WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Federal Court Strikes Down Virginia Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Play associated audio
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fabliaux/383476178/

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled that the state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage violates the U.S. Constitution.

Carol Schall says the reason she brought suit against the ban on same-sex marriage was so she and her wife, Mary Townley, won't have to explain that they are different — that they will be just like all the other married couples in Virginia, with equal rights and equal protection.

"Finally, Virginia will see what we've experienced throughout our lives. Together, Mary and I are wives to each other and moms to our daughter," Schall says.

When the couple moved from California to Virginia, their new home state didn't recognize their marriage, and the couple joined forces with two men from Norfolk who were denied a marriage license to challenge the state's ban on gay marriage.

After hearing the case, U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen ruled earlier this year that Virginia's same-sex marriage ban violates equal protection and due process guarantees. Lawyers for two circuit court clerks whose duties include issuing marriage licenses appealed her decision, and now a federal court of appeals has upheld her ruling.

"This is a very powerful opinion. It holds that the Virginia marriage laws seriously harms the plaintiffs and seriously harms children," says David Bois, a lawyer with the American Foundation for Equal Rights.

The decision also makes similar prohibitions in North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia unconstitutional, but at Equality Virginia, director James Parrish says those states probably won't be issuing marriage licenses yet.

“This ruling goes into effect until 21 days, but in the interim we expect that it will be appealed and then stayed until a review or decision by the Supreme Court," Parrish says.

Based on census data, Parrish says there are about 14,000 gay and lesbian couples in Virginia. It’s legal for them to marry in 19 other states and the District of Columbia.

SSM Ruling by Martin Austermuhle

NPR

Writer James Alan McPherson, Winner Of Pulitzer, MacArthur And Guggenheim, Dies At 72

McPherson, the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, has died at 72. His work explored the intersection of white and black lives with deftness, subtlety and wry humor.
NPR

Oyster Archaeology: Ancient Trash Holds Clues To Sustainable Harvesting

Modern-day oyster populations in the Chesapeake are dwindling, but a multi-millennia archaeological survey shows that wasn't always the case. Native Americans harvested the shellfish sustainably.

WAMU 88.5

Your Turn: Ronald Reagan's Shooter, Freddie Gray Verdicts And More

Have opinions about the Democratic National Convention, or the verdicts from the Freddie Gray cases? It's your turn to talk.

NPR

Trump's Cyber Comments Rouse The Democrats

As they bolster their case that Hillary Clinton is ready to be commander in chief, Democrats are seizing on Donald Trump's comments seemingly encouraging Russia to use cyber-espionage against Clinton.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.