American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

Associated Press profiles couple challenging Virgina’s marriage amendment

AFER plaintiffs Caroll Schall and Mary Townley are featured in an Associated Press profile:

RICHMOND, Va. — Carol Schall was helping her teenage daughter renew her passport when a postal worker filling out the paperwork learned that Schall’s same-sex partner was the girl’s birth mother.

“You’re nothing,” Schall recalls the worker saying as she crossed her name off the form. Schall was stunned.

“I asked myself, ‘Did that really just happen? Did a civil servant carrying out Virginia law really strike me out of my daughter’s life?’”

The April 2012 confrontation and the look of hurt on then-14-year-old Emily’s face, was still on their minds when Schall and Mary Townley decided to join another couple in a federal lawsuit challenging Virginia’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Schall and Townley were married in California in 2008, but the union is not recognized in Virginia.

“That incident was actually emblematic for me of the position the constitutional amendment puts us in,” Schall said in an interview. “Virginia would never recognize me as Emily’s mom until it recognizes me and Mary as married. It’s like I’m a legal stranger to my own family.”

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Norfolk in July after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that denied federal benefits to married gay couples and left intact a lower court ruling overturning California’s gay marriage ban. Bostic and London had been denied a marriage license in Norfolk.

Read the full article here and check out this video of Mary & Carol talking about why they want their state to recognize their marriage: