Social media erupted on Feb. 13 when United States District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen stated that constitutional right to equality should apply to all and that the gay marriage ban in Virginia is unconstitutional. Though nothing happened immediately to gay couples throughout Virginia, this statement is a huge step toward equality for all.
Tim Bostic and Tony London, and Carol Schall and Mary Townley, the two couples who filed the suit when their California marriage licenses did not extend to Virginia, were represented by Theodore Olson and David Boies, the pair of lawyers who restored gay marriage rights in California.
“I personally believe that gay marriage doesn’t even need to be entitled as ‘gay marriage’,” sophomore Chitra Kokkirala said. “It should be called ‘marriage’ because that is what it is, a promise between two people. There’s no need for labels, and this judge’s statements is a step in the right direction in Virginia.”
Seventeen states currently have legalized gay marriage throughout the United States: six states through court decision, eight through state legislature and three more through popular vote. Many students at Jefferson believe that this statement by a federal judge will allow Virginia to become the 18th state to legalize same-sex marriage.
“I honestly believe that our government shouldn’t meddle in what gay people do. Our forefathers built our government to separate church and state; now look what the government is doing,” sophomore Antara Sarkar said. “But since our government has decided to control our marriage lives anyways, I think that they should legalize gay marriage. Seventeen other states have done it, so why can’t Virginia?
A touchy subject for many as their religious and familial beliefs may interfere with their own humanitarian ideas, some Jefferson students are just happy to see a step forward for equality amongst all humans.
“Even though I am a Christain, I do not oppose homosexual marriage,” junior Coco Chen said. “I think that one should have the freedom to choose his or her love partner and I am happy that the federal judge struck down the marriage ban. It is one big step for humanity.”
It seems that in America, there is always one topic that is the center of our debates and conflicts. First it was slavery, and once the African Americans were free, there was an entire time period of mistreatment that led to considering the treatment of free blacks. The next movement was women’s rights, and now it appears to be same-sex marriage. At each point in history, the people with humanitarian ideas and beliefs in equality seem to win over those who wish to oppress and reject members from society. Perhaps this time, those fighting for equality will win within Virginia.
“All my life I’ve been learning how the United States is all about freedom and equality for all. Even the tourist slogan for Virginia is ‘Virginia is for Lovers’,” junior Anant Das said. “I’m incredibly happy that our home state of Virginia is moving towards really becoming a state of equal rights for everyone and one in which people can marry whomever they want.”