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Virginia Senate panel votes to leave overturned gay-marriage ban in state constitution

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RICHMOND, Virginia — A state Senate committee isn't ready to take Virginia's overturned gay-marriage ban out of the state constitution.

On an 8-7 party-line vote Tuesday, the Republican-controlled Privileges and Elections Committee rejected a proposal to begin the process of repealing the amendment approved by Virginia voters in 2006 defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The ban was effectively nullified by a series of federal court decisions last year, and same-sex couples have been getting married since October.

Democratic Sen. Adam Ebbin of Alexandria, chief patron of the repeal measure, said it's time to align the constitution with the court rulings.

But opponents said that would be premature, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court agreed this month to decide the gay-marriage issue for the entire nation.

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