Court Hears Gay Marriage Ban Challenge

Feb 4, 2014

Tim Bostic & Tony London

It’s now up to a U. S. District Court judge to decide if gay and lesbian couples living in Virginia will be able to marry legally. 

A hearing before the court on the marriage equality case of Bostic v. Rainey-a lawsuit that could have far-reaching consequences. . .

Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen is described by the plaintiff’s attorneys as paying close attention to all the arguments.  They say the U. S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia was rather quiet and didn’t ask many questions, instead taking a lot of notes. But her decision, which she said would come “soon” could affect areas far beyond Virginia’s borders.  Plaintiff’s co-counsel David Boies says an appeal would send the matter to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“So this has the potential to change the opportunity of gay and lesbian citizens in a large number of Southern states to actually enjoy equality.”

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring sat in on the proceedings saying, “Today the Commonwealth of Virginia got it right.”

“The debate affects the lives of thousands of Virginians who are our friends, our neighbors, co-workers, parishioners at church, our brothers and sisters.  And they deserve to be treated exactly the same as all other Virginians.”

Mary Townley, one of the plaintiffs in the case, says although she legally married her partner in California in 2008, she wants the right to be married in Virginia, where they live with their teenage daughter.

“We want the best for our daughter, Emily, and it would mean a lot to her if our family was treated just like any other family.  We want that for all Virginians, no matter who they are or who they love.”

The attorneys for the two couples have asked for a preliminary injunction so their clients could get married immediately following the judge’s decision. 

The plaintiffs: Tim Bostic, Tony London, Mary Townley and Carol Schall.
Credit H. Darr Beiser, via USA Today