Federal Judge Strikes Down Virginia’s Gay Marriage Ban
A federal judge struck down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban Thursday, finding that it violates the equal protection clause under the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen followed arguments by the plaintiffs in Bostic v. Rainey who had argued that the 2006 amendment to the state Constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman denies gays and lesbians the fundamental right to marry, essentially making them second-class citizens.
“There can be no serious doubt that in America, the right to marry is a rigorously protected fundamental right,” the judge wrote in her ruling. “The Supreme Court has recognized repeatedly that marriage is a fundamental right protected both by the Due Process and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
Wright Allen, appointed to the bench in 2011 by President Barack Obama, added that marriage rights are “of basic importance in our society, rights sheltered by the Fourteenth Amendment against the State’s ‘unwarranted usurpation, disregard, or disrespect.’ “
“The right to marry is inseparable from our rights to privacy and intimate association.”