Federal Appeals Court Grants ACLU and Lambda Motion to Intervene in Virginia Marriage Case

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has granted a motion filed by the ACLU and Lambda Legal to intervene in Bostic v. Rainey, the court challenge to Virginia's gay marriage ban being led by lawyers Ted Olson and David Boies for the American Foundation for Equal Rights.

BosticPlaintiffs were not happy about the motion when it was filed in February. Said Matthew D. McGill, co-counsel for the plaintiffs to the Washington Blade:

“The addition of new parties to the case at this late stage risks delaying the proceedings, and there is not a moment to lose when gay and lesbian couples and families across Virginia – and other states in the Fourth Circuit – are experiencing real harm,” said McGill. “We hope the Harris plaintiffs and their lawyers will continue to support our shared goal of marriage equality by filing an amicus brief alongside us.”

Buzzfeed reports on the news and on the court's schedule:

Several big-name LGBT rights organizations and lawyers will all be filing briefs when the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals considers the case — a move the lawyers for the same-sex couples in the case had opposed.

The opening briefs in the appeal of the case backed by the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which was behind the challenge to California’s Proposition 8, are due March 28. Responses are due April 11, with the reply due on April 30. The case is tentatively scheduled to be argued before the appeals court the week of May 12.

Bostic v. Rainey  is very well positioned to be the next marriage case heard before the Supreme Court and any groups who are there will get the benefit of a national spotlight and credit for its ultimate victory.


  1. Gregory In Seattle says

    I am disappointed — disgusted, really — that these powerhouses did not get involved sooner. It is almost as if fundamental human equality is irrelevant, unless they can use it to pad their resumes.

  2. Will says

    The Tenth Circuit case out of Utah, Kitchen v. Herbert, is running about a month ahead of this Bostic case. So it’s anyone’s guess which case is “very well positioned” to be the one SCOTUS decides to hear.

    The battle for credit — AFER v. ACLU v. Lambda (v. Roberta Kaplan at one point too) — is more than a little unseemly. I’m kinda rooting for the local Utahans.

    I also note that GLAD, having won marriage equality in New England, is just pitching in on other cases and not trying to grab the spotlight. I’ve noticed them helping on both the Utah appeal and the Michigan trial this week.

  3. TKinSC says

    So if same-sex marriage bans are “clearly” and “patently” unconstitutional, why the need for all these briefs? Why can’t the plaintiffs simply say “It’s obvious, Your Honor” and then sit back and wait a couple of hours for the inevitable favorable ruling?

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