Richmond, VA – On Monday, March 10, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit granted AFER’s proposed motion for an expedited briefing schedule in Virginia’s marriage equality case, Bostic v. Schaefer (formerly Bostic v. Rainey). On February 13, 2014, the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled in Bostic v. Rainey that laws prohibiting gay and lesbian couples from marrying in the Commonwealth are unconstitutional as they violate the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. AFER is the sole sponsor of the Bostic case, and the ruling is the first of its kind in the American South.
Defendants-Appellants’ opening briefs in Bostic v. Schaefer are due March 28th, and Plaintiffs-Appellees’ reply is due April 11th. Oral arguments have been tentatively scheduled for the week of May 12.
The Court also granted the plaintiffs in a parallel case, Harris v. Rainey, permission to intervene on the side of plaintiffs in Bostic v. Schaefer.
The inclusion of the Harris case means that all gay couples in Virginia are now represented in the case. Harris was previously granted class-action status.
Marriage equality is coming to Virginia soon. Attitudes are changing quickly. A recent study by Pew Research of millenials (via The Washington Post) gives us a glimpse as to the support of it across age groups. Pew’s Religion & Life Project, the latest data for which was released in June 2013, gives us more information.
Pay attention to that slide on religious affiliation. I think it is telling that only two groups are below 50% in their support of marriage equality – and that over time, even that support has grown.