Wednesday evening, hours into a lengthy meeting of the Virginia Senate Courts of Justice Committee, SB 40 — Senator Bill Carrico’s (R – Grayson) bill to allow clerks of court and their deputies to refrain from issuing marriage licenses based on personal objections — reported on a near-party-line vote. All six Democrats were opposed.
Commenting after the vote, Senator Adam Ebbin (D – Alexandria) said, “ ‘Marriage equality’ means everyone is treated equally. We should not pass a law that allows public officials, acting on their own discriminatory beliefs, to create obstacles for couples entitled under the law to wed. This bill calls for separate and unequal treatment, and this is immoral, unjust and unconstitutional.”
Senator Donald McEachin (D – Henrico) added, “If public officials don’t want to carry out their prescribed duties, they should not seek election or appointment to those offices. What should never happen is for their prejudices to impose burdens or inequalities on Virginians who simply want to exercise their lawful rights. Public servants need to serve, and serve all Virginians — which is the opposite of what this bill proposes.”