4th Circuit Rules Against Virginia’s Ban On Same-Sex Marriage
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 Monday that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, upholding a lower-court ruling from February. The majority concluded that “Virginia’s same-sex marriage bans impermissibly infringe on its citizens’ fundamental right to marry.”
[Editor's Note: The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina, and NORTH CAROLINA.]
The decision highlighted that “over the decades, the Supreme Court has demonstrated that the right to marry is an expansive liberty interest that may stretch to accommodate changing societal norms,” citing Loving v. Virginia, which overturned the commonwealth’s ban on interracial marriage, as a notable example. These decisions, the majority wrote, “speak of a broad right to marry that is not circumscribed based on the characteristics of the individuals seeking to exercise that right.”
Addressing the county clerks’ arguments defending the ban, the panel rejected claims that the Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding Michigan’s voter-approved ban on affirmative action in higher education had any impact in this case. Though “Americans’ ability to speak with their votes is essential to our democracy,” they wrote, “the people’s will is not an independent compelling interest that warrants depriving same-sex couples of their fundamental right to marry.”
The majority similarly rejected the clerks’ other arguments regarding history and tradition, protecting the institution of marriage, encouraging responsible procreation, and promoting the optimal childrearing environment, as many other courts have. In particular, they noted that if, as proponents claim, “infertile opposite-sex couples set a positive example for couples who can have unintended children,” there’s “no reason why committed same-sex couples cannot serve as similar role models.” The clerks had argued in their briefs that marriage is only for couples that might accidentally get pregnant.
[link]North Carolina Attorney General To Stop Defending State's Gay Marriage Ban,http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/28/north-carolina-gay-marriage_n_5628129.html[/link]
To my gay brethren and sistren -- CONGRATULATIONS, IT'S ABOUT TIME!!