Virginia Activists Begin to Work after Supreme Court Decision on DOMA


HARRISONBURG -- The Supreme Court's decision on the Defense of Marriage Act raises some questions about what happens next for states and for things here in the Valley.

In Washington, D.C. On Wednesday, gay rights advocates celebrated a victory, but the battle for this group is not finished.

In the Valley, activists on both sides of the issue got down to work.

"We will continue to promote marriage as the best relationship, the foundation of society and the indispensable framework for a child," said Dean Welty, the director of the Valley Family Forum.

Welty said the court's decision is the first step in legitimizing same-sex marriage. He said it will have a devastating impact on marriage in America.

Even for supporters of the decision, the battle isn't finished.

"It's setting up in a marriage inequality state like Virginia to present quite a few challenges, and probably some legal challenges and maybe working with the General Assembly on some legislative challenges," said James Parrish, the executive director of Equality Virginia.

Parrish said his organization will be working to make sure federal benefits are applied fairly. He also hopes to put gay marriage on the ballot for Virginia voters. In the meantime, both sides are trying to convince more people of their beliefs.

"We will do everything we can within the General Assembly, legislative actions, but primarily within our culture and within our churches, just encouraging all of us to honor this relationship, this covenant of marriage that God has ordained for us," said Welty.

Parrish said he will continue to work hard for his cause.

"We'll be working on both fronts to make sure that any loving gay, lesbian couple here in Virginia that wants to get married can get married."

Parrish said 2016 is the earliest he thinks his group could get language on the ballot to repeal Virginia's ban on same-sex marriages.


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