Republicans have blocked an effort to legislatively legalize gay marriage in Virginia.

According to gay weekly the Washington Blade, Virginia Delegate Mark Cole, a Republican from Fredericksburg and the chair of the House Privileges and Elections Committee, announced last week that his committee will put off until next year hearing any so-called first reference constitutional amendments.

Six delegates and three senators had sponsored resolutions which sought to repeal the state's 2006 voter-approved Marshall-Newman amendment, which prohibits the state from recognizing any union other than a heterosexual marriage.

“Virginia Republicans' refusal to even consider same-sex marriage is backwards and proving increasingly archaic,” Delegate Scott Surovell, one of the backers, said Monday. “Marriage is about loving, committed couples who want to make a lifelong promise to take care of and be responsible for each other, in good times and bad.”

“Virginians are ready to repeal the Marshall-Newman amendment,” said Senator Adam Ebbin, the state's first openly gay elected senator.

Backers were speaking out two days after Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe was sworn into office and signed an executive order that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender state employees from discrimination.

(Related: Virginia's Terry McAuliffe issues transgender-inclusive anti-discrimination order.)