Federal Judge Declares Virginia's Same-Sex Marriage Ban As Unconstitutional
A federal judge declared Thursday that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and also said the state must respect same-sex marriages legally like other states.
"Our Constitution declares that 'all men' are created equal," wrote Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, in Norfolk, according to NYT. "Surely this means all of us."
he ruling overturns a constitutional amendment that was adopted by Virginia voters in 2006 and previous laws.
However, the league opposing the same-sex marriage have also vowed to appeal the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond. Judge Allen has hence stayed the execution of the Thursday's ruling pending the appeal, reported NYT.
"The Court is compelled to conclude that Virginia's Marriage Laws unconstitutionally deny Virginia's gay and lesbian citizens the fundamental freedom to choose to marry," judge Allen, wrote in her 41-page opinion.
According to Reuters, she had ordered the submission of a proposed final order by March 14.
Earlier Federal judges have cited the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) - the federal law that denied federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples - in finding gay marriages bans unconstitutional in Utah and Oklahoma.
The Virginia case was brought up by The American Foundation for Equal Rights who said Allen's ruling upheld core U.S. principles of equality.
"Laws excluding gay men and lesbians from marriage violate personal freedom, are an unnecessary government intrusion, and cause serious harm. That type of law cannot stand," lead co-counsel Theodore Olson said in a statement, according to Reuters.