Fourth Circuit Upholds Ruling Striking Down Virginia’s Ban on Gay Marriage


The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down Virginia’s gay marriage ban. The court has also granted a stay pending appeal.

The ruling was 2-1 with George H.W. Bush appointed Judge Paul Niemeyer dissenting.

USA Today reports:

"We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable," the majority said. "However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws."

The circuit court has jurisdiction over Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The panel's decision can be appealed to the full court or to the Supreme Court

Back in June, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a similar ruling striking down Utah’s gay marriage ban.

Read the ruling here.



  1. Kylan says

    Hey Keith — Why don’t you use that convenient link above to the opinion and read it your lazy self?

    I’ll even help you — the dissent starts on page 64.

  2. peter says

    FINALLY! VA finally on the the right side of history, although forced on by the courts. A victory is still a victory.

  3. CAnaive says

    The lone dissent is disturbing in that the judge doesn’t necessarily disagree that marriage is a right. What he does do, however, is posit that the right to same-sex marriage is a “new notion” and that lumping it with the time-held, traditional right to marry is nothing more than “linguistic manipulation”. I could easily see 4-5 of the nine Supreme Court justices building upon such an argument. Hope I am wrong.

  4. Mike says

    One of the most ironic & disturbing things is that Niemeyer’s father fled Nazi Germany in the ’30’s and was a Christian convert later on in the US. With a family background like that you would think he might not use language of ” the other”.

  5. Chriss says

    Niemeyer is just another Neanderthal that is on the verge of extinction….say goodbye to bans on gay marriage.

  6. simon says

    Only 4, not 4-5. How many times do Kennedy have to swing to the other side that we start to trust him as a closet liberal. At least on social issues.

  7. ben~andy says

    We wouldn’t have Romer v. Evans, Lawrence v. Texas nor Windsor w/o Kennedy. I think 3 times starts to make him a pretty safe bet. If he writes the Supremes affirmation of US nationwide SSM, with full recognition of all lebgal marriages performed in other jurisdictions, or even JOINS that decision, I’ll set up a small shrine to him and propose the Vatican beatify him when he dies [I’m pretty sure death is a prerequisite for becoming a saint]. I’m not Catholic [and of course he’s got a snowball’s chance of gaining any kind of positive recognition from that quarter in the next 400 years], but he’ll deserve all of our thanks even if he just NEVER tips his hand so neither the progressive nor the holier than thou blocks of 4 know whether or not to take an appeals case. The 9th will get us NV, AZ, MT, ID, AK. The 4th will bring on SC, NC, VA, WV. The 10th will drop UT, WY, CO, KS, OK. I’m utterly fine if the Supremes just never take an appeal and let the Circuit decision all stand. That will even make the non-recognition provision of DOMA moot.

  8. Lawnerd says

    How far we’ve come! And just think, in 1984 the Bowers majority called any claimed right to same-sex intimacy (even in the privacy of the home) “at best facetious.” You don’t see language like that anymore, even in conservative dissents. Nowadays, dissents really only go as far as arguing about whether it’s for the judiciary or the legislature to decide, or going on about limiting principles (e.g., if you read a right to SSM, how do you then say there’s no right to X Y or Z). Progress!

  9. jamal49 says

    @KYLAN Thanks for the tip. Not much time at work to read this so I appreciate the fast-track. The dissent is so intellectually vapid that one can almost see Judge Niemeyer (or his law clerks) straining to come up with something/anything to say against the majority opinion. All I got from it was: “they’s for it, so we’s against it”. Judge Niemeyer is as empty-headed and clueless as the man who appointed him, George W. Bush.

    What is really fascinating and worth taking the time to note and research is the “Intervenor/Defendant” list. It pays to know who our enemies are. They are legion.

  10. Lexis says

    CAnaive – Hopefully not. And Niemeyer raised that same ol’ tiresome incest-polygamy argument in his dissent. Personally, I don’t think Kennedy will be swayed by something like that. His main concern in Windsor was about what denying same-sex marriage does to the dignity of children in such families. IOW, he seems to get that “non-traditional” families exist and deserve equal treatment under the law. – jmho