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Gay Va. Senator Introduces Legislation to Repeal Marriage Ban

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Wednesday Nov 27, 2013

Virginia State Senator Adam Ebbin, the first openly gay member of the Virginia General Assembly, introduced legislation to repeal the state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The Arlington Sun Gazette reports the measure is a long shot, however, as the state approved the amendment in 2006 with a 57 percent majority.

In order to pass the legislation, it would have to pass the General Assembly twice, with an intervening election, then would appear on the ballot in the succeeding general election.

If it wins first passage in 2014, then it would have to pass again in 2016 after the next state election, meaning the earliest the legislation could possibly go in front of voters is November 2016.

Del. Joseph Morrissey of Richmond has introduced a companion bill in the House of Delegates. But a similar measure by Fairfax Democrat Del. Scott Surovell in 2013 failed to make it out of a House subcommittee.

Support for gay marriage is high among legislators and voters in Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and Fairfax County.

In addition to the legislation, two Virginia couples also filed a federal class action suit against the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

"Today I thank and commend attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies for joining the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia seeking marriage equality," wrote the openly gay lawmaker on his website on Sept. 30.

"Mr. Olson and Mr. Boies are among America's finest legal minds and I am delighted that they are putting their talents to use in seeking to strike down of the Commonwealth's draconian Marshall-Newman amendment," wrote Ebbin. "Their skills were recently proven when they successfully argued for the US Supreme Court to strike down California's Proposition 8."

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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