Court slams gay marriage ban

Published 10:10 pm Monday, July 28, 2014

Opinion in Suffolk was divided Monday after a federal appeals court declared Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on a homosexual Norfolk couple’s lawsuit against the clerk of Norfolk Circuit Court after he refused to issue them a marriage license.

It upheld 2-1 a federal judge’s earlier ruling that the clerk’s decision in accordance with a state constitutional ban against same-sex matrimonial unions violated the men’s rights under the U.S. Constitution.


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Essentially, the appeals court Monday affirmed a lower court’s decision that the U.S. Constitution trumps the state constitution’s proscription against gay marriage.

Outside the Suffolk post office hours after the ruling was handed down, 80-year-old Bennie Williams Jr. said he believes the appeals court erred.

“I’m against it (same-sex marriage) myself, because I don’t think same-sex people should be married together,” Williams said. “I don’t think God intended for that to happen. I don’t see in the Bible — no place — that it should be.”

Conversely, Elsie Boone, 73, said people shouldn’t be restricted from living how they see fit. “People got their own lives to live the way they want to live,” Boone said.

She said a lot of her good friends are gay: “I love them; they are very sweet people. I’m not standing in judgment of them.”

Annette Lewis, 48, referred to marriage between two individuals of the same gender as an “abomination.”

“I don’t have anything against gay people,” she said, “ but the Bible that I read says that it’s wrong.”

Lewis said she reads the King James Version of the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon, as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“The court made a wrong decision, because it’s supposed to be Adam and Eve, not Adam and Paul, and you can quote me on that,” she said.

Alyssa Jardell, 26, said she was “thrilled” with the decision. “It’s amazing that two people in love cannot get married,” she said. “If they love each other, why not? I have seen more successful partnerships between same-sex couples than people of opposite sex.”

Tammy Edwards, 44, said she had “no problem at all” with two people of the same gender getting married. “I think everybody deserves love,” she said.

But whether it’s constitutional or not, he said, 88-year-old Curtis Holland is “not in favor of same-sex marriage.” Gays can form any other kind of partnership, he said, but they shouldn’t be allowed to wed.

“I certainly believe everyone has a right to their choice — I have no problem with that,” he said. “But I don’t think marriage is for same-sex animals or humans. That’s it.”

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who has argued in court against Virginia’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, called the decision a “victory for the principle of equality.”

“I am proud that the commonwealth of Virginia is leading on one of the most important civil rights issues of our day,” he stated.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe opined that the historic ruling affirms Virginia is “open and welcoming to all.”

“I am overjoyed by the news that, as a result of today’s ruling, Virginia will become a state where two people who love each other can get married, regardless of their sexual orientation,” McAuliffe stated.

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine called the decision “a victory for the Virginia value of equality.”

“I am gratified that the 4th Circuit Court has recognized that this discriminatory provision has no rightful place in the Virginia Constitution,” Kaine stated.

Monday’s was the third such ruling at the federal appellate level, and observers say it increases pressure on the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the issue.