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Virginia’s Prohibition of Same-Sex Marriages Held Unconstitutional (Appeal Pending)

Virginia’s Marriage Laws (Article I, § 15-A of the Virginia Constitution and §§ 20-45.2 and 20-45.3 of the Virginia Code) prohibit same-sex marriages from occurring in Virginia and also prohibit lawful same-sex marriages entered into elsewhere from being recognized here in Virginia.

Under Virginia’s marriage laws, an application for a marriage license submitted by Timothy Bostic and Tony London, who have been a couple since 1989, was denied. Under the same laws, Carol Schall and Mary Townley, a couple lawfully married in California, were prevented from enjoying their rights as a married couple here in Virginia. Together, they sued.

On February 14, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Arenda Wright Allen ruled that Virginia’s Marriage Laws are unconstitutional, explaining as follows: “Our Declaration of Independence recognizes that ‘all men’ are created equal. Surely this means all of us.”

The Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk, who had denied the application for a marriage license submitted by Bostic and London, has appealed. On February 25, 2014, the Prince William County Circuit Court Clerk also noted an appeal.

For now, and until the appeals are decided by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, Virginia’s Marriage Laws still prohibit same-sex marriages from occurring here and from being recognized here.

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