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Virginia Democrats move to amend state constitution to protect marriage equality

Author: Christopher Wiggins

In a move to protect marriage equality, Virginia Democrats are spearheading efforts to amend the state constitution to abolish its ban on same-sex marriage.

Nationally, marriage equality became the law of the land following the landmark Supreme Court case, Obergefell v. Hodges, in 2015. This historic decision ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The ruling invalidated all state bans on same-sex marriage, including Virginia’s, and required states to honor out-of-state same-sex marriage licenses.

However, Virginia’s constitution still contains language that prohibits same-sex marriage, which is why the current legislative efforts are crucial. By amending the state constitution, Virginia would align its laws with federal rulings and safeguard these rights against any future changes in federal policy.

Many LGBTQ+ activists have warned that since the 2022 Dobbs decision when the Supreme Court overturnedRoe v. Wade, other rights afforded the American people could be up for discussion should the court feel compelled to revisit such cases.

Amending the constitution in Virginia is a multi-step process, requiring the proposed amendment to pass in two consecutive legislative sessions and then be approved by voters in a statewide referendum. If the amendment passes in the 2024 session, it must be passed again in 2025 before public voting in 2026.

This push by Virginia Democrats comes at a pivotal time in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in the United States. It not only aims to bring state law in line with federal precedents but also serves as a barometer for the nation’s progress toward broader acceptance and legal recognition of the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Christopher Wiggins

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