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Fourth Circuit allows a full hour of arguments in Virginia same-sex marriage case

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Fourth Circuit map
Fourth Circuit map
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has granted a request for longer arguments in Bostic v. Schaefer, the challenge to Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban that’s being litigated by the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER). All parties to the case joined the request. Each side will have thirty minutes.

The Fourth Circuit hears oral arguments in the case on May 13.

Along with AFER, Lambda Legal and the ACLU will be involved in the challenge: they filed a motion to intervene in the case to represent the interests of all gay and lesbian Virginians on behalf of the plaintiffs in their class-action challenge, Harris v. Rainey. That request was subsequently granted.

The Fourth Circuit will be the second appeals court post-Windsor to hear arguments in a marriage equality case. This month, the Tenth Circuit heard challenges to same-sex marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma. The Utah arguments were an hour long, but no parties to the Oklahoma case asked for a longer argument time, so those were thirty minutes, only.

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for these filings

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


  • 1. Ragavendran  |  April 23, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Oh dear me!

  • 2. KarlS  |  April 23, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Watch out for carpal tunnel! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • 3. Ragavendran  |  April 27, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Just rummaging through a couple of 4th Circuit oral argument audio files. The first minute of this one had me cracking up:

  • 4. jdw  |  April 23, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Has a panel been announced in Bostic yet?

  • 5. Zack12  |  April 23, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Not sure but the deck is stacked in our favor on this one as there are nine Democrats to five Republicans on the panel.
    J. Harvie Wilkinson is a name we definately don't want to see on the panel, as he's made it clear he is opposed to gay marriage and thinks that the Republican controlled legislature that has made it clear they won't allow marriage equality is the one that should be making the choices about full equality.

  • 6. Swifty819  |  April 23, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    In 2006, Wilkinson penned an article in the Washington Post, castigating both the left and right on the issue of gay marriage. He wrote that the "American constitutional tradition" has been a "chief casualty in the struggle over same-sex marriage" and that marriage should be regulated through ordinary legislative means and opposed "the rush to constitutionalize" the dispute.[2] (Wiki). That was 8 years ago.

  • 7. Tim  |  April 23, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    That's usually announced the week before the trial.

  • 8. B Z  |  April 23, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    The 4th Circuit doesn't announce until that morning.

  • 9. Ryan K.  |  April 23, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    The 10th (UT, OK) has heard oral arguments, and the date is set for the 4th (VA) as noted above. There are appeals pending in the 9th (NV), 6th (all-MI, OH, KY, TN), and 5th (TX) – do we any any indication as to which appeals court will hear oral arguments after the 4th? And then who would follow that? Curious how long SCOTUS will hold certiorari while these five appeals courts rule.

  • 10. Stefan  |  April 23, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    I anticipate the 10th, 4th, 9th, and 6th will have all ruled by the time the court begins deciding which cases they will hear in the 2015 term (which begins in October).

  • 11. B Z  |  April 23, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    SCOTUS has already begun granting cert for cases that they will hear in the 2014-15 term.

  • 12. Mike in Baltimore  |  April 24, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    I don't think it would be a bad bet to say the ruling in the 9th will be last, even if the 9th is not the last to hear a case.

  • 13. Pat  |  April 24, 2014 at 4:46 am

    On yesterday's Oregon hearing:

    Judge probes marriage issues
    With no attorneys arguing against ending the same-sex wedding ban, McShane raises questions himself

  • 14. Marriage Equality Round-U&hellip  |  April 24, 2014 at 8:35 am

    […] USA, Virginia: The Fourth Circuit will allow a full hour for arguments in the marriage equality case in 5/13. full story […]

  • 15. Jose Merentes  |  April 24, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    By the way, the rationale by the judge in Texas ruling on the imposibility for a state to ban marriages the federal courts can't it's promising.

  • 16. Big Rick  |  April 24, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Are you talking about Judge Orlando Garcia's Order Granting Plaintiffs Motion for Preliminary Injunction in De Leon v Perry? What exactly did he say?

  • 17. Rik  |  April 24, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    I believe he is saying that it appears the judge in the latest ruling seemed to imply that the ban was unconstitutional even under rational basis

  • 18. Retired_Lawyer  |  April 28, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    On a lighter note, the Family Foundation of Virginia seeks to influence the Supreme Court by fasting, apparently by giving up Diet Coke for 40 days. A fine account is provided at

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  • 22. This week in anti-gay tem&hellip  |  April 30, 2014 at 7:51 am

    […] up: Oral arguments in Bostic v. Schaefer before the Fourth District Court of Appeals are scheduled for May 13. The court will be hearing the […]

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