- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage targeted by ACLU
Question of the Day
The ACLU of Virginia on Tuesday announced it will file a federal lawsuit challenging a Virginia constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage — part of a nationwide effort to revisit marriage rights in states where the issue has seemingly been settled.
Claire Gastanaga, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, said a team of lawyers will be arguing that the statutes violate the federal constitutional guarantee of equal protection.
Virginia voters in 2006 approved a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Virginia also does not recognize gay marriages performed in other states.
“There is no rational reason for denying these loving couples the freedom to marry and every reason to grant them the same recognition by civil authorities that opposite-sex couples have,” Ms. Gastanaga said.
The ACLU’s announcement is also part of Out for Freedom, a nationwide effort to promote same-sex marriage. It came the same day the group announced lawsuits in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
The legal actions come after the Supreme Court last month overturned part of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, striking down a central provision and ensuring that legally married gay couples will be treated the same as opposite-sex married couples in federal programs. A second opinion essentially struck down California’s 2008 Proposition 8 voter initiative banning gay marriage, but the decision was far more limited, focusing on the lack of legal standing for those arguing to preserve the voter initiative.
Same-sex marriage opponents say that because the court did not take on the issue of gay marriage, the legal action undertaken by the ACLU is overreaching.
“Those that wanted to push Proposition 8 and [the Defense of Marriage Act] made attempts to get the court to say same-sex marriage should be a constitutional right in all 50 states,” said Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation. “While they certainly made gains, they did not get the fundamental right in all 50 states.”
The constitutional amendment in Virginia passed 57 percent to 43 percent, and while opponents each year attempt to repeal it, Ms. Cobb said, “They fail abysmally.”
“In Virginia, we have elections essentially every other year, and Virginia has continued to elect candidates who support the constitutional state amendment,” Ms. Cobb said. “Virginia is very clear on who it is electing.”
James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, said they believe recent surveys show the issue isn’t getting the majority to support gay marriage, but spreading the message among lawmakers.
“Polls that we’ve seen for Virginia show a majority do support marriage equality now. A majority of the House of Delegates does not, and that is a starting point for repealing the marriage amendment and marriage laws,” Mr. Parrish said. “We see a marriage overhaul happening in Virginia either through litigation or happening through Virginia voters. We’ll see which comes first.”
He said his organization would help the ACLU’s cause by collecting personal stories from Virginia couples and families with a stake in the freedom to marry effort.
Same-sex marriage remains a divisive issue in Virginia, where the candidates in this year’s governor’s race varied widely in their public statements after the Supreme Court’s decision.
Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe called the ruling one that “moves our nation in the right direction.” Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, the Republican candidate, said he would “continue to defend the will of the people of Virginia, an overwhelming majority of whom voted to protect the definition of traditional marriage under Virginia’s Constitution.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Meredith Somers is a Metro reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at email@example.com.
- Higher Ground: 'Christian' Grey
- Priest abuse survivors group marks milestone
- Teen girl exorcised by priest, sends demonic text messages in response
- Obama nominates Rabbi David Saperstein as ambassador for religious freedom
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- House GOP resurrects border bill, predicts successful Friday vote
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- ON THE RUN: Competition for Redskins backup running back is heating up
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors