Appeals court strikes down Virginia same sex marriage ban

gay-equalityToday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals became just the second federal appeals court since last year’s Windsor case to affirm the Constitutional requirement of marriage equality. The Court agreed with the Commonwealth of Virginia that the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection and Due Process clauses require the states to treat all couples equally.

The Fourth Circuit’s majority agreed with Attorney General Herring’s position that marriage is a fundamental right and same sex couples are equally entitled to that protection. They further agreed that the state’s reasons for denying marriage rights to same-sex couples failed to meet the threshold required for limiting a fundamental right. Because of the rules of the federal judiciary, the court’s decision will not be effective for at least 21 days.

Reaction

Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement in response today’s Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in Bostic v. Rainey striking down Virginia’s ban on gay marriage:

“I am overjoyed by the news that, as a result of today’s ruling, Virginia will become a state where two people who love each other can get married regardless of their sexual orientation. This is a historic ruling for our Commonwealth, and its effect will affirm once again that Virginia is a state that is open and welcoming to all.

“I want to thank Attorney General Mark Herring for his leadership in this case, and all of the men and women who fought for years to make this day a reality. Progress does not always come as quickly as we hope it will, but today is yet another example of how justice, equality and the people who fight for those values will always persevere in the end.”

 

Statement from James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia:

“Today in the Commonwealth of Virginia, love and fairness won.  A federal appeals court ruled what the majority of Virginians already know – marriage is a fundamental freedom that should not be denied to lesbian and gay couples regardless of what state they call home.  While we hope this ruling will not be stayed, we are still one step closer – in Virginia, the south, and America – to recognizing and celebrating equality and the diversity of love, commitment, and family.”

 

 

Virginia Organizing State Governing Board Vice-Chairperson Del McWhorter responded to today’s Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that struck down Virginia and other states’ bans on same-sex marriage:
“Today is a great victory for equality and justice in Virginia. A major obstacle for families has been overcome because of this decision. While we know this ruling could be appealed, Virginia Organizing is hopeful and confident that marriage equality, including the financial and legal equality that entails, will be realized in the near future.”

In response to the decision, Margaret Sacra, President of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, & Transgender Caucus of the Democratic Party of Virginia issued the following statement:

“Today is a truly historic day, not just for same-sex couples in the 4th Circuit Court, but for all Virginians. All eight plaintiffs named in the suit, Tim Bostic and Tony London, Carol Schall and Mary Townley, Christy Berghoff and Victoria Kidd, and Joanne Harris and Jessica Duff are Virginians. With each milestone we pass, we inch closer and closer to the realization of the promise of America; that someday, we may live in a truly respectful and equal society, where all are welcomed to live, work, and raise a family. Today, Virginia is truly closer to being for all lovers.”