US: Court of Appeals strikes down Virginia same-sex marriage ban
The 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a pervious ruling that the 2006 amendment to the state’s constitution, banning gay marriage by defining it as between a man and a woman is unconstitutional as it violates the equal protection clause in the 14th amendment.
The decision is being heralded as one of great significance by marriage equality supporters as it renders unconstitutional similar marriage bans in North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia – states that are part of the 4th Circuit.
Earlier this year the appellate court also struck down bans on gay marriage in Utah and Oklahoma.
Speaking to Virginia news outlet, The News Advance, Theodore Olson lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the case described the ruling as a testament to equal rights.
“Today’s decision stands as a testament that all Americans are created equal and denying loving gay and lesbian couples the opportunity to marry is indefensible,” said Olson,.
Timothy Bostic and Tony London, a gay couple from Norfolk, filed the suit in July 2013 after they had been denied a marriage license by the local Circuit Court clerk.
“Each and every milestone in this fight for marriage equality brings Tony and me one step closer to making our dream of being married a reality,” Bostic said of the appelate court's ruling. “Our victory today reminds us why we filed this lawsuit – to fight for respect and full equality not only for us, but for all Virginians.”
The case originally made headlines in January when Virginia's state’s attorney general said the Virginia marriage amendment was unconstitutional and announced his support for the plaintiffs in the case – leaving the state without a defense.