Aug. 13, 2014
Virginia is on the verge of making history as the first southern state to legalize same-sex marriage.
The U.S. Court of Appeals denied the request to delay the 4th Circuit Court's ruling that the same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.
This means that by August 20th courts could issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and couples who were married outside of Virginia could have their marriages acknowledged by the state if the Supreme Court doesn't intervene.
For the president of Charlottesville Pride, this announcement came as a shock.
“I don't think any of us thought Virginia would ever be in this situation,” says Amy Marshall. “We've watched other states around the country, but never thought it would happen here.”
She’s excited to know that soon she can have all the legal benefits of marriage.
“Knowing that we could get married and I wouldn't have to do a bunch of legal papers to be by her side if she is in the hospital,” says Marshall. “Knowing that we can care for both of our kids with all of the legal protections that other married couples might have.”
The lead minister for the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church in Charlottesville that has been open about same-sex marriage, say's this is something that should have been done a while ago.
“One of the earliest Universalist affirmations is God is love and that doesn't specify what gender is loving,” says Erik Wikstrom. “Those who think this is a threat to marriage don't understand what marriage is.”
“It's a commitment of a couple who wants to affirm their love for each other,” says Wikstrom. “Whether that's a heterosexual couple or a homosexual couple, that affirmation only strengthens marriage.”
If the Supreme Court doesn't issue a stay by next Wednesday, same-sex couples could go down to the circuit court to receive a marriage license.
In a statement released today, Attorney General Mark Herring said, "No one anticipated we would be this close this quickly to the day when all Virginians have the right to marry the person they love...that will be a historic day for our Commonwealth and a joyous day for thousands of loving couples."
Charlottesville Circuit Court Clerk Llezelle Dugger, who has been open about issuing marriage licenses as soon as it's legal, says, "I am surprised that they denied the stay...but they [the Supreme Court] can still issue a stay after the mandate on the 20th."
Victoria Cobb, the president the Family Foundation of Virginia, who is against gay marriage, also issued a statement saying that, “It’s shocking that the Fourth Circuit has introduced chaos to Virginia where other appellate courts have recognized that the final decision will likely be made by the Supreme Court."