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thepoliticalfreakshow:

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced Tuesday he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear Virginia’s same-sex marriage suit.

Herring says he plans to file the petition Friday to “definitively settle the constitutional issues for the Commonwealth and the rest of the country.” Utah filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court earlier Tuesday.

A filing Tuesday in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals requested the Court stay its mandate pending the Supreme Court’s decision whether to hear the case. 

The three-judge panel split 2-1 last week to uphold a prior district court’s decision the state’s ban is unconstitutional. 

Click here to read the full ruling: http://ftpcontent4.worldnow.com/wwbt/PDF/20140728%20BosticOpinion.pdf

"Throughout this case, I have fought for the fundamental rights of Virginians and the quickest possible resolution," said Attorney General Herring. "I believe the district and appeals courts ruled correctly in striking down Virginia’s discriminatory marriage ban, but it has long been clear that the Supreme Court will likely have the final word. I want that decision to come as soon as possible and I want the voices of Virginians to be heard. This case has moved forward at an incredibly swift pace, and I look forward to a final resolution that affirms the fundamental right of all Virginians to marry."

Virginia’s General Assembly approved the same-sex marriage ban in 2005 and it was ratified into law by 57 percent of voters in 2006.

Attorney General Mark Herring has sided with same-sex marriage advocates, however both sides have conceded the final decision likely will be made in the Supreme Court.

The law is being challenged by Timothy Bostic and Tony London, a Virginia Beach couple, as well as Carol Schall and Mary Townley from Chesterfield.

Bostic and London have been in a relationship since 1989 and have lived together for more than 20 years. They applied for a marriage license in Norfolk in July 2013, but were denied by the clerk of court.

Schall and Townley have been together since 1985, have a child together and were legally wed in California in 2008. 

Joanne Harris and Jessica Duff of Staunton and Christy Berghoff and Victoria Kidd of Winchester also joined the suit.

Gay marriage proponents have won more than 20 legal decisions around the country since the U.S. Supreme Court last year struck down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, according to the Associated Press, however those rulings remain in various stages of appeal.

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in the District of Columbia and 19 states. In all, the AP counts more than 70 cases filed in the remaining 31 states prohibiting same-sex marriage.

thepoliticalfreakshow:

WASHINGTON — The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals held Monday that Virginia’s ban on same-sex couples’ marriages is unconstitutional.

On a 2-1 vote, the appeals court joined the wave of court decisions declaring such bans unconstitutional. The decision, by Judge Henry Floyd acknowledged both the debate over such laws and, in the court’s view, the clear constitutional impediment to laws banning same-sex couples from marrying.

“We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable,” he wrote. “However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws.”

In considering the matter, Floyd, joined by Judge Roger Gregory, ruled, “The Virginia Marriage Laws … impede the right to marry by preventing same-sex couples from marrying and nullifying the legal import of their out-of-state marriages. Strict scrutiny therefore applies in this case.”

Judge Paul Niemeyer dissented from the decision, writing, “Because there is no fundamental right to same-sex marriage and there are rational reasons for not recognizing it, just as there are rational reasons for recognizing it, I conclude that we, in the Third Branch, must allow the States to enact legislation on the subject in accordance with their political processes.”

The court heard arguments in the case in May.

Read the opinion.

Source: Chris Geidner for Buzzfeed

h/t: Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress Health

think-progress

thepoliticalfreakshow:

No one thought Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, could actually lose. His primary challenge in his suburban Richmond district, from a local economics professor named David Brat, was thought to be nominal. No sitting majority leader has lost a primary since the position was invented in 1899. Cantor, though unloved by many in his party and in Congress, was seen as the speaker-in-waiting whenever John Boehner decided, or was forced, to hang it up.

But all those assumptions went out the window Tuesday night, when Cantor shockingly lost—and by a wide margin. With 97 percent of the vote counted, Brat had 56 percent of the vote to Cantor’s 44 percent.

In retrospect, there were signs Cantor felt endangered. As the Washington Postreported, in a dispatch that seemed far-fetched at the time but now appears prescient, Cantor was booed at a local Republican gathering last month, and his handpicked candidate for district GOP chair was defeated. His campaign aired TV ads and sent mailers crediting him for blocking immigration reform—signs he had begun to sense a threat. Meanwhile, Brat, a Tea Party activist, was championed by national conservatives like Ann Coulter and Mark Levin. (According to Virginia’s “sore-loser” law, Cantor can’t run against Brat as an independent in the general election, though he might be allowed to mount a write-in bid.)

One immigration-reform-supporting conservative operative emailed me mournfully: “I can’t vote for Democrats because I am pro-life, but my party seems beyond repair.” 

Cantor’s loss will prompt the reexamination of some other pieces of conventional wisdom: One, that the Tea Party is dead—clearly, at least in one restive precinct, anti-Washington anger is alive and well. And two, that supporting immigration reform doesn’t necessarily hurt Republicans in primaries—Cantor’s supposed support for “amnesty” was Brat’s chief line of attack. Supporters of immigration reform now fear that Republican members of Congress, leery of touching the issue before, now will never be persuaded that it is not politically toxic. As one immigration-reform-supporting conservative operative emailed me mournfully: “I can’t vote for Democrats because I am pro-life, but my party seems beyond repair.” 

In truth, it’s not quite so simple. The Tea Party has come up short in most of the big races where it played this year, and other, unapologetic Republican supporters of immigration reform, like North Carolina Representative Renee Ellmers and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, have held on in the face of primary challenges. Cantor may have suffered more for his role as part of the unpopular House leadership than for any particular issue. After Republicans took the House in 2010, Cantor positioned himself as conservatives’ voice in leadership, a role in which he was blamed for scuttling the 2011 debt-limit deal that led to the nation’s credit being downgraded. But he had since patched things up with Boehner, a turnaround that led many House Republicans in both camps—the hard right and the establishment—to be unsure they could trust him. Cantor was ambitious, perpetually billed as a “rising star” despite his seven terms in Congress, but his ideas, like his “Making Life Work” reform agenda, never seemed to gain traction within his party.

There are few real surprises in politics. Tuesday’s result in Richmond was a rare exception. The political world now must get to know an obscure Randolph-Macon professor named Dave Brat; his Democratic opponent, an even more obscure professor at the same college named Jack Trammell; and a new world order in the House of Representatives.

WOW! A major upset. 

H/T: Alan Suderman at Huffington Post, via AP

h/t: Ian Millhiser at Think Progress Justice

A federal judge ruled Virginia’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional late Thursday.

From the ruling:

The Court finds Va. Const. Art. I, § 15-A, Va. Code §§ 20-45.2, 20-45.3, and any other Virginia law that bars same-sex marriage or prohibits Virginia’s recognition of lawful same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions unconstitutional. These laws deny Plaintiffs their rights to due process and equal protection guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen wrote that the constitutional right to equality should apply to all, including same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses.

"Our Constitution declares that ‘all men’ are created equal. Surely this means all of us," wrote Wright Allen, an Eastern District of Virginia judge in Norfolk. ”While ever vigilant for the wisdom that can come from the voices of our voting public, our courts have never long tolerated the perpetuation of laws rooted in unlawful prejudice. One of the judiciary’s noblest endeavors is to scrutinize law that emerge from such roots.”

Wright Allen stayed her order to allow an appeal, meaning nothing immediately changes for same-sex couples in the state.

[…]

Mark Herring, Virginia’s Democratic attorney general, recently announced his support for gay couples seeking marriage licenses.

"After thorough legal review, I have now concluded that Virginia’s ban on marriage between same sex couples violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution on two grounds: marriage is a fundamental right being denied to some Virginians, and the ban unlawfully discriminates on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender," Herring said in January.

h/t: Huff Post

Virginia Republican state delegate Bob Marshall is preparing a bid for the House seat currently held by retiring Rep. Frank Wolf, according to a Virginia-based conservative blog. This would set up a challenge to fellow right-wing state delegate and former Clinton-hunter Barbara Comstock.

Just in case you aren’t familiar with Marshall, here is a quick refresher on some of his most extreme positions:

1. Disabled Children Are God’s Punishment For Abortion

At a 2010 press conference attacking Planned Parenthood, Marshall said that “the number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically” because “when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children.” He called disabled children a “special punishment” from God on women who have had abortions.

It is no wonder that Marshall sponsored a personhood bill that would ban abortion in call cases along with some forms of birth control, one of several bills he proposed that would curtail abortion rights and contraception coverage.

2. Ban Gay Service Members From The National Guard

Marshall reacted to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell by proposing legislation to prohibit “active homosexuals” from serving in the Virginia National Guard, warning that the end of the anti-gay ban would “jeopardize our alliances,” ruin the military and possibly lead to a military draft. Marshall said that if he were in the military he wouldn’t trust gay service members because they might give him a sexually transmitted infection or harass him: “It’s a distraction when I’m on the battlefield and I have to concentrate on the guy 600 yards away, am I worrying about this guy whose got eyes on me?”

3. Anti-Gay Crusade

Marshall has staunchly defended of Virginia’s unconstitutional sodomy law, successfully pushed to block the appointment of an openly gay judge and attempted to stop the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank from flying a rainbow flag, warning that LGBT equality “undermines the American economy.”

He also complained that anti-gay activists are being treated in the same way as Dred Scott.

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

h/t: WaPo

Virginia’s attorney general will announce Thursday that he has concluded that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, local news providers reported early Thursday.

A spokeswoman for Democrat General Mark R. Herring confirmed that he will not defend the ban in a case in federal court in Norfolk in which two same-sex couples are seeking to have it overturned, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Herring will file a brief in the case supporting the challenge, the Washington Post reported.

The Virginia State Senate control goes to the Democrats, 20+1 (Northam). 

The Virginia House of Delegates remain under GOP control.