Valley Couple, Group Respond to Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

The decision to strike down the same sex-marriage ban in Virginia has people talking on both sides of the issue.

Dean Welty talks with Channing Frampton

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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) -- The decision to strike down the same sex-marriage ban in Virginia has people talking on both sides of the issue.

While a Staunton couple is directly affected by the decision is thrilled, a man from Valley Family Forum says the ruling is deeply troubling on several counts.

"Pure joy. We're very excited," is how Joanne Harris says she felt when she heard the news about the court's decision Monday.

On the other hand, Dean Welty, who represents the Valley Family Forum, says "I guess my immediate reaction is disappointment. It is frustration."

There are passionate opinions on both sides of the same-sex marriage issue in the Valley. Joanne Harris and Jessica Duff have been together for more than 10 years. They're raising a son together, and now wedding plans are in the works.

"Marriage is only between one man and one woman. It's the law of nature," continued Welty.

That's the other side of this issue. Not everyone in the valley agrees with the decision. When asked why he's against same-sex marriage in the commonwealth, Welty and the Valley Family Forum make several points including: "God explicitly forbids, in His Word, any sexual relationship outside of marriage. That includes relationships between people of the same gender."

Meanwhile, Harris and Duff say they're just happy that marriage equality is finding its way to Virginia.

"What's really great is having so many people in our community and in our families reach out to us yesterday being just as excited as we were," shared Harris.

"I was waiting for this day, and it happened, and it was just a dream come true and a blessing,” added Duff.

It's a dream that is still potentially up for debate. The court's decision doesn't go into effect until August 18, and there still could be an appeal.

To read the full ruling, click the link below. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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