Appellate Court to Rule on Same Sex Marriage

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The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will most likely rule on a federal case concerning gay marriage by the end of the month, according to an article published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The Bostic v. Rainey case involves a gay couple who filed a complaint after being denied a marriage license by a local circuit court clerk in Norfolk. The court in Richmond heard oral arguments for the case on May 13, nearly two months ago. It is the fastest court of appeals in the U.S. with an average time interval from argument to opinion in nonexpedited appeals of 2.2 months, according to Carl Tobias, a constitutional law professor at the University of Richmond School of Law. In spite of this, the judges are struggling to reach a decision, particularly in light of the major ruling by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on June 25 that struck down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban. The judges in Richmond must read through the majority and dissenting opinions of that case in order to create an informed ruling that will ultimately affect Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Attorney General Mark R. Herring supported the plaintiffs by urging the court to expedite the ruling “because every day the ban is in effect is another day when thousands of Virginians’ fundamental right to marry is denied,” said Herring’s spokesperson, Michael Kelly.

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