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Virginia ACLU Files Same Sex Marriage Ban Lawsuit

8:28 PM, Jul 9, 2013   |    comments
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MANASSAS, Va. (WUSA9) -- Virginia could be the next big battleground for gay marriage.  In the wake of last month's Supreme Court decision which dealt a major blow to the federal Defense of marriage act, the Virginia ACLU is filing a lawsuit against Virginia's ban on gay marriage.

As a Virginia resident, Liane Rozzell believes she doesn't have the same rights as other married people.

Rozzell and Linda Kaufman, an Episcopal priest, have been a couple for 15 years.  They were married in 2010 but as residents of Virginia, their union is not recognized by the state.  She's hoping that will change if the ACLU  wins its  lawsuit against Virginia's gay marriage ban.
 
The ACLU helped the couple sue Virginia back when Governor Jim Gilmore's administration  tried  to stop them from adopting their second son.  The state settled. 

Virginia is one of 31 states with a constitutional ban on legally recognizing same-sex unions.  Voters passed Virginia's law in 2006.   But opinions appears to be changing. 

Recent polls found a majority of Virginians are okay with same sex marriage.  

Manassas Delegate Bob Marshall was the sponsor of the gay marriage ban legislation and says people are becoming afraid to stand up for marriage out of fear of being called a bigot.  Marshall also said that Governor Bob McDonnell and other republicans state leaders "don't have the guts to defend marriage." 
 
State Sen. Adam Ebbin is the only openly gay legislator in Virginia.

He plans to introduce legislation to repeal the ban, which would require another state-wide vote to remove it from the constitution. He says a lawsuit may push the issue faster.   

The ACLU is also pursuing similar lawsuits in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.


 

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