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Judge Strikes Down Virginia's Gay Marriage Ban

Ban violates 14th Amendment, she rules
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2014 1:01 AM CST
Judge Strikes Down Virginia's Gay Marriage Ban
This courtroom sketch shows US District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen, top center, as she presides over a hearing on Virginia's ban on gay marriage in Norfolk, Va.,    (AP Photo/Alba Bragoli Harding)

(Newser) – America has "arrived upon another moment in history when We the People becomes more inclusive, and our freedom more perfect," said a federal judge yesterday as she struck down Virginia's ban on gay marriage. The judge, who decided the ban violated the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause, quoted Abraham Lincoln and mentioned Virginia's past prohibition of interracial marriage in her sweeping, 41-page ruling, reports the Washington Post. The ruling was stayed pending appeal.

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The state's new attorney general has said he won't defend the ban approved by the state's voters in 2006, but the ruling will have to hold up before 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court before Virginia can become the first Southern state to legalize same-sex marriage, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. Groups opposed to gay marriage accused the judge of "disenfranchising" Virginians with the decision and claimed the ruling just prior to Valentine's Day is "political show." (Read more Virginia stories.)

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