Same-sex marriage ruling brings mixed emotions

Same-sex marriage ruling brings mixed emotions

WISE COUNTY, Va. - The controversial ruling by a federal judge saying the same-sex marriage ban in Virginia is unconstitutional has some people speaking out.

"I'm really glad that we're finally going on the right track. Like I said last time, it's a big step for Virginia and I'm really happy about it," says Kelli Hess, who supports the ruling.

"I believe that that's the way that God intended -- man and woman. I don't see it any other way," adds Lee Street Baptist Church Pastor W.A. Johnson.

"I think Virginia could lead the way here in the south with this issue," says supporter of the ruling Matt Skeens.

The ruling gives people like Kelli Hess in Wise County hope for the future. "I'm actually engaged at the moment and it was really inconvenient to have to travel so far away to actually be able to get married, but it's nice that my own state is actually going to recognize it," she said.

It's leaving others upset especially since Virginia voters approved a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage back in 2006. "I believe Virginia is right on that issue and I believe the federal government is wrong on that," adds Johnson.

Others believe the decision shouldn't be left up to a vote. "I don't think that you should vote on people's rights. I just think that the ban was blatantly unconstitutional from the beginning," says Skeens.

Virginia's newly elected Attorney General Mark Herring said back in January he couldn't support the ban because it's unconstitutional, and that has some lawmakers like state senator Bill Carrico upset. "57 percent of the people spoke, over a million people, that they believe that traditional marriage is between one man and one woman," he told us.   

So what's next for the ban? Carrico tells us it will go to a higher court to be reviewed. He says their hands are tied because they gave it to the people to vote and that's all lawmakers can do. "I'm elected by the people and he's elected by the people. I have no control over what the attorney general does, nor does he have control over what I do," he said.

Carrico says there is a bill in the house now that would allow another lawyer to defend the state constitution if Attorney General Herring chooses not to. He tells us this process will be a long one.

We've also learned the judge will not recognize same-sex marriage in the state until an appeals court reviews the ruling.

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