Virginia Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down

ssm virginia(CNN) — It’s a Happy Valentine’s Day for same-sex couples in Virginia.

Late Thursday night, a federal judge in Virginia ruled the Commonwealth’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Virginia passed the ban in 2006.

The judge issued a stay of the order, pending any appeals, meaning same-sex couples can’t get married right away.

Virginia’s new democratic leadership recently said it wouldn’t defend the ban in federal lawsuits. If the ruling stands, Virginia will be one of the first southern states to repeal a same-sex marriage ban.

Same-sex marriage is permitted by law in 17 states and the District of Columbia.