ACLU to file lawsuit against Virginia’s ban on gay marriage

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(CNN) – The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriages and refusal to recognize such marriages from other states.

A similar suit will be filed in Virginia, while an existing lawsuit in North Carolina will be amended to broaden the scope, the ACLU said Tuesday.

The move comes on the heels of the Supreme Court decision that struck down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last month.

“Our goal is at least 20 states with the freedom to marry by the end of 2016,” the ACLU said on its website.

“Thousands of Virginia couples are already living the deep commitment associated with marriage, without legal recognition of their relationships. They and their children deserve the legal protections that come with state-recognized marriage,” said ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire G. Gastañaga.

“There is no rational reason for denying these loving couples the freedom to marry and every reason to grant them the same recognition by civil authorities that opposite-sex couples have,” she added.

“Support for the freedom to marry is part of the Virginia ACLU’s DNA,” Gastañaga continued.

“We were founded by the lawyers who brought the Loving v. Virginia case that established the freedom to marry across racial lines, and we hope that by the time of our 50th anniversary in 2019, we will be able to say that we were part of the court case that brought the freedom to marry to all Virginia couples regardless of sexual orientation,” she concluded.

Read the full releases on the Virginia and North Carolina lawsuits.