RICHMOND, VA — (02-14-21) — Virginia is getting the spotlight this month as it moves to repeal the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. Following the move initiated by Senator Patty Pansing Brooks in Nebraska to have her state repeal its ban on same-sex marriage,
Democratic state Sen. Adam Ebbin is sponsoring SJ 270, which would replace language in the state Constitution on marriage to read “regardless of the sex or gender of the parties to the marriage.”.
While it’s been more than five years since the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex couples have the right to marry “on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples,” America still has states with constitutional amendments on their books that ban same-sex marriage.
Virginia happens to be one of those states. Now that the legislature has its first openly LGBTQ legislator leading the charge to repeal the unconstitutional law, Virginia is sure to pass the bill even though, conservatives are going to put up their usual dark age fight of fear and end of the world syndrome.
On Feb. 5, SJ 270 cleared the Senate by a margin of 24 to 12. One day earlier, HJ 582, the House version, passed 60 to 33. Now while those numbers look great, one must remember that in the state of Virginia, overturning a constitutional amendment requires a two-year process! The first being that two separate General Assembly sessions separated by a general election must take place to pass identical bills before a measure is put on the ballot for a public vote.
“For young LGBTQ people, or even those who aren’t married or don’t want to get married, removing this language is an important step,” said Equality Federation Executive Director Fran Hutchins. “It tells them that they matter, that they are equal to everyone else in the state.”
Since the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, at least eight states have tried to remove similarly unenforceable marriage bans, according to the Equality Federation.
I am proud to say that last November, JRL CHARTS home state of Nevada became the first to do so with 62 percent of voters backing the measure.
However there are still 30 states that still have prohibitions written into their constitutions, according to the Movement Advancement Project. Sixteen of them also ban civil unions, and two, including Virginia’s, prohibit any legal recognition of gay relationships.
Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
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