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State Senator Begins Battle to Repeal Virginia's Gay Marriage Ban

It's a long process, though.

State Senator Adam Ebbin has filed a resolution to begin the long process of repealing Virginia's gay marriage ban. (Patch File Photo)
State Senator Adam Ebbin has filed a resolution to begin the long process of repealing Virginia's gay marriage ban. (Patch File Photo)

By Jason Spencer

Virginia State Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) 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 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.

What do you think of State Sen. Ebbin's efforts? Tell us in the comments below.


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Barbara Glakas January 14, 2014 at 03:23 PM
As I said before, I do not equate homosexuality with pedophilia, bestiality and polygamy. So you can keep asking me all you want about those other topics, because that’s just what they are – other topics. The subject of this article is gay marriage. I do not consider homosexuality an “alternate lifestyle,” and I believe that gay people should have the right to a civil marriage just like anyone else does.
DRB January 14, 2014 at 03:48 PM
I understand you predicament here. You must refuse to answer because you either look like a hypocrite or promote those other life styles. You are now willing to impose your beliefs on the rest of society with the acceptance or non-acceptance of those that you disagree with. I know you saw that and why you just can't go on the record and say that those other life styles are just wrong. You do however take the stance that they are not life styles. This sound judgmental. They are people just as Gays. They say they are born that way as Gay say they are. They say they have love in their hearts as Gays do. Why shouldn't they be given the dignity of social acceptance and legitimacy of the tax code just like the Gays.
DRB January 14, 2014 at 03:49 PM
Which leads to the 14th amendment. First, I am glad that you realize that it is not "The Equal Rights" clause. It is "The Equal Protection" clause. It takes its meaning from the slavery and emancipation issues after the Civil war. It should also only have been taken in that context as well. It has not been so though. But it can only be applied to people not being afforded the same treatment under the law. As to your Gay Marriage issue it does not apply since nobody is denied the right to marry as defined in law or our Virginia Constitution. Which has been placed there by the will and vote of "The People". You can only say that about three states. We have witnessed activist judges and extremist legislators in many states thwart the will of the people time and again on this issue of Gay Marriage. The question arises why it should not be extended to all the other deviant life styles that are in our society. After all if one deviancy is acceptable then the "Equal Protection" clause now does become applicable.
Barbara Glakas January 14, 2014 at 03:57 PM
To your first comment -- I already told you why I wasn’t going to address those separate issues, but you won’t accept that and you come up with your own answer as to why you think I won’t address it. So that’s the way it is. No matter what I say, you will put words in my mouth and accuse me of thinking otherwise. That’s why such conversations are so difficult. You think you know me better than I know myself, and, as far as I can tell, you seem more interested in trying to entrap me in an “Aha” moment, than you are in actually debating the issues.
Barbara Glakas January 14, 2014 at 04:15 PM
As to your second comment – the 14th amendment might have been passed in the 1860’s but that doesn’t mean that it only applies to slavery. That’s like saying the 1st amendment was passed in the 1780’s so “freedom of the press” only applies to broadside newspapers but not to today’s computers. And you seem to be making my same argument when you say, “it can only be applied to people not being afforded the same treatment under the law.” Exactly. If straight people are allowed to get married and can be afforded all the right’s and privileges of a married couple under the law (i.e., tax benefits, etc.), but gay people are denied all that, then that does not equate to “equal treatment.” And to your other point, Virginia law does specify who is allowed (and therefore, not allowed) to get married in Virginia, so it certainly is in our laws -- laws that are supposed to be “equal.” And as far as “the will of the people go,” our form of government is a representative government, not a straight out “majority rules” democracy. The rights of the individual cannot be overruled by the tyranny of the majority. If that were the case then I seriously doubt Virginia would have desegregated schools today.
DRB January 14, 2014 at 04:23 PM
To your first point---No, I am not trying to trap you and these are the issues at debate but you know and I do as well that you have no debate. You have personal opinions that you feel and are not willing to think out the logical implications if allowed to impose your beliefs on the rest of us. I need not put word in your mouth. What I said was all the choices you had. You may wish that they are separate issues but they are not as I have demonstrated in the 14th amendment which you brought up. So if you wish to debate please do so.
DRB January 14, 2014 at 04:37 PM
It was 1868 and was directly tied to the slavery emancipation issue unlike the 1st amendment. It has not been used that way and if it is to be used outside of its intended meaning then it can only be applied to people not being afforded the same treatment under the law. Nobody is denied the right to marry as described under the law. Again it is not "equal treatment" but rather "equal protection". All are protected and afforded the right to marry under the law as the law prescribes. Our Govt. is a majority rule if it allows for (and it does) constitutional amendments by the majority. Would you rather rule by the tyranny of the minority as it has been in so many states to date? If so then what is stop a judge or a govt. to impose slavery again? What is to stop them from legalizing the other deviancies of life styles? What is stop them from spying on American citizens? What is stop them from imposing health care laws that violate people of faith?
Barbara Glakas January 14, 2014 at 10:04 PM
This comment of yours pretty much says it all: "What I said was all the choices you had."
DRB January 15, 2014 at 11:25 AM
As can be seen by Barbra’s last post, as well as her other ones, Liberals do not care for debate or feel a need to support their positions. They just want to and will if able impose their beliefs on all others. We have witnessed this attitude and behavior time and again from Barbra as well as others and in the very recent Fed. Judge ruling in OK. where he supports his decision in the same manner Barbra had, using the 14th amendment. As I have shown the 14th amendment does not apply at all in the decision. Gays have not been denied “equal protection under the law” ALL have the same protected right to marry as prescribed by law. Just as pedophiles, polygamist, bestiality, has not been denied “equal protection under the law” they ALL have the same protected rights to marry as prescribed by law. The 14th amendment is applicable now after the decision. Once one deviant behavior is given protective status there no longer is a barrier against the other perversions and deviancy. The question remains whether the judge will have intellectual integrity and legalize and normalize all perverse and deviant behavior. Or will he justify only his own personal favorite perversions the way Barbra has. When you don't have ethical standards to which you can be measured you cannot be trusted. For example one says "I believe in equal rights for ALL" but later eliminate for some the rights you have defined. You therefor do not believe in "equal rights for ALL" and have now changed your standard and nobody can rely on your judgment. For when will you change it yet again without reason or integrity? So the most important question that remains for the normal and ethical and moral people that are left in the world is whether people like Barbra are just “useful idiots”, as Lenin and Marx has dubbed them, while the likes of Lenin and Marx commits atrocities with the support of the Barbra’s? Or are the Barbra’s part of the jack booted thugs that commit the atrocities?
Pamela Findley January 15, 2014 at 06:17 PM
Barbara, I commend you for your reasoned and well written comments. DRB, I had to read most of your comments a couple of times to try to understand your convoluted arguments and poor use of the English language. Perhaps English is not your native language, and, therefore, you may be given some leeway. Part of the problem is that you label homosexuality, polygamy, bestiality, and pedophilia all as equally deviant behaviors. They are not equal and they are not all "deviant behaviors". Homosexuality is not a mental disorder, but rather a normal aspect of human sexuality, just like heterosexuality or bisexuality, none of which should have legal barriers to marriage. Polygamy is not a mental disorder, but a lifestyle choice, just like monogamy. Whether polygamy should be legal or not is an ongoing discussion with pros and cons on either side. Bestiality and pedophilia are still considered paraphilias, although bestiality or zoophilia is not usually treated unless there is harm done to the individual or the animal. Therefore, to oppose laws prohibiting gay marriage does not arbitrarily lead to opposition of laws governing pedophilia or bestiality.
DRB January 15, 2014 at 09:52 PM
Thanks for weighing in Pamela. I wish you would have given more details as to what you found so convoluted. The fact that you were able to follow Barbra I think is a major accomplishment. I am glad that you have tried to offer some defense to the discussion at hand. I see that you feel comfortable in labeling what is normal and not. You make the assertion that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and further assert that it is normal. I will presume you would like to have the American Psychiatric Ass. as you champion in the matter or is there some other authority you would like to offer? You do currently have the American Psychiatric Ass. on your side but they did have it as a mental disorder until the 1970's. Pedophilia is still considered a disorder but there have been strides by the American Psychiatric Ass. to change that. I suppose like all science of it kind you must wait until the public doesn't have strong objections or the group is able to flex some public and political muscle before you make a change in policy as was done for homosexuality. As to the point that " to oppose laws prohibiting gay marriage does not arbitrarily lead to opposition of laws governing pedophilia or bestiality." I disagree. The argument from the 14th amendment has been applied to protect under law the right of gays to marry despite what is prescribed by law. It is therefore required that all those that wish, for their own purposes, to be married to whatever and whoever they wish must be allowed to do so. That is the actual equal protection that the amendment demands. I fail to see how you are able get around it. You want so bad to not have gays equated to the other deviancies. The other group's arguments for their rights are the same as the gays had been.
Pamela Findley January 15, 2014 at 11:21 PM
What science or authority do you cite for "classifying" homosexuality as a mental disorder? I did consult the APA website to make sure I was making correct statements, but there are other authorities internationally that have come to the same conclusions. I don't see pedophilia becoming acceptable either socially or psychiatrically because a child cannot legally give consent for a sexual relationship, so it is considered child abuse. Same with bestiality--it can be illegal under animal abuse laws. Finally, what does it matter to you whether a homosexual couple marries or not, or even if a man has more than one wife? If the actions are between consenting adults, why would you object?
DRB January 16, 2014 at 11:26 AM
I don’t think I classified anything as a mental disorder.--------- I see you had previously qualified what is and isn’t normal. Why should we submit to whatever standard you measure normal? That is if you do consider deviant behavior as abnormal. Dare I ask if you consider them wrong? Why can’t we use the standards of those that engage in the deviant behavior? Better yet why can’t we us my standards? Should the APA be the arbiter of our standards?-------------------- You now say you don’t foresee acceptance of Pedophiles. The American Psychiatric Association was to have been quoted back in 1998 “that the ‘negative potential’ of adult sex with children was ‘overstated’ and that ‘the vast majority of both men and women reported no negative sexual effects from childhood sexual abuse experiences.”------------------------ They had since backed off somewhat but just last year there was supposedly a text correction because the APA had originally declassified Pedophiles. The APA votes as to what is and is not classified as disorders. Science is not based on conscientious though or majority rule.---------------------- We can look at a group called B4U-ACT that is trying to soft sell Pedophiles by renaming them as “minor-attracted persons”. As you can see there are efforts towards normalization as it had with homosexuals.--------------------- Your distinction of between consenting adults is again you imposing your beliefs on others. By what standard do you make such judgments and will those standards remain even after a successful campaign by those that wish to include non-adults or animals or multiples?---------------- Why does it matter to me? It doesn’t affect me if you are robbed so what does it matter to me? It doesn’t affect me if you are lied to so what does it matter to me? It doesn’t affect me if you kill your child so why does it matter to me? It matters because I have children and would have liked them to be part of a country that knows the difference between right and wrong and applies it. Not the country that Liberals have embarked on where human life is devalued in general and people of color even more so. Not a country where Liberals have diminished trustworthiness and compassion and honesty. Not a country where Liberals want to lower all into equality instead of allowing individuals to rise to their abilities and desires. Not a country where Liberals makes deviancy and perversion socially acceptable which devalues and undermines the strong ethics and morals that my children have.---------------- As far as the legality of the issues, they are only words on a paper that can be changed with new legislation or if a judge wants to arbitrarily change the law to suit their own purpose. The law and the will of the people have very little protection or force in these matters as we have witnessed.---------------- I do not have trouble saying without reservation that Polygamy, Pedophilia, Bestiality, and Homosexuality as well as stealing, lying and murder are wrong. Can you? If so which ones and by what criteria?
Pamela Findley January 17, 2014 at 10:08 AM
By what criteria do you say that polygamy and homosexuality are wrong? I base my beliefs on science and the Bible and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Yes, pedophilia, bestiality, stealing, lying, and murder are wrong because they harm others. I will confess that my views on homosexuality have changed over the years as I have learned and studied many sources, scientific and religious, and met and come to know people in same-sex, committed relationships. I don't expect to change your mind. I do see the issue of homosexual marriage similar to the issue of interracial marriage. It was once illegal in many states, including Virginia, to marry someone of another race. That is no longer the case as we have evolved in our understanding of right and wrong. You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts. Again, what are your sources to state that homosexuality is deviant behavior or abnormal? Standards, if you will accept that word, change as we grow as human beings and as a society.
Barbara Glakas January 17, 2014 at 07:55 PM
“I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and Constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.” Thomas Jefferson
DRB January 17, 2014 at 08:08 PM
Thank you for your response. I am glad to read that you do have a moral and ethical compass. But it seems from your response that it shifts beneath your feet like sand over time. I do not have my own facts but offer facts for your consideration.------------------------------- I too have gay friends and acquaintances but the bible always says it is wrong . So from a purely biblical point of view it is wrong. Polygamy while tolerated was not condoned by God in the bible and Jesus actually states what God intends for us in a relationship with each other in marriage and the relationship we are to have with Him.---------------------------------- From a historical perspective gays and polygamist have indeed been around for most of history. A descendant of Cain is the first time the bible mentions Polygamy in fact. In the records of history we do not have any legally binding or sanctioned gay marriages until we get to our modern times. While gay unions did occur throughout history and were even celebrated at times they were not recognized as marriage. That is because marriage has always been a recognized definition that had variations but which does not include gays.---------------------------------------- Science does not speak to the right or wrong of any issue but offers explanation and data. As for the APA we already know that they make their determinations based on a majority vote and that is not science. -------------------------- If you talk frankly with your gay acquaintances you will find that marriage is the tool that is expected to bring social acceptance to them. It is to make legit and normal their choices. It may have that effect on many but still does not make it right. -------------------------------------- The other deviant behaviors previously mentioned all offer the same arguments that gays have used over the years for acceptance. It is therefore reasonable for them and the rest of us to expect legitimization under the law since the law/Constitution has so been bastardized from its specific and intended use that there is no argument against their legalization. Some day someone will write in a chat room about the other deviant behaviors that it once was illegal in many states, including Virginia, for gays to marry.
DRB January 17, 2014 at 08:17 PM
Nice quote Barbra. There are specific ways in which to make those changes. If the changes made today are with the stroke of a pen by one then another can come by tomorrow and make changes you find not so pleasant. The hard work of changing the laws and the Constitution is to be the protection from tyrants of the minority or a majority. It is a shame that we have lost those protections. I hope you don't find yourself on the dangerous end of the next set of imposed changes.
Barbara Glakas January 17, 2014 at 08:59 PM
To the first half of your first comment: “You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew “How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.” Luke “Jesus said: You see the mote which is in your brother's eye; but you do not see the beam which is in your own eye. When you cast out the beam from your own eye, then you will see (clearly) to cast out the mote from your brother's eye.” Thomas “Who am I to judge?” Pope Francis.
Barbara Glakas January 17, 2014 at 08:59 PM
To the second half of your first comment: This is more than about “social acceptance.” From a civil standpoint, marriage is also about joint tax returns, hospital visitation rights, adoption rights, rights to social security, life insurance and death benefits, contractual agreements, family sick leave, etc., etc., etc.
Barbara Glakas January 17, 2014 at 09:20 PM
To your second comment: Changing the law IS hard work, I agree. But it can be done in a variety of ways, such as adding “sexual orientation” to the Civil Rights Act. Or letting each state decide for themselves how they want to deal with the marriage issue. That is already happening now and the states are slowly coming around one by one. We’re not losing protections; we are gaining protections for our fellow gay citizens.
DRB January 17, 2014 at 09:51 PM
To Barbra's first reply of scripture quotes. You hypocrite! "Get thee behind me, _____" Mat.16:23
DRB January 17, 2014 at 09:52 PM
To Barbra's next reply. You keep telling yourself that and you may believe it eventually. Those other issues have been and can be dealt with in a variety of ways. It is only the normalization of the deviancy that is important. Redefining marriage is to be a big part of that strategy. I just don't have to participate in the charade. You change the definition then so do I. Marriage means you're gay. Husband and wife mean you're normal.
DRB January 17, 2014 at 09:59 PM
To Barbra's last reply. You could have chosen those ways of changing things but instead legislating judges is what was used in the vast majority of the cases. When you unchain tyrants as you have you might not like what you get in return. When you normalize deviancy you get what you deserve.
Pamela Findley January 17, 2014 at 11:47 PM
Obviously, your interpretation of the Bible is different than mine. What scriptures do you cite to support your opinion that homosexuality is wrong? BTW, marriage is not a "gay" term. I am married to my husband. We are not "man and wife," but husband and wife. My homosexual friends do not need to use "marriage as a tool." "Social acceptance" is not their goal. Their goal is to have the same rights as any other married couple. Some of my friends have been married before God and their family and friends as witnesses, as well as legally married in other states like Maryland. As far as my moral compass shifting like sand, you know nothing about me. Have you never changed your mind? Do you still believe everything you believed as a child? If so, I pity your stunted growth. As I said before, I have explored the issue of homosexuality, discussing it with my minister father, my gay and lesbian friends, studying scripture and the interpretation of it, reading scientific and sociological articles, and so on. I continue to listen, explore, and learn in my spiritual journey. I don't expect to change your mind, as apparently it is cast in stone. BTW, the other poster's name is BARBARA, not Barbra.
Barbara Glakas January 18, 2014 at 08:02 AM
It’s not my intent to get into a big scripture battle. My main point was – after DRB started referring to what God, Jesus and the Bible said – was that I always find it puzzling when people use verses from the Bible to judge others. To me, that is the antithesis of what the Bible, or religion in general, is all about.
DRB January 18, 2014 at 02:22 PM
To Pamela: A quick search on homosexuality in the bible comes up with this short list not to be confused with a much more longer list available. (both old and new testaments) • Lev. 18:22, "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination."1 • Lev. 20:13, "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them" • 1 Cor. 6:9-10, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God." • Rom. 1:26-28, "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper."------------------------------- As to the man and wife and marriage classification. I am making a point that it is not necessary to participate with the gay agenda of relabeling the word marriage since we are able to relabel it as well to have the definition of being gay. Not to be confused with normal unions which can be identified as man and wife or husband and wife if you prefer.
DRB January 18, 2014 at 02:23 PM
To: Pamela: the moral compass shifting like sand beneath your feet was in reference to your statements of them so doing. My beliefs are fairly sound. I have wanted things that are wrong to be right. I am not going to be so bold and hubris as to think that I am wiser than God. So I accept what He says even if I don't like it and pray for strength to follow in his ways.---------------------------------- If you have studied the issue to such a great extent then you may wish to impart your learned knowledge for our edification.
DRB January 18, 2014 at 02:27 PM
To Barbara: Sorry for the misspellings. Not sure why or why I have not noticed that. ---------------- To be honest I don't think I ever brought up the bible, God, or Jesus or quote from scripture first. I went with the flow as it came. Whether science, bible or culture. I may have brought up history first.
Barbara Glakas January 18, 2014 at 04:54 PM
DRB, No problem on you misspelling my name. An innocent mistake. On your posts you did bring up God/Jesus/the Bible when you said: “So from a purely biblical point of view it is wrong. Polygamy while tolerated was not condoned by God in the bible and Jesus actually states what God intends for us in a relationship with each other in marriage and the relationship we are to have with Him….. a descendant of Cain is the first time the bible mentions Polygamy in fact.” That’s why I came back with my “Who am I to judge” comments. I have a little challenge for you… the next time you are in a book store, pick up 6 or 7 different kinds of bibles (you know, King James version, this-or-that version) and then read then read one of the Bible passages you quoted (such as the Leviticus one, for example) in each one of the bibles. See all the various ways it is translated and re-interpreted. And by the way, despite 1 Cor. 6:9-10 that you quoted, in the United States today, even fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminates, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers and swindlers are allowed to get married.
DRB January 18, 2014 at 05:27 PM
In fact I did not start the bible, God, and Jesus stuff. Pamela brought it up with "I base my beliefs on science and the Bible and the leading of the Holy Spirit." I pointed out that the bible does over and over say it is wrong. I also brought up the descendant of Cain, from the bible, as part of the historical context of homosexuals. --------------- As for the various bible translations or transliteration to be more precise they all still say it is wrong. If you are not a person of faith that is fine for you to dismiss this part of the discussion. ----------------------- All those quoted in Lev. is part of the biblical discussion that Pamela asked for of right and wrong not the discussion of marriage.

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