Monday afternoon, a panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court’s ruling that Virginia’s marriage equality ban is unconstitutional. The 2-1 decision (pdf) represents the next step in the march to the U.S. Supreme Court. The only question is how we get there. The defendants could appeal for a hearing by the full court or go directly to SCOTUS, the latter having been the choice made by Utah.
I’ve no inside track on the strategy the defendants will take – even though I happened to have been the one to break the news of the 4th Circuit’s ruling to one of them: Norfolk Clerk of Court George Schaefer. It just so happens that I called him to ask about the next step – and reached him before his attorneys did. A decision on that will be made in the coming days – and as soon as I know, I’ll pass it along.
The final paragraph of the ruling – click on the picture to enlarge – captures a lot in a few words. As it turns out, instead of discussing the McDonnell case on WVEC as planned, we ended up talking about the marriage equality ruling. (As soon as the video is posted, I’ll update this post with a link.) Obviously, it is a topic of great importance to me.
Since the Windsor ruling, no court has ruled in favor of these marriage bans. Add the 4th Circuit – which covers VA, MD, NC, and WV – to the list.
Jim Hoeft and I will be on WVEC Thursday at 5:30pm to discuss the McDonnell case – assuming there’s no other big news of the day to talk about 😉
UPDATE: You can watch the video from Monday’s show here.