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Editorial: Finally, Marriage Rights Protected in Virginia

On July 28, 2014, in affirming that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, Circuit Judge Henry F. Floyd writes:

“We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable. However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws. Civil marriage is one of the cornerstones of our way of life. It allows individuals to celebrate and publicly declare their intentions to form lifelong partnerships, which provide unparalleled intimacy, companionship, emotional support, and security. The choice of whether and whom to marry is an intensely personal decision that alters the course of an individual’s life. Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits them from participating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance.”

Judge Arenda Wright Allen, on Valentine’s Day, 2014, ruled that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, writing:

“A spirited and controversial debate is underway regarding who may enjoy the right to marry in the United States of America. America has pursued a journey to make and keep our citizens free. This journey has never been easy, and at times has been painful and poignant. The ultimate exercise of our freedom is choice. Our Declaration of Independence recognizes that ‘all men’ are created equal. Surely this means all of us. While ever-vigilant for the wisdom that can come from the voices of our voting public, our courts have never long tolerated the perpetuation of laws rooted in unlawful prejudice. One of the judiciary's noblest endeavors is to scrutinize laws that emerge from such roots.

“Plaintiffs assert that the restriction on their freedom to choose to marry the person they love infringes on the rights to due process and equal protection guaranteed to them under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. These challenges are well-taken. …

“The Court is compelled to conclude that Virginia's Marriage Laws unconstitutionally deny Virginia's gay and lesbian citizens the fundamental freedom to choose to marry.”

Help with Newcomers And Community Guides

Our 2014 Insider's Edition Newcomers and Community Guides, will publish the last week of August.

What tips do you have for someone getting to know your community? What do you wish you had discovered sooner?

We're hoping to share the special places, activities, events, organizations, volunteer opportunities and more that make each community what it is. Tell us your favorite park; let us know what events are not to be missed. Give a shout out to organizations that do a great job. Share your best volunteer experiences. Do you have tips for navigating your PTA or your school’s front office? We'd love to have your photos to go along with your suggestions.

Faith organizations, nonprofit organizations, clubs, environmental groups, advocacy groups, youth sports teams and others who offer events open to the public are invited to send a paragraph about your organization and how to get involved.

We will publish a selection of local tips along with a plethora of information useful to newcomers and long-time residents alike, including our award-winning Insiders Guide to the Parks, information on how to vote and more.

See last year’s community guides by going to www.connectionnewspapers.com/PDFs/ and scrolling down to Newcomers.

Email tips and photos to editors@connectionnewspapers.com. Send in your Insider's Tips by Thursday, Aug. 14.

For information on advertising, email sales@connectionnewspapers.com or call 703-778-9431.