Fed. Judge Strikes Down VA Marriage Law

A federal judge has struck down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage in the case in which the new attorney general decided not to defend the case any longer and in which David Boies and Ted Olson were representing the plaintiffs. The ruling was released Thursday evening.

A federal judge in Norfolk struck down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage Thursday night, saying it violates the constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.

U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen stayed her decision so that it can be appealed, and so same-sex marriages in the commonwealth will not begin immediately. Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D), who had switched the state’s legal position on the issue and joined two gay couples in asking that the ban be struck down, has said the state will continue to enforce the ban until the legal process is over.

“Gay and lesbian individuals share the same capacity as heterosexual individuals to form, preserve and celebrate loving, intimate and lasting relationships,” Wright Allen wrote. “Such relationships are created through the exercise of sacred, personal choices — choices, like the choices made by every other citizen, that must be free from unwarranted government interference.”

Wright Allen opened her decision with a quote from Mildred Loving, who was at the center of the Virginia case that the Supreme Court used in 1967 to strike down laws banning interracial marriage.

Wright Allen added: “Tradition is revered in the Commonwealth, and often rightly so. However, tradition alone cannot justify denying same-sex couples the right to marry any more than it could justify Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage.”

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About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • colnago80

    The theofascists are already demanding that the judge be impeached, if not hanged, drawn, and quartered.

  • Wylann

    This decision was almost a no-brainer, given the current precedents and the way things are going across the country (finally).

    Impeached…for doing his job? Yeah, that sounds about right for the wrongwing wannabe theocrats.

  • thebookofdave

    the state will continue to enforce the ban until the legal process is over

    What legal process? If we take it to the next level, we’re just inviting another activist judge to rule in favor of sodomy and moral decay. I say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

  • DonDueed

    Impeached…for doing his job?

    Her job.

  • regexp

    The Judge herself is deeply religious and belongs to a church that is publicly against marriage equality. Of course – the right wing has already labeled her an activist judge.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi


  • abb3w

    And the ADF continues its losing streak on gay marriage.

  • garnetstar

    It must be getting tiring for all these judges to have to write what is basically the same opinion over and over again.

    I know! All the judges who have these cases come up can just take the text of Loving v. Virgina and pull a Scalia: just cross out “race” in the text and write in “sexual orientation”.

  • vmanis1

    Modusoperandi: where do i sign up?

    It’s important to understand that Loving was different in kind from marriage equality. In Loving, what was struck down was a CRIMINAL law against miscegenation, whereas here no criminal law exists, thanks to Lawrence v Texas. In that regard, Scalia’s dissent in Lawrence seems to be very accurate: eliminate the criminal sanction, and there will be no basis for banning marriage. I look forward to Scalia’s dissent in whatever marriage case reaches SCOTUS, where he will no doubt mock his former words. (I do believe it will be a dissent; when even an Oklahoma judge rules for equality, Kennedy will follow.)

    But the Virginia judgement had an extensive quote from Loving on the front page, which was wonderful.