Harris et al. v. Rainey et al. (formerly Harris et al. v. McDonnell et al.)

Summary

Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia are filing a federal class action lawsuit seeking the freedom to marry for all same-sex couples in Virginia as well as an end to Virginia’s refusal to recognize marriages same-sex couples have legally entered elsewhere. The case was filed on behalf of Joanne Harris and Jessica Duff of Staunton and Christy Berghoff and Victoria Kidd of Winchester, and seeks to represent all same-sex couples in Virginia who wish to marry here or who have married in other jurisdictions.

The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. The case argues that the Commonwealth of Virginia sends a purposeful message that it views lesbians, gay men and their children 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.  

History

  • August 2013 Lambda Legal, the ACLU and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia file complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.
  • September 2013 Lambda Legal, the ACLU and the ACLU of Virginia file a motion for summary judgment.
  • December 2013 Federal court denied a motion by the Staunton Circuit Court Clerk seeking dismissal of the lawsuit.

Case Information

Status: Open

Plaintiffs

Joanne Harris and Jessica Duff, and Christy Berghoff and Victoria Kidd, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated.

Attorneys

Lambda Legal

Greg Nevins
Tara Borelli

Co-counsel

Rebecca Glenberg, ACLU of Virginia

Amanda Goad, Josh Block and James Esseks, LGBT Project of the national ACLU

Paul Smith, Luke Platzer and Mark Gaber of Jenner and Block