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Virginia attorney general: State's gay-marriage ban unconstitutional, will stop defending in federal suits

Six South Florida same-sex couples sue in Miami-Dade Court for right to marry in Sunshine State

BY STEVE SZKOTAK
ASSOCIATED PRESS

RICHMOND, Va. -- Following a seismic political shift in Virginia's top elected offices, the new attorney general has concluded that the state's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional and he will no longer defend it in federal lawsuits, his office said Thursday.

Virginia, widely considered a battleground state in the nationwide fight to grant same-sex couples the right to wed, will instead side with the plaintiffs who are seeking to have the ban struck down, a spokesman for Attorney General Mark Herring said in an email to The Associated Press.

"After a thorough legal review of the matter, Attorney General Herring has concluded that Virginia's current ban is in violation of the U.S. constitution and he will not defend it," spokesman Michael Kelly wrote.

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