“I feel good things are happening,” said McAuliffe, speaking at Virginia Pride on Brown’s Island in Richmond. “We’re going to have marriage equality here in the commonwealth of Virginia.”
McAuliffe’s comments came two days before the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to meet to consider whether to accept seven petitions to hear same-sex marriage cases from Virginia and four other states.
“I want you all to know that in the commonwealth of Virginia, we are going to have marriage equality,” said McAuliffe on Sept. 23 during a Human Rights Campaign fundraiser at the Ritz Carlton in Washington’s West End neighborhood. “As governor, I am going to preside over marriage equality and I promise you that.”
McAuliffe on Saturday described Attorney General Mark Herring, who continues to argue against Virginia’s constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman, as a “great leader on this issue.” McAuliffe also brought to the stage the two couples — Tim Bostic and Tony London of Norfolk and Carol Schall and Mary Townley of Chesterfield — who are lead plaintiffs in a lawsuit that challenges the state’s gay nuptials ban.
“We’ve made great progress,” said McAuliffe. “We’ve got a little ways more to go.”
McAuliffe is the first sitting Virginia governor to ever appear at Virginia Pride.
In addition to his support of marriage rights for same-sex couples, McAuliffe during his remarks highlighted the first executive order he signed as governor banned discrimination against LGBT state employees. McAuliffe also noted he is the first Virginia governor to declare June LGBT month.
“We have to make sure as I build the new Virginia economy to bring entrepreneurs from all over the globe to Virginia,” said McAuliffe. “We need to be open and welcoming to everyone. You cannot grow an economy when you put walls up around Virginia.”