In addition to Virginia, there are now cases in Oklahoma, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Alabama and Louisiana. Earlier this week, a federal judge in Kentucky ruled that same-sex marriages done in other states must be recognized in the Bluegrass State. And Nevada stopped defending its constitutional ban on same-sex marriage against court challenge. These are not exactly hospitable places for the gay rights movement, which makes the court action that much more significant. For it will be through the courts, not the plebiscite, that will determine the marital standing of same-sex couples.
“The bipartisan momentum for marriage is building at an unprecedented speed. In just the past several weeks, federal judges in Utah, Oklahoma, and Kentucky; the Attorney Generals of Virginia and Nevada; the Governor of Nevada, and now a federal judge in Virginia have all said that marriage discrimination against loving and committed gay couples is indefensible under our Constitution,” said Evan Wolfson, founder of Freedom to Marry. “There has been a fundamental shift in the legal landscape. America is ready for the freedom to marry and those couples in Virginia, on the eve of Valentine’s Day, are ready to marry.”
Wright Allen signaled the historic significance of her ruling in the first paragraph. She did so not with her words, but with those of Mildred Loving. Her 1967 case, Loving v. Virginia, led the Supreme Court to strike down state statutes banning interracial marriage.
“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?” Loving said in a statement on the 40th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision. “I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. . . . I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.”
With incredible speed, we’re seeing the nation, through its courts, quickly coming around to Loving’s point of view.
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