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Same-Sex Marriage Not Likely Legal in Virginia Any Time Soon

Alexandria residents question the efficacy of the Marshall-Newman amendment to the Virginia Constitution.

Several Alexandrians expressed concern to state lawmakers over the Marshall-Newman amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman and questioned their legislators’ opinions on just how firmly this language was moored at a hearing Thursday at Alexandria City Hall.

One such speaker, Old Town antique store owner Tom Osborne, who identified himself as active in the local chamber of commerce and a gay and lesbian Democratic club, said the amendment puts Northern Virginia “at a disadvantage.”

“I know six couples who have moved out of Northern Virginia because of this,” Osborne told a panel comprised of Sens. Adam Ebbin (D-30th), Dick Saslaw (D-35th) and George Barker (D-39th) along with Dels. Rob Krupicka (D-45th) and Charniele Herring (D-46th).

“Repealing this or getting rid of it is a long-term process. …We need to start working on this now,” he said of the 2006 change to the commonwealth's Constitution.

Saslaw replied that the “chances of getting it repealed are zero” because it is part of the Virginia Constitution.

Saslaw said if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage then there could be a constitutional challenge to Virginia’s prohibition. Then that would have to get through the General Assembly, he said.

Osborne pointed out that “the make up of the General Assembly can make a difference” to which Saslaw replied: “Attitudes are not changing in the Republican party.”

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