A three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit has struck down a voter-approved amendment in Virginia that affirms marriage as the union between one man and one woman. In 2006, 57 percent of voters chose to retain the definition of marriage in the onslaught of efforts to redefine the institution to the point of absurdity.
According to two of the three judges, laws that affirm the definition of marriage “impermissibly infringe on its citizens’ fundamental right to marry.” A man and woman who aren’t closely related can marry. Homosexuals are as free to marry as any of these adults; the problem, as they see it, is they can’t marry someone of the same sex. Biological brother and sister can’t marry, either. A man can’t marry two women at the same time. An adult can’t marry a minor. True marriage equality would permit each of these scenarios.
Two “wives” and two “husbands” don’t make a marriage.
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Although practically identical to cases in other states that outlaw same-sex marriage, the legal challenge in Virginia got a lot of attention because Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, announcedearlier this year he would not defend his state’s regulations. Herring was not the first attorney general to refuse to defend state marriage laws, but he took it one step further, joining the plaintiffs’ suit against the state.
The 4th Circuit judges did not immediately stay their ruling, so it’s not clear yet whether Virginia county clerks will have to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses. In every other case in which the legal challenge is ongoing, courts have followed the precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court in Utah’s marriage case. The nation’s highest court, which will eventually decide the issue, ruled that until it does, states cannot be forced by lower courts to issue licenses.