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MARATHON TRIAL UPDATES

Penalty phase set to start

Judge strikes down Va. same-sex marriage ban

NORFOLK, Va. — A federal judge ruled Thursday that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, making it the first state in the South to have its voter-approved prohibition overturned.

US District Judge Arenda Wright Allen issued a stay of her order while it is appealed, meaning that gay couples in Virginia will still not be able to marry until the case is ultimately resolved. Both sides believe the case will not be settled until the Supreme Court decides to hear it or one like it.

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Allen’s ruling makes Virginia the second state in the South to issue a ruling recognizing the legality of gay marriages.

A judge in Kentucky ruled Wednesday that the state must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. It did not rule on the constitutionality of same-sex marriages inside the state, however.

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