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Ebbin Begins Battle to Repeal Virginia's Gay Marriage Ban

At the earliest, a referendum to repeal the state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage could go before voters in 2016.

State Sen. Adam Ebbin, an Alexandria Democrat whose district includes parts of Arlington and Fairfax counties, has filed a resolution to begin the long process of repealing Virginia's gay marriage ban. Patch file photo
State Sen. Adam Ebbin, an Alexandria Democrat whose district includes parts of Arlington and Fairfax counties, has filed a resolution to begin the long process of repealing Virginia's gay marriage ban. Patch file photo

State Sen. Adam Ebbin has filed a resolution to begin the long process of trying to repeal a 2006 constitutional amendment that bans gay marriage in Virginia.

Specifically, the Marshall-Newman Amendment, as it is known, defines marriage as only between one man and one woman. The measure was approved in 2006 by about 57 percent of the vote.

But Ebbin, who is gay, believes the tide is turning. He cites progression toward marriage equality on the federal level and recent polling that indicates a majority of Virginians now support the idea.

"By 2016, I think that number will only grow. I think the public will get more and more used to the thought of gay people as first-class citizens," said Ebbin, an Alexandria Democrat whose district also includes parts of Arlington and Fairfax counties.

"It's time for Virginia to wake up from a history that doesn't always live up to our tradition as the birthplace of civil liberties. One way or another, whether through the courts or the Legislature, gay people's relationships will be recognized in the eyes of the state. We deserve and expect the same legal protections and responsibilities as other Virginians."

It's a long process. The measure must pass both chambers of the General Assembly in two different sessions — and the law requires an election to be held between those sessions. If it survives all that, then the question goes before voters.

That means the earliest Virginia could possibly decide the matter would be November 2016 — the 10-year anniversary of the Marshall-Newman Amendment.

State House delegates aren't up for election until next year, which means if the matter fails or is deferred this session, then there's a chance it could pass next time and still make the 2016 ballot.

But Ebbin acknowledges he has a challenge just getting the bill to the Senate floor for a vote.

"I'm going to work as hard as I can to advance the process," he told Patch. "I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch. But the first step is to get it out of the Senate committee."

Ebbin's resolution currently sits in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee, which next meets Tuesday.

Ebbin and others will hold a briefing Monday morning to discuss an equality plan for Virginia that includes not only repealing the Marshall-Newman Amendment, but also workplace equality for state employees and partner benefits for state university employees.

keith mahone January 12, 2014 at 01:30 PM
Don't worry, Ebbin. Virginia public schools and Northern Virginia perverts of every stripe will deliver the goods. Moral Relativism to the rescue! State-sponsored demonic perversion is a human right!
T Ailshire January 13, 2014 at 11:19 AM
Ebbin "begins" the battle? No, he's been fighting for this issue for a long time. While one could conceivably argue he's legislating for himself (as he does on the issue of hybrid vehicles), he's keeping the issue in the sunlight. I support his fight.
Catherine S. Read January 14, 2014 at 08:15 AM
Senator Adam Ebbin has been leading this fight for a long time. He had the courage to come out of the closet himself and show that you CAN be elected to office and serve your constituents well even in a state with a long history of bigotry. I'm proud to serve on the board of Equality Virginia where I, too, am fighting relentlessly to make sure we have NO second class citizens here in Virginia or in America. This isn't just about the right to marry. We need to eliminate the legal right of others to discriminate against the LGBT community in employment and housing. It's time to eliminate institutional prejudice in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Lee January 14, 2014 at 10:16 AM
I agree with the no second class citizens, but the Bible is what our laws are base on. One man and one woman, this include people that are devoice, not married living with each other, people that have kids out of wedded lock.
Catherine S. Read January 14, 2014 at 10:36 AM
No, our laws are NOT based on the Bible. They are based on the Constitution of the United States of America which mandates a separation of church and state. You are entitled to believe what you want - based on the Bible or anything else. Your church of choice is not entitled to impose those beliefs on anyone else. People are free to choose what religion they affiliate with, we must all live under the laws of this country and of those imposed by the states we live in.
keith mahone January 14, 2014 at 11:24 AM
Catherine, you are not a second-class citizen unless your perversion of choice is put on an equal footing with decency. That's preposterous. And homosexuality is not illegal. But just because you have the right to be wrong does not mean you have the right to have the state officially validate your opinion and cultural choices. Moreover, where do you draw the line: If you are willing to lead the fight to stop perceived discrimination according to gender combinations, what about age - men marrying adolescent boys? Shouldn't young boys be able to choose what they want? Why should they be "discriminated against" and their choices invalidated by law simply because of their age? Or what about kind? Shouldn't men, women and children be allowed to marry a sheep or a goat or a chicken if they CHOOSE because they are FREE and UNDISCRIMINATED AGAINST? Or how about inanimate objects? Why shouldn't anyone be allowed to marry a salad bowl or some deck furniture? Or how about number? Shouldn't three men, a boy, and a billy goat be able to marry a fold-up couch? This is the kind of lunacy that occurs once we simply yield to the desires of the citizen in question. And once we sanction one proscribed perversion, the next will rise to the surface. This is sinful and selfish man's natural tendency towards evil. This is what our laws protect us from when they are instituted by good men and women and functioning properly. Catherine, you are the scum of the earth! How dare you try to institute perversion and force every man, woman and child in Virginia to accept it as normal? How dare you accuse them of being bigoted for being virtuous! Your little Miss America speech about freedom and equality is Satanic and you are on your way to hell. Almighty God will not be mocked. His words will not return to him empty. Don't believe in God? You will soon enough. He'll either be your companion in eternal joy or your enemy while you reap the irreversible rewards of your demonic lifestyle forever. The choice is up to you. Good luck.
Catherine S. Read January 14, 2014 at 11:35 AM
So God told you today I'm going to hell? That certainly makes life planning easier, having that tidbit of insight. The Bible says many things that have been rejected: like stoning disobedient children, the obligation to marry your brother's widow or your right to sell your sister into slavery. Yeah- what about that whole slavery thing we abolished here in the good ol' US of A? You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.
keith mahone January 14, 2014 at 06:22 PM
Oh, poor lesbian Catherine. You know just enough about the holy word of God to plunge into a lake of fire. You've never studied it with an open mind. You have only collected a few favorite anecdotes (sans context) to use for ammunition in a blind refutation. You are subject to God's eternal law whether you accept it or not. If you don't believe in gravity and you leap from a cliff you will land just as hard as those who accept this natural law built into a universe created and run by a holy God. You are not exempt. Just keep kicking the can down the road. You're going to meet the Ruler of the universe and you can tell Him He doesn't exist because you're a lesbian and no one who doesn't like lesbianism is allowed to be the god of YOUR universe. Yeah, that ought to work out pretty well. For now, you can content yourself to live according to your own selfish desires, but you will get away with nothing. You will pay for all of your mistakes in one of two ways. Your choice.
T Ailshire January 14, 2014 at 06:27 PM
Lee, and Keith Mahone -- please understand your beliefs are welcome and, to most people, respected. However, if others do not choose to live by those beliefs, they deserve the right to reject them without a constant harangue. If those of us who reject those beliefs choose to accept the consequences, who is anyone else to say we can't. In other words, you've had your say and you need not attack others for having theirs.
Hawa Coulibaly January 14, 2014 at 07:19 PM
Keith and Lee, last I checked none of u have died and returned, therefore, u really don't know what constitutes a sin. Religious doctrine had been used to justify a lot of injustice in our society... If they choose to be homosexual that their choice. No one is forcing upon you. Leave people alone. I think you are the scum of the earth for calling Catherine that!
Catherine S. Read January 14, 2014 at 10:26 PM
What intrigues me about the defenders of the "Holy Word" is how they reconcile their conflicting beliefs that God created man in his own image and yet they revile their fellow man based on a single reference in Leviticus that does not even name homosexuality specifically. God made a "mistake" in creating gay people? This is bigotry dressed in religious clothing. Historically, religion has been used to justify the worst crimes against mankind from the Spanish Inquisition, to the Crusades, to the Holocaust. Pope Francis harbors no such hatred against mankind - the mankind that was created in God's image. Call me whatever you want - I have a husband and three kids and they aren't haters either. I sit on the board of directors of Equality Virginia for the same reason white people marched in Birmingham, Alabama, during the Civil Rights movement: I believe in justice for everyone. It even protects the rights of my fellow Americans to spew pure hate in the public square.
keith mahone January 15, 2014 at 04:18 PM
Catherine, you are not asking for justice. You are asking for all people in Virginia, no matter what their beliefs, to be forced to accept homosexuality, forced to deal with these people on their own terms. No one should be forced to rent their property to a homosexual against their will or face law suits for discrimination. What about my rights as a landlord? I can't keep people I find repugnant on moral grounds from renting a property I own? It's not about equality. It's about forcing perversion down everyone's throat. Where my freedom collides with homosexual predilections my freedom has to yield? Hawa, Jesus dies and returned. Enough said. I don't know what constitutes sin? I think your wrong. I'm not just guessing or listing my own peeves. You simply refuse to accepts God's sovereignty. No one is forcing homosexuality upon me, you say, if they're allowed to marry? That's very naive or deceitful of you. The so-called gay rights movement is about nothing if not forcing all people everywhere to quail before this cultural perversion and suffer tremendous penalties if they dare object. Why is it a moral outrage or discrimination to say you can't teach my kids if you are openly gay, but it's not a moral outrage to say you aren't allowed to protect your kids from this exposure? Someone is going to be discriminated against in either case. It's all about who is going to yield to whom. Gay rights means all differences are resolved in their favor. And all because of the underlying presumption, which I publicly reject, that homosexuality is innocent and normal. (And Catherine, God did not make anyone gay. That's just propaganda: No choice equals no moral failure. Yet, even then it's a defect. People are born retarded, but we don't call that a good thing either.)
Catherine S. Read January 15, 2014 at 04:23 PM
Being an ignorant bigot is choice Keith. Clearly you don't have to worry about being discriminated against. But I don't want people like YOU teaching my children either.
keith mahone January 15, 2014 at 07:30 PM
Catherine, surely you live in a world turned upside down. Intelligent people who tell the truth and stand on principle are ignorant, hate-filled bigots. The Bible says that in the end time good shall be called evil and evil good. So no surprises there. Believe as you will, but you will surely pay for your beliefs. I'm not the ruler of the universe. But we are both subject to him and we will both answer to him. You will pay for all eternity for spreading the flames of hell if you do not repent and ask Jesus Christ to forgive you. Until then just wait and watch as the Utopia you and your kind usher in begins to bloom. Eat it's wonderful fruit. I assure you it will be terribly bitter, but nothing like the realization of who and what you are and the fate that awaits you as you stand before the throne of judgement. In that moment my words will begin to echo in your ears for eternity. You are the high priestess of a new era of peace and good will in your own mind. Christians are really the ones who are in the way of its glorious dawn. They are evil and their antiquated ideas are dangerous. They should be arrested and imprisoned until they renounce their beliefs, right? You, on the other hand, are loving and caring and have humanity's best interests in mind. You will force others to be fair and just, to yield to freedom and equality and strive to see them severely punished if they stand in the way of the growing enlightenment. In truth you are deceived and the hostess of innumerable foul spirits who tell you that they're you. Their thoughts are your thoughts. They don't even exist. They want to drag you to hell because that's where they're going and the next best thing to saving themselves is dooming as many as they can deceive. You think I'm a superstitious fool. So why be alarmed by my warning? If I'm wrong you have nothing to worry about. You're certain I am. You'll stake everything on it. So just keep pushing your humanist scheme of perfecting unreformable mankind and worshiping your own human image. All the Christians will be out of your way very soon and you can do anything you want - anything at all. Tick, tick, tick . . .
Catherine S. Read January 15, 2014 at 08:18 PM
Your ignorance knows no depths Keith. I'm a Christian. And you don't speak for me. Or MILLIONS of other Christians - including Pope Francis. Your opinions represent YOU and whoever else chooses to jump on your bandwagon. The unmitigated arrogance you have to speak for all of Christianity should alert people that what you are is an unschooled BIGOT.
keith mahone January 15, 2014 at 09:56 PM
You are not a Christian. You're just saying that to cut off debate. (As if Christianity is in line with condoning perversion the Bible condemns.) You reference the current Pope because of his apostate tolerance of evil. I guess that's supposed to be your authority - everyone's authority. He'll condone anything you want to do. This is a growing trend in all end-of-the-age churches, particularly thanks to the so-called Ecumenical Movement). Soon you'll be able to go to any church and have an orgy with the preacher and the whole choir if you want. Besides, Roman Catholicism is not Christianity. If you are Catholic, that makes tremendous sense to me why you harbor your incredibly destructive views. The Popes killed more followers of Christ in one year than all Roman Emperors combined. They've stalked and harried real Christianity almost since its inception. And what a great p.r. campaign to drive unbelievers away from the real thing. It cost the Catholic Church $650 Million to defend one prominent Cardinal from his the pederasty scandal. Why would the RCC oppose homosexuality when most of their priests are frustrated homosexuals and New Age apostates who cut their teeth on re-configured Babylonian mystery cult practices? So it's the "church" to the rescue now! Wow! The plot thickens!

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