American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

What It Was Like: Victory in Virginia

Last week AFER made history. The Federal District Court ruled that gay and lesbian couples deserve equal treatment under the law and that laws prohibiting them from getting married in Virginia are unconstitutional. This is the first ruling of its kind in a southern state.

Just hours before Valentine’s day, Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen issued her decision in AFER’s case.

Judge Allen’s decision was beautifully written and is a now a legal testament that all loving gay and lesbian couples are due the right to marry.

Over 45 years ago, the Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in “Loving v. Virginia” striking down discriminatory laws that prohibited interracial marriage. Judge Allen began her decision quoting Mildred Loving, the plaintiff in that case:

“We made a commitment to each other in our love and lives, and now had the legal commitment, called marriage, to match. Isn’t that what marriage is?…I believe all Americans, no mater their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry.”

Judge Allen’s eloquent decision concluded that, “we have arrived upon another moment in history where We the People becomes more inclusive, and our freedom more perfect.”

An appeal is expected soon, and AFER prepared to fight until all Americans are granted the freedom to marry the person they love.