Lambda Legal and ACLU Ask Court for Swift Ruling in Challenge to Virginia Gay Marriage Ban

This morning we reported that a case challenging Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is going very high profile with the addition of American Foundation for Equal Rights attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, the lawyers who took the Prop. 8 case to the Supreme Court.

Aclu_virginiaThere is a separate case in Virginia also challenging the same-sex marriage ban that was filed on August 1 by the ACLU and Lambda Legal on behalf of two gay couples, Joanne Harris and Jessica Duff of Staunton and Christy Berghoff and Victoria Kidd of Winchester.

The cases both have ambitions to get to the U.S. Supreme Court.

This morning, perhaps spurred by the AFER announcement, Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia filed a motion for summary judgment asking the court for a swift resolution to their case.

2_acluviriginiaSaid Greg Nevins, Supervising Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Southern Regional Office based in Atlanta, in a press release: “The papers we filed today ask the court to get to the heart of the matter. Barring same-sex couples from marriage is clearly unconstitutional. We do not want a country divided by unfairness and discrimination. Same-sex couples are in loving, committed relationships in every region of our nation and should be treated the same way, whether they live in Maine or Virginia."

Added Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia: “Virginians denied the freedom to marry have no meaningful legislative path to gain the same protections for their families as other loving and committed couples. That’s why we’ve had to ask the federal court to overturn Virginia’s sweeping bans on recognizing same-sex relationships. We shouldn’t have to go to federal court to get Virginia to do what’s right.”

More about the plaintiffs in this case from the ACLU:

The plaintiffs in the case: Joanne Harris, 38, and Jessica Duff, 33, together since 2006, are from Staunton and have a four-year-old son, Jabari. Christy Berghoff, 34, and Victoria Kidd, 35, are from Winchester and have been together almost ten years. They have a ten-month-old daughter, Lydia.
“Over the past few years, an increasing number of Americans, and a majority of Virginians, have recognized that it is wrong to deny the freedom to marry to same-sex couples who are their friends, family and neighbors,” said Joshua Block, Staff Attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “It is unfortunate that, once again, it will take a federal court to ensure that all Virginians have the freedom to marry the person they love and that their families are treated equally under the law.”

Ted Olson and David Boies Join Virginia Gay Marriage Case, Eyeing SCOTUS Once Again [tlrd]