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The First Steps Toward Changing the Constitution

Friday, January 14, 2005; Page B04

Virginia's legislature will debate a proposed constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage. These are the basics.

The amendment: The assembly will consider at least five resolutions with the same goal of advancing an amendment to the state constitution that would define marriage as between a man and a woman.

_____Virginia Government_____
Stage Set For Battle Over Gay Marriage (The Washington Post, Jan 14, 2005)
A Look Ahead at the 2005 Session (The Washington Post, Jan 13, 2005)
State of the Commonwealth (The Washington Post, Jan 13, 2005)
Va. Session Opens With Warner Stressing Roads, Bipartisanship (The Washington Post, Jan 13, 2005)
Full Report

The process: The resolution would have to be approved by the House and Senate, then approved again by the assembly next year. The governor doesn't have an opportunity to sign or veto the resolution. However, the state's voters must approve it in a referendum before it can be added to the constitution.

The history: Virginia has a law that bars same-sex marriages and says Virginia will not recognize such marriages performed in other states. Proponents say that is not enough because a law can be overturned. Opponents say that with the law on the books, a constitutional amendment is just piling on, for political purposes.

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