Our Constitution declares that "all men" are created equal. Surely this means all of us. While ever-vigilant for the wisdom that can come from the voices of our voting public, our courts have never long tolerated the perpetuation of laws rooted in unlawful prejudice. One of the judiciary's noblest endeavors is to scrutinize laws that emerge from such roots. [...]U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen stayed her ruling while opponents of marriage equality appeal it. Those opponents will once again not include Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who decided shortly after entering office not to defend the state's marriage ban.
Our nation's uneven but dogged journey toward truer and more meaningful freedoms for our citizens has brought us continually to a deeper understanding of the first three words in our Constitution: we the people. "We the People" have become abroader, more diverse family than once imagined. Justice has often been forged from fires of indignities and prejudices suffered. Our triumphs that celebrate the freedom of choice are hallowed. We have arrived upon another moment in history when We the People becomes more inclusive, and our freedom more perfect.
State bans are falling one after another; Wright Allen:
... joined a so-far unanimous group of federal judges considering a question that Supreme Court justices left unanswered in June in their first consideration of gay marriage: Does a state’s traditional role in defining marriage mean it may ban same-sex unions without violating the equal protection and due process rights of gay men and lesbians?Clearly this question is on its way to the Supreme Court. In that journey, the Virginia decision has special resonance since it was in Loving v. Virginia that the Supreme Court struck down laws against interracial marriage in 1967; Wright Allen began her opinion with an extended quote from Mildred Loving.
All have answered that the reasoning the court used to strike part of the Defense of Marriage Act-- which forbade federal recognition of same-sex marriages performed in those states where it is legal--means states cannot defend the marriage bans.
Though the decision is stayed, I think we can safely predict a wave of Valentine's Day marriage proposals.