Same Sex Couples Request Marriage Licenses in Arlington

by Katie Pyzyk January 17, 2013 at 1:45 pm 2,497 199 Comments

Dozens of demonstrators seeking same sex marriage rights packed the square in front of the Arlington County Courthouse this morning, before marching into the District.

Members of the Campaign for Southern Equality work to bring attention to the desire for same sex couples to get married in Southern states. The group’s website states: “The actions on January 17 are intended to highlight the lives and stories of LGBT people from across the South; the powerful reality that in our nation’s capital LGBT people have the right to marry; and the injustice that legal marriages between same-sex couples are not recognized in the South.”

Participants gathered in the square to request marriage licenses from Paul Ferguson, the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Arlington County and the City of Falls Church.

“I commend each of you that is coming forward today for your courage. I think you do realize that by law, the Commonwealth of Virginia does not allow me to issue those marriage licenses to you,” Ferguson said. “I hope that if laws do change in the future, that you will choose to return one day to Arlington County to receive a marriage license.”

More than a dozen couples stepped forward to request marriage licenses from Ferguson. In turn, each was rejected.

“Unfortunately, I am not able to grant that license by law,” Ferguson repeated to each couple.

Each of the couples acknowledged the rejection, some vowing to return for licenses should the laws change.

“You’re just doing your job. We’ve been together 25 years. It hurts to be rejected,” one tearful applicant said to Ferguson. “We know hearts and minds do change, and we hope Virginia will too.”

Following the request for licenses, the applicants and dozens of others in attendance marched to the Jefferson Memorial. There, the group honored a North Carolina same sex couple’s legal marriage under D.C. law.

“We understand the laws aren’t going to change tomorrow. But if you live in the South, this is the distance you must travel before you’re equal under the law,” said Campaign for Southern Equality Executive Director Jasmine Beach-Ferrara. “You must go all the way to Washington, D.C. to be treated equally under the law.”

Arlington County Police officers were in attendance to ensure everyone’s safety both at the demonstration and during the march from Arlington into the District. Police reported that no public roadways were obstructed, and that as of 12:30 p.m., the group had officially crossed into D.C. on the way to the Jefferson Memorial.

  • Douglas Parker

    What, they want equal rights again!? What the hell bro?

    • Douglas Parker

      sarcasm off.

  • Hank

    I like Paul Ferguson’s handling of this situation. Classy way to address the audience. And I hope these folks come back to Arlington one day to get married. Keep up the fight!

    • Zach

      I totally agree. That’s the right response. I just met him while on jury duty and classy is the right word.

  • Harry

    Silly people. If you had wanted a Sig Sauer or a Glock in Virginia, you wouldn’t even need a license.

    • Re Harry

      The Constitution (federal and Va.) guarantees the right to keep and bear arms. Not the right to marry.

      • Harry

        Point me to your “well-regulated militia.” The Constitution says nothing about barring licenses for guns, and Scalia’s controversial Supreme Court majority opinion you’re alluding to suggests there are limits to gun ownership. Here’s a deal–let gay people get married in Virginia and you can buy without a license any gun that was designed when James Madison, James Wilson and Co. wrote the Constitution.

        • DCBuff

          Not necessarily a good argument, going back to the Framers. The Framers would not have provided for same-sex union equality.

        • novasteve

          Is your right to free speech only limited to quill and paper and the mechanical printing press since computers, typewriters, megaphones, and the internet didn’t exist in the 18th century? When the constitution was written, muskets WERE the guns the military used. The guns the left wants to ban aren’t even the guns the military uses, they just look like them.

        • KathyInArlington

          Right on, Harry!

        • Anti-Gun Mom

          OMG I love that. Please let the NRA know. Since that “right to bear arms” was written in regards to arming the militia, I love the idea of these gun nuts carrying around muskets, lol

      • Justin Russo

        The Supreme Court disagrees:

        “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”


      • drax

        Maybe, but:

        “Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.”

        -Loving v. Virginia


        The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

        -9th Amendment

        • novasteve

          1. Loving is limited to racial discrimination.

          2. Bringing up the 9th amendment is irrelevant because marriage is NOT an enumerated right. if marriage WERE in the constitution, that would be a valid argument.

          • drax

            1. “Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,”

            2. There’s no way in heck you are a lawyer, because you got the 9th amendment EXACTLY WRONG. Read it again.

          • novasteve

            And marriage is defined as as between one man and one woman.

            What part of ENUMERATED do you not understand?

          • WeiQiang

            defined in DOMA?? there’s solid legal ground.

          • drax

            Steve, if you don’t understand the 9th amendment, surrender your law license now, if you have one.

      • Sebastian Melmoth

        my granpa has a bear head mounted on the wall but i neber seen nobody what got bear arms.

  • Arlingtoner

    Hopefully change in VA happens sooner than later to allow them that right. It is a shame that in 2013 civil rights like this still need to be voted state by state…here’s hoping Virginia joins the right side of history.

  • novasteve

    Sounds like people would be happier living in MD, where you can do that, as well as have higher taxes, higher crime. if they believe in equality are they also fighting for polygamous marriage and to legalize incest let alone incestuous marriage or do only certain people deserve equality?

    • Hank

      Interesting. I wasn’t aware of a correlation among gay marriage, higher taxes, and crime.

    • Hee-Haw

      Just No. If you ignore him, he’ll go away.

      • Jackson

        No he won’t. He’ll say more and more dumb things until someone acknowledges him.

    • Glebe Roader

      You know him?

    • Jeff

      Steve, you know very well that gay marriage does not correlate to higher taxes or higher crime. Don’t try to make it sound like it does. Assuming you are straight, what makes you so special that you should be allowed to get married, but others shouldn’t?

    • esmith69

      Why should people have to move to another state to enjoy the same rights as opposite sex couples? Please explain to me how you think that is fair. No sidetracking or bringing up other issues, just answer the question.

      • Ballston Lurker

        So, are you saying every state should have the exact same laws??

        • drax

          No, Lurker – but the should have the exact same rights.

          Does this sound familiar?

          “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. “

          • novasteve

            Drax: So you think that people should be allowed to have concealed carry permits in all 50 states since some states allow them, but others don’t?

          • drax

            If we all agree that concealed carry is protected by the 2nd amendment, then yes, obviously. If something is protected by the Bill of Rights, it applies to all the states. Duh.

    • novasteve

      They do have the right to marry…one person of the opposite sex. Equal rights for all, special rights for none.

      • Hee-Haw

        are you the real or fake N_S ?

      • iiandyiiii

        Why don’t you support them having the right to marry the one they love, with the accompanying property and legal rights, Steve?

      • drax

        Would you say the same for interracial or interreligious marriage, steve?

        You have the right to marry – someone of your own race, or religion.

      • ShirliMan

        So pior to Loving v VA, I guess you would have said “They do have the right to marry…one person of the opposite sex and same race.”

        And regarding “special right for none”, I’d say heterosexuals have the special rights, because they are free to marry the person of their choosing.

      • Mary-Austin

        Just because nobody wants to marry you does not mean others should not have the right to marry.

    • iiandyiiii

      Do you believe in equality, Steve? If so, why aren’t you fighting for gay marriage (or polygamous marriage and legalizing incest, if you choose)? Are you capable of addressing an issue without changing the subject?

      • Hee-Haw

        of course not, just as he can’t ever offer his own opinions, just questions.

      • novasteve

        I’m not changing the issue. i’m proving that you don’t believe in marriage equality. Yet still use the term.

        • Hee-Haw

          yes you are, you are injecting incest and polygamy into same-sex marriage arguments. Lets just take 1 issue at a time…

          • novasteve

            The issue is MARRIAGE EQUALITY. Why is the organization behind this event called “Campaign for Southern EQUALITY”?? Note the word equality. Now if you exclude people from marriage while claiming to be for marriage equality, how is that furthering the cause of equality?Or do you believe in equality for only some?

          • drax

            1 issue at a time? Why should other people wait in line for their rights?

          • Hee-Haw

            wrong, the article is clearly about same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses. Were incestuous and polygamous couples also in attendance ?

          • novasteve

            @ hee haw:

            Incestouous couples and polygamists don’t have mass movements out there trying to get society to sympathize with them. So rights should only be granted to people who constitute larger numbers and are louder in their demands?

          • Hee-Haw

            @drax, The 1 issue at a time was in response to NS.
            @NS, Why not ? and Why should we grant rights to people not asking for them ?

          • iiandyiiii

            Yes, rights should only be granted to people who demand them. It’s not that complicated- and every single civil right we have was earned because people demanded them.

          • drax

            So all I have to do is find one person who wants a polygamous marriage to satisfy you. I think I can do that.

          • Hee-Haw

            I never said I wanted to see 1 person who wanted polygamous marriage.
            Should we grant rights that people are not asking for ?

          • drax

            Yes, if I find just one person who wants their right to polygamous marriage, that proves somebody is asking for it. See how that works?

          • Hee-Haw

            But I’m still waiting for you to show me people seeking polygamous marriage, Im sure there are, I just want you to do the work.

        • iiandyiiii

          I support the right of gay couples to get married. I don’t care what you call it. If the best you can do is argue about word definitions, that just shows how weak the anti-gay marriage argument is.

    • drax

      Americans should not have to move away to enjoy their rights.

      • novasteve

        That’s funny, because you had to move away from DC until recently if you wanted to enjoy your second amendment rights.

        • Mary-Austin

          not true.

          • Patrick

            Yes true.

  • Scarlet Knight

    As the parent of a Lesbian daughter who had a marriage performed and recognized by her religion, but not recognized by her state, I applaud the efforts to bring about change. And, it will happen. Soon.

  • DC and MD

    If its THAT important, and from the comments expressed I assume it is, moving to DC or MD where same sex marriage is legal seems to be a slam dunk solution. And I think their cars flip only when they enter the Commonwealth.

    • MB

      You know, there used to be other people who had to leave Virginia to secure equal rights. Of course, back then, Virginia got all angry about it and sent people after them to haul ’em back in chains.

      • b-money

        nailed it.

      • Arlingtoner

        Exactly. And if they had to VOTE state by state on ammendments to end slavery or give women or blacks the right to vote…numerous states would NOT have passed. There are possibly a couple now that wouldnt allow rights if they were voted state by state and not ammendments….sad.

        • DCBuff

          Actually, a state-by-state vote is exactly how a Constitutional amendment is enacted. That is how the 13th, 14th, 15th and 18th Amendments were adopted. See Article 5 of the Constitution.

        • 5555624

          Huh? Amendments are ratified by the states. Slavery was ended by the 13th Amendment — which was ratified by the legislatures of each state. (FYI, in 1865 there were 36 states and every one eventually ratified it.) The 18th Amendment, giving women the right to vote was done the same way, although two states at the time — Connecticut and Rhode Island — voted to reject it. Ratification voting for the 15th Amendment, giving blacks the right to vote is interesting — although ratified in 1870, some states didn’t get round to ratifying it until a years later: such as California (1962), Maryland (1973), Tennessee (1997).

          • The Bible

            > in 1865 there were 36 states and every one eventually ratified it.

            You do realize that the former Confederate states were “urged” to pass the amendment before they were allowed to return their representatives to Congress, right?

      • drax

        And then a couple who married in Virginia, but then had to move to DC to avoid jail time for it. One was black and one white, but that was illegal in Va.

        The Supreme Court struck down Virginia’s law against interracial marriage, and they moved back to Virginia.


    • South Awwlington

      What is important is equal rights and equal protection under the law, no matter what state you live in.

      Ironically enough, a conservative reading of the 14th Amendment would ensure this had been settled long ago via Stare decisis.

      • novasteve

        Ah. So if you don’t legalize incestuous marriage and polygamy you are violating the 14th amendment. Why aren’t you pursuing that too?

        The argument is that you have an equal right to marriage, and marriage is between a man and a woman, not two people of the same sex. That’s been the definition of marriage for all time. That’s why your argument doesn’t work.

        However, why aren’t you pursuing total marriage equality of all consenting adults? Why only SS marriage? Do you support denying consenting adults the right to marry?

        • Hank

          I really don’t have a problem with polygamy being legalized if all parties agree to it. But that’s not the point. What’s being argued here is same sex marriage, not everything included on your list of slippery slope what-ifs.

          • not novasteve

            sounds like Hank and SoAwl are ducking the real n-s’s question

          • Hank

            @ Not NovaSteve… How did I duck the question? I thought I’d answered it.

        • Hee-Haw

          Snowva-steve, it didn’t snow today, but why are your slopes still so slippery ?

          • drax

            It’s not a slippery slope argument at all.

            It’s simply a question of logical consistency. If you insist that someone should marry whoever they want, why restrict that to marriages involving only two people? Because it’s “traditional?”

          • Hee-Haw

            Yes, it is slippery. 1+1 = 2. 1+ ? = ?

          • novasteve

            Hee Haw. If you don’t want to marry more than one person, then DONT. It’s the same argument if you have no problem in changing the definition of marriage or traditions.

            Why do you want to deny consenting adults the right to marry? Simply because they are small in number and not loud in their demands? They don’t have the media, and lobbying groups trying to get society to sympathize with them like gays have. They should be denied rights as a consequence of that?

          • Hee-Haw

            You take this waaay to seriously. You see the word “Equality” and run with it. Its clear this “Equality” group is asking for equality of marriage involving 2 persons. No where on their website is polygamy even mentioned, so why do you ?

          • drax

            Go look up slippery slope. You don’t understand what it means.

          • Hee-Haw

            I know what it means and ,apparently, so do people who are more educated on the topic than me…

        • John Fontain

          steve said: “and marriage is between a man and a woman, not two people of the same sex. That’s been the definition of marriage for all time.”

          mar·riage noun \ˈmer-ij, ˈma-rij\
          Definition of MARRIAGE
          1a (1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage


          Sorry Steve, you are wrong.

          • drax

            Legal definition. Not a descriptive dictionary’s definition.

          • John Fontain

            drax, for the vast majority of Virginia’s existence as a Commonwealth, marriage was NOT legally defined as being between a man and a woman. The Marshall-Newman Amendment in 2006 amended the constitution of Virginia to state, “That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth.”

            So Steve’s original point that “marriage is between a man and a woman…That’s been the definition of marriage for all time” is completely incorrect.

          • drax

            No gays have ever been issued a marriage certificate in Virginia, ever, John. That’s a definition of marriage, even if it wasn’t written down in state law.

        • drax

          I’m fine with poly marriage for that reason, steve. I call your bluff.

        • South Awwlington

          Is this where you campaign to marry dogs, sleep with sheep and enjoy the company of a Thoroughbred in your bed? Why do you insist on trying to degrade an intelligent conversation by inserting false arguments and red herrings?

          • novasteve

            Nice stereotype South aww. And nice attempt at mind reading. Dogs, sheep and horses aren’t consenting adults. Tell me why you would deny consenting adults the right to marry yet claim you want marriage equality? This is about equality amongst CONSENTING ADULTS. Which you guys obviously don’t believe in despite your claims.

          • South Awwlington

            stereotype noun
            Definition of STEREOTYPE

            1: a plate cast from a printing surface
            2: something conforming to a fixed or general pattern; especially : a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment

            Nothing I said above was a stereotype, I was simply continuing with your ill thought logic – going one steps beyond polygamists, incestuous family members, probably kidnappers and child rappers too.

      • South Awwlington

        All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. – Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment

        • JohnB

          I hope they now file suit against the Commonwealth for denying them equal protection.

        • novasteve

          Yet Obamacare provides gender distinctions of what must be covered and at what copay. Is that equal treatment? Does requiring only men to register with the selective service or be jailed and fined constitution equal treatment? The equal protection clause doesn’t work that way. Do you think affirmative action provides equal treatment?

          • South Awwlington

            A better question yet as I read through this entire thread is WHY THE [email protected]$& DO YOU CARE SO MUCH? As someone who is presumably straight (indicated by your consistently inconsistent typographical errors, cigar smoking, dive bar whoring self). If Liberty is such a God given virtue extolled by the right and the Republicans, why do you give a rats ass what relationship two people have between themselves?

            You have literally responded to every single post on this board written by someone in support of or indifferent to same sex marriage by presenting false comparisons and red herrings. Your behavior here today is even more repulsive than usual and assures all here that you will die an old and lonely troll.

          • novasteve

            How dare people with different opinions live in my community! how dare they! They aren’t false comparisons. They are logical next steps if you actually believed in EQUALITY.

            Do you?

          • WeiQiang

            ACA is a public health law, not property and family law as with marriage. medicine and science recognize differently modalities of care (and need) based on the physical make-up of the patient. if you want to advocate that the law should address PAP smears for men or prostate checks for women, please make the economic and medical arguement for doing so.

            marriage laws involve property, family, and financial matters between two individuals, except in the case of incest where public health also plays a part and marriage between two related individuals. like it or not, incest and polygamy are illegal. LGBTQIA people want current marriage laws to apply to couples equally.

            your desire to make incestuous and polygamous relationships legal in marriage is a severable argument unrelated to the couples seeking marriage equality in this case. you are welcome to take up the cause for incestuous and polygamous marriage. see Boies & Olsen.

          • South Awwlington

            I don’t recall ever challenging your right to an opinion.

            I do question whether or not you are a little too interested in this issue as someone it will have no affect on, as demonstrated by your need to respond without fail to every comment on this board in support of ss marriage and I also rightfully question your logical capabilities by making huge leaps to included incest as a protected right by the US Government.

            Mores and values change over time in certain circumstances. This is one such circumstance. Incest is not. Your flippant application of it in this argument underscores your inability to have a real conversation on this topic. Now go play by yourself at recess as I am sure you did for MANY years in school.

          • novasteve

            Weiqang, so based upon medical differences, you believe it’s okay to have one set of rules to insurers for women, and another for men? You do realize that some of these preventative things that women don’t have to pay for, men get also. Diabetes isn’t a woman only thing. So you think it’s okay to require women not have a copayment for a screening, but men should have one? Domestic abuse. Only women can be domestically abused? They have an included screening for that.


            The eight new prevention-related services are:

            Well-woman visits.
            Gestational diabetes screening that helps protect pregnant women from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases.
            Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling.
            FDA-approved contraceptive methods, and contraceptive education and counseling.
            Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling.
            HPV DNA testing, for women 30 or older.
            Sexually transmitted infections counseling for sexually-active women.
            HIV screening and counseling for sexually-active women.

            Are you going to tell me that only women get HPV and STDs. I retract my statement about diabetes, its gestational diabetes only.

            How can you tell me that you’re fine with that gender based distinction?

          • drax

            South Awwlington, are you gay? If not, why do you think steve shouldn’t have an opinion because he has no stake? You don’t either.

          • South Awwlington

            Last time I checked, yes. But that’s not my point here. My point is, for Republicans and the like who profess to be some government, my business is my business types, they sure as hell like to insert themselves into the intimate relationships of others.

          • South Awwlington

            some government=small government

    • geebee

      Here’s a better idea: How about you move to Alabama so those of us with a lick of sense and a love of this state will have less clutter to clean up as we make a better Virginia?

  • Chris

    Keep up the good fight. Love will conquer hatred and bigotry.

    • novasteve

      Do you hate muslims and are islamophobic when you deny them polygamy? Does everyone not agreeing with you have to a somethingphobic bigot?

      • Chris

        No, not everybody who disagrees with me is a bigot.

        There is no reason why we should not allow gay people to marry.

        Polygamy is very different.

        • drax

          Why is polygamy different, exactly?

          You realize that people also say gay marriage is “very different” right?

          • snarl

            …as was biracial marriage in its time. we can only deal with what we’ve evolved to accept. as a country we seem to be mostly ready to deal with gay marriage. polygamy’s time has not yet come.

          • Hee-Haw

            because 2 is different than more than 2.

          • Jackson

            Ugh. If they used a word besides “equality” will you and Steve drop the asinine “what about polygamy, marrying your sister a d/or your dog?” argument? You know it’s a petty point about semantics that intentionally misses the entire point.

          • drax

            snarl, I love it when people use the EXACT SAME arguments against polygamy that others use against gay marriage. Well done! You made my point.

          • jackson

            So the same argument could be made that people should be able to purchase bazookas or anti-aircraft guns? An “arm is an arm.” If you support one you have to support them all, right?” EQUALITY OF WEAPONS!

          • drax

            So you’re saying not everyone should be allowed to marry whoever they want now, jackson?

      • ArlRes

        Novasteve – you sure do have an interesting obsession with polygamy. And BTW, there have been ss marriages and unions throughout history. It is not a modern invention. See certain Roman Emperors for instance…

        • drax

          Polygamy is also not a modern invention. It has existed, and still does illegally, here in the U.S., in fact.

          • Hee-Haw

            Key words in your comment: “HAS” and “ILLEGALLY”.

          • xarl

            heehaw–“has” existed elsewhere, “does” exist (albeit illegally) in the us

          • Hee-Haw

            xarl–“has” as in, past tense. “illegally”, as in against the law…in all 50 states by the way.

          • drax

            Yes. Yet gay marriage never existed legally in the U.S. until the year 2000. Polygamy was here, legally (in a U.S. territory) a century ago.

            So that’s just one more failed argument against polygamy.

            I will continue to sit back and laugh while people use the EXACT SAME arguments against polygamy that are used against gay marriage. (And I support gay marriage).

          • Hee-Haw

            bottom line, 2 is different than more than 2.
            And for the record, someone who supports polygamy does have the right to get married.

    • AJR


  • Piker Shorts

    Libertarians have no problem with same sex marriage. Why force the principles of one religion on everybody else?

    • novasteve

      So why is incestuous marriage and polygamy illegal? Why are incestuous people jailed for having sex. Talking consenting adults here. The people who are fighting for “marriage equality” are ignoring their rights. Do they not count as people too for equality purposes?

      Do you also hate mormons and muslims when you deny polygamy? Because that’s what people who don’t support SS marriage are called, bigots and homophobes. Double standard? only certain people deserve equality but still want to use terms like “marriage equality” when you don’t mean it?

      • thispolythingissilly

        straight people get to marry ONE person. Gay people want the right to marry ONE person. Poly people can marry one person. They may want to marry more than one, but denying them that, is not denying them something open to anyone else. You can of course say that gay people can marry one person, but of the opposite sex. Since such marriages are usually disastrous for all concerned, its a silly point.

        • novasteve

          The left’s argument is that if you don’t want a same sex marriage, then don’t get one. So if you don’t want multiple marriages, don’t marry more than one person. Why do you want to deny consenting adults the right to marry multiple people? LIke you say, how does it affect you?

          • Hank

            I argue for same sex marriage and I’m cool with polygamy. I think it’s weird, but who am I to judge?

          • R. Griffon


            Who says we’re against polygamy anyways? Consenting adults and all that.

            But I’d do one better – why even have marriage as a legal institution at all? Why not just treat everyone as an individual, and leave it incumbent upon them to name other parties in legal documents for the things that matter like survivorship, making medical decisions for them if they’re unable, etc. And do away with all the tax code to do with marriage. It shouldn’t matter.

          • keepgoing

            Well it doesn’t, and shouldn’t. What more is a marriage to the state than a contract between two consenting adults who currently must be defined by their gender. But what if we were to make it a contract between two consenting adults who bare no specific blood relationship? Why should the government, which has proven time and again that it doesn’t have the power to make gender-specific laws, honor a marriage contract any differently than it would any other binding agreement? But if you look at it that way, there’s no room for arguments about how much anal sex goes on in gay marriages, so we shall henceforth ignore this argument.

          • novasteve

            ” Why should the government, which has proven time and again that it doesn’t have the power to make gender-specific laws”

            Totally wrong. Obamacare treats men and women differently. THe selective service requirement treats men and women differently. Affirmative action treats men and women differently.

          • drax

            R. Griffon, thanks for getting it.

        • drax

          So the DEFINITION of MARRIAGE is marrying one person only?

          You see how that argument falls flat?

          • Hee-Haw

            Please cite instances where polygamous-marriage-seeking people are marching for equal rights ?

          • drax

            So if I do, what will you say to them?

            (And you need to look up the history of Utah, genius.)

          • Hee-Haw

            go ahead, i’ll wait and read everything you post.

            Utah ? haha, good one.

          • sosilly

            historically the definition of marriage has included more than two partners. thats neither here nor there. For whatever reason we choose not to recognize polygamy. That is not denying equal treatment, because poly people can still marry ONE person. Gay people are NOT granted that right (again, unless you accept the silly arguement that a gay person marrying someone of the opposite sex is an adequate solution for them)

        • drax

          “People should have the right to marry whoever they want.”


          • Hee-Haw

            still waiting on your cited instances of polygamous-marriage-seeking people marching for their rights …

          • drax

            In case you missed it:


            Someone has demanded their right to marry. Would you deny it? Why?

          • Hee-Haw

            They are not really marching for their rights, they are trying to win a court battle they cannot win.

            That second link is the worst website i’ve ever seen. Why are there no links for polygamous marriage rallies on their site ??

      • ArlRes

        I also note that while your argument re incest and ploygamy is interesting, it does not actually counter the idea that ss marriage should be legal. If anything, it fully supports the idea and begs the questions of going even further.

        • drax

          For the record, I support gay marriage.

      • R.

        That polygamy/incest excuse doesn’t apply to sexual orientation. Heterosexuals are allowed to marry someone of their same sexual orientation, so it’s only right that gay people do the same. That would fall under the consent aspect of the law.
        The RESTRICTIONS of marriage are down to four basic principles:
        Kinship, primacy, age and consent.
        These protect individuals from coercion, and dissipation of custody and primary responsibility. People who are already related, and already married, are protected and legally regarded by the state as primary kin so marrying is UNNECESSARY.
        That is why polygamy and incest are illegal.
        And there is historical, social and familial precedent that proves extremely negative consequences to it.
        There ARE no negative consequences that gay couples marry under the same terms that heteros do that’s already accepted NOW.
        THAT is what marriage is for, is to make completely unrelated, unmarried adults the primary kin to each other. They have complete custody and responsibility of and to each other.
        Gay people meet and AGREE to these same terms and have never protested otherwise.
        And it’s a lie, and so wrong for the anti gay to say that gay people do not agree to these terms and cannot.
        So I wish cement headed anti gay people would quit repeating this argument as if it’s a defense of any kind.
        Each and every defense of the anti gay, is what’s not legal because none of these defenses are exacted against anyone NOW.
        To require what they demand of gay people would not only be illegal, but wrongful and counter to what the Constitution stands for.
        Case in point.
        The gov’t does not discriminate to marry against law abiding, tax paying citizens for NOT having babies. Especially for not having babies through non procreative sexual activity.
        The gov’t does not punish the same for raising children who are not their biological children, nor being in a blended family of biological, step and adopted children.
        Nor for being in a single gender household.
        And the gov’t cannot ensure nor enforce that a mother and father will be in the home to raise the child.
        Nor can the gov’t enforce what the ROLE of either gender will be.
        With marriage equality for gay couples, it’s not MARRIAGE that is becoming genderless, but equality that is.
        And THAT is NOT a societal PROBLEM.
        That is societal GENIUS.

  • charles

    So, why did they march into DC?

    • novasteve

      I believe they said you have to go to DC to get “your rights” so it’s a symbolic thing saying they’ll use the courts to overrule the wishes of the people.

      • HellerHighwater

        and they marched to DC to say that, because DCs gun laws passed by the elected reps of the people were overturned by the Supreme Court

      • R. Griffon

        If you’re such a fan of “the wishes of the people,” then you should be all for it. Recent polls show a slim minority now support gay marriage, and that number will only go up over time just as it has in years past since it was virtually unthinkable to voice support for such an issue just 30 years ago.



        Young Americans (those ages 18-29) are some of the strongest proponents of allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. Seventy-two percent of them support it, … However, support for same-sex marriage drops … to just a third of Americans age 65 and over.

        So these antiquated notions of homosexuality being somehow wrong will literally die with these people. And relatively soon.

        So if the will of the people is to allow it (and if it isn’t by a very clear majority, it will be soon enough), then why don’t you care about the people’s wishes?

        • R. Griffon

          Oops – meant “slim MAJORITY now support gay marraige…”

    • Clarencourt Neighbor

      Following the request for licenses, the applicants and dozens of others in attendance marched to the Jefferson Memorial. There, the group honored a North Carolina same sex couple’s legal marriage under D.C. law.

      “We understand the laws aren’t going to change tomorrow. But if you live in the South, this is the distance you must travel before you’re equal under the law,” said Campaign for Southern Equality Executive Director Jasmine Beach-Ferrara. “You must go all the way to Washington, D.C. to be treated equally under the law.”

    • Jane-Dallas

      Perhaps because the feds won’t recognize same-sex marriage either.

      • South Awwlington

        The feds will have to recognize it if the USSC upholds the Federal District Court of San Francisco’s ruling that Prop 8 was unconstitutional and thereby begins overturning each and every state’s ban. Sadly, this is what it will take in Virginia.

  • Susan Lefler

    Ferguson is a real asset to Arlington County government. I’ve had little direct experience with County government staff, but was called for jury duty last year. I was immensely impressed by the jury coordinators, and by Ferguson in particular. Whenever jurors raised issues with rules concerning jury duty (parking enforcement at Courthouse, certain kinds of electronics banned from jury quarters, etc.), Ferguson was immensely even-handed in explaining why those rules were in place even as he let it be known that he understood and in some cases sympathized with jurors’ concerns.

    I imagine it is very difficult to be a public servant charged with enforcing both County and state laws when the County leans one way politically and the state leans another. Ferguson, and other County staff I encountered, handled the conflict with a degree of grace that’s rare these days. It appears that they were equally gracious this morning.

    • arlingtongal

      I totally agree, Susan. Ferguson was great when I had jury duty.

    • Eric

      Paul has a real people skill. My best memory of jury duty was his orientation and later how he engaged each and every prospective juror in conversation. This guy gets it.

      • 5555624

        Of course he has people skills — he was a politician. He was on the County Board for ten years or so and Chairman several times.

  • novasteve

    I’m curious if SS marriage were legalized it, would county officials be able to ignore it like how our county board ignores immigration laws and openly flouts violations of it?

    • ArlRes

      Again, this seems to be somewhat of an unrelated nonsequitor. What does this question have to do with ss marriage equality>

  • RockSpringer

    As an ardent libertarian, it’s rare that I’m impressed with the actions of any of our local officials, but I agree with comments above. Ferguson handled this in a classy, graceful manner.

  • John Fontain

    Good for them.

  • Eddie Murphy

    I bet the police didn’t even have to use their sirens.

  • Curious George

    Considering all the divorced people I know do the gay folks really want a part of all that?

    Personally I don’t care what they do as long as it does not interfere with my life..

    • compromise?

      Just let lesbians marry. Cuz that’s HAWT.

    • YTK

      Dear CG– Every Day in Every way People interfere with your life, my life, everyone’s lives. They can be gay, straight, whatever. We have all been able to cope with that so far and i dount that situation will change.

      • Curious George

        Well my intent was that if they don’t bother me I don’t care what they do. Not everything is a personal attack YTK.

        I believe the first part of my post is a perfectly valid discussion question.

  • Tabby_TwoTone

    I love the look on the grey coat guy. Looks like he’s saying “that yellow binder really clashes with your backpack”

    • steve

      FTW x 1,000

    • snarl

      subtle stereotypes are still stereotypes……

    • John Fontain

      Way to go. Making a stereotype about gay men in an article about an issue as serious as the lack of civil rights. Classy.

    • Brent

      No, actually that was me holding back tears as I was about to be reminded that I’m a 2nd class citizen.

  • novaliz

    I attended the event at the Courthouse Plaza this morning. Paul Ferguson was gracious and respectful, as were the law enforcement officers present. I was impressed with the courage of the couples asking to be married, and I was impressed with Paul’s response. It was very moving.

  • novasteve

    Does the Clerk of the court usually conduct official business outside of his offices or was this an organized stunt he was part of during business hours in a position that is paid for with taxpayer funds?

    • brif

      excellent point. there is no greater threat to our democracy than government employees working outside their offices.

      • novasteve

        Should he be making political statements while on the job and on the clock? If I went there to demand something that I don’t have a right to, like a machine gun (i’d have to go to the clerk to get a CCW permit in VA), do you think he’d meet my group outside and state comments about it for the media to observe?

        • Mary-Austin

          He was doing his job. People were applying for marriage licenses.
          Unfortunately he had to deny them because we have a government that does nothing to regulate guns but everything it can to regulate marriages and vaginas.

          • novasteve

            So his job includes calling for state law to be changed? If he were in the state legislature, but he isn’t.

        • drax

          Really? You’re saying an elected official shouldn’t say anything political, steve?

    • dezlboy

      @novasteve,why do you care about taxpayer monies? Three days ago you wrote that you were going to disobey ArCo laws and thus not pay taxes.

      Maybe it’s just me, but you don’t seem to be yourself today. Maybe you’re a bit under the weather. But, your comments just don’t have the usual zest to them. Very disappointing.

    • WeiQiang

      the commuter RV things goes to different locations to address the needs of the citizens and that seems to be acceptable. if an official finds it more efficient or desirable to go to the people than having the people clog up the hallways, it’s his/her discretion.

      you’re very creative and persistent. you create strawmen [and straw-women] and red herrings and just cling to them, irrespective of their validity. you should be in theatre. you exceed at creating drama where there is none.

      • novasteve

        So if I get a group of 30 people to demand machine guns, he’ll come out and meet us during business hours for the media to observe? Or how about I change the hypothetical that it’s a group of 30 demanding concealed carry permits but are felons?

    • Harry

      Government officials often make special accommodations for large groups–like on April 15 when the Post Office stays open late and has people at the curb. Or how about County firefighters visiting schools to give talks?

      Most people would think that’s part of the job and good public relations.

      • novasteve

        He made a political statement though. Say if a teacher had said something like that , especially an anti gay marriage comment? Say if he had made an anti gay comment instead, would you be okay with a county official making political statements in the course of doing his official duties?

        • Ralph

          Would I be okay with a teacher or county official making an anti-gay statement? No.

          I am okay with them making a pro-gay rights statement? Yes.

          • novasteve

            Thanks for proving my point ralph. Government employees are only allowed to make political statements YOU agree with..

  • yaya

    What did the gay horse eat???


  • dezlboy

    I’m confused. First there was hetersexual marriage. Then the slippery slope of heterosexual marriage led to polygamy. (i.e., Mormons). Thus shouldn’t heterosexual marriage be illegal?

  • G Clifford Prout

    Good chart detailing true Biblical marriage can be found here.


  • Jake

    Serious question/comment… I know that may be a lot to ask for here but here goes:
    I 100% agree with Ferguson and wish Virginia had equal rights for all as more and more states come into line with common sense, but was he acting the way he should have as an agent of Arlington County (and the State of Virginia) in what he said. Should he be making a political statement since he is the clerk of the court here… even if its one I agree with. Should he be expected to be more neutral in this situation than he was? I’m not saying he needs to deny his own political beliefs, but is his position the right place to be expressing them publicly? I could see those against gay marriage being very upset by comments like this. Thanks for any thoughtful comments here.
    “I commend each of you that is coming forward today for your courage. I think you do realize that by law, the Commonwealth of Virginia does not allow me to issue those marriage licenses to you,” Ferguson said. “I hope that if laws do change in the future, that you will choose to return one day to Arlington County to receive a marriage license.”

  • Mack

    Virginia is for lovers.

    • Max

      Apparently not

  • Arlington Cat

    As Jack McCoy stated; “Let them marry, why shouldn’t they be as miserable as the rest of us.”

  • esmith69

    Novasteve, you failed to directly answer my question, but I will directly respond to your offo-top items:

    Incestual marriages: incest and anything related to it should NOT be legal in any way. There are MAJOR health complications that can occur when related people make babies.

    Polygamous marriage: I guess I don’t have a problem with this either. I mean the concept I really don’t agree with, but if people want to put themselves in that position, fine by me.

    • correction

      Having babies is not a direct result of marriage. You were correct when you said CAN incur health complications, but is it YOUR decision that it is too much risk for other people? There are other ways to have children if that is what is desired (but is not required in a marriage).
      After all, it IS possible to conceive from a male donor who is related to you, and you could have the same risk of health complications, but they are completely unrelated to the marriage.

    • drax

      What about gay incest?

      Same-sex partners can’t have children with each other, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

  • Me

    There’s a very simple reason why same sex couples should be allowed to marry…it does not harm diminish or in any form harm an opposite sex couple to marry or live their lives as they chose. If anyone want to argue that it’s a special right for gays then they also arguing its currently only a special right for straights. Folks who are afraid so a same sex marriage are willfully ignorant. All the arguments being used against same sex marriage are the same fear based ones used against inter racial marriage.

    • Tabs

      I had a conversation with a 30something African-American man about it–he was coming up with arguments against SS marriage, and I made the connection to civil rights and interracial marriage, and he said “yeah, my granddad said the same thing to me.”

  • Post delete

    One if by Wilson blvd, two if by route 50!

    • Cv

      The gheys are coming the gheys are coming!

      • we’re here

        oh honey, we are already here……

  • An Affected Party

    Speaking as someone currently battling this fight with her partner today, I have to say that I want to acknowledge and thank the people that show their support for this cause, even just in these comments on ARLNow. Every day we get one step closer, and every day it becomes a more obtainable reality that I will be able to have the same rights and family life as the next straight person.

    In regards to just “moving to the states where it’s recognized”, I’ve made my home in Virginia, and am not that fond of city life. Why should I have to move in order to just have my love recognized? DOMA is important, and I hope it changes things across this country sooner rather than later. I know couples that have waited 30, 40, 50+ years for this, and I can’t even imagine their struggle. I’ve only waited a few years, and I’m more than fed up. This needs to change.

    Thanks again to all the supportive people out there!

    • Zach

      Keep up the good fight. Hopefully some day soon…

  • littlebritches

    So I stopped reading the comments about a quarter of the way down because I thought I might get sick…but what I’ve gleaned from all the BS is that novasteve has no soul and he and drax will argue about whether or not the sky is blue.

    I’m terribly proud of the demonstrators and the way Ferguson handled it. I really hope that my LGBT friends can get married in their own county someday.

    • novasteve

      All you can do is personally attack me. Congrats. How dare I point out the logical consequences of your ilk’s arguments. Because they dont’ mesh with you, I have “no soul”. Got it. Stay classy.

    • drax

      Sure, but I’ll be the one saying the sky is blue while steve insists it is dayglo orange, even at night.

      • Venn Diagram

        Well, to be honest, it kinda is over by National Airport with that lighting. But ONLY at night.

  • Robert

    The argument about polygamous marriage is that it is intrisically exploitative of some of the partners less powerful in their social group, who are, and have been in this country, almost exclusively women. Those partners, being socially less powerful, intrinsically can not consent. That argument doesn’t apply to same-gender marriage.

    The arguments against incest are in part the same, but include the risk of accumulation of deleterious recessive genes in offspring.

    Is this clear enough for you?


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