A male gay couple has filed a federal lawsuit challenging
Virginia's 2006 voter-approved constitutional amendment which defines
marriage as a heterosexual union.
The amendment, known as the Marshall-Newman Amendment after its
authors Delegate Bob Marshall and Senator Steve Newman, also
prohibits the state from recognizing gay and lesbian couples with
civil unions or domestic partnerships.
The gay couple together 25 years - Timothy B. Bostic, a professor at
Old Dominion University, and Tony C. London, a successful realtor
from Norfolk – argue in their suit filed last week that the state
of Virginia is violating their Fourteenth Amendment rights to due
process and equal protection by denying them the right to marry.
“The disadvantage these laws impose upon gays and lesbians is
the result of disapproval or animus against a politically unpopular
representing the plaintiffs wrote. “Accordingly, these laws
violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to
the United States Constitution by casting gays and lesbians into
disfavored legal status and categorizing them as 'second-class'
The lawsuit is part of a rash of legal filings filed in multiple
states soon after the Supreme Court eviscerated the heart of the
Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June. The high court ruled
unconstitutional DOMA's provision prohibiting federal agencies from
recognizing the legal marriages of gay couples.
In most, if not all, of the cases filed in its wake, plaintiffs
are using the decision to support their claims.
Recent decisions in Ohio
were won using the high court's DOMA decision.
The ACLU and Lambda Legal have also announced plans to file a
lawsuit challenging Virginia's marriage ban.