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Ruling could ‘change the basic concept of marriage’ in Virginia

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 NORFOLK, Va. (WTVR) - Crowds gathered outside the Federal Court in Norfolk had no problem letting everyone know where they stand on Virginia's same-sex marriage ban.

Those who support the ban and those who oppose it carried signs and flags that expressed their views. Others chanted for the world to hear.

Crowds gathered as oral arguments got underway Tuesday morning in the case of Bostic v. Rainey. The case challenges Virginia's amendment that bans same-sex marriage.

In 2006, 57 percent of Virginians voted in favor of the Virginia Marriage Amendment that defined marriage as only between a man and a woman.

Inside the courthouse

Ted Olson and David Boies presented the plaintiffs' side.

Olson said Virginia, "erects a wall around gay and lesbian citizens." He added that marriage is a fundamental right of an individual, and not of the state, citing previous Supreme Court rulings. Boise asked what motivates the supporters of the ban other than maintaining the status quo.

Newly-elected Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced last month, he would reverse Virginia's stance on the issue and would not defend the amendment in court.

Virginia's Solicitor General Stuart Raphael argued Attorney General Herring's position in court on behalf of the Commonwealth.

Raphael said the case is legally indistinguishable from Loving v. Virginia, which overturned a ban on interracial marriage in 1967. He said the idea that there is "no traditional right to same sex marriage" is a major flaw.

The Office of the Attorney General will continue to enforce the same-sex marriage amendment until they are told otherwise.

Defense attorneys representing the two circuit court clerks named as defendants argued that ruling the same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional would "change the basic concept of marriage" in Virginia. They argued marriage has been between a man and a woman for hundreds of years.

Defense attorney Austin Nimocks said we have marriage laws in Virginia because marriage is all about children. He added procreative dynamics are essential to marriage.

Nimocks said "marriage is ancient because it is rational," and all things being equal, traditional marriage is what should be strived for.

The defense disagreed that there is a fundamental right to same-sex marriage because there are no concrete examples to show that it is rooted in the traditions of our country.

Following Tuesday's oral arguments, the judge told the attorneys they would "hear from her soon" about the case.

Defense attorneys estimated the decision would come in about a month.

Outside the courthouse

As expected, Tuesday's hearing attracted people from both sides of the debate to the courthouse.

“We stand with the majority of Virginians that voted to pass a constitutional amendment supporting marriage because we believe every child deserves an opportunity to have a mom and a dad,” Family Foundation spokeswoman Victoria Cobb said in a Monday night interview.

Virginia has emerged as a critical voice in the nationwide fight to legalize gay marriage. As it stands now, 18 states allow same-sex marriage.

“Since we last passed that constitution amendment, which we regret now I believe, we’ve had many people who’ve now come to understand that gay and lesbian marriage does not threaten their marriage at all. It’s just like their marriage,” First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond Rev. Jeanne Purpke said.

Watch CBS 6 News for updates on this developing story.


  • Gail Brown

    The Bible says marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman!!! However we are all sinners, but I strongly agree that children should have a Mother and a Father, Too many rules and law changes against our country now. We truly need to think about putting the younger generation on the right track, for that is our future!!! We all have to meet our maker in the end!!

    • Chris Webb

      The bible also quotes jesus as saying you should beat your slaves if they act up, even if they didn’t know they were doing wrong – luke12:47-48.

      it also says that you should beat your wife to death on your wedding night if you find out she isn’t a virgin.

      • MitzZ

        I’m not a Bible thumping expert Chris.. but I do believe you took those verses in Luke out of ‘context’.. if you read the whole’ll find that Jesus is actually speaking in a parables.. to illustrate a point.. try reading the whole chapter next time..

      • JB

        Liberal/Atheist tactic of taking verses of the Bible out of context and attempting to turn them against Christians or other religions. MitzZ – thanks for pointing out and I don’t believe it was a misinterpretation but simple ignorance.

      • Chris Webb

        I can find hundreds of texts out of the bible that you wouldn’t agree with, but you want to accept some of it as long as it suits your purposes. I’m not liberal at all, but I don’t think that a religion should be able to make rules for our government. using the thinly veiled excuse that it’s what the bible says is the same as saying we should uphold sharia law.

    • Lyric Thompson

      We are NOT a Theocracy but rather a REPUBLIC. Which by the way our constitution affords all citizens equal rights and treatment under the laws. You do NOT own marriage nor does Christianity. Marriage or legal marriage is a contractual agreement between two people. You cannot deny a person their rights under the laws because you don’t agree with their partner. Nor do we VOTE on whether our fellow citizens have equal rights.

      • bobby

        united states was based on God and the state of Virginia also. that being said God told us. men and women can make a family. not adam and steve. the united states of America is based on these believes and you come along and change it to suit your needs. if you do not like my state and how it operates and also the us get in your boat or airplane and get out. Im tired of people like yourself trying to change what old values and principle. we have or had to suit your need. you are not equal and you should never be. how many family can adam and steve have (kids) none. God said to go to the world have family. populate the world and worship him.

    • Belsma

      Gail, there are plenty of circumstances where children do not have both a mother and a father and I know you can imagine all of them. The bible was written by man as you also know. Take middle or high school for example. Start a rumor before first block, what do you think it will be at the end of 5th block? Just saying’.

    • Guest

      Bill, you are a typical “open minded” liberal…..wishing violence on anyone who doesn’t agree with your point of view!

  • Guest

    Someone needs to file a suit to allow multiple spouses, remove all limits on marriage! That’s only fair right?

  • that pissed off gay

    It dosent matter ehat you people think mind your own damb buisness live your own life stop trying to bring happy copules down shame on all of you

    • MitzZ

      Wow.. way to include all of us… I simply pointed out a mistake in someone’s interpretation of the Gospel of Luke.. I could care less if gays get legally married or not.. geesh.. take a chill pill dude.

  • keith

    If elected officials refuse to uphold and argue for this amendment to the constitution, what laws or sections of the constitution will they decide they don’t personally like or approve of next? This is tantamount to thumbing their nose at the law and saying that they are above the voted upon law. What a slap in the face of voters. If you wish to change the law, use the lawfull process.

  • me

    I’m sorry, but is this a religious argument or a political one? The last time I checked, we had freedom of religion in this country (where other religious views and beliefs are not forced onto someone who doesn’t agree). Is this not the case anymore?

    • JB

      Unfortunately, I don’t think it is that easy to separate church and state on this issue, as I believe marriage was a religious institution before it was a governmental one.

      • Corey

        Actually, that is false. The institution of marriage has been around for FAR longer than any broad scope religion. It has certainly been around since before Christianity. The simple fact that people cannot accept the fact that someone they don’t understand or agree with could have the same rights as them is completely prejudiced. I don’t care if you believe in your religion. You are afforded the right to practice your beliefs despite the beliefs of others. However, why should you ever be afforded more rights and benfits than any other person? Are you arguing legality or religious right? Legally, you have no ground to stand on (thank you, separation of church and state). In a religious fashion, you still have no right to influence another person’s choices. As far as religion is concerned, your God is the only one who may judge the wrongs of an individual. If you wish to infringe your doctrine upon a “non-believer” then that is as far as anyone’s true rights go. When you continue to push your ideas on someone to the point of violating their rights, you are now a criminal.

    • Meri Equality Justus

      unfortunately they are trying to push the bibles laws on every one, they believe it is their right to make everyone a christian, and those who do not wish to be christian are WRONG, I know it says” freedom of religion,” but what they read is freedom for their religion to rule over everyone else. or freedom for only Christians religion.

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