Opponents and proponents of gay marriage react - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Opponents and proponents of gay marriage react

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Reaction to Attorney General Mark Herring's announcement about Virginia's gay marriage ban was quick to come in. Both advocates and opponents of gay marriage are speaking out.

People on both sides of this issue took to microphones and email with emotional responses; some even spoke out before the attorney general's formal press conference. Their opinions are very different but the passion behind the reactions is similar.

"It's a dream come true," said Bill Harrison with the Richmond Gay Community Foundation.

"It's incredibly disappointing," Victoria Cobb, President of the Family Foundation of Virginia, said.

It seems everyone wanted to have their opinion on Attorney General Mark Herring's decision heard.

Victoria Cobb sent out her statement more than three hours before Thursday morning's press conference.

"You have a million voters that are now disenfranchised," she explained. "They have gone and they have passed a constitutional amendment and what happens? We now have a case where it's not being defended and that law could be taken off the books despite the will of the people."

Equality Virginia was next to sound off.

"For those lesbian and gay families who want to get married or who were married in other states and now live in Virginia, it means we're one step closer to having full fairness and equality and their relationship recognized in the place they call home," Executive Director James Parrish said.

For advocates on both sides of the issue the response is emotional.

"I mean, I have been an activist since the 70s and I never thought I would live to see today," Harrison exclaimed. "It's the same thing as if we were dealing with race relations. I remember when I went to elementary school we were segregated, but then when we integrated and we all began to get to know each other we realized that it shouldn't be a problem."

But those who want to keep marriage between a man and woman believe it is a problem, and go as far as to call for Herring's resignation.

"The client of the attorney general's office is the people and is the general assembly," Victoria Cobb added. "That is who he works for. He doesn't just get to jump into cases willy-nilly. That is who he has been hired, so to speak, by the people to represent and so in this case it's very disturbing."

Everyone we talked to said they will be eagerly awaiting next week's oral arguments and are even more anxious to find out how the court rules.

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