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Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced today that he finds the state’s ban on same-sex marriages to be unconstitutional, and he will no longer defend it in court.
This does not mean marriage equality is immediately legalized in Virginia, but it does mean that the state will side with the plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit seeking marriage rights for same-sex couples.
The Norfolk lawsuit’s plaintiffs are two couples: Timothy Bostic and Tony London, and Carol Schall and Mary Townley. Bostic and London applied for a marriage license with the Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk’s office in July 2013, but their application was denied.
Bostic and Schall were legally married in California in 2008. They have a daughter, whom Schall gave birth to in 1998, but Bostic can’t adopt her because Virginia law doesn’t allow same-sex couples to adopt children, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit argues that Virginia law stigmatizes gay men and lesbians, along with their children and families, because it denies them the same definition of marriage afforded to opposite-sex couples.
Yes yes yes YES. Decisions like this help so much. Virginia has been a battleground state on marriage for ages, and this will absolutely help the push.
High-five Governor Nixon! This is a great first step in the right direction. The good governor also came out in support of marriage equality in saying, "folks want to get married, they should be able to get married." We couldn’t agree more!