Rising Tide

New Court Challenge To Virginia’s Ban On Marriage Equality

Minnesota and Rhode Island became the 12th and 13th states to make marriage equality the law today, but the movement toward equality isn’t stopping there. Not by coincidence, the ACLU and Lambda Legal have filed a lawsuit challenging Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriages.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court on behalf of two couples who are seeking the right to marry. Joanne Harris and Jessica Duff have been a couple for over a decade and are raising a four-year-old son together. Christy Berghoff and Victoria Kidd were legally married in the District of Columbia and are raising an eight-month-old daughter.

“If Virginia would just respect our marriage from D.C., it would ensure that my spouse and family could access all the benefits I’ve earned,” Berghoff, an Air Force veteran, said.

The task of defending Virginia goes to state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli is not only opposed to marriage equality; he would like to roll back the clock (and the Supreme Court) and reinstate sodomy laws. He also happens to be the Republican gubernatorial nominee, guaranteeing that marriage equality will become an issue in the November election.

The tide is against Cuccinelli. A new poll from Gallup shows that public support for marriage equality continues to grow. A slight majority of Americans now say that they would vote for marriage equality if it was on the ballot. The numbers look even stronger in Virginia. A Washington Post poll in May found that 56% of registered voters there support marriage equality. That’s great news for same-sex couples, and not so great news for Cuccinelli.