City Council Recognizes Same-Sex Unions, Goes Against V - ABC 8NEWS - WRIC | Richmond, Virginia News & Weather

City Council Recognizes Same-Sex Unions, Goes Against Virginia Law

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RICHMOND - Richmond City Council now recognizes same sex marriage, but it's not in line with Virginia's constitution.

It was a hotly debated topic, whether City Council should pass an ordinance recognizing same sex marriages, the council ultimately voting in favor of the controversial measure, but the move was more symbolic as it goes against state law.

Claire Guthrie Gastañaga with ACLU of Virginia says it does prepare Richmond for the future if and/or when Virginia's constitutional amendment is overturned.

There's two possibilities, the general assembly could pass a referendum letting Virginia voters decide whether the constitutional amendment should change, but Gastañaga says she doesn't believe that will happen, which is why they're pursuing a second option.

"Right now we have a state constitutional amendment that says they can't recognize relationships other than a traditional marriage," she says. "We're forced to go to the courts to try and get a finding that the current law in Virginia under the federal constitution."

While the ordinance does little legally for same sex couples, many say Monday night's vote was still incredibly important.

"Even though it's symbolic and cannot be enforced because of Virginia law, it's a signal to the community and to the Virginia General Assembly that this is the way, the route that Richmond believes we should travel," says Bill Harrison of the Richmond Gay Community Foundation.

Gastañaga says even if they get a ruling overturning the law soon, it could take years after appeals before same sex marriages are recognized.

 

Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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