UPDATE: Same-sex marriage hearing held in Norfolk federal courthouse

Posted at 11:36 PM, Feb 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-04 23:14:41-05

Norfolk, Va. - Dozens of men and women stood arm in arm outside of the Norfolk Federal Courthouse Monday all rallying together in support of same sex marriage the night before a federal judge would hear a challenge to Virginia's ban on gay marriage.

On Tuesday, a hearing was held in Norfolk - challenging Virginia's Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

The court battle began on whether or not marriage is a fundamental right in Virginia.

A Norfolk couple is fighting for the right to get married in the Commonwealth - trying to overturn the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Normally, the Attorney General defends state law, but this morning, Mark Herring arrived to the federal courthouse to support the plantiffs - Tim Bostic and Tony London.

The longtime couple arrived among a sea of supporters and attorneys.

The two filed the federal lawsuit after being denied a marriage license in Norfolk Circuit Court.

Before the hearing got underway - supporters and opponents gathered in front of the courthouse.

Divided on the issue, and on Granby Street - each group expressed their views peacefully.

During opening arguments, attorneys for Bostic and London, along with another same sex couple from Chesterfield, are trying to prove Virgina's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional - saying it discriminates against those for their sexual orientation by denying them the fundamental right to marriage, which the Supreme Court ruled is vital to all Americans.

The defense - the state's registrar and Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk - is arguing to uphold Virginia's marriage amendent, which defines the union between a man and woman.

Defense attorneys argued that marriage is not a fundamental right and that the judge should uphold a state law passed by the General Assembly - and leave it up to the legislative process to change it otherwise.


Lawsuit challenges Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban