Chester man killed on Richmond’s Southside
Slight risk for severe storms Friday
Driver sentenced in crash that killed child

Eyes on Virginia as gay marriage case advances in court

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - The oral arguments in a landmark Virginia marriage case begin Tuesday morning at the Fourth Circuit Court.

The case, Bostic v. Schaefer (formerly Bostic v. Rainey) hopes to overturn the 2006 Virginia Marriage Amendment that was ratified by 57 percent of commonwealth voters.

Oral arguments will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, heard by three randomly selected judges whose identity will be revealed the morning of the case.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights legal team is led by Ted Olson and David Boies, who took California's ban on same-sex marriage all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and many believe this case is headed there as well.

They will argue the District Court’s decision ruling unconstitutional all laws prohibiting gay and lesbian couples from marrying in the Commonwealth must be upheld.

Hours before Valentine’s Day this year, U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen released her ruling in Bostic v. Rainey, and it was stayed pending appeal.

The judge concluded that prejudice is behind Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban.

“Justice has often been forged from fires of indignities and prejudices suffered,” said Wright Allen.

She found that marriage is a fundamental right, protected by both the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Virginia Solicitor General Stuart Raphael will argue in court on behalf of the Commonwealth. Raphael said the case is legally indistinguishable from Loving v. Virginia, which overturned a ban on interracial marriage in 1967 based on violation of the 14th Amendment.

Raphael said the idea that there is “no traditional right to same sex marriage” is a major flaw.

The Cato Institute, a well-known libertarian public policy think tank, argued that the current constitutional amendment conflicts with the equal rights of those same-sex couples whose unions are treated differently than those of opposite-sex couples.

“To the extent that states recognize marriage, every person has the right to choose whom to marry and to have that decision respected equally by the state in which they live,” wrote Elizabeth Wydra and Ilya Shapiro in their briefing.

Read here:

The lawsuit was filed in July, on behalf of two couples. Tim Bostic and Tony London are the Norfolk couple together 20 years who were denied a marriage license in 2013.

The other two plaintiffs are women from Chesterfield County–Mary Townley and Carol Schall–who married in California and have a teenage daughter.

Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk George Schaefer is actually named as a defendant in the case, since his office denied Bostic and London their marriage license.

The Alliance Defending Freedom will represent Prince William County Clerk of Court Michéle B. McQuigg, who issues marriage licenses and who intervened in  defense of Virginia’s marriage laws.

Defense attorneys previously argued that ruling the same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional would “change the basic concept of marriage” in Virginia.

They argued marriage has been between a man and a woman for hundreds of years.

Defense attorney Austin Nimocks said there are marriage laws in Virginia because marriage is all about children. He added that procreative dynamics are essential to marriage.

Nimocks said “marriage is ancient because it is rational,” and all things being equal, toward traditional marriage we should strive.

The defense disagreed that there is a fundamental right to same-sex marriage because there are no concrete examples to show that it is rooted in the traditions of our country.

Many Virginians convened outside the courthouse in Richmond on Tuesday to express their stance on the issue.

“Virginians have had enough: there is absolutely no reason for Virginia to continue denying lesbian and gay couples the freedom to marry the person they love here at home," said James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, the group charged with organizing the marriage equality rally.

Earlier this month a report by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law showed that if Virginia allowed its gay and lesbian couples to marry, the economic boost would be likely to add $2.5 million to $3.2 million tax dollars to state and local coffers.

Click here to sign up for breaking news updates on the case.



  • Becky

    It is Perfectly PC to skirt, usurp, circumvent the written, enacted,
    legislated, legal processes, before Law Makers, for Party Friendly
    Law Suits, before Party set up to suit Courts.
    Another easy, convenient way for Party to Dictate its Exclusive Agendas for Party’s Exclusives Special Interests; they use and
    abuse, solely for Votes, for Party Power to Sole Dictates.
    Of course, The Party’s Most Intelligent, Lawyer, Law Maker,
    Constitutional Law Grad and Party Law Makers know that full
    well and upright.

  • todd

    can we just settle this thing one way or the other.I mean how many years and how much of the courts time needs to be taken up before a decision is reached and kept.Seems some just like to keep this news worthy and in our faces.we get it already,ok

    • Mo Fiscal conservatism

      Lack of money is the root of most evil. I can’t say I remember the last time I heard about a wealthy banker, or his privileged children getting arrested for robbing, shooting and killing. I’ll have too google it later, but I can’t say I’ve heard of a person with disposable income going around raping women or burning down buildings for fun.
      Now, people with money do occasionally get in trouble for bad things. But the majority of the people doing wrong to other people are people with no or very little disposable income.
      They need to be worried about taking care of themselves instead of doing it the lazy way.

      • Shelly

        what? huh? Go watch a few episodes of behind mansion walls?

        Do you recall a few years back when a privileged lacrosse player killed his girlfriend?

        Rich people do low things all the time. Evil is not limited to violence (murder, robbery, etc.) and it is not limited to income or wealth amounts. Further, all rich people dont earn their money honestly.

      • Shelly

        and lastly, you went totally left….nothing to do with the subjest at hand…..but anyway, a lot of people with money have ways of making things go away by paying people off or knowing people in high places.

  • Jaylin

    Why is “The Family Foundation of Virginia” considered a voice on so many issues? They don’t seem to have a very large following on facebook or anywhere else.

  • Shelly

    According to the article, “Earlier this month a report by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law showed that if Virginia allowed these couples to marry, the economic boost would be likely to add $2.5 million to $3.2 million tax dollars to state and local coffers”

  • Keith Pullman

    It’s going to happen! There is no good reason to deny that we must keep evolving until an adult, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, monogamy or polyamory, race, or religion is free to marry any and all consenting adults. The limited same-gender freedom to marry is a great and historic step, but is NOT full marriage equality, because equality “just for some” is not equality. Let’s stand up for EVERY ADULT’S right to marry the person(s) they love. Get on the right side of history!

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.