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ArlingtonPoliticsAmendment to tidy up Va. constitution in hopper for 2022

Amendment to tidy up Va. constitution in hopper for 2022

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A state constitutional amendment being shepherded through the 2022 General Assembly by state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria-Arlington) would align portions of the Virginia Constitution with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling on same-sex marriage.

The measure, if sent to voters by the legislature and then approved in November, would take out references prohibiting same-sex marriage from Article I of the state constitution.

Those passages were rendered moot by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

Ebbin’s measure last year passed the state Senate 24-12 and the House of Delegates 60-37. Under state law, a constitutional amendment must win approval by both houses of the legislature twice, with a legislative election in between.


Passage in the state Senate is almost assured. The sticking point for the measure in 2022 could be in the House of Delegates, which unlike 2021 will have a Republican majority that could block the proposal from seeing the light of day. Alternately, the Republican leadership could let it move through, thinking either that the matter will have no political ramifications, or that it might be helpful to downstate Republicans to have it on the ballot.

Under state law, constitutional amendments are the province of the General Assembly; the only role of the governor is a procedural one, ordering the measure placed on the ballot. A governor cannot stop a constitutional amendment from going to voters.

The proposed constitutional amendment gives religious organizations and clergy the right to refuse to perform any wedding ceremony.

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