Judge declares ban on same-sex marriage in Virginia unconstitutional; South's 1st such ruling

Echoing similar decisions handed down elsewhere in the U.S., a federal judge ruled Thursday that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

A federal judge ruled Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, making it the first state in the South to have its voter-approved prohibition overturned.

Virginia Attorney General-elect Mark Herring smiles during a Dec. 18, 2013, news conference at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. A federal judge ruled Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, making it the first state in the South to have its voter-approved prohibition overturned.

Associated Press + More

By BROCK VERGAKIS, Associated Press

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Virginia has become the first state in the South to overturn a voter-approved prohibition of same-sex marriage.

Echoing similar decisions handed down elsewhere in the U.S., a federal judge ruled Thursday that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

[READ: Virginia AG Won't Defend Gay Marriage Ban in Court]

U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen issued a stay of her order while it's appealed, meaning that gay couples in Virginia will still not be able to marry until the case is ultimately resolved. Both sides believe the case won't be settled until the Supreme Court decides to hear it or one like it.

Allen's ruling makes Virginia the second state in the South to issue a ruling recognizing the legality of gay marriages. A judge in Kentucky ruled Wednesday that the state must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

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