federal judge is hearing arguments Tuesday on whether Virginia's ban on
gay marriage should be struck down in a case that could have
repercussions for marriage equality throughout the South.
ban is deemed unconstitutional, Virginia will become the first state in
the old Confederacy to allow gay marriage. Currently, only Washington,
D.C., and 17 states, most of which are in the Northeast, allow gay
Last month, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced he would go head-to-head with the state on
the issue of gay marriage, and would not defend the 2006 voter-approved
ban. That decision from the newly elected Democratic attorney general
infuriated many Republican lawmakers, who accused Herring of failing to
live up to his duty to defend state laws. But Herring's office stuck
with siding with the plaintiffs in the case: Norfolk, Va., couple
Timothy Bostic and Tony London, who were denied a marriage license by
the Norfolk Circuit Court on July 1.
On Tuesday, ahead of the start of arguments, The Associated Press
reported protesters and gay-marriage supporters alike had gathered at
the courthouse in Norfolk. Protesters carried signs that read,
"Herring's herring. AG's must uphold the law," while supporters of the
plaintiffs held ones that said "Marry who you love."
planned to attend the hearing, although Virginia Solicitor General
Stuart Raphael is arguing in court on behalf of the state.
their lawsuit, Bostic and London argue that the state law denied them
liberties that are guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. Chesterfield County
couple Carol Schall and Mary Townley, who were married in California in
2008, later joined the case.
The plaintiffs are represented by
famed attorneys from the American Foundation for Equal Rights Theodore
B. Olson and David Boies, who won the battle to overturn California's
Proposition 8 and the ban on gay marriage in that state. Both couples
will be present in court, according to the American Foundation for Equal
The suit was filed just before the Supreme Court struck
down the section of the Defense of Marriage Act that kept gay couples
from receiving federal benefits that married couples are entitled to.
case, which is being heard by U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright
Allen, is likely to move through the legal system quickly, a draw for
the two attorneys for the plaintiffs, who hope to again make a case
before the Supreme Court, The Washington Post reported.
Across the country, more than a dozen states have federal lawsuits challenging state bans on gay marriage.
Quinnipiac University poll in July found that 50 percent of registered
Virginia voters support same-sex marriage, and 43 percent oppose it.
Saturday, January 20 2018 8:07 AM EST2018-01-20 13:07:44 GMT
A bitterly-divided Congress is hurtling toward a government shutdown this weekend in a partisan stare-down over demands by Democrats for a solution on politically fraught legislation to protect about 700,000...More
A bitterly-divided Congress is hurtling toward a government shutdown this weekend in a partisan stare-down over demands by Democrats for a solution on politically fraught legislation to protect about 700,000 younger immigrants from being deported.More