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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/29/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Federal judge who strikes down state ban as unconstitutional

In a dramatic reversal of a voter-based 2006 decision, U.S. appeals court this week struck down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, the latest in a string of court rulings to back gay marriage. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, ruled two-to-one to affirm a February ruling by a federal judge who struck down the state ban as unconstitutional.

The Virginia case, Bostic v. Rainey, was brought by two same-sex couples. Fourteen thousand gay couples also were certified as a class for the suit.

The Virginia case, Bostic v. Rainey, was brought by two same-sex couples. Fourteen thousand gay couples also were certified as a class for the suit.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/29/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Virginia, same sex marriage, federal ruling


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits them from participating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance," Judges Roger Gregory and Henry Floyd wrote.

The justices argued that barring gay couples from marrying violated their rights to due process and equal protection under the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment.

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It was a dramatic overturn from Virginia's constitutional ban on gay marriage, which was approved by 57 percent of voters in 2006.

The court's decision will take effect in 21 days. The decision could be stayed if the defendants ask the full court of appeals to review the case.

Sole dissenting Judge Paul Niemeyer said there was no fundamental right to gay marriage - and that defining marriage is best left up to the states, he said.

The 4th Circuit was the second federal appeals court to void a same-sex marriage ban. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down prohibitions in Utah and Oklahoma in June.

Approval of same-sex marriage has gained momentum since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2013 that legally married same-sex couples were eligible for federal benefits.

Every federal and state court since the ruling has since taken up the same-sex marriage issue. About 20 courts have ruled against state bans. Nineteen of the 50 states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage.

Monday's ruling could also affect similar gay marriage bans in other 4th Circuit states - North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia.

"The fact that we're seeing more and more decisions like these shows that America is ready for marriage equality," Greg Nevins, a lawyer with LAMBDA Legal wrote. Nevins who argued in favor of striking down the ban, called the ruling "thrilling."

The Virginia case, Bostic v. Rainey, was brought by two same-sex couples. Fourteen thousand gay couples also were certified as a class for the suit.

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