Oops! Va. Judge Confuses Constitution, Declaration of Independence in Gay Marriage Ruling

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A federal judge who struck down Virginia's ban on gay marriage inaccurately attributed a quote from Declaration of Independence to the Constitution.

"Our Constitution declares that 'all men' are created equal. Surely this means all of us," Arenda Wright Allen wrote in her original opinion, issued late Thursday.

Though the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees "equal protection" under the law, the Constitution does not include the phrase "all men are created equal." That would be the Declaration of Independence.

Several judicial observers noted the discrepancy, including South Texas College of Law professor Josh Blackman.

Sure enough, by mid-day today, Allen issued a second draft: "Our Declaration of Independence recognizes that 'all men' are created equal."

Blackman also pointed out that the words "all men" are included in the Virginia Constitution.

Adopted in 1971, Section One of the current Virginia Constitution asserts "all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights."

Judge Allen's ruling on the case remained unchanged.

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