WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – The recent decision made by U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen declaring Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional has compelled a Va. state delegate to publicly announce he is gay.
Mark D. Sickles (D-Fairfax), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, emphasized as much in an opinion piece for the Washington Post on Friday.
“The pre-Valentine’s Day decision by U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen declaring Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional is a historic turning point in the long struggle for equality in the commonwealth — the first state in the Old Confederacy to have its ban overturned,” Sickles wrote. “The ruling came on the heels of recent decisions by federal district judges in Utah and Oklahoma who found no rational basis for denying gay couples the right to marry. The centuries-old walls of discrimination are crumbling brick by brick as state legislatures, courts and the American people are accepting their LGBT brothers and sisters, with increasing speed and understanding, for exactly who they are.”
Sickles cited remarks made on the House floor by Del. Robert Marshall (R-Prince William) in February to be the tipping point for his decision to come out.
Further down, Sickles wrote:
“Hearing such caustic remarks yet again on the House floor, coupled with the overturning of our same-sex marriage ban, has motivated me to state publicly here what many close friends and family have known for decades: I am a proud, gay man.
“But the current moment in Virginia has convinced me that it could be helpful to share this aspect of my life with all of my constituents,” he would go on to write.
Sickles becomes the second openly gay state legislator in Virginia, according to the Richmond Times Dispatch, which notes state Sen. Adam P. Ebbin (D-Alexandria) has also publicly asserted his homosexuality.
Both legislators, along with nine other Democrats, are vying for the nomination to run for retiring Representative Jim Moran’s seat in Congress (D-Virginia).
Click here to read Sickles’ full announcement.