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Religious Tolerance logo

Virginia: Recognition of same-sex relationships & marriage equality

Part 10:
2014-JUL: Bostic v. Rainey: Reactions to the
Court of Appeals' ruling by various advocacy
groups. Impact in adjacent states. Possible
future scenarios. Reactions by the public.

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"LGBT" is an acronym referring to the Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, and Transgender/Transsexual community.
SSM refers to same-sex marriage.

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This topic is a continuation from the previous essay

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Comments by representatives of two advocacy groups:

Chad Griffin is president of the Human Rights Campaign, a major LGBT pro-equality group. He said:

"The 4th Circuit has affirmed that equality is not just a California value or a New York value — it’s a fundamental American value." 1

Brian S. Brown is the president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), whose sole goal is to prevent any same-sex couples in the U.S. from marrying. He wrote:

"We are extremely disappointed, though not surprised, with today's ruling from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals invalidating the definition of marriage in Virginia. It is a terrible abuse of power for a court to abandon the definition of marriage which has existed throughout the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia, was adopted by the people and reflects in law the reality of what marriage is, the union of one man and one woman.

"While we condemn the ruling of the majority, we are pleased with the strong dissent authored by Justice Paul Niemeyer who noted that the 'linguistic manipulation' of case law employed by the majority to create a 'fundamental right' to same-sex marriage will also result in 'the right of a father to marry his daughter and the right of any person to marry multiple partners.'

"Justice Niemeyer's dissent lays bare what the majority has done — they have invented a right to redefine marriage because two justices have substituted their views for the considered opinion of the General Assembly and the voters of the Commonwealth.

"We call on the state to appeal this decision to the US Supreme Court and to vigorously fight for the truth of marriage and the right of the people and the elected representatives of the state to define marriage in law consistent with what it is in reality — the union of one man and one woman." 2

No state allows insestuous marriage between family members like the marriage of a father and daughter; none is likely to do so in the future. This is based on the very sound fact that such marriages produce children with high levels of genetically caused defects. Every state bans polygamous marriages.

The court's 98 page ruling is posted online. 3

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Impact of the 4th Circuit Court ruling inside and outside of Virginia; what may the future hold?:

Roy Cooper (D) is the Attorney General of North Carolina. After the 4th Circuit Court ruling, he said that he could no longer support the marriage ban in his state. He said:

"Our office believes the judges in North Carolina are bound by this 4th Circuit decision." 2

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is located in in Richmond, VA, but has jurisdiction over Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Virginia. Under many circumstances, a Court of Appeals' decision for any one of these states can apply also to the remaining four states.

The court ruling will not go into effect for at least until 2014-AUG-18. The 4th Circuit Court may issue a stay during that interval. A stay would be automatically applied if the defendants appeal the case to the full 4th Circuit Court.

Equality North Carolina wrote on JUL-28:

"Legal experts tell us that the 4th Circuit ruling HAS NOT been put into effect yet. The court will decide over the next few days when the ruling is in effect and whether there is a stay on the decision. However, Defendants in the case will likely request a stay *and* if Defendants seek what's called an en banc review (review by all judges in the 4th Circuit), that will also stay the decision.

The next step could also include an appeal [directly] to the United States Supreme Court. Alternately, the case could go before the full 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in an en banc hearing. If the court enters a stay pending possible review by the Supreme Court, then the ruling would not change anything immediately on the ground ... for same-sex couples, either in Virginia or in other states within the 4th Circuit ..." 4

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Public opinion about marriage equality in Virginia:

Matthew Ward, writing for The Suffolk News Herald, interviewed some residents of Suffolk, VA concerning the Circuit Court ruling:

  • Bennie Williams Jr., 80, said:

    "I’m against it (same-sex marriage) myself, because I don’t think same-sex people should be married together. I don’t think God intended for that to happen. I don’t see in the Bible — no place — that it should be."

  • Elsie Boone, 73, said that a lot of her friends are gay. She favors marriage equality, saying:

    "People got their own lives to live the way they want to live. I love ... [my friends]; they are very sweet people. I’m not standing in judgment of them."

  • Annette Lewis, 48, is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a.k.a. the Mormon church. She apparently based her belief about marriage by same-sex couples on a passage from the Bible in Leviticus 18, and on the Book of Mormon. She describe such marriages as an "abomination." She said:

    "I don’t have anything against gay people, but the Bible that I read says that it’s wrong. ... The court made a wrong decision, because it’s supposed to be Adam and Eve, not Adam and Paul, and you can quote me on that."

  • Alyssa Jardell, 26, is "thrilled" with the court decision. She said:

    "It’s amazing that two people in love cannot get married. If they love each other, why not? I have seen more successful partnerships between same-sex couples than people of opposite sex."

  • Curtis Holland, 88, is opposed to same-sex marriage. He said:

    "I certainly believe everyone has a right to their choice — I have no problem with that. But I don’t think marriage is for same-sex animals or humans. That’s it."

  • Tammy Edwards, 44, said that she had:

    "... no problem at all [with marriage equality.] I think everybody deserves love." 5

One of the most effective and entertaining ways to assess public opinion is to read the comments section that is appended to major articles. The USA Today article titled: Appeals panel strikes down Virginia gay marriage ban" received 301 comments during the first 30 hours after it went online. 6 We show the first approximately 25 postings below, with a few nonsensical and off-topic postings deleted. Minor grammatical and spelling errors were corrected.

  • Robert Montgomery: "But yet, Republicans still fight against marriage equality. At what point do they realize that pandering to those who use religion as an excuse for discrimination is just wrong?"

    • Joey Marrone responded: "Why is it that Republicans are the ones who always say they want government out of our lives yet they want it in our bedrooms? Just a thought..."

    • Mike Benedetto responded: "Probably at least one more presidential election. There'll be a dam that breaks eventually, as happened with Democrats."

    • Dan Krohn responded: "Joey Marrone ... it isn't about bedrooms, it's about money and benefits. Best to take away all tax benefits to married couples, just lower taxes across the board...."

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. Richard Wolf, "Appeals court ruling clears way for gay marriage in the heart of Bible Belt ," Washington Post, 2014-JUL-29, at:
  2. Brian Brown, "National Organization for Marriage Condemns Virginia Court for Ignoring History, Reality and Rule of Law," National Orgahization for Marriage, 2014-JUL-28, at:
  3. "Appeals panel strikes down Virginia gay marriage ban," USA Today, 2014-JUL-28, at:
  4. "Bostic v. Schaefer | 4th Circuit," Equality North Carolina, 2014-JUL-28, at:
  5. Matthew Ward, "Court slams gay marriage ban," Suffolk News Herald, 2014-JUL-28, at:
  6. "Appeals panel strikes down Virginia gay marriage ban," USA Today, 2014-JUL-28, at:

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How you got here

Site navigation: Home > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > Menu > Virginia > here

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Copyright © 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2014-JUL-29
Latest update: 2014-JUL-30
Author: B.A. Robinson

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