measure aimed at repealing that state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria, Va.) is sponsoring the bill in the Senate, and is joined by companion legislation introduced in the House of Delegates by Rep. Joseph Morrissey (D-Richmond).

VirginiaBut political observers say the any effort to repeal the ban, approved in 2006 by 57 percent of voters, is a long-shot in Republican-controlled House, and in the Senate, where Democrats and Republicans maintain a 50/50 split.

Since the ban was enacted, however, public support for same-sex marriage in Virginia has shifted.

A July Quinnipiac University poll found that 50 percent of registered Virginia voters support same-sex marriage, compared to 43 percent who don’t.

And, proponents of the measure note that GOP opposition to repealing the ban may be weakened with the recent election of Democrats to the state top three offices — Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General.

To repeal the 2006 amendment, legislation would have to pass the General Assembly two times with an intervening election, then would go on the ballot in the next succeeding general election.

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If it won first passage in the 2014 session, the measure would have to again pass the legislature in the 2016 session after the next state election, meaning the earliest the measure could go before voters would be November 2016.

A measure introduced in the 2013 session failed to make it out of a House sub-committee and had no Senate sponsorship.

The constitutional ban approved by the General Assembly passed with bipartisan support with votes of 73-22 in the House of Delegates and 29-11 in the state Senate.

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