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.”
Spittle-flecked outrage from the Christian right in 3…2…1…