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Lawmakers in Florida and Virginia take steps to codify same-sex marriage

Published: Friday, Jan. 7th, 2022


Legislators in Florida and Virginia have prefiled several new measures to repeal defunct same-sex marriage bans during the upcoming 2022 Sessions, continuing where last year’s legislation left off.

 

This is good news – Most states still have outdated laws against same-sex marriage written into their statutes and state constitutions, and those laws need to go.

 

Although same-sex marriage bans have been unenforceable since the federal recognition of marriage equality in 2015, they’re not automatically removed from the books, and state legislators have been slow to take action. In fact, Nevada became the first state to remove such a ban from its laws in 2020 – six years after same-sex marriage was legalized there!

 

Here’s a look at Florida and Virginia’s most recent attempts to get their laws in-line with the times.

 

 

 

Florida

 

Florida legislators will consider House Bill 6015 (HB6015); Senate Bill 168 (SB168); Senate Bill 462 (SB462); and Senate Joint Resolution 472 (S.J.Res.472) this year. 

 

Each of these measures would repeal Section 741.212 of the Florida Statutes, which states that same-sex marriages are not legally recognized in the state and that marriage exists only between a man and woman. If SB168 and HB6015 pass, these changes would go into effect on July 1, 2022.

 

(HB6015, SB168, and SB462 pick up where SB 632 left off last year. That bill also attempted to repeal Section 741.212, but died in the Judiciary soon after its introduction.)

 

In addition, S. J. Res. 472 would add a measure to the general election ballot to amend the state constitution by repealing a definition that restricts marriage to unions between men and women only.

 

From S. J. Res 472: 

 

“Be it further resolved that the following statement be placed on the ballot:

 

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT                     
ARTICLE I, SECTION 27                      
REPEALING THE DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE.—
Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to remove a provision that is currently unenforced and is preempted by federal constitutional law and that defines marriage as the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and further restricts other legal unions from being treated as valid or recognized marriages, or the substantial equivalent thereof, in Florida.”

 


Virginia 

 

Following on the heels of last year’s House Joint Resolution No. 582 (HJ 582), legislators in Virginia have prefiled Senate Joint Resolution No. 5 (SJ 5). This is the next necessary step toward amending the state’s Constitution and formally recognizing the fundamental right of all people to marry, regardless of their gender. 

 

If the Resolution is passed, Section 15-A of Article I of the Constitution of Virginia will be amended as follows: 

 

Section 15-A. Fundamental right to marry.

 

That the right to marry is a fundamental right, inherent in the liberty of persons, and marriage is one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness.

 

This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions and agents shall issue marriage licenses, recognize marriages, and treat all marriages equally under the law regardless of the sex or gender of the parties to the marriage.

 

Religious organizations and clergy acting in their religious capacity shall have the right to refuse to perform any marriage.

 

 


We expect to hear more about these measures in the coming months, and will keep you updated. 

 

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How to become a Wedding Officiant in Florida

 

How to become a Wedding Officiant in Virginia 

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