Fourth Circuit Court Appears to Side with Plaintiffs at Hearing on Virginia’s Gay Marriage Ban


Some good early reports from today's Fourth Circuit hearing on Virginia's gay marriage ban, via Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner:

Two of the court’s three judges appeared ready to strike down the ban Tuesday at oral arguments in Richmond — the third federal appellate hearing on the question currently winding its way through federal and state courts throughout the nation.

Judge Paul Niemeyer was the only judge hearing the arguments who pressed heavily on the side of the state’s ban, saying that same-sex couples are creating a “brand new relationship” and that “it takes a male and female to have a child, to have a family.”

The “core of a family” is the mother-father relationship, Niemeyer told Ted Olson, who was arguing for same-sex couples fighting the 2006 marriage ban. Describing that relationship as “A” and same-sex couples’ relationships as “B,” Niemeyer said that “the state can redefine it and call it marriage,” but that wouldn’t change the fact that “these are two different relationships.”

Geidner adds:

The other judges mostly did not engage directly with Niemeyer’s argument, appearing prepared to continue the path laid out by the Supreme Court in its trilogy of “gay rights” cases in providing additional protections to gay, lesbian, and bisexual people and, in striking down the Defense of Marriage Act last year, same-sex couples’ relationships.

It's not clear when the court will rule.

Listen to the full audio of today's hearing HERE.

Read our earlier report on the case from Ari Ezra Waldman HERE.