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Virginia attorney general files brief in support of gay marriage

Virginia attorney general files brief in support of gay marriage

The attorney general of Virginia submitted a brief supporting a judge’s decision the state’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

In papers filed with the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals, Attorney General Mark Herring maintained blocking gay marriage mirrored the prohibition against interracial marriage.

‘Loving teaches that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, even if the way in which it is practiced would have surprised the Framers or made them feel uncomfortable,’ the attorney general wrote, as reported by the Associated Press.

Loving refers to Loving v. Virginia. In 1967 the Supreme Court ruled the state’s law forbidding  interracial marriage was unconstitutional.

This past February Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen ruled in favor of two same-sex couples who sued the state. The plaintiffs argued the Virginia Marriage Amendment restricts personal freedom, and cause serious harm to loving and committed couples and their families.

In January, Herring announced he would not defend the law because it ‘unlawfully discriminates on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender.’

Judge Allen’s decision is being appealed by court clerks, and it’s assumed will eventually be heard by the Supreme Court.

In late March, counsel for the clerks submitted his initial brief arguing, in part, that to allow gay marriage would lead to polygamy and marriage with family members

The attorney general pushed back against that argument.

‘The clerk’s slippery-slope arguments are the same ones used to oppose interracial marriage in 1967; they are no more persuasive today than then,’  he wrote.