Virginia Lawmaker Introduces Legislation to Repeal Ban on Gay Marriage

Openly gay state senator Adam Ebbin (D-30th) has introduced legislation to repeal the state's ban on same-sex marriage, the Sun Gazette reports:

EbbinVoters statewide approved the amendment in 2006 by a 57-percent-to-43-percent majority, and while public support for gay marriage appears to have increased over the intervening seven years, any attempt to eliminate the constitutional amendment would face significant hurdles.

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. 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.

The paper calls the bill's chances "a longshot".


  1. JackFknTwist says

    There seems to be a fundamental problem in that States apparently have the power to repeal or ban federal constitutional rights to equality.

    It is radical to me that a majority in any state can vote anti-same sex marriage……does that also apply to segregation, or to Islamics ?
    Can the majority of a State deprive a minority of people of inalienable rights ?

    And irrespective of any constitution are not such rights not only fundamental but inalienable also ?

  2. disgusted american says

    F Va., I wont waste my god-dammed money in such a HAte and Bigot state…..Im tired of LGBT community having to BEG for RIGHTS that should be OURS to begin with!!!

  3. Profe Sancho Panza says

    I find it curious that it’s apparently much easier to add an amendment to the VA state constitution than to repeal it.

    I think it ought to be just as hard to amend state constitutions as it is to amend the federal constitution, so I’m always a bit baffled by states where a simple majority of the voters can do so. This makes even less sense, though.

  4. Mike says

    When EVEN the voters of the states are so much ahead of the state legislatures you can be certain that that signifies a great change in the next election. Basically ANY no voters are toast no matter what hope they futilely attempt to garner . . .

  5. JackFknTwist says

    @ TONY :

    And I find it absurd that inalienable rights are ‘alienable’ by a majority vote !!!

  6. Kipling says

    If you step back and think about it, the idea it is harder to repeal an amendment than pass one makes perfect sense. In most cases in history, amendments to a constitution have been used to EXPAND rights. It took an amendment to end slavery, give women the right to vote, end Jim Crow, etc. You would ideally want it harder to repeal those amendments than to pass them.

    So when, as here, a state’s constitutional amendment actually limits rights or restricts them (though let’s be careful to note that we are presuming marriage for everyone is a right or freedom of discrimination based on sexual orientation is a right, which are arguments still being worked out in courts), the unfortunate outcome is it becomes very hard to undo that.

  7. Steven H says

    @Tony and PSP: the repeal process is just as difficult as the original amendment process. The original amendment needed two sessions, separated by a general election, and a referendum. Its repeal needs the same, unfortunately.

    If it was any easier to pass amendments, Virginia’s ban would have happened a few years earlier. Likewise, the ban could have been passed, been repealed, and then un-repealed on the sly in the dead of night (which is what the bigots did in North Carolina). It should be really, really, really hard to amend a constitution. I thank my lucky stars every night that no one can f around with the 5th or 14th Amendments.

  8. Steven H says

    An amendment to my previous post: the NC bigots didn’t un-repeal an amendment; the reference was to passing the ban on the sly during the Republican primaries.

  9. Kipling says

    The cases are filed in federal courts, not Virginia courts. And if settled in a way that upholds the ban, then no, 2016 will still be important.

  10. cm says

    Jack –

    States can’t violate the US Constitution, but same-sex marriage bans haven’t been definitively ruled unconstitutional yet. That will probably happen within the next few years, but until it does the states are left to their own devices.

    It’s frustrating, but the situation isn’t unique to the US. Look at Europe – Croatia is poised to ban same-sex marriage in its constitution next week, as several other EU countries have already done, and they can do it because the European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2010 that same-sex marriage isn’t a human right and member states aren’t obliged to legalize or recognize it. That’s actually a bit worse than the situation here, since the US Supreme Court has never ruled against same-sex marriage – they just haven’t ruled on it yet at all.

  11. Wayne says

    Virginia does and always has thrived on enslavement, and so the “tradition” will continue…..

  12. says

    Wo to the people of Virginia that want to repeal this gay marriage thing, they have lost there way. The bible states very clearly about men with men and women with women.
    Is this not one nation under God. or is it under man? Or is the pledge of allegiance a piece of history just like the original constitution.
    If you take God out of the equation than there is no hope for a nation or its Government.
    The old saying is : As for me and my house I will serve the Lord. Which house does the Government serve? Do you all serve God or Man.
    I might speak bold but without God there is no hope, so when you all go to the polls next time Vote for God centered men and women.
    The wrath of God is on all who turn there backs on Him and for a Government that’s abomination and the nation need’s to get back to a God Centered lifestyle.