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Federal judge puts one challenge to Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban on hold

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Fourth Circuit map
Fourth Circuit map
The federal judge overseeing the class-action challenge to Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban filed by Lambda Legal and the ACLU, Harris v. Rainey, has decided to put that case on hold. A similar challenge to Virginia’s ban will be argued in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on May 13, and the same-sex couples in the class-action have been granted permission to intervene in that case to assert their rights.

The opinion issued along with the order cites that case, Bostic v. Schaefer as grounds for putting the district court proceedings on hold: since a decision from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Bostic would be binding on the district court, and since the Harris plaintiffs are intervening in the Fourth Circuit, the constitutional issue is likely to be decided before the district court would have the opportunity.

The decision cites one other issue: unlike the Bostic case, no one in the Harris case is defending the ban. Attorney General Mark Herring, who’s representing State Registrar Janet Rainey, has declined to defend it. And Thomas E. Roberts, the Staunton County Circuit Court Clerk, takes no position either way on the issue of same-sex marriage. With no one taking the position that the ban is constitutional, the court suggests, it’s better to allow the Fourth Circuit to hear the case, with arguments being presented for both sides. (In Bostic, the Circuit Court Clerks of Prince William County and Norfolk are asserting that the ban passes constitutional muster.)

The Bostic case is being litigated by the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and its attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies.

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for this filing

For more information on Bostic v. Rainey (formerly Bostic v. McDonnell)from The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, click here. For more information on Harris v. Rainey (formerly Harris v. McDonnell)from The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, click here.

6 Comments

  • 1. Straight Ally #3008  |  March 31, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Sounds like a good thing to me, consolidate with the Olsen and Boies-led team.

  • 2. Dr. Z  |  March 31, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    I think Olsen and Boies learned well the lessons from the Perry case: pick the most foaming-at-the-mouth bigoted clerks you can find to be the defendants, to ensure there would always be someone with federal standing to spew their hateful bile for all the world to see.

    As Gandhi said, you have to make the injustice visible.

    And Martin Luther King knew he had found just the right southern sheriff in Bull Connor.

  • 3. Eric  |  March 31, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Why would a case with no defendants need to be put on hold? Just issue the summary judgement.

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  • 5. Marriage Equality Round-U&hellip  |  April 1, 2014 at 6:41 am

    […] USA Virginia: As one marriage equality lawsuit makes its way to the fourth circuit, another has been put on hold. full story […]

  • 6. Deeelaaach  |  April 3, 2014 at 12:50 am

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