News (USA)

Virginia Senate moves to repeal state’s same-sex marriage ban

Two women exchanging rings at a wedding
Photo: Shutterstock

The Virginia Senate has approved a resolution seeking to repeal an amendment in the state constitution prohibiting same-sex marriage.

The resolution – introduced by out gay state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D) – passed in a 25-14 bipartisan vote on Monday.

“SJ 242, my proposed constitutional amendment to repeal the defunct same-sex marriage ban, has passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote of 25-14,” Ebbin tweeted. “It is time our constitution reflects the law of the land and the values of our society.”

Last month, the state senate also voted to pass a separate bill proposed by Ebbin to explicitly make same-sex marriage legal.

The Marshall-Newman Amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman has been part of the state constitution since 2006, and many are worried that if the Supreme Court overturns federal marriage equality, LGBTQ+ Virginians could lose their right to marry.

For an amendment to the state constitution to pass, it must be approved in two consecutive sessions by both chambers of the General Assembly and then voted on by the people. A 2022 attempt failed after a bill after the House of Delegates voted to reject it, despite it passing in the state senate.

On Monday, Virginia’s U.S. Senators, Tim Kaine (D) and Mark Warner (D), wrote a letter to the leaders of both chambers urging them to protect same-sex marriage.

“It is long past time that Virginia’s governing document conveys to same-sex marriages the same freedoms, rights, and responsibilities that are afforded to all other constitutional marriages,” the letter stated. “We urge you to work with your colleagues to advance legislation for a referendum that would fully protect Virginia’s LGBTQ couples.”

The senators called the ban in the state constitution “shameful” and said the freedom to marry “is a sacred and fundamental right in our society.”

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