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Sanctity of Marriage

 

EXPLANATION

Present Law
The Constitution does not define marriage. Under current statutory law in Virginia, persons who marry must have a license and be married by a licensed minister, judge, or other person authorized by law to perform marriages. Present law prohibits
marriages between certain individuals. For example, the law prohibits a marriage between a brother and sister, between a couple where one of the parties is married to someone else, and between couples of the same sex.

In 1975, the General Assembly enacted a statute (present Code of Virginia § 20-45.2) that states "A marriage between persons of the same sex is prohibited." In 1997, the General Assembly added a sentence to § 20-45.2 that states that: 2 Any marriage entered into by persons of the same sex in
another state or jurisdiction shall be void in all respects in Virginia and any contractual rights created by such marriage shall be void and unenforceable.

In 2004, the General Assembly passed a law to prohibit certain civil unions or other arrangements between persons of the same sex. That law (Code of Virginia § 20-45.3) states that: A civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement
between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage is prohibited. Any such civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement entered into by persons of the same sex in another state or jurisdiction shall be void in all respects in Virginia and any contractual rights created thereby shall be void and
unenforceable.

Thus, civil unions or other arrangements which purport “to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage” are prohibited by statute.