Lambda Legal and ACLU Seek to Intervene in Virginia Marriage Case

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February 26, 2014
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Lambda Legal Counsel Gregory R. Nevins
Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia filed a motion in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to intervene on behalf of all Virginia’s same-sex couples and their families in Bostic v. Rainey. The groups are simultaneously challenging the state’s marriage ban in their own case, Harris v. Rainey.
 
Greg Nevins, Counsel in Lambda Legal’s Southern Regional Office based in Atlanta, says:
 
We represent a class of all same sex couples in Virginia for whom the denial of marriage inflicts a variety of harms, and they deserve to be heard. The Bostic appeal could decide the fate of not only both couples involved, but also the entire class of over 14,000 same-sex couples in Virginia who we represent.
 
The Harris case is awaiting decision from the court. Once that decision is issued, it will be appealed to the Fourth Circuit. In the meantime, allowing the Harris class action to intervene in the Bostic case now will allow the two cases to be consolidated on appeal without delaying or disrupting either case.
 
On February 13, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District ruled, in Bostic v. Rainey, that same-sex couples in the state will be allowed to marry and all same-sex couples legally married elsewhere will have their marriages recognized. However, marriages cannot yet take place since the ruling was suspended in anticipation of an appeal.  
 
Harris v. Rainey was filed August 1 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia and argued that, through the marriage bans, Virginia sent a message that lesbians, gay men and their children are viewed as second-class citizens who are undeserving of the legal sanction, respect, protections and support that heterosexuals and their families are able to enjoy through marriage.
 
In January, the Court certified the lawsuit as a class action, extending the scope of those represented in the lawsuit to all same-sex couples in the state who cannot legally marry or whose legal marriages performed elsewhere are not recognized by the Commonwealth. 
 
Read the brief.
 
Read more about the case.