The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Virginia has struck down that state’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional, by a 2-1 vote.
The decision Monday upheld a ruling by U.S. Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen in February that found the ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause. In 2006, Virginia passed an amendment to the state Constitution declaring marriage to be between a man and a woman.
Here is the key portion of Judge Henry F. Floyd’s ruling:
We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable. However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws. Civil marriage is one of the cornerstones of our way of life. It allows individuals to celebrate and publicly declare their intentions to form lifelong partnerships, which provide unparalleled intimacy, companionship, emotional support, and security. The choice of whether and whom to marry is an intensely personal decision that alters the course of an individual’s life. Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits them from participating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance.
Federal judges in other states such as Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and Wisconsin have struck down similar state bans in the past year, with varying success. In Utah’s case, the state ban could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Correction: A previous version of this post misidentified a portion of the court’s opinion.
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The Democratic National Committee issued a formal apology to Bernie Sanders today, after leaked emails showed staffers trying to sabotage his presidential bid. "On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email," DNC officials said in the statement. "These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not—and will not—tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates."
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Debbie Wasserman Schultz has given up her last remaining duty at this week's convention. Now, she's told her hometown newspaper, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, that she will not gavel in the convention today. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will do the honors instead. "I have decided that in the interest of making sure that we can start the Democratic convention on a high note that I am not going to gavel in the convention," Wasserman Schultz said.
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