Top brass wants ‘landmark ruling’ in Norfolk’s same-sex marriage case

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NORFOLK, Va. (WTVR) - A lawsuit challenging the commonwealth’s ban on same-sex marriage begins, after a snowy delay, in a Norfolk courtroom Tuesday.

The case of Bostic vs. Rainey will argue for the first time before a federal court that the Virginia Marriage Amendment, passed in 2006 by  57 percent of voters, is unconstitutional.

Tim Bostic and Tony London are the Norfolk couple who applied for a marriage license last year and were denied.

Now they have Virginia’s top brass behind them. State Attorney General Mark Herring and Governor Terry McAuliffe, both Democrats, have said they won't defend the state's constitutional ban.

U.S. District Judge ­Arenda L. Wright Allen will hear the case that Herring's office hopes "will be a landmark ruling in Virginia on one of the most important civil rights issues of our time."

Those who support the same-sex marriage ban are expected to rally Tuesday in Norfolk.

"We stand with the majority of Virginians that voted to pass a constitutional amendment supporting marriage because we believe every child deserves an opportunity to have a mom and a dad," Family Foundation spokeswoman Victoria Cobb said.

An outcry from the right led Republican lawmakers in the House of Delegates to pass a bill Tuesday that allows any member of the General Assembly to defend state law in court if the Attorney General doesn’t.

The two defendants in Tuesday's case are the state registrar of vital records and a Norfolk circuit court clerk.

Seemingly overnight Virginia has emerged as a critical voice in the nationwide fight to legalize gay marriage. As it stands now, 18 states allow same-sex marriage. 

Another current lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, in Harrisonburg, was just certified as a class-action case.  One estimate made by the plaintiff’s legal team is that there are more than 15,000 same-sex households in Virginia.

Dozens of men and women stood arm in arm outside of the Norfolk Federal Court House Monday night, rallying together in support of same sex marriage.

"Since we last passed that constitution amendment, which we regret now I believe, we've had many people who've now come to understand that gay and lesbian marriage does not threaten their marriage at all. It's just like their marriage," First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond Rev. Jeanne Purpke said.

CBS 6 will be in Norfolk tomorrow to cover this historic court case. First, CBS 6 Reporter Jake Burns will lead coverage into the noon show. Then Joe St. George will be live with information and expert analysis on the CBS 6 evening news at 5 and 6 p.m.


  • Digger

    So does Herring think he’s above the law and can pick and chose which laws he will enforce and which he will ignore? Doesn’t this head us down the path to lawlessness? And when did chosing a bad lfestyle become a civil right? What a sad state we live in.

    • Dustin Cavanaugh

      You apparently, A. don’t know what the Attorney General’s job is, and B. aren’t familiar with law. I bet you also don’t know what jury nullification is? Not everyone has to agree with you, go cry on the corner about it if you don’t like it. It will do about as much good. Finally someone is telling you bigots that you are m*rons.

  • Jesse Biscoe

    God’s law says NO. Why argue about it. It’s in the Bible. Herring is violating it. That’s an abomination of God. Throw him and the President out of office And all the Preachers that marry the fruitcakes, and close their churches. The president made a law against God. WRONG !!!

    • Dustin Cavanaugh

      God’s law doesn’t say anything of the sort. Did you speak to Jesus? No? Are you aware that the bible is reliant on the greeks and romans to be honest? Another thing, judge and you shall be judged. Keep judging and if your God is real he will show you no mercy heathen.

  • Becky

    According to the always Perfectly Correct Democratic Party, it is
    Correct to LIE under Oaths, Promise/Lie throughout tenure, and
    Refuse some Laws, Constitutions, and Enforcement. Then, to consistently usurp, circumvent. and derail other legislation for Political Gains & Advantages while Using “selective subjects” Get their Votes
    for More Government Derailment, in house, by The Correct Party of
    “Feelings” for some; while Ignoring All Others Stated, Legislated Rights..

  • Michael Grabow

    It is currently 17 states plus D.C., not 18.

    Close to 40% of the residents of the US (approximately 123 million) live in states with marriage equality. On top of that, about another 566 million people live with it in other countries around the world. Let those numbers sink in, really think about how many people that is. This has been the case in MA since 2004 and in the Netherlands since 2001…the sky hasn’t fallen, no straight couple has been forced to get divorced as a result. Everything will be ok, guys.

    Also, in reference to Mark Herring, don’t be so foolish that you just spew out the same narrative you’ve been fed. After a thorough review by his staff, he came to the conclusion that the ban violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution (hey, what a coincidence, that is the same conclusion reached by a bunch of judges), and therefore, violates Virginian’s rights. As much as it is his job to enforce laws, it is his job to not enforce unconstitutional laws.

  • Becky

    Herring, Did you LIE while campaigning, while taking the Oath of Office,
    or after being seated in your Official Seat of Governance. with Party
    Instructions as to Your Stance and with the Blessings from the Party Governor?
    Is lying, refusing, picking and choosing Perfectly Politically Correct
    as set Governance?

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