Gay Marriage Rulings Hurting Voter Confidence?
Virginia is now the latest in a wave of states to have a judge overturn its voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.
After Thursday's ruling, U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen also issued a stay on her order while it is being appealed. That means gay couples will not be able to marry in the state for now.
Thursday's decision came as no surprise to traditional marriage supporters. Virginia Attorney Gen. Mark R. Herring has called the ban unconstitutional and refused to defend the law.
"It's sad that we have an attorney general who has told Christians and other believers in traditional marriage that we're on the wrong side of history, that somehow we're hateful of others, that we want to destroy the rights of others," activist and former lieutenant governor candidate Bishop E.W. Jackson told CBN News.
The court's decision represents the first time a court has overturned a state marriage law in the South. Lynn Marie Kohm, a professor of law at Regent University, talked more about the ruling and its implications on CBN Newswatch, Feb. 14.
"No, we love God," he said. "We love people, but we believe that there is right and wrong."
Virginia is now the second state in the South to issue a ruling recognizing the legality of gay marriages. Conservatives noted that similar decisions have recently been handed down in Utah and Oklahoma.
They said such rulings reflect a flawed understanding of the Constitution and will hurt voters' confidence that what they approve in the ballot box will be upheld.
The situation has prompted Virginia Delegate Todd Gilbert to move on what could become a new trend: lawmakers stepping in to defend laws that state officers won't.
"We think this is a great stretch of our Constitution and certainly violates the provisions of the Virginia constitution passed overwhelmingly by the voters of Virginia," Del. Gilbert said.
"We are pursuing a legislative vehicle to give us the ability in the legislature to stand in and essentially do the attorney general's job where he has chosen not to do it," he added.
The majority of states, more than 30, still uphold traditional marriage and ban same-sex marriage. Those that have redefined marriage are mainly on the coasts with three in the Midwest.
Thursday's ruling in Virginia raises the basic question that Utah and Oklahoma courts have also asked: Is there a constitutional reason why states may ban gay marriage?
Deciding how the Constitution does or does not speak to gay marriage ultimately will have to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.