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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 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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