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Celebrating 'God's Work' 

Same-sex marriage advocates hail appeals court ruling

click to enlarge Jonathan Lebolt and the Rev. Robin Gorsline pray at the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of its ruling that upheld the overturn of Virginia's same-sex marriage ban.

Tom Nash

Jonathan Lebolt and the Rev. Robin Gorsline pray at the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of its ruling that upheld the overturn of Virginia's same-sex marriage ban.

To friends and family, the Rev. Robin Gorsline and Jonathan Lebolt have been married for 15 years. Yesterday’s federal court decision that upholds a repeal of Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban means the state may finally be catching up to them.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision, announced Monday afternoon, could mean a continued legal fight. But Gorsline, president of People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, still wanted to celebrate the interim victory. He hastily gathered as many supporters as he could -- a group of seven that included his husband -- for a walk to the courthouse.

Gorsline began by calling the ruling God's work. He asked God to help those opposed to same-sex marriage, saying: “We ask you to help them find this new way of living and love to be OK. We need more love in the world, not less.”

The group then made its way past the Capitol. Through a megaphone, Gorsline announced: “Love changes the world. We’re here to celebrate now.”

At the courthouse, Gorsline invited the supporters to pray next to the building. He and Lebolt walked up the steps together, holding hands. They each placed their other hand on the courthouse sign.

About a block away, Attorney General Mark Herring explained a few hours earlier that same-sex marriages would not take place as long as the legal challenge continues. As Gorsline and Lebolt walked back to their car, he said he doesn’t mind waiting a little longer. Even as other states have begun allowing same-sex marriage, he and Lebolt continue to try unsuccessfully to apply for a marriage license in Richmond each Valentine’s Day.

“We shouldn't have to go somewhere else,” Gorsline says. “We’re Virginians. We want to get married here.”

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