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Gay-marriage ban struck down by federal judge in Virginia

Protests against ban on gay marriage
Protests against ban on gay marriage

Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban was ruled unconstitutional by federal Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen on Thursday, stating the constitution declares that “all men are created equal”. “Surely this means all of us,” wrote the judge.

Wright Allen was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2011. Her decision was based on the “rigorously protected fundamental right” stated by the 14th amendment.

Rejecting the claim by Republicans that gay Americans are creating a new “threat” to the constitution, Wright Allen wrote “the right to marry is inseparable from our rights to privacy and intimate association.”

Writing in the New York Times, Adam Liptak reminds us that it was in 1948, the Supreme Court of California struck down a ban on interracial marriage, which was a very unpopular decision at the time, because it had little public support, whereas gay marriage is increasingly acceptable by a national public that doesn’t view it as a threat to their values or way of life.

An unofficial WashPost poll on Saturday showed over 70 percent support gay marriage.

“The pace of change has perhaps outstripped the Supreme Court’s preferences, but the momentum is tremendous,” said Suzanne B. Goldberg, professor of law at Columbia.

According to a report in the Washington Post, the action by Judge Wright Allen marks a sharp reversal in Virginia’s stand against the right for gays to marry that was carefully crafted by the state’s top Republicans, including former Attorney General and homophobe Ken Cuccinelli, who was defeated by Democrat Mark Herring in the November elections.

It was Herring who led the way on getting the ban into federal court, which resulted in Thursday’s decision to strike it down as unconstitutional.

Hrafnkell Haraldsson wrote this in his article for PoliticusUSA on the federal court ruling:

While ever-vigilant for the wisdom that can come from the voices of our voting public, our courts have never long tolerated the perpetuation of laws rooted in unlawful prejudice. One of the judiciary’s noblest endeavors is to scrutinize laws that emerge from such roots.

In related news, the gifted actor Ellen Page [Unlink] recently announced that she is gay. Page indicated she felt it was her responsibility to come out and that remaining silent was no longer what she wanted for her life.

"I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission," Page told the crowd. "I suffered for years, because I was scared to be out."

Through recent actions of celebrities, athletes and federal judges; the long road to justice for the LGBT community is, indeed, getting shorter.

Currently, 17 states and the District of Columbia have approved gay-marriage, with previous bans stayed by court rulings in Oklahoma, Utah and the latest in Virginia.

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