Virginia Hub




Fourth Circuit Decision Striking Down Virginia's Gay Marriage Ban to be Petitioned to Supreme Court

Virginia

Late last week a county clerk in Virginia signaled her intention to ask the Supreme Court to consider the constitutionality of the state's ban on same-sex marriage. 

A similar appeal to the highest court in the land took place last week as well - with the 10th Circuit's decision overturning Oklahoma's gay marriage ban.

SCOTUSblog reports:

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 11.28.42 AMIn Virginia, Michele B. McQuigg [pictured], who is the county clerk of Prince William County, a jurisdiction just south of Washington, D.C., asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to delay its July 28 decision striking down the Virginia ban on same-sex marriages.  She asked for a ninety-day delay to allow her to file a petition for review in the Supreme Court, which she said her lawyers would file by October 26.

Unlike most other states involved in court battles over same-sex marriage, Virginia allows its county clerks — the officers who issue marriage licenses — to be in court to defend the state ban.  In other states where a defense has been mounted behind such a prohibition, state officials have done so.

SCOTUS has complete discretion on which case to take, if any. 

 


Fourth Circuit Affirms Virginia's Ban on Gay Marriage Unconstitutional: An Analysis of the Dissent

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

NiemeyerToday, the Richmond, Virginia-based Fourth Circuit affirmed a lower court judge's decision striking down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage. When last we discussed this case, a three-judge panel was hearing oral argument and one judge, Paul V. Niemeyer (right), was using his time questioning the pro-equality advocacy to spout particular offensive rhetoric.

Not surprisingly, Judge Niemeyer is in the minority today, writing a lone dissenting opinion to the majority's affirmation that banning gays from marrying denies them a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution. That fundamental right -- the right to marry -- is denied to gay persons when a state says that they cannot marry the person they love, that they could be forced to deny the equality of their love and union (by being relegated to a civil union or worse) or could easily marry a stranger as long as that stranger is of a different gender.

The majority opinion sounds pretty familiar: the appellants have standing, Baker v. Nelson does not foreclose a federal decision on the merits, and Virginia's ban violates the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments by denying gays the fundamental right to marry, a right that the Supreme Court has affirmed and reaffirmed more than 15 times.

We have covered all those matters before. AFTER THE JUMP, I want to spend a few column inches on the dissent, a diatribe that is dimissive, at best, and hateful, at worst.

Continue reading "Fourth Circuit Affirms Virginia's Ban on Gay Marriage Unconstitutional: An Analysis of the Dissent" »


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

Virginia

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.

Developing…


Republican Wingnut Rep. Frank Wolf Blasts Presbyterian Decision To Allow Gay Marriage: VIDEO

Frank wolf

Virginia Republican Representative Frank Wolf took to the House floor Tuesday in a pre-retirement rant regarding the Presbyterian church’s decision to allow same-sex marriage.

We recently reported that anti-gay bigot Bob Marshall intends to run in the upcoming race to succeed Wolf.

 During the four minute speech, Wolf had the following to say about same-sex marriage:

“After several years of internal discussion and debate the assembly voted overwhelmingly to take a position which runs counter to the counsel of Scripture, which defines marriage as divinely inspired joining of one man and one woman.”

Arguing that the church has historically been “a bulwark against the cultural whims of the day,” Wolf went on to say:

“In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, "Haven't you read...that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?  So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore, what God has joined together let man not separate."

This passage, and others like it, remind me of Reverend Billy Graham's comment in the lead-up to the 2012 North Carolina ballot initiative regarding marriage, when he remarked, "The Bible is clear - God's definition of marriage is between a man and a woman."

Watch Wolf’s June 24 speech in full, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Republican Wingnut Rep. Frank Wolf Blasts Presbyterian Decision To Allow Gay Marriage: VIDEO" »


Eastern Mennonite University Defers Decision On Hiring of Gay Faculty

Emu

Eastern Mennonite University' in Harrisonburg, Virginia announced Saturday that it would defer its decision on hiring gay faculty while the Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) community continued its “discernment of human sexuality,” InsideHigherEd.com reports:

Emu2A formal reversal would have reportedly been a first for any member institution for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, although other Mennonite colleges are having similar conversations about allowing the hiring of openly gay faculty members...

Discussions on Mennonite campuses reflect ongoing debate within the Mennonite Church itself. Because the denomination has a strong focus on social justice issues, many members view its non-recognition of same-sex marriage as incompatible with its identity as a whole. Others still believe strongly and exclusively in the biblical definition of marriage: a union between a man and woman.

Currently, faculty at EMU can be gay but have to be celibate and accept certain tenants upheld by EMU to obtain and keep employment:

During the interview process, candidates have to disclose any objections they have to the Mennonite Church’s Confessions of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, which defines marriage as a covenant for life between a man and a woman. Upon hire, faculty members also have to sign the university’s Community Lifestyle Commitment condemning premarital sex (same-sex marriages are not recognized by the state of Virginia).

Back in the fall, the university’s ban was temporarily lifted as EMU created a ‘listening period’ to engage with its students, faculty and ‘vested’ members—parents, alumni and donors—to help guide its decision. EMU President Loren Swartzendruber said it was a rift in opinions between the students/faculty, who supported lifting the ban, and the vested members, who opposed it, that led to the deferment of any action on the subject. 


Wednesday Speed Read: Wisconsin, Eric Cantor, Adam Ebbin, Ryan Fecteau, Alabama, Obama

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

WisconsinSEVENTH CIRCUIT CONSIDERS WISCONSIN:

State officials and attorneys representing same-sex plaintiff couples have been given until 5 p.m. today to file briefs concerning the state’s request for an emergency stay of a federal district court decision last Friday, striking down Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex couples marrying. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports the state office of vital records is not processing marriage licenses for same-sex couples until it gets a go-ahead from the state attorney general.

CantorERIC CANTOR LOSES PRIMARY:

In a surprise upset, U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) lost his primary Tuesday for an eighth term. According to various media in Virginia, winner Dave Brat, an economics professor at a small college, hammered Cantor on his willingness to raise the debt ceiling, end the government shutdown, and support some reform of immigration laws. Brat has rebuffed characterizations of himself as either a liberal or as a Tea Party member. His campaign website states that he believes “all individuals are entitled to equal rights,” but it also says, in bold letting, that Brat will “protect the rights of the unborn and the sanctity of marriage, and will oppose any governmental intrusion upon the conscience of people of faith.”

EbbinGAY CANDIDATE LOSES IN VIRGINIA:

Openly gay Virginia State Senator Adam Ebbin placed third in a 10-candidate field in the Democratic primary to replace U.S. House Rep. Jim Moran from northern Virginia. Ebbin garnered almost 14 percent of the vote compared to winner former Lieutenant Governor Don Beyer’s 46 percent. A former aide to Barney Frank, Mark Levine, took seven percent. Beyer is considered generally support of equal rights for LGBT people. His campaign website expresses support for “full equality.” Oddly, it also promises that Beyer would “work to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.”

GAY CANDIDATE WINS IN MAINE:

Openly gay Maine State Rep. Ryan Fecteau breezed to victory in his Democratic primary Tuesday, winning 65 percent of the vote to represent his district in the middle of the state.

Aaron-brushACLU FILES LAWSUIT IN ALABAMA:

The ACLU filed a lawsuit in federal court in Alabama Tuesday, challenging the state’s refusal to recognize marriage licenses obtained by same-sex couples in other states. The lawsuit, Aaron-Brush v. Bentley, is the third lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying.

FUMBLING FOR AN ANSWER:

ObamaDuring a student-oriented Q & A on Tumblr Tuesday, President Obama seemed to struggle with a question about securing equal rights for transsexual students. The question posed to him –through the moderator, Tumblr President David Karp -- noted that, just last month, the U.S. Department of Education released guidelines to clarify for schools receiving federal aid that Title IX of the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition against sex discrimination “extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.”

“What do you see as the next steps to ensure equal treatment of trans people in schools in America?”

The president began with a rambling recollection of his meeting Monday with the men’s and women’s basketball teams from the University of Connecticut, noting that Title IX has helped make college women athletes competitive and mentioning that the First Lady puts him to shame when they work out together, before eventually landing on one sentence: “The fact that we are applying [Title IX] to transgender students means that they are going to be in a position to assert their rights if and when they see that they are being discriminated on their college campuses, and that could manifest itself in a whole variety of ways.”

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged