A federal judge Thursday evening has struck down Virginia's constitutional marriage discrimination amendment. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring tweeted out the news just before 10:00 tonight:
*ALERT* Equality marches forward in VA: Federal judge declares state's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. Issues stay pending appeal.— Mark Herring (@AGMarkHerring) February 14, 2014
U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen has stayed her ruling pending appeal, meaning that the ban remains in force while the appeals process works itself out.
Allen's 41-page ruling begins with a quote from Mildred Loving:
"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?... I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generations' fears and prejudices have given way, and today's young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry. Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don't think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the 'wrong kind of person' for me to marry. 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."
-- Mildred Loving, "Loving for All."
And at the end:
The full ruling is after the jump.