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Protecting the right to same-sex marriage in Virginia

Two smiling women with short hair are wearing sunglasses and holding signs in support of gay marriage.
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Protecting the right to same-sex marriage in Virginia

Outdated language in Virginia’s constitution bans same sex marriage. While federal law protects that right, a bipartisan effort to remove the ban has stalled in the state Legislature.


ADRIENNE McGIBBON: Brianna Diaz was in front of the U.S. Supreme Court the day it guaranteed same sex couples the right to marry in 2015.

BRIANNA DIAZ: And, I remember just sobbing because of that historical moment. Knowing that I had new options on the table.

ADRIENNE McGIBBON: In 2022, Congress passed the Respect for Marriage Act, codifying the right to same-sex marriage for millions of Americans. But in Virginia, efforts during this General Assembly failed to remove language banning same sex marriage in the state's constitution.

DEL. TIM ANDERSON: But what we're really doing is trying to get rid of the dead language out of the Constitution, which is obviously very offensive to people that are in same sex marriages that, you know, feel that that's discriminatory language.

ADRIENNE McGIBBON: Delegate Tim Anderson (R-83rd) says his proposal was one of two dozen constitutional amendments the legislature didn't get to.

DEL. TIM ANDERSON: Because it was a short session, and they just didn't have the time. That's what they said. They didn't have the time to vet all of these, these things.

ADRIENNE McGIBBON: Diaz, who's with the ACLU of Virginia, points to the Supreme Court's decision and Dobbs, related to abortion rights, as reason for concern.

BRIANNA DIAZ: The one action we can take for same sex marriage is to repeal that outdated amendment and to replace it with language that affirms a fundamental right to marriage for same sex for same sex couples.


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