Same-sex marriage ruling will be appealed by Virginia clerk
Virginia’s Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk George E. Schaefer III gave notice Monday that he is appealing a federal judge’s recent decision overturning the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. David B. Oakley, Schaefer’s Chesapeake lawyer, filed a notice to the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Monday afternoon that he “hereby appeals the Final Judgment entered in this action.”
Schaefer who is an elected official independent of the city government turned down a marriage application submitted by a gay couple in Norfolk last July because the pair was prohibited from marrying under law. While his attorney had not offered any additional comments Schaefer previously stated that an appeal should result in a more definitive conclusion regarding the constitutionality of same-sex marriage for Virginians.
The notice of appeal coincides with U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen’s final judgment regarding this case. Allen’s 41-page ruling on February 13 determined that Virginia’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage violates the 14th Amendment and overturned the ban. Her formal two-page judgment Monday stated that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is “facially unconstitutional” under the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment “to the extent that they deny the rights of marriage to same-sex couples” and do not acknowledge same-sex marriages from other states.
Additionally, Allen “stayed” her ruling which will delay it from being put into effect pending any applicable appeals. Experts, however, believe that her ruling will probably be put off until the United States Supreme Court addresses the issue in the future.
The Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring also filed a notice of appeal in the case. Michael Kelly, office spokesperson, said that Herring is not defending the law but filed the appeal because he wishes to help set up the case schedule thus speeding up the process.
“By appealing, the Commonwealth is in a position to help set the briefing schedule and push for the most expedient practical schedule,” Kelly communicated.
In a statement to the press Herring wrote: “Throughout this process I have maintained that the law requires equal treatment for same-sex couples. Although the court agreed with the Commonwealth’s position that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, I have filed a notice of appeal to ensure that higher courts can swiftly rule on the critical issues in this case, consistent with my commitment to the rule of law.”
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