Virginia Couple Challenges State Ban on Same-Sex Marriage
Last Thursday, Norfolk couple Tony London, 54, and Timothy Bostic, 48, filed a lawsuit challenging the Virginia ban on same-sex marriage, according to The Virginian-Pilot.
The lawsuit comes after the couple went to apply for a marriage license earlier this month at the Circuit Court and they were denied.
According to Robert Ruloff, an attorney for London, a Norfolk real estate agent, and Bostic, an Old Dominion University assistant professor of English, “They thought about getting married in another state, but decided against it.” But the couple decided against this course of action because “they are Virginians and they want to be married in Virginia.
London and Bostic will not be fighting the battle alone, the ACLU and Lambda Legal announced earlier this month they plan on filing a similar lawsuit against the state of Virginia. According LGBTQ Nation attorneys for the organizations said Virginia’s ban and three underlying statutes violate the federal constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law.
This ban on same-sex marriage is the result of a vote in 2006, called the Marshall-Newman Amendment; Virginia voters approved the state’s constitutional amendment 57 percent to 43 percent
Since 2006 the public opinion on the issue has changed. According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday, 50 percent of registered Virginia voters support same-sex marriage compared with 43 percent who don’t. Women backed gay marriage 55 percent to 39 percent, but men opposed it 49 percent to 43 percent.
The opponents of same-sex marriage may be dwindling, however, they remain as loud as ever. Chris Freund, a spokesman for the Family Foundation, a conservative nonprofit based in Richmond, said he was not surprised by the lawsuit. He said London and Bostic are sampling attempting to bypass “the will of the people.”
Comments such as these will likely do little to slow the push to do away with this amendment. Ruloff said his clients were encouraged to take action after the recent Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage. “They feel they need to do this for themselves and all gays,” he said. “It’s a responsibility they feel.”
According to Ruloff, London and Bostic met out West in 1989 while London was serving with the Navy. The two moved to Norfolk bought a house together in 1991.
“This is a relationship,” Ruloff said. “This is not a fling.”
I am originally from a small town in North Carolina and have recently moved to Richmond. Meaning I am a novice to the ways of Richmond life, but from what I have seen it is a culturally rich environment that I look forward to diving into. My daily hustle consists of playing bass, reading, and hunting for new music. This summer I will be interning with RVA Magazine and GayRVA.com. In the fall I will be transferring to Virginia Commonwealth University where I will major in journalism.
If both the constitutional and the statutory bans are not removed, there is a feasible path to undoing same-sex marriageJanuary 16, 2017
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