Virginia House GOP again blocks effort to get rid of same-sex marriage ban
Conservative group floats possibility of SCOTUS reactivating state’s 2006 ban
A scaled-back proposal to repeal Virginia’s antiquated constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was blocked Friday by the Republican-controlled House of Delegates, despite supporters’ attempts to win bipartisan votes by stripping out any language overtly backing LGBTQ equality.
Same-sex marriage has been recognized in Virginia for years, and the ban voters approved in 2006 doesn’t currently carry any legal weight. But after the conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion last year, LGBTQ advocates say the issue of marriage equality looks less settled than it once did.
Just prior to Friday’s vote in a House Rules subcommittee set up to hear proposals for constitutional amendments, a representative of the socially conservative Family Foundation raised the prospect of the Supreme Court overturning the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationally.
“If and when it does, Virginia’s constitution should continue to reflect the truth about marriage,” said Family Foundation lobbyist Todd Gathje.
None of the four Republicans on the subcommittee spoke about the proposal or disagreed with Gathje’s comments before the 4-1 vote to block it.
Because the proposed amendment was being heard in a special Rules subcommittee dominated by members of the chamber’s leadership, the Republicans who opposed the measure were Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, Majority Leader Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, House Appropriations Chairman Barry Knight, R-Virginia Beach, and House Commerce and Energy Chairwoman Kathy Byron, R-Bedford.
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