Judge OKs class action status in Virginia for gay marriage lawsuit

By Gary Robertson RICHMOND, Virginia (Reuters) – A federal judge in western Virginia has certified as a class action a lawsuit filed by two Shenandoah Valley couples challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriages. Friday’s order adds to growing momentum to end the state’s prohibition of same-sex marriage, with Virginia’s new attorney general saying his office will no longer defend the ban. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Urbanski said in the order that same-sex couples seeking to marry in the state as well as those married in states where gay marriage is legal could challenge Virginia’s ban as a group. Lawyers for the couples who filed the lawsuit estimate that there are about 15,000 same-sex households in Virginia, based on U.S. Census data.

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