Marriage equality case fast-tracked in 4th Circuit

Marriage Equality generationsFrom the AFER press release yesterday:

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.

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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.

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3 thoughts on “Marriage equality case fast-tracked in 4th Circuit

  1. Gay marriage is a done deal. The appeal is a waste of time. The question that is left for the courts is can an individual not dealing with a government transaction refuse to vend goods and services for religious reasons.

  2. It’s hardly a waste of time; if it was, there’d actually be no reason for a court to consider the matter in the first place. A prudent court would deny standing to bring a suit and let the political process resolve the question, instead. Which would be a ridiculous outcome, right? Not only would having a whole new ballot initiative on gay marriage delay the rights of some Virginians to have their marriages recognized for several years at a minimum, but it’s inconceivable that the government ever afforded me, as a private citizen, the right to cast a vote on someone else’s marriage in the first place. I don’t want anyone else ever having a right to vote on mine.

    The discrimination cases particularly related to vendors for weddings will be interesting legally. Personally, though, I can’t help but observe that (1) it’s not like there’s a shortage of pro-gay florists or wedding cake bakers in the world. It might actually be harder to find an anti-gay florist or bakers; a vanishingly small number of petulant teenagers who bully their effeminate peers or use the word “gay” pejoratively graduate from high school and go into floral arrangement or pastry decoration as a profession. Following upon that point (2) given that there is hardly a dearth of pro-gay wedding vendors, I am hard-pressed to think why anyone would want to legally compel someone who absolutely hates gay marriage to participate in his or her gay wedding.

    Maybe instead we could come to some sort of social consensus where those of us who are pro-gay rights will agree not to compel Spike the gay-bashing florist to arrange cascading daffodil arrays for gay weddings provided that the anti-gay rights among us will agree that we can pass a content-neutral no-picketing law for when the Westboro Baptists show up to protest at the ceremony.

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