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Virginia

Va. couple files federal lawsuit challenging state’s ban on gay marriage

Saturday, July 20, 2013

NORFOLK, Va. — A Virginia couple on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Tony London, 54, and Timothy Bostic, 48, filed the suit after being denied a marriage license earlier this month, reported The Virginian-Pilot.

Tony London (left) and Timothy Bostic

The lawsuit is the first such legal challenge filed in Virginia, and comes just one week after Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia announced plans to file their own lawsuit.

The couple, who have been together since 1989, had considered getting married in another state, but eventually decided against it, according to Robert Ruloff, an attorney for London, a Norfolk real estate agent, and Bostic, an Old Dominion University assistant professor of English.

“They are Virginians and they want to be married in Virginia,” he said.

In 2006, Virginia voters approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent.

But attorneys for the ACLU and Lambda Legal said Virginia’s ban and three underlying statutes violate the federal constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Even if the couple did marry in nearby Maryland or the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriage is legal, Virginia’s anti-gay marriage laws also deny recognition of such marriages performed in other jurisdictions.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday found that 50 percent of registered voters support same-sex marriage compared to 43 percent who don’t, with a clear majority of women approving it.

And a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) poll released the week prior found a clear majority of Virginians – 55 percent – support marriage equality. That number jumps to 71 percent for Virginians under the age of 30, but drops to about one third among Republicans.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that denied federal benefits to married gay couples.

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39 more reader comments:

  1. State by state the dominoes fall.

    Posted on Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 1:44am
  2. Behind you 110%, it´s about time someone challenged this backasswards state!

    Posted on Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 1:44am
  3. Good luck to them!

    Posted on Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 1:45am
  4. Behind you all the way. Every state should pass the same sex marriage law. Why live in misery?

    Posted on Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 1:49am
  5. Great! good luck…

    Posted on Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 1:59am
  6. Wish you both good luck….!!!

    Posted on Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 2:56am
  7. From Arkansas to you may we all triumph!

    Posted on Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 3:12am
  8. Time to make “Virginia Is For Lovers” a reality.

    Posted on Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 3:19am
  9. If this works perhaps all states can try this tactic. #LoveAlways

    Posted on Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 3:23am
  10. STAND UP!

    Posted on Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 5:14am
  11. Let´s sweep the nation

    Posted on Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 11:59am
  12. All the states should do this

    Posted on Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 1:35pm
  13. And in this state this couple is taking on the ´Cooch´.

    Posted on Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 2:31pm
  14. I hope this happens all over the country…

    Posted on Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 2:56pm
  15. i agree!! it´s been stated that banning it is unconstitutional…. officially in CA. Therefore it should be considered unconstitutional to ban it across the country

    Posted on Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 3:37pm
  16. I hope other couples join the suit.

    Posted on Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 4:39pm
  17. GOOD for them….and i hope they WIN too.

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 12:13am
  18. MySpace?

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 1:40am
  19. YEAH – you go men! The next battle & our next victory!

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 1:41am
  20. good hope it works

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 1:44am
  21. Much $ as I give this state.

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 1:46am
  22. Go for it guys!!

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 1:57am
  23. Good I hope they win and sue VA into bankruptcy. I would take that friggin´ state for everything you can. I vacationed there once, before I knew how homophobic they were and the laws they pasted. I even wrote to a Congresswoman (Democrat) who voted against the anti-gay bill and told Her I would NEVER again visit that state. They are even worse then AZ and that´s saying a lot.

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 1:58am
  24. Glad to see it! Every state that doesn´t have same sex marriage needs to do this! Love = Love period! <3

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 2:09am
  25. I´m a Virginian and /I/ think we have stupid laws! Get ´em gentlemen! :D

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 2:18am
  26. Glad to see this happen in this backwards ass state!

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 2:22am
  27. Good luck gentlemen!

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 2:26am
  28. Virginia ain´t for Lovers! (yet)

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 2:34am
  29. Good luck, hunty

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 2:34am
  30. I´m a Virginian….. and I´m a lesbian. So, all of us are not ass backwards. A lot of us here want equal rights very much. I´m glad these two gentlemen are going to try and fight it. Good luck to you!!

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 2:51am
  31. Good luck guys !

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 4:01am
  32. we should have equal rights even in the Philippines..

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 6:18am
  33. equal rights is a human gift. “Do as you will, Harm no one”

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 8:13am
  34. gfi

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 10:24am
  35. Wishing you luck and victory!

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 12:16pm
  36. Virginia, change now, or the Federal Government will kick your bigot butt again!

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 2:53pm
  37. Republicans are Bigots and Cheats, vote Republicans out of office!

    We Need Independent Redistricting Commissions enacted NOW to reverse the unjust gerrymandering voter disenfranchisement of the Republican Party in 2010.

    Ratio of Republicans to Democrats needed to elect a House member.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=295098483923830&set=a.188860311214315.29983.100002710429170&type=1&ref=nf

    Now That´s What I Call Gerrymandering!

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 2:58pm
  38. Virginia: First colony, First President – where are they now?

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 3:22pm
  39. Good for them!!

    Posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 3:47pm