Virginia legislator files attempt to overturn anti-gay constitutional amendment

Posted on 07 Jan 2009 at 5:43pm

Englin cites California’s Proposition 8 as reason to keep pushing for full equal rights

Richmond, Va. — Delegate David Englin, filed legislation on Wednesday, Jan. 7 for the 2009 session of the Virginia General Assembly to begin the process of repealing the 2006 amendment to the Virginia constitution that outlaws same-sex marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships and any state recognition of legal status for same-sex relationships, according to a press release from the lawmaker’s office.

Englin was an outspoken opponent of the amendment when it passed in 2006, condemning the measure as anti-gay bigotry in remarks delivered to the full House of Delegates on his third day in elected office, and then waging a grassroots effort against the amendment when it was on the ballot in November 2006.

"This is an uphill battle in a state like Virginia. However, in light of the setback to equal rights resulting from California’s Proposition 8, now more than ever we need everyone in our country who supports equal rights — no matter what state they live in — to stand up and say that laws denying people equal freedom are wrong and un-American,” Englin said in a written statement.

“What better place to take a stand for equal rights than Virginia, whose greatest leaders defined the very rights we hold dear as Americans? After all, it was a Virginian named George Washington who promised us a government that would give ‘to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance,’ and it was a Virginian named Thomas Jefferson who extolled the self-evident truth that all people are created equal,” Englin said.

Englin authored the only two pro-equality bills to successfully pass the Virginia General Assembly and become law since he took office in January 2006. Englin’s bill to protect equal rights in hospital visitation passed in 2007, and his bill to create a statewide registry of advanced medical directives for same-sex couples to designate partners to make medical decisions passed in 2008 and is due to be launched by April 2009.

“While we can’t let up on the big issues — like correcting this constitutional injustice — I’m also committed to making substantive progress where we can,” said Englin.

The repeal effort must take the form of a constitutional amendment, which means Englin’s legislation must pass the General Assembly twice with an intervening election and then be approved by public referendum. The entire Virginia House of Delegates, including Englin, is up for re-election in November 2009.

An Air Force veteran, Delegate David Englin is currently serving his second term in the Virginia House of Delegates, where he represents the 45th District, which includes parts of the City of Alexandria, Fairfax County and Arlington County.

He was first elected in November 2005 and won re-election in November 2007. A Democratic Whip, he serves on the Privileges and Elections Committee, and the Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee. He lives in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood with his wife, Shayna, and their nine-year-old son.

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