U.S. court: Va. gay marriage ban unconstitutional

Sharon Baldwin, Mary Bishop

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court has struck down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled Monday that state constitutional and statutory provisions barring gay marriage and denying recognition of such unions performed in other states violate the U.S. Constitution. The Virginia gay marriage case is one of several that could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In February, U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen ruled that Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban violates equal protection and due process guarantees. Lawyers for two circuit court clerks whose duties include issuing marriage licenses appealed.

The lawsuit was filed by two Norfolk men who were denied a marriage license and two Chesterfield County women whose marriage in California is not recognized by Virginia.

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