Virginia is at the forefront of a nationwide shift in how marriage is defined.
The institution of marriage is igniting passionate debate fueled by questions of civil rights, religion and tradition.
Norfolk Pastor Mark Byrd leads the congregation at New Life Metropolitan Community Church on Norview Avenue and is on the front lines of the fight for marriage equality. A year and a half ago, he and his partner, Alberto, crossed over the Virginia border to Washington DC to get married.
"We crossed back over the Potomac River and then it's like, wow. It's like it never happened," Byrd said.
But that may be changing and Byrd couldn't be happier.
Last February, United States District Court Judge Arenda Wright Allen of Norfolk ruled the ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. In late July, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Allen's decision. The next step is likely the U.S. Supreme Court.
13News Now researched the changing face of marriage by examining its history. We heard echoes of the famous marriage argument made back in 1967 in Loving versus Virginia, which unanimously struck down Virginia's law prohibiting interracial marriages.
In a half-hour special that will air on Thursday, August 14 at 7 p.m. we will feature some of the most expressive voices on both sides of the issue -- politically, religiously and emotionally -- and look at the future of gay marriage in Virginia.
Join us for Virginia is for Lovers: Marriage in the Commonwealth - past, present and future.