GOP Gov. Youngkin Signs Gay Marriage Law

Glenn Youngkin, the Republican governor of Virginia, signed a law this week that followed up on a long-standing promise he made — that he would enshrine into law the right for same-sex couples to get married.

Before the state General Assembly wrapped up the latest 60-day legislative session over the weekend, Youngking signed into law 64 different bills, while vetoing eight.

Over the weekend, the governor’s office said that Youngkin signed that gay marriage bill, even though many Republican voters are against it and even though he has Christian beliefs. The office said Youngkin ended up signing the bill because it also had carveouts for religious liberties included.

Christian Martinez, a spokesman for Youngkin, told

“The bill adds First Amendment protections to the code of Virginia. Religious organizations and members of the clergy acting in their religious capacity now have the authority to decline to officiate marriage ceremonies that violate their conscience.”

This adds some protections to people and organizations who are against gay marriage, which is why Youngkin ultimately supported it.

It’s something that Youngkin has long said he would support. While he campaigned for the governorship back in 2021, he told The Associated Press that gay marriage was “legally acceptable” in the state and he’d “support that” if he were elected governor.

Gay marriage was already legal in Virginia, as reported this week. But, this new bill ensures that it stays legal in the state, regardless of what might happen in the future in a court case

According to the new law, marriage licenses have to be issued to any two people who seek a “lawful marriage” regardless of their sex, race or gender. That has been on the books in Virginia ever since the Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges case from 2015.

What this new Virginia law does, essentially, is put protections for gay marriage in place should the Supreme Court ever decide to reverse that decision, as it did for abortion when it overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision last summer.

Before this new law was signed by Youngkin, had the high court reversed Obergefell, the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage that Virignia passed in 2006 would’ve gone into effect.

That’s why many advocates of gay marriage have praised the action by Youngkin to put these constitutional protections in place. For instance, Narissa Rahaman, the executive director of Equality Virginia, said:

“Two years into his term, Governor Youngkin has shown leadership and inclusivity, and has finally listened to his constituents with his signing of HB 174.”

The bill passed through the state Senate by a vote of 22-17. State Senator David Suetterlein was the only Republican to vote in favor of the bill, along with all Democrats in the chamber.

In Virginia’s House of Delegates, five Republicans voted to approve the bill — Dvaid Owen, Kim Taylor, Chad Green, Carrie Coyner and Rob Bloxom.