Saturday, August 06, 2016

From the Archives: Virginia political leaders react to Supreme Court marriage decision

Publisher's note: This article was originally published on on October 6, 2014. The publishing platform was discontinued July 1, 2016, and its web site was scheduled to go dark on or about July 10, 2016.  I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to since April 6, 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.

Virginia political leaders react to Supreme Court marriage decision

Because the U.S. Supreme Court chose not to hear any of the appeals from states seeking to maintain their bans on same-sex marriage -- including an appeal from the Fourth Circuit, which includes Virginia -- gay and lesbian couples will be able to wed in Virginia beginning today at 1:00 p.m.

The office of Attorney General Mark Herring issued a press release on the morning on October 6 stating:

"Today, the Supreme Court rejected all petitions for certiorari related to Virginia's marriage equality litigation, thereby letting stand the Fourth Circuit's decision that same-sex couples in the Commonwealth are entitled to all the rights and privileges of marriage. The Fourth Circuit is expected to issue its mandate at 1 p.m., meaning marriage licenses for same-sex couples can be issued at that time and the Commonwealth will recognize all marriages that were lawfully performed in other states. Local clerks are receiving guidance and forms necessary to begin performing marriages today, and the Attorney General's Office is working with the Governor's Office and state agencies to implement any needed changes in light of this action."

Herring added:

"This is a tremendous moment in Virginia history. We will continue to fight discrimination wherever we find it, but today, we celebrate a moment when we move closer to fulfilling the promise of equality ignited centuries ago in Virginia, and so central to the American experience."

U.S. Senator Mark Warner, a former governor of Virginia, also issued a statement in reaction to the Supreme Court decision, saying that “allowing people to marry who they love is the fundamentally right thing to do, and it strengthens our families and communities. This is a remarkable and memorable day in Virginia’s march toward equality."

Warner is running for re-election this year. His Libertarian opponent, Robert Sarvis, said in a press release:

"In 1967, a Virginia couple, Richard and Mildred Loving, fought to overturn marriages between people of different races. If it weren't for the courage of the Lovings, I might not have been able to marry the woman I love.

"Public opinion in Virginia has shifted dramatically since the Marshall-Newman Amendment was enacted in 2006. In fact, polls now show that a majority of Virginians support marriage freedom.

"I wanted Virginia to achieve marriage freedom through the democratic process, but as with interracial marriage, it is court action that has seen it through. I look forward to seeing same-sex couples in Virginia celebrating their marriages and enjoying equal treatment under the law."

Republican Senate candidate Ed Gillespie told an interviewer on WSLS-TV this morning: "I'm curious to learn, to the extent that you can, what the thinking was. The court generally doesn't say what they were thinking when they decline to take something up. But obviously it's a decision with considerable impact."

Gillespie added that he has "always felt that this is a matter for the states to determine. I don't believe that the federal government should set policy relative to marriage. I think the states should. And, obviously, given the court's ruling, it is the law of the land today."

William Howell, Speaker of the House of Delegates, also issued a reaction statement, saying in part:

“I am disappointed that the United States Supreme Court declined to hear these cases. The debate over Virginia's constitutional amendment defining marriage needs a clear and decisive resolution from the Supreme Court. The Court’s decision today leaves Virginians without an affirmative answer on this issue, unnecessarily prolonging the political debate and creating long-term uncertainty regarding the status of same-sex marriages in Virginia depending on the outcome of litigation in other parts of the country."

Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam said in a news release: “This is a great day for all Virginians. I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard, over so many years, so that the Commonwealth might arrive at this historic moment. Now all Virginians can enjoy the rights and freedoms to marry whom they love. Finally, Virginia is for all lovers.”

James Parrish, executive director of the lobbying group Equality Virginia, said in an email to the organization's supporters: "I am overwhelmed with joy for the more than 14,000 couples who can now marry the person they love in the place they call home. And, the relationships of couples who were married in other states are now affirmed by the commonwealth."

Further reactions to the new legal status of same-sex couples in Virginia are expected over the next hours and days.


Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring discusses federal gay marriage appeals
Va. House Speaker Bill Howell proposes ‘Repeal Amendment’ to Constitution
Virginia U.S. Senate candidates react to Fourth Circuit gay marriage ruling
Author David Lampo brings gay-rights message to conservative Republicans
Libertarians praise Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling in DOMA case

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