The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal will formally announce the lawsuit at two press conferences that are scheduled to take place in Harrisonburg and Richmond. A press release the two organizations released on Wednesday said plaintiff couples will be on hand.
The groups will file their lawsuit two weeks after a gay Norfolk couple challenged the commonwealth’s same-sex ban that voters approved in 2006 in federal court.
The ACLU earlier this month filed a separate lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s statutory ban on nuptials for gays and lesbians.
A Public Policy Polling survey conducted between June 26-30 found 55 percent of Virginia residents support marriage rights for same-sex couples. A Quinnipac University poll released earlier this month noted 50 percent of Virginians back nuptials for gays and lesbians.
Former Democratic National Committee Chair Terry McAuliffe, who is running against Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the state’s gubernatorial election, in February announced he supports same-sex marriage. McAuliffe said during a debate against his Republican challenger at the Homestead in Hot Springs on July 20 that he would sign a gay nuptials bill into law if one were to reach his desk.
Cuccinelli noted after the U.S. Supreme Court last month found a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional the commonwealth “has followed the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman for more than 400 years.” He added the justices’ decisions on DOMA and California’s Proposition 8 would “have no effect” on the state’s same-sex marriage ban “or to any other Virginia law related to marriage.”
Neighboring Maryland is among the 11 states and D.C. in which gays and lesbians can legally marry.