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Judge hears arguments on class action status for Virginia marriage equality lawsuit

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

Virginia state sealA quick update from one of two marriage equality lawsuits in Virginia, via the AP:

A federal judge in Harrisonburg is pondering whether to certify as a class action a lawsuit challenging Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban.

U.S. District Judge Michael Urbanski heard arguments Tuesday. According to court records and the ACLU of Virginia, which is representing the plaintiffs, he did not immediately rule.

He also took under advisement motions to dismiss Gov. Bob McDonnell and Staunton Circuit Court Clerk Thomas E. Roberts as defendants. The other defendant is Janet Rainey, the state registrar of vital records.

A January hearing on other issues was canceled.

The lawsuit was filed by two Shenandoah Valley same-sex couples, one of them a Staunton couple. They 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.

The lawsuit in question is spearheaded by the national ACLU, the ACLU of Virginia and Lambda Legal.  Another case in Virginia is being handled by the American Foundation for Equal Rights and attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson, who successfully litigated the Prop 8 challenge in California.

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