AG Herring Pushes for Speedy SCOTUS Opinion on VA’s Same-sex Marriage Ban
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring doubled down on his commitment to marriage equality today after filing a petition for certiorari with the US Supreme Court encouraging a quick response by the nation’s highest court.
“Many brave men and women have fought for years for the constitutional guarantee of marriage equality, and now, we are almost there,” said Attorney General Herring in a statement released this morning. ”It is time to discard these discriminatory bans and to recognize the humanity, dignity, and rights of gay and lesbian Americans seeking to forge life-long bonds. I believe this case will prove compelling for the Court because of the stringent, discriminatory nature of Virginia’s marriage ban, the range of critical questions presented, the clear legal standing of the parties, and Virginia’s historic role in 1967′s Loving case ending bans on interracial marriage.”
Herring referred to the historic Loving v. Virginia case multiple times in his statement today, and asked the Supreme Court to not take the same amount of time considering the ban on same-sex marriage.
“Virginia got [the Loving] case wrong. Now, we have a chance to get it right, and to help extend to all Americans the right to marry the person they love.”
AG Herring released his three main arguments for speedy review by SCOTUS, including unanswered questions left by last summers Windsor case, the laws discriminatory nature, and even how the law hurts LGBTQ families by making in-state adoption almost impossible:
- The issue presented is exceptionally important, involving questions about fundamental rights that have not yet been resolved. This case is an opportunity to answer questions left unanswered by last year’s cases involving Proposition 8 and the Windsor case involving the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA.) The Windsor case struck down the federal marriage ban, but the Supreme Court left the question of state marriage bans unanswered in the Proposition 8 decision.
- The case presents important federal questions on which federal and state courts are divided, including whether heightened scrutiny applies to laws that discriminate on the basis on sexual orientation. Virginia argues that heightened scrutiny should apply because courts should be suspicious of laws that discriminate against gay people.
- Virginia’s same-sex-marriage ban is a particularly good candidate for review. It is one of the most stringent in the country. For example, only married couples may adopt children together, thus preventing same-sex couples who wish to marry from legally becoming parents to the children they are raising. The plaintiffs’ relationships also present a number of constitutional questions the court can consider, like whether a state can prevent marriage between same-sex partners, how a marriage between same-sex partners impacts children they are raising, or whether the Commonwealth can refuse to recognize a marriage performed legally in another state. Virginia’s case is procedurally sound and does not suffer from defects–like lack of standing–that prevented the Court from reaching the merits last year in the Proposition 8 case.
“Working on the marriage equality cases will be the highlight of my professional career and… my life really.”September 22, 2016
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