VIRGINIA

Same-sex couples challenge Virginia gay marriage ban

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There is a new showdown over same-sex marriage. Civil liberties and gay rights groups filed a lawsuit Thursday, challenging Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Linda Kaufman and Liane Rozzell celebrated their 15-year anniversary Thursday.

“I thought she was the most amazing, smart, beautiful person I’d ever met,” Kaufman says.

The couple committed to each other in front of family and friends a year after meeting. They married in D.C. three years ago, though they’re not D.C. residents.

“We want to be recognized and honored for the love and relationship we have,” Kaufman says.

The longtime Virginia residents are paying close attention to the federal lawsuit filed by the ACLU and other organizations on behalf of two Virginia couples. The organization’s goal is to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“This is a step toward making marriage available to everyone,” Kaufman says.

Kaufman, who is not one of the plaintiffs, remembers how helpless she felt when voters approved the constitutional amendment in 2006.

“I’ve worked since I was 15 years old and paid into the social security for the family that I love and my wife will not be given the support that many other people will get,” she says.

But since then, Kaufman feels things have changed and public opinion is now on her side.

"I think that people see it was a matter of justice and fairness and I think many more people in Virginia [are] saying everyone should be treated equally.”

A spokesperson for the family foundation, which helped organize support for the amendment, says he is not surprised by the lawsuit.

In a statement, he says:

"They do what they have always tried to do, go around the people. If public opinion is indeed changing as same-sex marriage advocates allege, they should be able to win at the ballot box."

This is the second lawsuit filed. In mid-July, a couple from Norfolk also filed a lawsuit, alleging the state’s ban on gay marriage violates their constitutional rights.

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