Local Reactions to Herring's Stance On Same-Sex Ban

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

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RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) -- Attorney General Mark Herring joined a lawsuit challenging Virginian's ban on gay marriage Thursday.

This shift gives some Valley couples hope, but the decision also raises some concerns.

"Marriage has been defined as a man and a woman long before the American government even existed and I believe it is an institution defined by God," said John Welborn, the pastor at Calvary Cross-link.

For Joanne Harris, the picture of marriage is different as she has been together with another woman for 12 years.

"Jesse and I just want to be able to be married where we were born and where were were raised," said Harris.

This is why she filed a lawsuit in August against the 2006 same-sex marriage ban.

Herring stated early Thursday that he now believes the ban is unconstitutional and discriminatory.

"It's also important for the parties to the case, for those Virginians who are denied the right to marry," said Herring.

For Harris, the change would allow her to have the same rights as other married couples.

"It will enable Jesse and I to be able to take care of one another health-wise and we will be able to jointly take care of our son," said Harris.

Something Welborn doesn't oppose, as long as it doesn't redefine the definition of marriage.

"We can provide allowances for people to have rights no matter whatever lifestyle they are choosing to live, but it is not necessary to redefine and manipulate and ancient institution like marriage to do that," said Welborn.

Herring's decision will change Virginia's legal position on the ban, but will not lift the ban.

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