Couples celebrate overturned Va. gay marriage ban

BROCK VERGAKIS Associated Press Published:

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- The two couples at the center of a fight over the legality of gay marriage in Virginia are celebrating a federal judge's ruling overturning the state's ban.

On Friday, Tim Bostic and Tony London of Norfolk and Carol Schall and Mary Townley of Chesterfield County praised U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen's late-night ruling declaring the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The judge wrote that the ban violates the 14th Amendment.

Wright Allen stayed her decision, which means no marriages can take place until the issue is ultimately decided by an appeals court.

The couples held a Valentine's Day news conference outside a Norfolk home the morning after the ruling. They say that although the decision has been stayed, it brings them one step closer to being married.