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Prop 8 attorneys join in challenge to overturn Va. same-sex marriage ban

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says he will defend the ban
Monday, September 30, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. — The high-profile legal tandem that brought down California’s prohibition on same-sex marriage has joined a challenge of Virginia’s constitutional ban on gay marriage.

David Boies and Theodore B. Olson announced Monday their participation in a challenge of the gay marriage ban, which also includes a denial of recognition of such unions sanctioned by other states. The case involves two gay men who say they were turned down July 1 when they tried to obtain a marriage license in Norfolk Circuit Court.

Olson Boies

Theodore Olson (left) and David Boies

“This case is about state laws that violate personal freedoms, are unnecessary government intrusions, and cause serious harm to loving gay and lesbian couples,” Olson said in a statement released ahead of a news conference in Washington. “As a Virginian and a conservative, I believe these laws stand against the very principles of our nation’s founding.”

Virginia voters approved the same-sex marriage ban 57 percent to 43 percent in 2006.

A spokesman for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said he would defend the amendment to the state Constitution.

About three dozen states do not allow same-sex marriage, and Virginia is one of 29 states that have put the ban in their constitutions.

Boies and Olson compared their challenge of the state’s gay marriage ban to another landmark case: Virginia’s ban on interracial marriages, which was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1967 in Loving v. Virginia.

“Virginia gave us the first marriage equality case – and the one that most clearly established that the right to marry the person you love is a fundamental right of all Americans,” Boies said in a statement. “It’s fitting, then, that Virginia be the battleground for another great test of that principal.”

Boies’ and Olson’s American Foundation for Equal Rights successfully challenged California’s Proposition 8, which was passed by voters to stop same-sex marriages.

In June, the U .S. Supreme Court struck down a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that denied federal benefits to married gay couples. The justices also left intact a lower court ruling overturning California’s gay marriage ban, but they did not rule on the constitutional question.

“The Supreme Court’s decisions on the marriage issue this past summer make clear that the rulings have no effect on the Virginia Marriage Amendment or to any other Virginia law related to marriage,” Cuccinelli spokesman Brian Gottstein wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “In this case where the Virginia Constitution is being challenged, this office’s job is to defend the laws and the constitution of the commonwealth.”

Boies and Olson, who were opposing counsel in the disputed 2000 presidential election, are joining a challenge of the constitutional amendment in the case of Timothy B. Bostic and Tony C. London.

Their lawsuit argues that Virginia’s treatment of gays and lesbians is unequal and deprives them of benefits associated with marriage, including favorable tax treatment. The lawsuit also says the ban denied Bostic and London liberties that are guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

It asks the court to bar enforcement of all laws that seek to deny gays and lesbians access to civil marriage and civil union.

The lawsuit names as defendants Cuccinelli and Gov. Bob McDonnell, among others. It was filed July 18 in U.S. District Court in Norfolk.

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Bostic is professor of humanities at Old Dominion University, and London is a real estate agent and Navy veteran. They have been in a relationship since 1989, according to the lawsuit.

Joining in their lawsuit are Richmond residents Carol Schall and Mary Tonley, who have been together for 28 years and have a 15-year-old daughter. They obtained a marriage license from California in 2008, according to the lawsuit.

Separately, two couples from the Shenandoah Valley also filed a f ederal class-action lawsuit this summer challenging Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban.

A poll conducted in July found that 50 percent of registered Virginia voters support same-sex marriage compared with 43 percent who don’t.

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32 more reader comments:

  1. Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 3:54pm
  2. if this gets turned over here , ill not only be happy but shocked as hell lol

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 3:55pm
  3. Go get ‘em, gentlemen!

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 3:56pm
  4. Deja Vu! The state that ended the ban on interracial marriage, might also be the state that ends the ban on same-sex marriage…

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 3:56pm
  5. Yes!

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 3:58pm
  6. this needs to happen in n.c.

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 3:58pm
  7. There you go!!! :)

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 3:59pm
  8. it needs to end bcuz if it doesn’t tht means part of the pledge is a lie bcuz there really isn’t liberty and justice for all if 2 people of the same sex can’t get married and be happy love is love

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 4:02pm
  9. Blame the marriage act because it states that marriage is between a man and a woman so things progress slowly

    Replied on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 4:50pm
  10. YES YES YES!!!

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 4:03pm
  11. We have a hearing here in Michigan in October on the ban. I hope it gets overturned! One less step! All states need to jump on the bandwagon already!

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 4:05pm
  12. and we also have a hearing happening in New Mexico in october, and Hawaii will have a special session to pass a similar bill... New Jersey already ruled in favor and it's chances of legalizing it in october is high... we might see 4 states in october legalizing it... and not to mention the other lawsuits in other states... and Pennsylvania might also legalize it but i'm not optimistic...

    Replied on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 4:25pm
  13. loving v virginia are u telling me for real that gays cant get married

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 4:13pm
  14. This is great news. Finally a legal team driving to overturn Virginia’s ridiculous constitutional ban on equal rights. I love the reference to The Loving vs. Va case that ultimately overturned the ban on inter-racial marriage. Oh Virginia, so conflicted I am on the abysmal civil rights record of my birth state.

    PS. Maybe I will be able to get married one day soon in my home state ;-)

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 4:46pm
  15. And of course that narrow minded bigot Ken Cuccinelli rushes to announce he will defend the ban on civil rights for LGBT Americans living in Va. He cant become governor. I’m sorry but if you are a planning to vote for this bigot and are a friend of mine, we need to talk.

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 4:47pm
  16. The meeting point of seemingly opposing forces & beliefs. Sman it, they make sense. Not too many people doing that (in public, at least) these days!

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 4:50pm
  17. If anyone can, they will….

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 5:01pm
  18. people need to wake up and realise tht we all are human beings fighting for our rights and freedom we all share this planet it isn’t far to treat one person different than the next everybody deserves to be happy and live freely

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 5:01pm
  19. It’s regrettable that the social conservatives wield so much power to the point that equality requires litigation but that GOP ideology is all too prevalent south of the Mason- Dixie line!

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 5:33pm
  20. In the centuries to come, those who oppose human rights will be regarded as the Little Hitlers of the 21st century. I’m very thankful to my parents for raising me with the ability to see right and wrong, without bias. Even growing up in a sheltered environment, away from diversity, I am able to clearly see both the good and bad in everyone.

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 6:15pm
  21. sweet

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 6:40pm
  22. Yahoooo!

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 7:22pm
  23. Yahoooo!

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 7:22pm
  24. ooo, good luck yall ><

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 7:56pm
  25. ooo, good luck yall ><

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 7:56pm
  26. Virginia might as well throw inthe towel right now.

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 11:20pm
  27. why is there so much hatred?

    Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 12:05am
  28. lets do it

    Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 12:25am
  29. And another step is taken toward personal rights in a country claiming to be the “Land of the Free.”

    Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 2:22am
  30. Drag Queen from Wrocław – you have to see this:) and join us!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6O6GSBIjQs&feature=youtu.be

    Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 8:40am
  31. Good luck guys and thank you.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 12:57pm
  32. God Speed gentlemen warriors! Do good !

    Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 3:27pm