American Foundation for Equal Rights

Case Timeline


The Virginia Marriage Amendment

In November 2006, a majority of Virginia voters ratified the Marshall-Newman Amendment to the State Constitution. This Amendment, which defines marriage as a union between “one man and one woman,” deprives gay and lesbian individuals of the right to marry. The Commonwealth of Virginia has imposed sweeping restrictions that prevent gay and lesbian individuals not only from marrying, but from participating in any of the rights or benefits of marriage. While they may receive federal benefits and protections, legally married gay or lesbian couples are treated as legal strangers under Virginia law.

The Lawsuit

On July 18, 2013, Timothy B. Bostic and his partner Tony C. London filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Virginia after they were denied a marriage license at the Norfolk Circuit Court on July 1, 2013.

In September, 2013, Carol Schall and Mary Townley, who were married in California in 2008, joined the lawsuit seeking recognition of their marriage in Virginia.

AFER’s legal team, led by Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, joined the local Norfolk legal team of Shuttleworth, Ruloff, Swain, Haddad & Morecock to fight Virginia’s discriminatory Marriage Amendment.

Next: District Court Trial >