NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Politicians on both sides of the aisle are reacting to Judge Arenda Wright Allen’s ruling that Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring:
This decision is a victory for the Constitution and for treating everyone equally under the law. It is the latest step in a journey towards equality for all Virginians, no matter who they are or whom they love. But Judge Wright Allen’s eloquent decision is only one step in what I suspect will be an extended legal process to definitively answer the questions raised in this case. When we announced the decision to change Virginia’s legal position in Bostic v. Rainey, I said that the case presented fundamental questions that need to be decided by a court, and may ultimately need to be decided by the Supreme Court. That remains true today. The legal process will continue to play out in the months to come, but this decision shows that Virginia, like America, is coming to a better place in recognizing that every Virginian deserves to be treated equally and fairly.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe:
I applaud the federal district court’s decision to ensure all Virginians are treated equally under the law, no matter what their backgrounds are or whom they love. In order to grow our economy and attract the best businesses, entrepreneurs, and families to Virginia, we must be open and welcoming to all who call our Commonwealth home. As this case continues through the judicial process, I will enforce the laws currently on the books, but this decision is a significant step forward in achieving greater equality for all of our citizens.
Sen. Tim Kaine:
Happy Valentine’s Day to my beautiful wife Anne and to all Virginians. It’s a particularly great day in light of the federal court ruling striking down the state prohibition against same-sex marriage. I campaigned against the ban in 2006 and was very disappointed when it passed. Today, we celebrate a Virginia for lovers and remember the great Shakespearean wisdom: ‘Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments.’
Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William Howell:
I am disappointed in the ruling, but the courts will continue to debate this issue for the foreseeable future. Ultimately, this issue will be decided by the United States Supreme Court.
Virginia’s marriage amendment was duly-adopted by the legislature and ratified by an overwhelming majority. Many Virginians remain deeply committed to the traditional values that have made our Commonwealth strong. Those Virginians deserve to have their voices heard and votes vigorously defended in Court.
Unfortunately, Attorney General Mark Herring has not done so, unilaterally putting his political ideology ahead of the rights of the people. The ramifications of those actions could extend much further than any one Court case, which should deeply concern anyone who cares about the rule of law.
Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Sen. Donald McEchin:
Last night’s court decision to strike down the same-sex marriage ban was a step in the right direction for fairness, justice and equality for ALL Virginians. We’ll continue to fight to repeal the Marshall-Newman amendment, but the work of the courts can help right this wrong.
We have more work to do. This year, my Democratic colleagues and I introduced legislation to provide partner benefits for state and municipal employees, fairer and open adoptions, ending the harmful practice of so-called conversion therapy, finally codify employee non-discrimination.
Virginia House Democratic House Leader David Toscano:
This is a historic step forward for equality and fairness in Virginia. All Virginians deserve the right to marry the person they love, and this decision is significant in moving us toward marriage equality in our nation.
Virginia House Democratic Caucus Chair Mark Sickles:
This decision is a victory for all Virginians, and we applaud Attorney General Herring for standing up for the Constitution and full equal rights for all our citizens.
Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-03):
I am pleased that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Norfolk has ruled in favor of marriage equality. This ruling is based on sound reasoning and is consistent with a growing list of decisions by courts all over the country, beginning with Loving v. Virginia and including the recent Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Windsor that struck down the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. Last night’s decision is an important step forward for marriage equality in Virginia.
Democratic Party of Virginia Chair Charniele Herring:
The U.S. District Court Judge’s decision finding Virginia’s same sex marriage ban unconstitutional moves Virginia a step closer to becoming more inclusive. In her profound words, Judge Wright wrote ‘We the People become more inclusive, and our freedom more perfect.’ We must remain forever vigilant as continue to work for freedom and equality for all Virginians.