Notice of Appeal in Va. Gay Marriage Ruling Filed
A second clerk plans to appeal a federal judge's ruling that declares Virginia's ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional, according to a notice filed in federal court Tuesday.
The Prince William County Circuit Court clerk in Northern Virginia filed the notice to appeal in Norfolk one day after U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen issued a final judgment in the case.
Wright Allen's ruling earlier this month found that the state's voter-approved ban on gay marriage violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment. Wright Allen stayed her decision, which means no marriages can take place until the issue is ultimately resolved by the Richmond-based Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
If the appeals court upholds Wright Allen's decision, it could also stay its order until a decision is made by the Supreme Court.
The Norfolk Circuit Court clerk also is appealing Wright Allen's decision. The Norfolk clerk was the original defendant in the case after a gay Norfolk couple, Timothy Bostic and Tony London, had their request for a marriage license denied.
Later, a Chesterfield County couple, Carol Schall and Mary Townley, joined the case. The couple married in California in 2008. They have a teenage daughter and want Virginia to recognize their marriage.
Prince William County Circuit Court Clerk Michele McQuigg asked in December to intervene in the case as a defendant because the outcome affects clerks throughout the state. McQuigg also expressed fears that the Virginia Attorney General's Office would not adequately defend the law and that the Norfolk Circuit Court clerk "would not as zealously and comprehensively defend Virginia's marriage laws as I would to protect my interests as the Prince William County Circuit Court Clerk."
McQuigg is represented by attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian organization.
Their legal argument has focused largely on the idea that children are best raised by opposite-sex parents.
The Virginia Attorney General's Office also has filed a notice of appeal, although it is not defending the law. Office spokesman Michael Kelly says the notice was filed to speed up the appeals process.