WASHINGTON -- Following the Supreme Court's ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act yesterday, Virginia's candidates for governor wasted no time voicing their opinions.
Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee, issued a statement praising the decision, which ruled the federal same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional:
I applaud the Supreme Court for their decision today because everyone should be treated equally. While I support marriage equality, I understand that this is an issue that Virginians of goodwill come down on both sides of. This decision moves our nation in the right direction, but there is more to be done to ensure we have equality for all.
My opponent has spent his career putting up walls around Virginia and telling gay Virginians that they’re not welcome. He even went so far as to order public colleges and universities to remove protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation for faculty and students. We must make Virginia the best place in the world to live, work, and raise a family, and there is no place in our future for intolerance or discriminatory rhetoric.
McAuliffe's gubernatorial challenger, Republican attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, who argued in a Supreme Court brief that gay marriage could lead to polygamy, took a decidedly different stance in a statement from director of communications Brian Gottstein:
Virginia has followed the traditional definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman for more than 400 years, and Virginians voted overwhelmingly to add this traditional definition to their constitution. The Supreme Court's decision in California’s Proposition 8 case could have had implications for all states with marriage laws similar to California’s.
As the attorney general's legal duty is to vigorously defend Virginia's laws when they are challenged, he filed a brief in conjunction with several other states in the California case and used every available legal argument to defend Virginia’s Constitution and preserve the will of the citizens of the commonwealth.
Today, the court’s two decisions on marriage make clear that the rulings have no effect on the Virginia Marriage Amendment or to any other Virginia law related to marriage.
The Supreme Court's ruling yesterday does not affect Virginia's gay marriage ban, which was passed in 2006.
The Washington Post notes McAuliffe, who supports gay marriage, would not say whether he believes Virginia's ban on gay marriage should be overturned: "He said that because of the General Assembly’s Republican tilt, the ban is 'not going to change during my four years as governor.'"
Across the river, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley celebrated the Supreme Court's decision in a tweet: