Republicans in the House of Virginia deny efforts to restore suffrage, proposals for marriage between homosexuals

The pressure from the Democrats is not over yet, but the process of bringing it to a full vote is unlikely.

State Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) speaks at a press conference at the Pocahontas Building in Richmond on March 3, 2022. Senator Locke was one of many speakers during Thursday’s news conference. (Photo: Dean Mirshahi)

Richmond, Virginia (WRIC) – Democrats in the Virginia House tried to revive amendments to the constitution on same-sex marriage and voting rights that Republicans blocked earlier this weekbut Republican lawmakers used majority power in the House to deny the effort.

The proposed amendments would allow voters to decide whether to lift the state’s non-existent constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and automatically restore the right to vote for people convicted of serious crimes after their release.

Both resolutions were rejected Tuesday on a partisan basis by the Virginia Subcommittee. Virginia Democrats voiced support for the proposals Thursday during a rally in Capitol Square and a press conference, urging Gov. Glen Yangkin to support their efforts.

“We’re sure if he [Gov. Youngkin] If we weighed and declared our support, it would help get the House of Representatives the support it needs to move forward, ”Del Charniel Herin, D-Alexandria, said Thursday. “Power must be in the hands of the people.”

The next day, Republicans in the House Privileges and Elections Committee banned Democrats from making amendments to the full committee.

“These voices you see today are not just procedural voices,” Del Candy Mandan King (Prince William) said Friday. “This is a vote for what our principles are, who our priorities are and who we are as a commonwealth. And who do we want to have access to a vote, marry someone they love and feel in the arms of our commonwealth. ”

As a result of the 11-10 party vote, the committee accepted Dell’s proposal. Paul Cross (D-Fairfax), which provided for amendments to the constitution on the committee’s agenda for the day.

Among the 11 Republican delegates who voted to reject Del Crusader’s efforts were Del Margaret B. Ranson (Westmarland); Del. Israel D. O’Quinn (Washington County); Del. R. Adams Forest (Pittsylvania); Del James A. Leftwich (Chesapeake); Del Christopher T. Head (Botturt); Del. John J. McGuire, III (Guchland); Del Robert C. Blocks Jr. (Accomack); Del Ren M. Williams (Patrick); and Del Kim A. Taylor (Chesterfield).

There is another option to make proposals to the House of Delegates, although it seems unlikely.

Democrats would first need to ask for changes in the rules of procedure of the House of Representatives, which requires two-thirds of the votes in the House to allow resolutions to be passed from the committee. According to the current rule, only invoices can be withdrawn from the commission.

MP Marcus Simon (D-Fairfax) has already submitted a resolution on such a change of rules this year, but Republicans in the House of Representatives killed those efforts in February. Del. Simon has since pushed forward a similar resolution but it has not yet entered the House.

Because Republicans made Del Simon’s first attempt, his second push to change the rules is not expected to pass. If that were the case, both constitutional amendments would have received a full vote in the House of Representatives. The Democrat-controlled Virginia Senate already passed both sentences.

The Virginia General Assembly approved both proposals last year, but a re-vote was needed to hold a referendum in November. Amendments to the Constitution must be adopted in the same form every year, so legislators cannot amend them.

In Virginia, those convicted of a felony automatically lose their right to vote. Under the current system, the governor is the only way someone with a felony can regain their right to vote.

A resolution banning same-sex marriage would allow Virginia voters to decide whether to repeal a provision of the state constitution that defines marriage as “only an alliance between one man and one woman».

In 2006, Virginia voters approved an amendment to the constitution that banned same-sex marriage. A panel of the 4th District Court of Appeals lifted the ban in 2014, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a right guaranteed by the 2015 Constitution.

Failure to pass the resolution will preserve the outdated language in the Virginia Constitution, but it will not affect the legality of same-sex marriage.

While Republicans in the House of Representatives blocked both measures this year, Virginia Democrats had full control of the state government from 2020 until the 2022 session. If the resolutions are not passed by the House of Representatives, the referendums will not be voted on until at least 2024.

A spokesman for Governor Yangkin did not respond to a request for comment.

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