RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — An appeals court's decision to strike down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban adds to the growing list of decrees on a hot-button issue that will likely end up being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond on Monday ruled that state laws barring gay marriage and denying recognition of such unions performed in other states violate the U.S. Constitution.
It's the second federal appellate court to overturn gay marriage bans, after the Denver circuit.
The ruling also is testing concepts of states' rights and traditional, conservative moral values that have long held sway in the South.
The 2-1 ruling applies throughout the circuit that also includes West Virginia, Maryland, and the Carolinas, where the attorneys general split Monday on what they'll do next.