Michael Hamar

Lawsuit Filed Challenging Virginia Marriage Ban

Filed By Michael Hamar | July 20, 2013 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: due process, equal protection, federal courts, gay marriage, Ken Cuccinelli, Liberty Counsel, The Family Foundation

virginia.jpegWhile LGBT Virginians await the filing of a promised lawsuit by the ACLU challenging the Marshall-Newman Amendment, one Norfolk couple has moved forward on their own and filed a lawsuit in the the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia yesterday in Norfolk.

Interestingly, the plaintiffs are friends of mine (I serve on advisory committee for the Old Dominion Gay Cultural Studies initiative with one of them) and their attorney is a former law partner of mine.

The filing is welcome in several ways. First, GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken "Kookinelli" Cuccinelli will now have to file a response within 20 days. Second, the lawsuit may trigger wingnuts - e.g., The Family Foundation, Liberty Counsel, FRC - to seek to file amicus briefs and display the anti-gay animus that has always been the real motivation behind the Amendment's ban on gay marriage and any legal recognition whatsoever of same sex relationships.

The ultimate irony may be that some of Kookinelli's past anti-gay statements and those of anti-gay zealot, Del. Bob Marshall, could come back to haunt them, especially Marshall's remarks that he'd like to drive every gay out of Virginia.

Here are highlights from the Virginian Pilot on the lawsuit:

After nearly 25 years together, two Norfolk men walked into Circuit Court earlier this month and applied for a marriage license. They were denied.

Undeterred, Tony London, 54, and Timothy Bostic, 48, filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

"They thought about getting married in another state, but decided against it," said Robert Ruloff, an attorney for London, a Norfolk real estate agent, and Bostic, an Old Dominion University assistant professor of English. "They are Virginians and they want to be married in Virginia."

The lawsuit is the first such legal challenge filed in Virginia. It came one week after the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia announced plans to file its own lawsuit, and about three weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court undercut two laws that stood as barriers to gay marriage.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday, 50 percent of registered Virginia voters support same-sex marriage compared with 43 percent who don't. Women backed gay marriage 55 percent to 39 percent, but men opposed it 49 percent to 43 percent.

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