by Brandon Jarvis

Republican Del. Tim Anderson (Virginia Beach) filed a bill for the upcoming General Assembly’s legislative session that would repeal the ban on same-sex marriage in Virginia. This law has already been ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court but the ban still remains on Virginia’s books. The provision was placed into the Constitution 16 years ago and defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.

As pointed out by the Virginia Progressive Legislative Alert Network, Anderson recently sued to have “Gender Queer” removed from children’s book sections. “Gender Queer” recounts the author’s journey from adolescence to adulthood and their exploration of gender identity and sexuality, ultimately identifying as being outside of the gender binary.

On the lawsuit that was eventually dismissed by a judge earlier this year, Anderson said:

“This was never never about trying to ban gay literature or trans literature,” Anderson said. “This was simply just saying these have really sexual explicit content and it’s not appropriate for kids.”

The editorial section of the Virginian-Pilot recently criticized Anderson for the lawsuit and connected it to the tragedy that happened at Club Q in Colorado. The Pilot said efforts like the one from Anderson to remove this book from children’s libraries as an example of the “exhaustive and relentless opposition” that LGBTQ Americans face.

Anderson referred to the editorial as fiction. “The connection is as fictional as the belief the Pilot has an ounce of journalistic integrity,” Anderson said. :The premise, that the lawsuit sought to ban Barnes and Noble from selling Gender Queer is false. The lawsuit sought limited relief, which is not to sell the book which contains extreme graphic sexual images to minors. Protecting children from adult content is not anti-LGBTQ and certainly had nothing to do with the Colorado shooting.”

Anderson then said he plans to continue to protect children from a “woke, Marxist liberal mob.”

Democrats have been trying to repeal this ban for years but Republicans have blocked them each step of the way. Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and Del. Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax) plan to introduce a repeal of the ban again. Their efforts earlier this year were defeated by the Republican-held House of Delegates.

“The same Virginia Republicans who have made life hell for LGBTQ Virginians are trying to paper over their Fear the Queer hate campaign by supporting half measures to clean up the bigotry they put into Virginia’s constitution 15 years ago. Don’t fall for it,” said Kevin Saucedo-Broach, a staffer for Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington).

While the Supreme Court made these types of bans illegal in 2015, advocates are worried that the current Supreme Court could overturn that decision as they did with Roe v. Wade earlier this year.

Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in June that the court should review and reverse previous “errors” under the 14th Amendment right to equal protection.

This will continue to be a developing situation throughout the upcoming session and possibly beyond. The resolution would have two be approved by the General Assembly in 2023 and 2024 since it is in Virginia’s Constitution.

Late in the day on Monday, Anderson sent Virginia Scope a long explanation of why he filed this bill. Read the full explanation that Anderson provided below:

“I have filed the resolution to repeal the same-sex marriage constitutional prohibition in the Virginia Constitution. Why? Here are 7 reasons I am sponsoring this change:

“First – this is a resolution to amend Virginia’s Constitution. Accordingly, it must pass the General Assembly 2 years in a row and then it goes to voters. So ultimately, it will be up to the people of Virginia if they want this provision taken out of the Va Constitution.

“Second – The Supreme Court declared this provision of Virginia’s Constitution unconstitutional to the US Constitution, and gay marriage has been legal in Virginia since 2015. Removing this brings Virginia’s Constitution in line with the US Constitution as interpreted by the US Supreme Court.

“Third – Marriage is a matter of the state. While individuals can religiously marry or civilly marry, both must obtain a wedding license from the state to be “legally married”. If you get married in a church and do not get a license from the state, you are not “legally married”. Religious marriages may be ordained by God in churches, but they are not legal without a state license.

“Fourth – The US is the 6 highest country for divorces – with 50% of all first marriages divorcing, and those numbers go higher for 2nd and 3rd marriages. Americans do no view marriage as a “sacred” act. It is something Americans do and then at least half decide it’s not for them. All marriages, regardless of religious or civil ceremonies must go through the Courts for a divorce.

“Fifth – It is a matter of equality. It is not me, nor the government nor your right to tell anyone else who they can marry. So long as the marriage participants are adults and possess capacity to enter into a contract, then that is between them.

“Sixth – Repealing this provision does not mean a church has to perform a same-sex marriage. We must respect a churches First Amendment rights to refuse to participate in a marriage ceremony that violates their religious charters. Same-sex couples can be married in a civil ceremony or in a religious ceremony that recognizes it, and in doing so, does not effect any part of your marriage to your partner.

“Seventh – Removing the government from telling people who they can love and commit their lives to each other is a conservative principle. We should never, as government, tell people who they can love, who they can hold themselves out in public as loving and treat them differently than how we treat those in a traditional heterosexual marriage.”

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By vascope