Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Oral Arguments Underway in Bostic v. Rainey on Virginia Marriage Ban

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As the U.S. Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia hears oral arguments in Bostic v. Rainey which challenges Virginia's ban on same sex marriage two groups demonstrated outside the federal courthouse: gay rights advocates in support of striking down the ban and on the other Christofascists with ties to The Family Foundation and the hate group Family Reseacrch Council on the other who want the ban upheld so that LGBT Virginians remain stigmatized and inferior under the civil laws.  The Virginian Pilot looks at the beginning of the Court's hearing:
In a case that could give gay marriage its first foothold in the old Confederacy, a federal judge will hear arguments Tuesday on whether Virginia's ban on gay marriage should be struck down — the position the state's newly elected Democratic attorney general has endorsed, angering many Republican lawmakers.

On Tuesday morning, a handful of protesters gathered at the courthouse. They shouted phrases decrying his position and carried signs: "Herring's herring. AG's must uphold the law."

Across the street, gay-marriage supporters — in about equal numbers — shouted their support for the plaintiffs and carried signs saying "Marry who you love."

Newly elected Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe has rebuffed calls to appoint outside counsel to defend the ban. On Monday, Republicans in the House passed a bill that would give lawmakers standing in lawsuits where the attorney general and governor have chosen not to participate.

With Herring's office deciding to side with the plaintiffs in the case, the job of defending the law during verbal arguments will fall to the legal team of Norfolk's Circuit Court clerk. In addition, an attorney for the religious group Alliance Defending Freedom will present arguments on behalf of the Prince William County's clerk, which has been allowed to intervene in the case, as to why the law should be upheld.

Herring plans to attend Tuesday's hearing, although Virginia Solicitor General Stuart Raphael will argue in court on behalf of the state.

The attorneys representing the plaintiffs on behalf of the American Foundation for Equal rights are the same ones that successfully challenged California's ban on gay marriage in court there.

After Herring's office decided not to defend the law, U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen considered not even hearing verbal arguments in the case because of the "compelling" filing by the attorney general's office. Wright Allen is a former public defender and assistant U.S. attorney who was appointed to the post by President Barack Obama.

Herring's announcement last month came on the heels of court rulings in which federal judges struck down gay-marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma.

Currently 17 states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage. Most are clustered in the Northeast; none is in the former Confederacy.

Nationwide, there are more than a dozen states with federal lawsuits challenging state bans on same-sex marriage.
Religion has no place in deciding the rights of citizens under the civil laws, yet as the sign below indicates, Virginia's Marshall-Newman Amendment is all about forcing Christofascists beliefs on all.  

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