VA Appeals Court Hears Gay Marriage Case - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

VA Appeals Court Hears Gay Marriage Case

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AG Herring holds press conference on appeals court proceedings AG Herring holds press conference on appeals court proceedings
Marriage is defined in the Virginia constitution and state code as strictly between a man and a woman - but that could all be about to change. Three Richmond judges will now decide whether to uphold or strike down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage.

A federal judge in Norfolk ruled just three months ago that Virginia’s statutory and constitutional bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. Now it's up to the court of appeals as thousands of Virginians watch, and wait.

Hundreds lined the streets of downtown Richmond Tuesday, as attorneys inside the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals delivered oral arguments in what could become a landmark case.

“Our attorneys were wonderful. The judges really heard our case,” said Carol Schall, appellee.

“I'm optimistic that the judges who heard today's arguments will affirm the district court's decision,” said Mark Herring, Virginia attorney general.

For the families at the center of the case, it's worth the wait.

“We look forward to a day where our story maybe impacts the history of this nation,” said Schall.

Meanwhile, those on the other side have their own concerns.

“To create motherless and fatherless institutions just seems unfair,” said Victoria Cobb of the Family Foundation of Virginia.

Gay marriage opponents point to 2006, when voters overwhelmingly approved the amendment banning gay marriage.

“It meant something then, it means something now, and the people are here to show that,” said Cobb.

The debate continues, and the future of marriage in Virginia rests in the hands of the court.

“We hope they listen to the facts of the case and it's not about what president appointed them and what their ideology is,” said Cobb.

“I don't think that we could make a more persuasive argument than to just ask people to look at this at this family. Do these people deserve equality? That's the question,” said David Boies, appellee’s attorney.

Many have said this case could go all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. In fact one of the judges Tuesday called this hearing a "way station" on the journey to the high court.

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