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Va. Lawmakers Fail to Repeal Gay Marriage Ban

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Gay rights activists attend a press conference that addressed some lawmakers’ disappointment in the General Assembly for not repealing the gay marriage ban this session. (Capital News Service)

RICHMOND – State officials joined gay rights activists at a press conference on Valentine’s Day to discuss their disappointment in the failure to repeal Virginia’s constitutional ban against same-sex marriage.

“I believe that marriage is about loving, committed couples wanting to make lifelong promises to each other – take care of each other, be responsible for each other and support each other,” Del. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, said at the event at the General Assembly Building.

“And I think that if anybody – gay, straight – wants to stand up in front of their family and friends and make that commitment to grow old together, it’s not for me, or the judge or the state to deny them that opportunity or that right.”

This legislative session, Surovell had sponsored House Joint Resolution 665, which sought to rescind the constitutional amendment that Virginians approved in November 2006.

That amendment defines marriage as “only a union between one man and one woman” and prohibits the state and local governments from creating or recognizing marriages, unions or similar relationships between couples of the same sex. It was ratified by 57 percent of the vote in a statewide election.

Last month, the Constitutional Amendments Subcommittee of the House Committee on Privileges and Elections recommended that HJ 655 be “passed by indefinitely” – effectively killing it for this legislative session.

Surovell’s resolution was co-sponsored by 22 other House members, all of them Democrats.

Thursday’s press conference included representatives of several groups that support same-sex marriage: the Alliance for Progressive Values, People of Faith for Equality, First Unitarian Church of Richmond and GetEQUAL-Virginia. They said Virginia’s ban against same-sex unions hurts individuals and the state.

Surovell was joined by supporters of his resolution, including Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, and Democratic Dels. Betsy Carr of Richmond, Kaye Kory of Fairfax, Mark Keam of Fairfax, Alfonso Lopez of Arlington, and Robert Krupicka of Alexandria.

The Rev. Robin Gorsline, a minister with the Metropolitan Community Church of Richmond and the president of People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, was among the speakers at the news conference. With his partner, Jonathan Lebolt, at his side, Gosline said Virginia’s laws don’t reflect the real lives of committed same-sex couples.

“We aren’t asking for the right to marry; we’re already married,” Gosline said. “Instead, we’re telling local and state authorities that we want them to catch up and fix their laws.”

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Posted by on February 18, 2013. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

9 Responses to Va. Lawmakers Fail to Repeal Gay Marriage Ban

  1. George Peters Reply

    February 23, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    I agree here. Denying someone the opportunity to marry because of the way they choose to have sex is discriminatory and should be changed.

    We also discriminate if a man desires to have more than one wife. We need to change this.

    We also discriminate if someone desires to marry an animal such as a dog or chicken. We need to change this.

    We also discriminate if the man and woman who want to marry are brother and sister. We need to change this.

  2. Pro-family Reply

    February 19, 2013 at 12:38 am

    Here’s an solution to this issue – allow all couples of any sexual persuasion to form Partnerships. These Partnerships will have the same legal rights as spouses currently are given. If a couple in a Partnership wishes to procreate, raise and nurture a family, then it will be elevated into a Marriage. Of course, God saw to it that this can only happen when a man and women are involved.

  3. Pete Reply

    February 18, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Hooray

    • bindy Reply

      February 19, 2013 at 12:24 am

      Hooray for what?- That we still have discrimination written into our state Constitution? I see no reason to celebrate that others do not have the same rights as myself.
      “I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
      ― Martin Luther King, Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

      • Common Sense Reply

        February 21, 2013 at 12:54 pm

        No, you are being willfully ignorant of the opposite view. You will never understand it until you decide to try.

        The problem is encapsulated in the quote from Del. Surovell: “I believe that marriage is about loving, committed couples wanting to make lifelong promises to each other – take care of each other, be responsible for each other and support each other…”

        If that’s all marriage is, then we don’t need any such institution recognized by government at all. We could just go the Libertarian route and divorce government from the arrangement entirely. Let the individuals define it however they like.

        I, and others like me, do not disagree with you about fairness and discrimination. The issue is that we have a completely different notion of the purpose of marriage. Marriage isn’t about two people in love. It’s about families. It’s about protecting the interests of children and safeguarding the fundamental building block of society.

        Before you launch into a tirade about how same sex partnerships can be just as effective at providing a good family environment for children, you need to be sure that you have all the facts straight on this. For every anecdote of homosexual domestic tranquility that you provide me, I can give you an actual scientific study that indicates that the contrary is true in the aggregate. Everyone wants to feel good about their own family and justify their own choices, but it gets hard to ignore stories like this:
        http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/08/6065/
        …and studies like this:
        http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/06/5640/

        History is replete with examples of the inevitable downfall of any society that plays with the family formula or allows this foundation to erode.

        We can argue this point back and forth, but for you to simply dismiss the other perspective as bigoted discrimination is intellectually dishonest. You do your position no favors by ignoring your opponents’ actual arguments and substituting your own flawed notion of their motivations.

        If opposing gay marriage is discrimination, then so is opposing incest, polygamy, or statutory rape (like, say, a consenting relationship between a 16yo and a 30yo). Should a man be able to marry his sister? His mother? His wife’s best friend? His 16yo babysitter? All of the above situations could very well fit Delegate Surovell’s definition, but would generally make for less stable families and that is why they are not valid candidates for the government’s seal of approval called “marriage”.

        I’d be willing to bet that you draw the line somewhere, you just draw it in a different place than I do. What I am asking you to recognize is that your reasons are very similar to mine, despite the fact that we draw the line in a different place.

  4. Fred Reply

    February 18, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    there are people that don’t belong to the religious right that don’t agree with gay marriage. I don’t know what the bible says about, really i don’t think it does address it BUT it still isnt right. Marriage is for a man and a woman. If two people really love each other just move in together, why push marriage? its not all its cracked up to be. lol

  5. Cindy Reply

    February 18, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Sad day for Virginians… Truly many DO NOT GET IT. I apologize to my many wonderful fellow Virginians who are being punished for being who God made them to be. Remember God will be waiting for you behind the pearly gates of non judgement.

  6. Windy Reply

    February 18, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Really Virginia… wake up!!! The relgious right claims they are people of Jesus and Christians? Really??? We are not put on this planet to judge. This is not a lifestyle choice. This is an orientation that people are born with and have had to live with since the day they were born. Do you really think anyone would choose a way of life that people throw stones at and chastize them as being sinners. I think not, get a back bone and start living in the real world. Instead of being trail blazers this state is living in the dark ages on so many many many areas. So sad and disapointing.

  7. golly-shucks-and-gee-wiz Reply

    February 18, 2013 at 10:38 am

    so nice to see local officals spend their time focusing on the relevant local issues that are oh so crucially and important – clearly some GET IT!

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