July 1, 2004 – Activists rallied against a Virginia law that could nullify legal contracts between same-sex couples. According to the Associated Press, the law, set to go into effect today, bans partnership, civil unions, or other associations "purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage."
Supporters of the law said it is a needed defense for the sanctity of marriage, and does not infringe on individual rights. Critics, however, said it could be used to nullify wills, joint bank accounts, medical directives and other agreements between partners.
A rally in Richmond on Wednesday drew 400 people, and there were simultaneous demonstrations in several other Virginia cities. Governor Mark R. Warner, a Democrat, condemned the law and refused to sign it. "This law raises serious constitutional issues and it places Virginia outside the mainstream of other states when it comes to respecting individual liberty," he said.