The first hearing in a lawsuit challenging Virginia's gay marriage ban scheduled for Thursday has been postponed.

According to the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), which joined the lawsuit in September, a severe snow storm forced the federal district court to close.

“While this is a temporary delay, marriage equality will once again have its day in court very soon,” AFER said in an emailed statement.

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.

The case attracted nationwide interest earlier this week when Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced that he would not defend the marriage ban in court, a seismic shift for the state whose top elected leaders – swept out of office in November – had previously strongly supported the ban.

(Related: Virginia's Mark Herring says he was wrong to oppose gay marriage.)