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Federal judge overturns Virginia gay-marriage ban

‘Tradition alone cannot justify denying same-sex couples the right to marry,’ says judge

Plaintiffs Carol Schall and Mary Townley filed a lawsuit against the state of Virginia last year. YouTube

A federal judge struck down Virginia’s constitutional ban on gay marriage on Feb 13, the Washington Blade reports. US District Court Judge Arenda Allen wrote in her reasons, “Tradition is revered in the commonwealth and often rightly so. However, tradition alone cannot justify denying same-sex couples the right to marry any more than it could justify Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage.”

Virginia voters passed the amendment banning gay marriage 57 to 43 percent in 2006. One gay couple, Timothy Bostic and Tony London, and one lesbian couple, Carol Schall and Mary Townley, filed a lawsuit against the state last year. In January, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said he would not defend the amendment in court.

Allen stayed her ruling until after an appeal, so it will have no immediate effect.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz introduced a bill in the US Senate Feb 13 that would grant states like Virginia the right to regulate marriage as they choose. The bill has no chance of passing in the Democrat-controlled Senate.