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Virginia Democrats Say Commonwealth Could Change Tune On Same-Sex Marriage

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Legislators in Richmond may eventually start debating legalizing same-sex marriage.
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Legislators in Richmond may eventually start debating legalizing same-sex marriage.

On the heels of the recent Supreme Court decision striking down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, many LGBT organizations are throwing their support behind the three Democrats running for statewide office in Virginia.

The Democratic candidates for Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor, Senators Mark Herring and Ralph Northam, say a new poll suggests that more Virginians on both sides of the political aisle support marriage equality.

According to the poll commissioned by the Human Rights Campaign, a gay advocacy group, 55 percent of Virginians now support same-sex marriage. Just five years ago, 57 percent of voters approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Herring and Northam believe that none of the three Republican candidates are willing to set aside their personal beliefs to help change Virginia's Constitution, and say this issue may play a huge role on what voters do in November.

"[T]he people of Virginia and particularly the media, you all need to keep your eye on the ball on this one. Because this is a legislative prerogative. The change in the Constitution originated in the legislature, it's not subject to a Governor's veto, the only thing it's subject to is the 140 of us voting on it then the people of Virginia voting on it," says Senator Donald McEachin.

Senator Adam Ebbin adds that with the Virginia ACLU now suing to overturn the state constitutional provision, he's confident that either through the legislative process or through the courts, changes inevitably will come.

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