Judge Hears Challenge to Va.'s Gay Marriage Recognition Ban

Promises a quick ruling


In a case that could give gay marriage its first foothold in the old Confederacy, a federal judge will hear arguments Tuesday on whether Virginia's ban on gay marriage should be struck down — the position the state's newly elected Democratic attorney general has endorsed, angering many Republican lawmakers.

In January, Attorney General Mark Herring's office notified the federal court in Norfolk that it would not defend the 2006 voter-approved constitutional amendment in a lawsuit — a move with the potential to give gay marriage its first foothold in the South. Republicans have accused Herring of abandoning his responsibility to defend the state's laws and a handful of protesters gathered at the federal courthouse Tuesday morning shouted phrases decrying his position and carried signs such as "Herring's herring. AG's must uphold the law."