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ACLU Challenges Virginia's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

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For Linda Kaufman, today is not just an important day in the history of civil rights in Virginia. It's also a significant day for her relationship with her life partner.

"LeeAnn and I met in 1997, and today actually is the 15th anniversary of our commitment service," she says.

They were married in D.C. three years ago, but Virginia does not recognize their marriage because of a constitutional amendment Virginia voters approved in 2006 prohibiting gay marriage.

"Virginia, although it recognizes relationships and marriages from all over the world, will not recognize my marriage with LeeAnn, and so we would like that to change."

That's why Kaufman and other advocates for gay marriage are cheering a federal lawsuit filed today in Harrisonburg. The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal filed the suit on behalf of two couples, one from Staunton and one from Winchester. Amanda Goad is staff attorney with the ACLU.

"It's particularly important to them to have their families respected under Virginia law before the children are old enough to really understand just how badly their families are being disrespected."

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will be defending the prohibition against gay marriage. In a written statement, the attorney general says Virginia has followed the traditional definition of marriage for 400 years, a definition that was enshrined in an amendment approved by a majority of Virginia voters in 2006.

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