A federal judge declared Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, saying it violates the constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the 14th Amendment. The decision was immediately stayed, pending an appeal, so marriages for gay and lesbian couples will not begin immediately.
“We have arrived upon another moment in history when We the People becomes more inclusive, and our freedom more perfect,” the ruling said.
“Gay and lesbian individuals share the same capacity as heterosexual individuals to form, preserve and celebrate loving, intimate and lasting relationships,” U.S. District Judge Arenda L. 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.”
According to the Washington Blade, Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish said Wright’s ruling “finally puts Virginia on the path toward allowing lesbian and gay couples to marry the person they love here in the place they call home.”
“This is an historic day in Virginia,” added Parrish.