Metro Weekly reports:
In the Senate, the Committee on General Laws and Technology took up SB248, introduced by Sen. A. Donald McEachin (D-City of Richmond, Henrico, Hanover, Charles City counties), to prohibit discrimination in state employment. The bill was nearly identical to a similar measure that passed both the committee and the full Senate by a bipartisan 24-16 vote last year, and would essentially have made permanent an executive order prohibiting such discrimination that Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) issued just hours after being sworn in on Jan. 11. But a contingent of seven right-wing Republicans on the committee took advantage of the Senate’s temporary makeup to defeat the bill. Normally, the Committee on General Laws, at full strength, has 15 members. But a vacancy on the committee due to the election of former Sen. Mark Herring as Attorney General left the committee with only 14 members, eight of them Republicans.
The House measure, HB939, introduced by Del. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax Co.), would have repealed a Virginia state statute banning same-sex marriage. Notably, it would not have repealed the Marshall-Newman Amendment to the Virginia Constitution that voters approved in 2006, but only the underlying law prohibiting marriages, civil unions, domestic partnerships and other instruments that recognize same-sex relationships. HB939 was assigned to the House Committee on Courts of Justice, from which Chairman David Albo (R-Fairfax Co.) assigned it to the 10-member subcommittee on civil law. The measure failed on a 5-4 vote, despite support from Del. Greg Habeeb (R-Salem, Roanoke, Montgomery, Craig counties) and Del. Manoli Loupassi (R-City of Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield counties), who voted in favor of continuing the discussion by allowing the full committee to consider the bill.
And so, marriage equality in Virginia may come down to the court decision, just as it has in Utah and Oklahoma.