Virginia lawmakers table proposed repeal of constitutional ban on gay marriage

A Senate panel voted Tuesday to delay until next year all proposed constitutional amendments, including one to repeal the state’s ban on gay marriage and another to change existing term limits on the governor.

The Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections voted unanimously to push off the constitutional measures for procedural reasons. In order to amend Virginia’s constitution, a measure must pass the General Assembly twice, with an election in between. Then, it must be approved by voters through referendum. Because there will be no General Assembly elections this year, the committee voted to wait.

“Next year is the appropriate year,” said Sen. Mark D. Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg), the committee chairman.

Obenshain said the committee was not singling out any particular proposed amendment. He noted that one that he had submitted, intended to make it easier to establish charter schools, was subjected to the same delay. Other proposals called for changing the constitution to establish a redistricting commission, repeal a ban on gay marriage and allow the governor to serve two back-to-back terms. The constitution currently allows a governor to serve more than one term, but only after a break.

Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.
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