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Va. gay marriage lawsuit moves forward, judge drops governor’s name

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)– A federal court denied a motion from the Staunton Circuit Court Clerk today seeking dismissal of a lawsuit challenging Virginia’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples.

The court today also removed the governor as a named defendant in challenging the case but is allowing it to continue with the other two defendants. They are listed as Staunton Circuit Court Clerk Thomas Roberts, and Janet Rainey, the state registrar of vital records.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this year on behalf of two couples by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Virginia, Lambda Legal, and the law firm Jenner and Block.  The two couples being represeneted are Joanne Harris and Jessica Duff of Staunton and Christy Berghoff and Victoria Kidd of Winchester.

The case Harris et al. v. McDonnell et al. can be read here: http://lambdalegal.org/in-court/legal-docs/harris_va_20131223_memorandum-opinion

“The court recognized that ‘[i]t is abundantly clear that plaintiffs’ alleged harm is actual, concrete, and particularized,’” noted Lambda Legal Counsel Greg Nevins.  “We couldn’t agree more, and we are happy that the court is going to force Virginia to defend its marriage exclusion on the merits.”

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