May 13, 2014

Court Poised to Strike Down Marriage Ban

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It appears that the Fourth District Court of Appeals are poised to strike down Virginia’s Constitutional ban on same sex marriage.  The hour-long hearing inside the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals featured a lively back-and-forth between three judges and the attorneys representing both the same-sex couples who filed suit on behalf of a larger class of LGBT Virginians, as well as those representing a local county clerk who does not want to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  The randomly selected three-judge panel, consisting of presiding Judge Paul V. Niemeyer and Judges Roger L. Gregory and Henry F. Floyd, vigorously questioned attorneys from both sides, probing their arguments for inconsistencies.  Some court watchers described the judge’s questions as “combative” to opponents of equality.

CLICK HERE to listen to today’s oral arguments (70 minutes).

Although most people believe the Supreme Court will soon take a case to resolve the issue nationwide, this ruling— to be announced within the next three months — will be a legal precedent that applies to Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.  In April, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard the Utah and Oklahoma cases and is likely to rule before the court in Richmond.    Additional appeals are pending in other federal circuits.