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Video: VA House, Senate Democrats Call on House Republicans to Take Up Constitutional Amendment Resolutions on Marriage Equality, Voting Rights


See below for video of a press conference, held this morning at the state Capitol, at which members of the Senate Democratic Caucus and House Democratic Caucuses discussed “possible next steps for constitutional amendment resolutions SJ 1 (automatic restoration of voting rights) and SJ 5 (remove same-sex marriage ban).” Participants included VA Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Mamie Locke; VA House Democratic Caucus Chair Charniele Herring; Senator Adam Ebbin; Delegate Mark Sickles; Narissa Rahaman of Equality VA; Shawn Weneta of ACLU Virginia; Tram Nguyen of New Virginia Majority. A few highlights included:

  • Del. Mark Sickles said “we are not giving up on our efforts to let Virginians vote on two important constitutional amendments, the automatic restoration of voting rights for returning citizens and the removing of the shameful Marshall-Newman language which bans marriage equality; it is unconstitutional, but remains an ugly stain on our Commonwealth.” Sadly, House Republicans have kept Virginians from being able to vote on these amendments.
  • Sen. Adam Ebbin said VA House Republicans are “afraid of evolution,” that Virginia “has evolved since 1607…since 2006 when our constitution was stained with…the so-called marriage amendment…I hope and pray that the Republicans can evolve too, like the rest of Virginia.
  • Sen. Mamie Locke said she knows what Republicans are afraid of – “they are afraid of you, the voters“; also, they afraid of “members of their own caucus and allowing those members to vote their conscience“; also, they are afraid of “the fact that they will no longer be able to pass voter suppression laws” in Virginia; and “they are afraid of democracy.”
  • Del. Charniele Herring said House Republicans can bring these amendments back to life. She noted that polls have consistently showed that Virginia voters support these amendments. She pointed out that Youngkin hasn’t weighed in, and called on him to allow Virginians to vote on SJ1 and SJ5.


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