Republican delegate Robert G. Marshall on Tuesday said he will introduce a bill in the upcoming general assembly session that would prevent Virginia from recognizing civil unions between gay couples from other states. Marshall said Virginia has a law that bans the recognition of gay marriages from other states but not civil unions. Only Vermont allows civil unions between gay men and lesbians. "You can go to Vermont right now and do it, and we'd be hard-pressed not to recognize it," said Marshall, of Prince William, at the second annual Associated Press Day at the Capitol. Marshall said the recent Massachusetts supreme court ruling calling that state's ban of same-sex marriages unconstitutional might give Virginians more incentive to get civil unions recognized here.
Delegate-elect Adam Ebbin of Fairfax, who will be Virginia's only out legislator, said Marshall's proposal was unnecessary. "I don't know why we find it so threatening when two people who care about each other want to visit each other in the hospital," Ebbin said, referring to next-of-kin privileges that currently are not granted to gay couples. Ebbin said time would be better spent arguing other issues because, "Virginia is not going to be the third state to recognize civil unions, it's not going to
be the fourth state, not the 20th state."