Bills seeking to end Virginia's ban on
gay marriage were officially introduced on Wednesday as the
legislative session got underway.
Voters in 2006 approved the
Marshall-Newman Amendment, which prohibits the state from recognizing
any union other than a heterosexual marriage. Additionally, Virginia
law excludes gay couples from marriage.
Six delegates and three senators have
sponsored resolutions which seek to remove the prohibition.
“I am not confident it'll pass this
year, but I do know this with absolute certainty: Our commonwealth
and the country is on an irreversible path to allow same-sex
marriages,” Delegate Joseph Morrissey, a Democrat from Henrico
County, told GayRVA.com.
“When the Supreme Court of the United States overruled part of
[the Defense of Marriage Act], they made it clear in their language
that it is humiliating to children of same-sex couples to have these
“The point is, we're on our way and
hopefully it'll get done this year, but it doesn't make any
difference, it's on an irreversible course and we're gonna get it
done,” he added.
Senator Adam Ebbin, a Democrat from
Alexandria and the state's first openly gay state senator, has
sponsored a similar measure in the Senate.
“Virginia is the birthplace of our
civil liberties, and it's time to catch up with forward-thinking states
that allow equality,” Ebbin said.
A federal lawsuit challenging
Virginia's marriage ban was filed in federal court over the summer.
Ted Olson and David Boies, the legal team behind the legal challenge
to California's Proposition 8, joined the case in September.