Virginia Senate committee delays consideration of resolution to repeal marriage amendment

Virginia Capitol (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A Virginia Senate committee on Tuesday delayed consideration of a resolution that seeks to repeal a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

The Associated Press reported the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee voted not to consider state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria)’s Senate Joint Resolution 11 during this year’s legislative session. Lawmakers also opted to postpone consideration of proposed constitutional amendments that would expand access to abortion and reform the system that allows felons who have completed their sentences to have their civil rights restored.

Democrats currently hold a 21-19 majority in the state Senate. They regained control of the Virginia House of Delegates last November.

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin will remain in office until his term ends in 2025.

Voters in 2006 approved an amendment to the state constitution that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. 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 amendment. It must pass in two successive legislatures before it can go to the ballot.

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

A 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.

State Del. Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax County) has introduced a separate resolution in the House Delegates that seek to repeal the marriage amendment. Ebbin and state Del. Rozia Henson (D-Prince William County) have also sponsored bills that would reaffirm marriage equality in Virginia.

The AP reported the Senate Privileges and Elections Committees on Tuesday also rejected Republican-sponsored bills that critics say would have restricted voting in Virginia.

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