Virginia reacts to same-sex marriage decision - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Virginia reacts to same-sex marriage decision

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Wednesday's decision by the U.S. Appeals Court to not block gay couples from marrying in Virginia is causing quite a stir all across the state.  Now both sides are weighing in as each wages a war to make sure its voice is heard loud and clear.

It's a motto we hear all of the time. "Virginia is for lovers." Some are now same-sex couples are hopeful their love can be displayed in the form of marriage by showing up to city hall as soon as next week. But opponents say they're prepared to fight that until the very end.

After all the protests and showdowns in the courtroom, those in favor of gay marriage consider Wednesday's appeals court decision a step in the right direction.

"We represent 14,000 couples in our class action who either want to get married and haven't been able to or are married in another jurisdiction and want their marriage to have full legal recognition," said Claire Gastanaga with the ACLU.

She says it's a matter of granting equal rights to all couples.

"Everyone's spouse would be the same for purposes of accessing benefits. It will mean that if you're married and you have a child in common, that both parents can really be legal parents…If something happens to somebody tomorrow and it's a medical emergency, their spouse would be the first person consulted," Gastanaga said.

But what about the children? That's the question opponents with the Family Foundation have raised from the very beginning.

"The real issue is ensuring that kids whenever possible have both a mom and a dad and marriage is the best opportunity for that," said Chris Freund.

It's why he wants the Supreme Court to step in and issue a stay preventing gay couples from marrying in Virginia until the High Court hears the case. Without it, he expects chaos.

"We've seen this happen in other states where people got marriage licenses, then a stay was brought in, they didn't know if they were married or not and it's just unfortunate," Freund said.

Now all eyes are eagerly awaiting what happens next.

Attorney General Mark Herring has been vocal in this case. He supports gay marriage but actually wanted to see it held off until the Supreme Court hears the matter. Wednesday, he called it a case for equality.

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