Attorney General Mark Herring commemorates one year of marriage equality in Virginia

gay-equalityAttorney General Mark Herring commemorated one year of marriage equality in Virginia on the day the Commonwealth began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and started recognizing legally performed out-of-state marriages between same-sex partners. In just one year, the Commonwealth has issued 2,670 marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and issued 70 birth certificates to same sex couples.

“That day was certainly groundbreaking, but the historic nature could not compare to the faces of people who could finally marry the one they loved, the mothers and fathers who would finally be named on their baby’s birth certificate, and the fact that love and our Constitution prevailed. That day, the constitutional right of Virginians to marry whomever they love was secured and loving couples and families across the Commonwealth were able to unite under the law for the very first time. It affirmed that Virginia is open and welcoming to all and that discrimination would not be tolerated, and no longer sanctioned by the Commonwealth. Those are true Virginia values,” said Herring.

“This historic progress would have been impossible without the courage of thousands of LGBT Virginians who demanded the equal treatment that our Constitution guarantees each of us. We take this day to celebrate the 2,670 couples who have been lovingly married in the past year, but it also serves as a reminder that the work is not yet done. All Virginians deserve to be treated with respect, dignity, and equality, and we will continue to fight against discrimination in the workplace, housing, and wherever we find it.”

“When Virginians gained the freedom to marry on October 6, 2014, we led the nation in the march toward marriage equality. As a result of that momentous day, thousands of couples have married and thousands of families have celebrated the joy that marriage brings,” said Carol Schall, plaintiff in Virginia’s marriage equality case. “On October 6, 2014 we won the simple and profound right to call each other family, to call the loves of our life ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ and to hear our children legally call us ‘mom’ or ‘dad.’ Same gender families across Virginia now enjoy the legal ties that only marriage can bring.”

“Every morning we wake up and thank God that we live in a country that provided us the freedom to commit ourselves to each other in front of our friends and family. We love the fact that we are responsible for each other. After 25 years together, we had already committed ourselves to each other, but we cannot express enough what it means to have the legal recognition of that commitment. We will be eternally grateful to all of those who helped make marriage equality a reality in the state of Virginia.” – Tim and Tony Bostic, plaintiffs in Virginia’s marriage equality case
“On behalf of all of the loving lesbian and gay couples whose relationships are now legally recognized, Equality Virginia would like to thank Attorney General Herring for making this anniversary possible. His leadership to invalidate the unconstitutional marriage amendment was invaluable and Virginia’s LGBT community will always be grateful.” – James Parrish, Executive Director of Equality Virginia. 
After receiving word that the Commonwealth would be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Attorney General Herring made it a top priority to ensure that Virginians who spent years fighting for the right to marry were met with an organized, seamless process. Through coordination with the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court, the Registrar of Vital Records, various state agencies, and Governor McAuliffe, OAG communicated with clerks to prepare for administrative changes throughout each step of the process. To this day, no one has been denied a license simply for their sexual orientation and married same-sex couples are treated equally by the Commonwealth.
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