Case Challenging Gay-Marriage Ban Heard in Va. - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

Case Challenging Gay-Marriage Ban Heard in Va.

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Attorney General Mark Herring speaks at a news conference on Feb. 4. | Photo by Brad Davis Attorney General Mark Herring speaks at a news conference on Feb. 4. | Photo by Brad Davis
Supporters gather outside the Norfolk Circuit Court on Feb. 4. | Photo by Katelyn Sherwood Supporters gather outside the Norfolk Circuit Court on Feb. 4. | Photo by Katelyn Sherwood
Protestors gather outside Norfolk Circuit Court on Feb. 4. | Photo by Brad Davis Protestors gather outside Norfolk Circuit Court on Feb. 4. | Photo by Brad Davis

NORFOLK, Va. (WRIC) - A federal judge has finished hearing arguments on whether Virginia's ban on gay marriage should be struck down.

There was no decision made in court Tuesday, but the judge spent two hours listening to arguments from both sides, and the solicitor general representing the state at the end of it all, she said she will take the matter under advisement and have a ruling soon.

"Every day that goes by, our clients and others like them all over the state of Virginia are not being treated equally with other citizens," says Attorney Theodore Olson.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case, a gay couple from Norfolk and a lesbian couple from Chesterfield, told the judge that Virginia erects a wall around gay and lesbian citizens by denying them what they call a fundamental right , vital to all Americans.

"As parents, we want the best for our daughter and we know it would mean a lot to her if our family was treated just like every other family," says plaintiff Mary Townley."We want that for all Virginians no matter who they are or who they love."

Meanwhile, the defense focused on procreation, saying the reason we even have marriage laws is because of children.

"We recognize that every child has a mother and a father and Virginians believe as they always have that every child has a right to know, be loved be raised by the mom and dad that brought them into this world," says Defense Attorney Austin Nimrock.

Attorney General Mark Herring, who recently said he thinks Virginia's ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional was also at Tuesday's hearing in which the solicitor general, arguing on behalf of the state, sided with the plaintiffs.

"This debate affects the lives of thousands of Virginians who are our friends, neighbors, coworkers, parishioners at church, and they deserve to be treated exactly the same way that all other Virginians," Herring says.

The judge could have a ruling within a month,

Meanwhile, the case drew both supporters and protestors to the courthouse.

There wasn't a shortage of signs or opinions on the matter.

"God calls you to repent as well."

People who came out were passionate, including E.W. Jackson, who last fall was running to be Virginia's next Lieutenant Governor.

"We heard the Attorney General say that those who do not support sane sex marriage are on the wrong side of history, but the Bible that we as Christians read , say God made marriage as a union between one man and one woman."

Jackson wasn't the only pastor protesting this same sex marriage hearing. There were also other religious leaders who vowed to stand by the attorney general and same sex couples.

 "I am here as president of people of faith for equality in Virginia," says Rev. Robin Gorsline. "Representing clergy and congregations all over Virginia who believe very strongly that all God's people are created in God's image, and that the love between two men or two women is as good a love or a perfect a love as any man or woman has ever had."

 

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