A judge has removed Virginia's governor from a lawsuit challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban but is allowing the case to continue with two other defendants.
U.S. District Judge Michael Urbanski said in Monday's ruling that Governor Bob McDonnell is protected by the constitutional doctrine of sovereign immunity.
But he refused to dismiss the case against Staunton Circuit Court Clerk Thomas Roberts. Janet Rainey, the state registrar of vital records, is the other defendant.
The lawsuit was filed by two couples who claim Virginia's constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage — and denying recognition of such unions sanctioned by other states -- violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the Constitution.