American Foundation for Equal Rights

AFER Filing Urges Supreme Court Review of Bostic Virginia Marriage Equality Case

Nicholas Graham: (703) 863-3373 or
AFER Office: (323) 892-2081

Washington, DC – Today, lawyers for the plaintiffs in Bostic v. Schaefer, the Virginia marriage equality case sponsored by the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), filed a response with the United States Supreme Court in support of the Commonwealth’s petition to urge the high court to review the Bostic case and resolve the incredibly important question it presents.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, on behalf of Registrar of Vital Records Janet Rainey, asked the Supreme Court to review the Bostic case in its next term to decide the question of marriage equality once and for all. The state filed its petition for writ of certiorari, or request for review, on Friday, August 8, 2014.

“Forty-seven years ago, Mildred and Richard Loving passionately argued that the Supreme Court must end the unjust laws that dare to tell us who we can and cannot love,” said Plaintiffs’ lead co-counsel Ted Olson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. “Today, almost half a century later, it is time thousands of gay and lesbian couples across America are extended that same promise of equality and freedom that the Supreme Court granted to the Lovings. Our plaintiffs have already fought for, in two separate courts, a constitutional promise they have been denied. Now, the Supreme Court must take up the Bostic case, answer once and for all the surpassingly important constitutional question of marriage equality, and rule decisively in favor of the fundamental right to marry for every same-sex couple.”

Bostic was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in July 2013 on behalf of two loving Virginia couples—Tim Bostic and Tony London of Norfolk, and Carol Schall and Mary Townley of Richmond—to challenge the constitutionality of Virginia’s marriage laws on the grounds that they violate the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

“Tony and I filed this case simply because we love each other, the same way as every other couple across this country loves one another,” said plaintiff Tim Bostic. “We are eager for the Supreme Court to review this case and rule in our favor so that Virginia can finally have marriage equality. We believe the court has to rule in favor of the freedom to marry for all couples like us and end this unjustifiable discrimination.”

The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) is the primary sponsor of the Bostic case.

“This case is about justice and about redeeming the constitutional guarantee of equality for countless gay and lesbian couples has been denied for far too long,” said Adam Umhoefer, executive director of American Foundation for Equal Rights. “Since AFER’s founding, we have looked toward a day when all Americans, gay or straight, can marry the person they love. We have successfully argued in favor of marriage equality once before at the Supreme Court and restored the freedom to marry in California. We are prepared to argue the case for freedom and equality for all couples across the nation, and the Supreme Court must rule in favor of the fundamental right to marry for all Americans.”

On February 13, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen ruled that the Commonwealth’s marriage laws were unconstitutional. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed that ruling on July 28, 2014. Marriages were set to begin on August 21, 2014, but the Supreme Court issued an emergency stay pending review of petitions for writ of certiorari.

Should the Supreme Court agree to hear the AFER case, the stay issued August 20, 2014 will remain in place until the case has been fully briefed, argued, and decided by the high court.



About the American Foundation for Equal Rights

Since its founding in 2009, the American Foundation for Equal Rights has fought for full federal marriage equality for all Americans.  As the sole sponsor of the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8, AFER brought together bipartisan attorneys Theodore B. Olson and David Boies to secure a victory at the United States Supreme Court that restored marriage equality to our nation’s most populous state.  AFER continues its legacy of fighting for marriage equality for all Americans through Bostic v. Schaefer, the federal constitutional challenge in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the Federal District Court decision that found all laws prohibiting gay and lesbian couples from marrying in the Commonwealth of Virginia unconstitutional. To learn more, visit