HRC Blog

Marriages Could Begin Next Week in Virginia After Appeals Court Declines to Delay Ruling

Earlier today the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals declined to stay its ruling that struck down Virginia’s ban on marriage equality.

On July 28, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit upheld a lower court’s ruling that Virginia’s ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional.  The federal appeals court had been asked to stay its decision, pending an appeal.  But today in a 2-1 vote, the court refused, opening up the possibility for marriages to begin as early as next week.

According to BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner, “Any party could now seek a stay from the Supreme Court itself, an application that would be made first to Chief Justice John Roberts, who considers such applications from within the 4th Circuit. Roberts could decide the matter himself or refer it to the whole court.” 

The Supreme Court has five days to respond to such a request. 

The case in question is Bostic v. Schaefer out of Virginia.  In July of 2013, Tim Bostic and Tony London went to the Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk’s office to obtain a marriage license, but they were turned away because of Virginia’s ban on marriage equality.  Soon after, the couple filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. They are joined in the case by Mary Townley and Carol Schall, whose legal California marriage isn’t recognized by their home state of Virginia.  The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies on behalf of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER). Olson and Boies also successfully represented the plaintiffs in Hollingsworth v. Perry challenging California’s Proposition 8 – a case that was ultimately heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Two other cases have received rulings from a federal appeals court.  The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down state marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma, and both of those rulings have been appealed to the Supreme Court. 

For more information on this and other marriage equality cases, visit AmericansForMarriageEquality.org.

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