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Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage ruled unconstitutional by federal judge

Judge Arenda Wright Allen rules in favor of same-sex marriage in Virginia.
Judge Arenda Wright Allen rules in favor of same-sex marriage in Virginia.
Kutztown.edu

One of Georgia's fellow Southern sister states is under attack for their same-sex marriage ban, with a federal judge ruling recently that the voter approved ban in Virginia is unconstitutional, despite the majority vote in favor of it. Fox News reports on February 14 that a female U.S. District Judge named Arenda Wright Allen made the decision in favor of same-sex marriage proponents.

Judge Allen was appointed by President Barack Obama, but it was the United States Senate that confirmed her to her judicial post in the United States District Court for the Eastern District for Virginia in a 96 to zero vote. And on May 12, 2011, Arenda L. Wright Allen assumed that role. Allen hails from the North, born in 1960 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Married to Delroy Anthony Allen, and mother to two children--Yanni and Nyle, this judge does not appear to have any predisposed bias on the issue of same-sex marriage. And she has served in a military capacity in her prior career as well, working in the past as a United States Navy Commander.

In deference to the possibility that opponents of same-sex marriage would appeal her ruling--and to stop the same thing from happening in Virginia that took place in Utah, when gays began marrying after a similar ruling in that state--Judge Allen has issued a stay order that prohibits any marriages from taking place by same sex couples until this issue is decided in federal court, at the appeal level.

This helps prevent confusion later, if the appeal judge overturns Judge Allen's ruling and upholds Virginia voters' position against same-sex marriage occurring in their state. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond will determine if Judge Allen's ruling will be upheld or not. And those in Virginia who wish to influence their decision can contact that entity's office and weigh in on whether you think they should vote yea or nay against same-sex marriage.

One of the same-sex marriage couples who participated in the lawsuit that resulted in Allen's Virginia ruling were married in California in 2008. But Carol Schall and Mary Townley now reside in Richmond, Va., and they feel that even though they married in a state where same-sex unions were allowed (after a similar legal attack made on that state's ban), that they should now be able to have their union recognized in Virginia, where voters have passed a ban as well on same-sex unions.

What do you think of this pop culture phenomena of individuals and couples trying to overturn state laws made by voters who have lived in their jurisdictions for years?