Last week Judge Arenda Allen, the federal district court judge assigned to Bostic v. Rainey -- a case challenging the constitutionality of Virginia's marriage discrimination amendment -- asked the parties to the case whether they felt oral arguments scheduled for January 30 were still needed, in light of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring dropping the state's defense of the measure.
But the hearing Thursday will go forward as scheduled, the Daily Press reports:
Stuart A. Raphael, the state's solicitor general who serves under Herring, said that while the "ongoing, harmful denial of civil liberties to Virginia's same-sex couples" should be resolved as quickly as possible, the hearing should go forward.
"The decision here will be a landmark ruling in Virginia on one of the most important civil rights issues of our time," Raphael wrote. "The gravity of the matter and the stakes involved make it reasonable to allow the parties to supplement their written submissions ... with brief oral argument."
Doing so, Raphael wrote, "comports with the dignity and seriousness of the issues and will obviate any concern that the losing parties were not given a fair opportunity to be heard."
Aside from Herring's office, other parties in the case did not take a strong stand on whether oral arguments should take place. Late Monday afternoon, Allen said the hearing would indeed go forward.
"The Court confirms that oral argument on the summary judgment motions and the motion for a preliminary injunction will be heard commencing at 9 a.m. on Thursday ... in Courtroom Three," Allen wrote on the court's docket.
Also on Monday, Allen said she would not make her final decision at the hearing in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, but would take various pending motions "under further advisement."