Constitutional amendment; repealing amendment dealing with marriage (first reference). (HJ665)

Introduced By

Sen. Scott Surovell (D-Mount Vernon) with support from 22 copatrons, whose average partisan position is:

Those copatrons are Del. Mamye BaCote (D-Newport News), Del. Bob Brink (D-Arlington), Del. David Bulova (D-Fairfax), Del. Betsy Carr (D-Richmond), Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax Station), Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria), Del. Daun Hester (D-Norfolk), Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington), Del. Algie Howell (D-Norfolk), Del. Mark Keam (D-Vienna), Del. Kaye Kory (D-Falls Church), Del. Rob Krupicka (D-Alexandria), Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington), Del. Ken Plum (D-Reston), Del. Jim Scott (D-Merrifield), Del. Mark Sickles (D-Alexandria), Del. David Toscano (D-Charlottesville), Del. Jeion Ward (D-Hampton), Del. Vivian Watts (D-Annandale), Sen. Roz Dance (D-Petersburg), Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate


Constitutional amendment (first resolution); marriage. Proposes the repeal of the constitutional amendment dealing with marriage that was approved by referendum at the November 2006 election. That amendment to the Bill of Rights: (i) defined marriage as "only a union between one man and one woman"; (ii) prohibited the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions from creating or recognizing "a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage"; and (iii) prohibited the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions from creating or recognizing "another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage." Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/08/2013Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/13 13101669D
01/08/2013Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
01/11/2013Assigned P & E sub: Constitutional Amendments Subcommittee
01/14/2013Subcommittee recommends passing by indefinitely
02/05/2013Left in Privileges and Elections


stephen writes:

How can a Government deside what is marriage? This is a good bill, and I'm not Gay.

Rick Sincere writes:

It may be an exercise in futility, but I enjoy tilting at windmills -- so I support this bill.

Equality Virginia writes:

This resolution is the necessary first step toward repealing the Marshall-Newman Amendment that added to the bill of rights of the Virginia Constitution the denial of any relationship recognition between gay and lesbian couples.

ACLU-VA LGBT Rights, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

Virginia ACLU supports repeal of the constitutional amendment denying LGBT Virginians full marriage equality and denying all unmarried persons the right to make enforceable contractual agreements defining their relationships as affording the rights or benefits of marriage.

rural virginia resident writes:

Members, Virginia House of Delegates Privileges and Elections Committee


Virginians implore the Committee to affirm HJ665, Constitutional amendment; repealing amendment dealing with marriage (first resolution). Your Subcommittee's decision to 'table' HJ665 is contrary to sound public policy and the will of Virginians to be active in their own governance. Please bring HJ665 to the full Committee, and refer it to the House.

HJ665 ( text at ) begins the process by which Virginians would be allowed to be active in their own governance, namely, to speak as a Commonwealth, regarding a topic of vital public public concern: the well being of Virginia families. The Virginia General Assembly has traditionally shown concern for the well being of Virginia families. Failing of affirm the people's demand to be active in their own governance in matters directly impacting their families is contrary to the 'Virginia way'.

May I, respectfully, appeal from the standpoint of one family, since HJ665 concerns my family directly:

I have been told by agencies of the Commonwealth of Virginia, I have been told by Delegates and Senators of the Virginia General Assembly, that the topic of HJ665 - Section 15-A of Article I of the Constitution of Virginia - requires Virginia to harm my family.

Requires Virginia to harm my family? Yes.

For example:
when my partner of decades became unemployed, I asked my employer - the University of Virginia, School of Medicine - to add my partner to my health insurance coverage. The request was refused. I was told that because of
Section 15-A of Article I of the Constitution of Virginia I must be treated differently from other employees of the University. My family must be harmed.

For example:
when the Commonwealth's vendor of long term care insurance offered a special invitation - without usual underwriting - to enroll employee's family members for insurance, I requested to enroll my parents: my mother and father, and my partner's family - two of whom are veterans of WW2, and all of whom are frail elderly Virginians - the request was refused (despite the fact that the vendor's - Genworth - website for enrollment specially named 'spouses/partners' in a search field for exploring coverage of family and family members). I was told that because of Section 15-A of Article I of the Constitution of Virginia my frail elderly parents and WW2 veterans must be harmed. My family MUST be harmed.

For example:
when the University of Virginia conducted a study of its academic (2011) employees,
employees stated (verbatim):

“University health benefits are extremely discriminatory against the LGBT community … lack of partner benefits and ‘blanket’ exclusions for all transsexual care”

“I get last choice in selecting leave … University does not offer domestic partner benefits … UVA [should be] more proactive to support its LGBT employees … looking elsewhere for employment”

“I have worked in the same unit, in the same position, for more than 12 years, with no advancement … achieved an advanced degree and achieved a professional specialty credential, … my pay remains barely at 40K”

“LGBT employees appear to be treated as annoyances when they ask for even the most basic level of concern. They are not even treated with the usual respect that is due to employees”

“I have personally felt silenced by and alienated from the conservative culture of the University”

“I have personally observed intolerance of sexual orientation [and other issues ] from people in supervisory roles”

“There are no University statements that protect transgender employees”

“University can be considerably more vocal about its support … and can work out ‘Plus One’ policies like with the gym. Please do more. Discrimination is so pervasive that it will only be repaired with a grassroots movement.”

“I have seen cases of issues of sexual orientation discrimination [and other issues ] handled very badly”

“Your survey should ask about sexual orientation … You should care whether gay people feel comfortable at UVa"

These many comments about many experiences at the University of Virginia - and likely across many Commonwealth's agencies - adduce that Section 15-A of Article I of the Constitution of Virginia and/or its interpretation is harming many Virginians: men, women, infants and children, retirees, frail elderly, veterans, etc.

Virginians wonder: why does the House of Delegates refuse to allow these many Virginians who are harmed to consider repeal of law that harms them?

We ask that Members of House Privileges and Elections affirm HJ665.


Roanoke Equality writes:

When will the state of Virginia catch up by enacting needed civil rights legislation? Changes are on the near horizon on a federal level re. the repeal of DOMA and overturning of prop 8 by the Supreme court. Will Virginia have to be pushed against the wall to say finally..discrimination is wrong! ? This is about providing civil marriage benefits to loving, committed couples here in Virginia. It is NOT about restricting religious freedom. Enough nonsense Virginia, be on the right side of history.