Virginia Gay Marriage Divides Church and Family Forum


HARRISONBURG (WHSV) -- A Harrisonburg church said it is ready and willing to offer same-sex couples a place to marry if it gets the chance; on the other hand, a local family values group is not happy about that, and they are standing up for what they say is right.

It's an issue that is heating up across Virginia following the attorney general's announcement Thursday saying he won't defend the ban on gay marriage in the commonwealth.

The Harrisonburg Unitarian Universalist Church is looking forward to the possibility of ringing its bells for gay couples.

It's a sound that straight couples get to hear after exchanging vows in Virginia and one that Judith Hollowood, the chair of Sunday Services with the Harrisonburg Unitarian Universalists, said she hopes gay couples will hear soon too.

“People of Unitarian Universalist congregations have recognized that the desire to have a home and a relationship that's legally recognized in your society is common both to heterosexual and homosexual couples," Hollowood shared.

This is not a change that everyone agrees on.

“I think it's very short-sighted of them. I think people have been quick to jump on the bandwagon when they hear arguments like traditional marriage is discriminatory or unjust," shared Rita Dunaway, the deputy director for Valley Family Forum.

The forum, like many others in Virginia, believes marriage is between a man and a woman, and that's how it should stay.

"There's nothing unjust or discriminatory about it,” continued Dunaway.

Hollowood just doesn't see it that way.

"I'm strongly supportive of the right of all adult humans to marry the people they choose."

Meanwhile, Valley Family Forum said every defendant has the right to have the best possible defense put on, whether they are a gay couple or someone representing Virginia's constitution. For them, they're leaving it up to the courts.

As far as the Universalists are concerned, they say they are hopeful that gay marriage eventually does become legal, so they can help couples who are looking to get those wedding bells ringing.


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