Federal Appeals Court Rules Virginia's Same Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

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A federal appeals court panel struck down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban on Monday. The three person panel ruled 2-1 against Virginia's law, which also blocks the recognition of marriages performed in other states, making it the second ban overturned by an appeals court this summer. 

In the court's ruling, Judge Henry Floyd argued that banning same-sex marriage prevents couple from "fully participating in society." "We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable," Floyd wrote. "However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws." According to the Associated Press, it's not clear if or when marriage licenses will be given out, and this case will likely be reviewed by the Supreme Court. 

Same-sex marriage has won a number of legal victories recently, including June's decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down Utah's marriage ban. As The New York Times wrote last month, "legal observers said the Utah ruling was significant because it was the first time a federal appeals panel" ruled marriage bans unconstitutional. Last month the 10th Circuit also upheld the ruling to overturn Oklahoma's same-sex marriage ban

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In 2006, Virginia voters approved the same-sex marriage ban 57 percent to 43 percent. The Virginia suit was filed by two couples, Timothy Bostic and Tony London and Carol Schall and Mary Townley. Bostic and London were denied a marriage license in Virginia, and Schall and Townley were married in California in 2008. Because Virginia doesn't recognize their marriage, Schall isn't listed on the birth certificate of the couple's daughter and had to obtain a lawyer to gain custody rights, according to the court's ruling.

Read the full ruling below:

4th Circuit Ruling


This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.