Times-Dispatch Opens The Floor To Same-sex Marriage Debate At Wednesday’s Public Square
Photo via The TD
Care to voice your support (or opposition) to same-sex marriage in a new forum? Consider heading down to the Times-Dispatch Building, 300 E. Franklin Street, at 1:30 PM. This will be the 50th open forum held by RVA’s main-stream news paper, and It’s sure to bring out all kinds of people, so make sure you’re there to get your voice heard!
Here’s some details about what to expect via the TD’s explanation of the event:
Should Virginia reconsider same-sex marriage?
For eight years, same-sex couples in Virginia have fought to overturn the state’s constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year, many found new hope that it would be just a matter of time until marriage equality will come to Virginia.
What’s new: Just 10 days ago, newly elected Attorney General Mark R. Herring sparked a controversy with his announcement that he finds Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban to be unconstitutional.
What’s to come: Two gay couples are challenging the state’s marriage amendment in federal court in Norfolk. A hearing scheduled for Thursday was continued because of inclement weather, and has been rescheduled for Tuesday morning.
There is little doubt that marriage equality is the big social issue in Virginia this year. But the fight of same-sex couples for their right to marry also marks the first major challenge for Herring.
The Democrat drew flak from conservative lawmakers and many religious groups for his new position on Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban. Some even called for impeachment when Herring proclaimed that he would not only not defend the ban, but would also side with two gay couples who seek to overturn it in federal court.
The controversial law — an amendment to the Virginia Constitution that defines marriage as between a man and a woman and that does not allow for the recognition of same-sex civil unions — was backed by 57 percent of voters in 2006, including Herring, who as a state senator voted twice for its passage.
But Herring said he has since changed his mind after discussions with friends and family.
The attorney general’s new position on same-sex marriage is in line with a shifting opinion among Virginians in the past eight years. Last summer, a Quinnipiac University poll showed 50 percent of state voters supported allowing same-sex marriage in Virginia, with 43 percent opposed.
Herring said that Virginia has stood on the “wrong side of history” too many times and that he envisions a commonwealth that is open to all.
Herring will send Solicitor General Stuart Raphael to Norfolk to argue on behalf of the plaintiffs in the Bostic v. Rainey case before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Timothy Bostic, a professor at Old Dominion University, and partner Tony C. London, a real estate agent and Navy veteran, filed the suit last year after the couple was denied a marriage license at the Norfolk Circuit Court clerk’s office.
Chesterfield County couple Carol Schall and Mary Townley also signed on to the suit.
Legal experts predict Bostic v. Rainey will be decided before the U.S. Supreme Court next year. Until then, same-sex marriage remains illegal in Virginia.
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