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Virginia: Despite marriage equality, maneuvering rages on in Richmond

RICHMOND, Virginia -- With the legalization of same-sex marriage in Virginia, Democrats and some Republicans have unleashed a torrent of proposals intended to reflect the new reality in time for the start of the legislative session on Wednesday.

Liberal lawmakers have jumped at the chance to remove language banning gay marriage from the state’s constitution and statutes — a move that could energize their most ardent supporters in a year when all 140 General Assembly seats will be up for grabs.

The proposals also could force skittish Republicans to take a stand on gay rights, possibly pushing them into an awkward balancing act between fears about primary challenges from the right and the potential for alienating moderate general-election voters.

On Monday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said scrubbing the state code of references to “husband and wife” in exchange for the gender-neutral term “spouse” will help attract businesses to the state — the centerpiece goal of his governorship.

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