As the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals prepares to hear oral arguments in Bostic vs. Schaefer, the case challenging Virginia’s ban on marriage equality, hundreds of Virginians are expected to convene outside the courthouse in Richmond on Tuesday to show their support for the freedom to marry in Virginia.
“The majority of Virginians support the freedom to marry,” said James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, the group charged with organizing the marriage equality rally. “Virginians have had enough: there is absolutely no reason for Virginia to continue denying lesbian and gay couples the freedom to marry the person they love here at home.”
Another way Virginians are speaking out in support of marriage equality this week is by hosting CookOUTs for Marriage Equality. Nearly 50 CookOUTs will be held the weekend of May 17th and 18th in support of the four couples challenging Virginia’s marriage ban in the courts.
“The CookOUTS for Marriage Equality are a way to celebrate love and the thousands of lesbian and gay marriages throughout Virginia that the commonwealth refuses to recognize,” said Parrish. “With this case, we are closer than ever to gaining the freedom to marry here at home, and people are really excited about it.”
Earlier this month a report by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law showed that if Virginia allowed its gay and lesbian couples to marry, the economic boost would be likely to add $2.5 million to $3.2 million tax dollars to state and local coffers.
“Allowing lesbian and gay couples the right to marry in Virginia is not only the right thing to do, but it would also have a positive impact on our economy, and would make Virginia more welcoming for both families and businesses,” said Parrish. “Marriage equality is a win-win. Nobody loses.”
Earlier this year, federal judge Arenda Wright Allen ruled that Virginia’s ban on marriage is unconstitutional. She stayed her ruling pending an appeal. It is expected that Bostic vs. Schaefer, or a similar case arguing for marriage equality, will ultimately be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.