Last Updated on February 21, 2021
Republican State Senator Jen Kiggans joined with far-left Democrats and other members of the Republican Party establishment in a vote to re-write a portion of the Constitution of Virginia, reversing a ban on gay marriage approved by a majority of the state’s voters in a 2006 referendum.
Though the United States Supreme Court struck down bans on gay marriage nationwide in 2015, a number of states’ legislatures, seemingly prompted by an LGBT lobby group named the Equality Federation, have attempted to remove or rewrite constitutional amendments and laws defining marriage as a union between one man and one women, with Nevada being the first state to successfully do so.
House Joint Resolution 582, introduced by openly gay Northern Virginia Democrat Mark Sickles, effectively reverses the current language in the Constitution of Virginia to redefine marriage as a “fundamental right, inherent to the liberty of persons.”
“That the right to marry is a fundamental right, inherent to the liberty of persons, and marriage is one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness. This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions and agents shall issue marriage licenses, recognize marriages, and treat all marriages equally under the law regardless of the sex or gender of the parties to the marriage,” reads the revised constitutional amendment.
Sickles’ resolution was supported almost unanimously by Virginia’s increasingly left-wing Democrats in both chambers, though at least four abstained from the vote. A handful of establishment-friendly Republicans, including Senator Kiggans, voted in favor of the resolution, which NBC News dubbed a test of the newly-blue state’s “progressive credibility.”
In order to complete the process, a majority of the state’s voters will have to approve of the constitutional change on the 2022 mid-term ballot, leading some observers to accuse the progressive left of creating a wedge issue to be used to slam Republicans and sew division in the state throughout the election cycle.
In return for her support, Kiggans has been lauded by progressive Democrats and establishment-friendly GOP members alike, including one who slammed those opposed to the resolution as right-wing extremists and conspiracy theorists.
“Earlier today, the Virginia Senate voted to remove the same sex marriage prohibition from the Virginia Constitution,” Phil Kazmierczak, an openly gay Republican candidate for State Delegate wrote in a Friday social media post lauding Kiggans’ support of the bill. “Thank you Senator Jen Kiggans for being on the right side of history!”
Though Kiggans’ name has been floated as a potential 2022 candidate for U.S. Congress in Virginia’s 2nd District, a number of votes cast throughout her time in Richmond have raised the eyebrows of the conservative voters who elected her in 2019.
In just over a year in office, Kiggans has taken a decidedly left-wing turn despite being elected as a conservative. In addition to voting in favor of HJ 582, Kiggans cast the deciding vote when Virginia’s legislature deliberated the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution which would lead to gender-neutral bathrooms, the expansion of abortion on demand, and male participation in women’s sports.
More recently, Kiggans accepted a donation from the for-profit prison lobby ahead of her vote to kill a bill that would end Virginia’s relationship with the for-profit prison industry, which is often accused of making billions of dollars off the long-term incarceration of black Americans.