A federal judge in Norfolk has
scheduled the first hearing in a lawsuit challenging Virginia's gay
marriage ban to take place on Thursday, January 30.
The American Foundation for Equal
Rights (AFER) joined the suit in September. AFER lawyers Ted Olson
and David Boies represented two gay couples who were each denied a
marriage license because of Proposition 8, California's 2008
voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting marriage to
heterosexual couples. The case reached the Supreme Court, which in
June ruled that defendants did not have legal standing in the case.
A lower court order invalidated the amendment and the marriages of
gay couples in California resumed.
Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of the
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia will preside
over the hearing in Bostic v. Rainey, which was filed in July.
Plaintiffs in the case include Timothy
Bostic and Tony London, who have been together nearly 25 years, and
Carol Schall and Mary Townley, who are raising a 15-year-old daughter
and whose California marriage is not recognized by the state.
Olson told The
Washington Post that Virginia is an “attractive target”
because its amendment rejects all forms of recognition.
“The more unfairly people are being
treated, the more obvious it is that it's unconstitutional,” Olson
told the paper.
While state officials have
energetically defended the amendment, approved by voters in 2006,
incoming Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, has said he supports
allowing gay couples to marry.
seeking to legalize gay marriage introduced in Virginia.)