Lawyers Target Virginia as Same-Sex Battleground

Monday, 30 Sep 2013 01:13 PM

By Courtney Coren

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The legal team that took California's Proposition 8 to the Supreme Court have chosen Virginia as the battleground which they hope will legalize gay marriage nationwide.

The legal "odd couple" conservative Republican Ted Olson and liberal Democrat David Boies, — the opposing attorneys in 2000 in the Bush v. Gore case—worked together to overturn California's constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage, and are joining a lawsuit filed in July by a same-sex couple with the aim of overturning what they call Virginia's "draconian" laws against same-sex marriage, The Washington Post reported

Virginia not only has a ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions, but also does not recognize the unions of same-sex couples married in other states.

After their Proposition 8 victory, Olson and Boies said they would be looking for another case that could potentially give same-sex couples the constitutional right to marry. Now they believe the cases of Timothy Bostic and Tony London, whose marriage application was denied, and Carol Schall and Mary Townley, who were married in California and want their union to be recognized in Virginia, could be what they were seeking.

"It's terribly important that we extend the promise of equality . . . to all Americans in all 50 states," Boies said in June on CNN following the Supreme Court ruling. . "There isn't any state that we're giving up on. Our goal is to have marriage equality as guaranteed by the United States Constitution enforced in every single state in the union."

London and Bostic were denied a marriage license when they applied on July. They filed a lawsuit in federal court on July 18, hoping that the Virginia law on same-sex marriage will be deemed unconstitutional, BuzzFeed reports.

On Sept. 3, an amended lawsuit was filed to include Schall and Townley, who want Virginia to recognize their 2008 marriage. They have a teenage daughter.

Olson and Boies believe the 1967 Loving v. Virginia decision, when the Supreme Court struck down the Commonwealth's ban on interracial marriages, could be seen as a basis for their new case, the Post reports.

Olson said Virginia is an ideal state to tackle the issue nationwide because of its complete rejection of gay marriage. "The more unfairly people are being treated, the more obvious it is that it's unconstitutional," he told the Post.

The Supreme Court 5-4 ruling in June struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and dismissed California's Proposition 8, since the state would not defend it. However, the rulings fell short of giving same-sex couples the constitutional right to marry and left state laws across the country intact.

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