The state Senate all but guaranteed on Wednesday that Virginia will hold a November referendum on whether to amend its 230-year-old Bill of Rights to bar same-sex marriages.
The Senate voted 28 to 11 to follow the House of Delegates in approving the amendment. Though each chamber still must pass the measure adopted by the other, their wording is identical and support among the senators and delegates is strong.
"The family is the foundation of our society, and it's been based on a union of a man and a woman since the inception of marriage," said Del. John A. Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake). "A constitutional amendment . . . will protect that."
Although constitutional amendment referendums are common in Virginia, it will be only the second time since 1970 that the Bill of Rights has been subjected to amendment.
There will no doubt be very vocal opposition to this amendment. But unless they can get state leaders (and particularly Democratic Governor Tim Kaine) to come out against it they are unlikely to be successful in defeating the measure.