VA County Clerk & State Registrar Appeal Overturn Of Marriage Ban To Fourth Circuit

Via the Virginian-Pilot:

As expected, a Norfolk federal judge’s decision declaring Virginia’s gay-marriage ban unconstitutional was appealed today. An appeal on behalf of Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk George Schaefer, one of the defendants, was filed this afternoon shortly after U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen entered her final order in the case. Schaefer is represented by David Oakley, a Virginia Beach attorney. A few minutes later, Virginia Solicitor General Stuart Raphael filed an appeal on behalf of another defendant, State Registrar of Vital Records Janet Rainey. That means arguments over Virginia’s constitutional prohibition on same-sex marriage, the first in the Southeast to be overthrown in court, will be heard by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Depending on the timing, the case could ultimately result in a landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court resolving the gay-marriage issue for the nation.

Also filing a motion today is Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who demands that the Fourth Circuit expedite the appeal process. Via press release from AFER:

On Monday, February 24, 2014, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and Clerk of Court for Norfolk Circuit Court George E. Schaefer, III filed notices of appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Bostic v. Rainey, the legal challenge to Virginia’s laws prohibiting gay and lesbian couples from marrying. Should the Fourth Circuit uphold the District Court’s decision, similar laws throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia may also be found unconstitutional. Adam Umhoefer, executive director of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, issued the following statement: “The District Court ruled firmly and decisively in favor of gay and lesbian Virginians by striking down the Commonwealth’s discriminatory laws as wholly unconstitutional and exceptionally harmful. Loving gay and lesbian couples and their families should not have to live one more day as second-class citizens under unjust laws. We urge the Fourth Circuit to expedite the appeal process so that soon all Virginians — and hopefully all Americans — will have the freedom to marry the person they love and their rights fully realized.”