Virginia's attorney general is telling an appellate court reviewing a judge's ruling that the state's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional, and that homosexuals have just as much right to marry as interracial heterosexual couples.
Attorney General Mark Herring is making that argument in a brief filed today at the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond. Arguments are set for May 13.
Herring is backing two gay couples who filed the lawsuit. He says in the brief that the judge who struck down the ban in February was correct in citing the 1967 Supreme Court case that invalidated state laws prohibiting interracial marriage.
Herring says the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause protects the fundamental right to marry and trumps the states' authority to decide the issue.