Charlottesville City Council is making a bold move with a new proposed ordinance that would give benefits to legally married same-sex partners who work for the city.
The proposal is inspired by the recent Supreme Court ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act.
Norris brought the proposal to the table at Monday night's council meeting. It's an ordinance that would recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and extend benefits to partners of those who work for the city of Charlottesville. It's one that the city of Richmond is currently considering.
"We're seeing strong majorities now both in the commonwealth of Virginia and across the country in favor or legalizing same-sex marriage," Norris said.
But even if council approves the ordinance, it would not immediately impact gay and lesbian employees of Charlottesville because same-sex marriage is not legal in Virginia.
Norris says it's a symbolic and forward-thinking proposal that everyone on council is on board with.
"It is contingent upon either the courts or our elected officials taking action but again we want to get out in front of it. We want to go on record saying we're ready to go because we believe it's going to happen. It's a matter of time and we want to be out in front," Norris said.
The decision ultimately lies in the hands of the courts or the General Assembly - and when the decision comes down Norris says the city will be ready. As Charlottesville follows in Richmond's footsteps, council hopes other local governments will do the same.
"If other cities take note and other counties take note and go on record hopefully this will put pressures on our elected officials in Richmond to do the right thing," Norris said.
Right now city staff and the city attorney are reviewing the proposal. Council hopes to have it on the agenda sometime next month to get public input and hopes to have it passed before the end of the year.