A landmark announcement from the Virginia Attorney General could make the Commonwealth the next state to allow same-sex marriage.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says the Commonwealth's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional, and the attorney general's office will no longer defend it.
Here are the facts: in one week, a federal judge in Norfolk will hear the case of Bostic vs. Rainey, a challenge in federal court on Virginia's ban on marriage rights for same-sex couples.
It's a hot topic that's gained a lot of attention over the past few years across the country, and again Thursday in Virginia.
We found people on both sides of the issue. "If society is going to continue and be blessed, we must stay with the importance of marriage for society to survive," says Victory Baptist Church Pastor Austin Cook.
"I think it's great. I like the fact that he said it's unconstitutional, because it really is. It goes against equal rights," says Kelli Hess, who is in favor of the change.
Hess is speaking out in favor of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who says Virginia will now side with the plaintiffs in Bostic vs. Rainey, who are seeking to have the gay marriage ban struck down. "It's going to take some time, but I do think it's good that somebody is finally getting it out there that it should be allowed in our state," adds Hess.
Other people in the Commonwealth strongly disagree with getting rid of the ban. "The people have already expressed their opinion. The most important thing is that we have what God has said about it," says Cook.
Virginia voters approved a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage back in 2006. Herring admitted his stance on the issue is different than it was eight years ago. "I voted against the right of same-sex couples to marry even at that time. I spoke about the need to fight other forms of discrimination against Virginians based on their sexual orientation, but I was wrong to stop short of marriage equality," says Herring.
Virginia Congressman Morgan Griffith disagrees with Herring's stance. "It's kind of interesting that this is the first thing he's doing, when there are so many important issues out there that deal with jobs and trying to make lives better for people," he said.
Herring's announcement even has Tennessee Congressman Phil Roe speaking out. "Whether I agree with them or not, when the majority of the people rule have ruled, you need to move on and not put your own agenda in front of the will of the people," he said.
Meanwhile, both sides tell us they are hoping the court keeps their beliefs in mind and make the best decision for Virginians.