Va. Lawmakers Again Introduce Marriage Amendment Repeal Resolutions

Virginia Capitol (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Virginia lawmakers have once again introduced resolutions that seek to repeal a state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and state Del. Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax Country) introduced Senate Joint Resolution 11 and House Joint Resolution 9 in their respective General Assembly chambers. Ebbin and state Del.-elect Rozia Henson (D-Prince William County) have also introduced bills that would affirm marriage equality in Virginia.

Voters approved the Marshall-Newman Amendment in 2006.

Same-sex couples have been able to legally marry in Virginia since 2014.

The General Assembly in 2021 approved a resolution that seeks to repeal the Marshall-Newman Amendment. It must pass in two successive legislatures before it can go to the ballot.

The Virginia Senate last year approved Ebbin’s resolution that sought to repeal the marriage amendment. State senators in 2023 also passed the gay Alexandria Democrat’s marriage equality affirmation bill.

A Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee last year tabled the resolution. State delegates also did not consider the marriage equality affirmation bill before the 2023 legislative session ended.

“The General Assembly should advance SJR 11 expeditiously so that Virginia voters can finally remove this discriminatory stain on our foundational document once and for all,” said Ebbin on Thursday in a press release.

Sickles, who is gay, in the press release said “Virginians want a chance to remove the noxious marriage language that was added to our constitution in 2006.” 

“Over the years, minds have changed and over 1.8 million voters have come of age — this is not the constitution they want,” he said. 

“Passing SJR 11 and HJ 9 is the first step in a multi-year process, which will culminate in a statewide referendum in the fall of 2026,” added Henson, who is also gay. “That is why Senator Ebbin and I have also introduced legislation to codify marriage equality in Virginia’s Code — not just its constitution — so that marriage equality is protected under Virginia law beginning July 1, 2024.” 

Democrats will control both houses of the General Assembly when this year’s legislative session begins on Jan. 10.

Washington Blade courtesy of the National LGBTQ Media Association.


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