One could make an argument that Virginia is one of the most confused states in the union; widely accepted as very conservative in the southern part of the state and strongly liberal to the north.  If you divided the state, east-to-west, at Fredericksburg, you’d find a dramatic change in political leanings on either side of that line.  A dozen years ago that line could’ve been drawn at Springfield.  But now that the suburbs have sprawled further south, so, apparently, does the tendency toward liberalism.

Northern Virginia has long been a very transient area.  The federal government, and supporting contractors, have drawn people from all across the country; a younger more mobile population.  South you find more long-term Virginia residents, often going back numerous generations.  And Virginia has been a bastion of conservatism going back well before reconstruction.  This is one of the great conundrums of the 2008 election.  Barak Obama won handily in Virginia, throwing conventional thinking in a tail-spin.  Virginia has two Democrat Senators, Webb and Warner.  Truly Virginia is conflicted.  Nonetheless, the majority of the population of Virginia would identify itself as either conservative or conservative leaning.

Recent setbacks for the GOP are more likely due to the growth in Northern Virginia and just plain lousy candidates.  2010 demonstrated that the Commonwealth will likely remain in the GOP column in most elections for the foreseeable future; the emphasis being on the word most.

If you accept that Virginia is still, at its heart, a conservative state, can you imagine same-sex marriage ever becoming law in the Commonwealth?  It doesn’t seem likely.  Today, Maryland’s Senate gave preliminary approval to a law to allow marriage between partners of the same sex.  Even in Maryland, as liberal as Virginia is conservative, it did not go down without a lot of dissent.  No less than 5 amendments were proposed and voted down before the measure passed on a voice vote.  Final approval could come as early as Thursday.

Concurrently, in a curiously odd coincidence, it was announced that the President ordered the Justice Department to drop all efforts to protect the Defense of Marriage Act in court.  Though Barak Obama initially opposed the act, he’s stated on numerous occasions that his personal belief is that marriage should be preserved for one man and one woman.  This latest action is likely to cause him significant heartache in the 2012 election.  Polls have shown, repeatedly, that a large majority of voters do not support same-sex marriage.  Though the numbers have been moving towards more tolerance to gay marriage in recent years, for now his move-to-the-center saga is going to take a major hit.

Same-sex marriage in Virginia?  Until the Northern Virginia suburbs reach Lynchburg it’s not very likely.