American Foundation for Equal Rights

U.S. Supreme Court Issues Stay in Bostic v. Schaefer, Virginia’s Marriage Equality Case

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

Washington, DC – Today, the United States Supreme Court granted an emergency request to stay the mandate of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit’s decision that found Virginia’s marriage ban unconstitutional.

Marriages for gay and lesbian couples were set to begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday, August 21, 2014. The Supreme Court’s stay prevents marriages from taking place pending further appeal.

The Supreme Court has been asked by the Commonwealth of Virginia to consider the Bostic case in its next term to decide the question of marriage equality. The state filed its petition for writ of certiorari, or request for review on Friday, August 8, 2014. In light of the stay, lawyers for the Bostic plaintiffs intend to file a response in support of the Commonwealth’s petition to urge the Supreme Court to review the Bostic case and resolve the incredibly important question it presents.

“Never before have federal courts across this country so swiftly, convincingly, and unanimously come to the same conclusion on an imperative constitutional question as they have when presented with the issue of marriage equality,” said Plaintiffs’ lead co-counsel David Boies of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, LLP. “The federal court system agrees, the majority of Americans agree, and the President of the United States agrees that it is time this country treats its same-sex couples and their children just the same as all other loving families. We are confident that when the Supreme Court reviews the Bostic case, it too will agree and end the flagrant injustice of segregating Americans based on sexual orientation.”

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

“Tony and I look forward to the day that we can finally be married in our home state,” said Tim Bostic, Plaintiff. “While we are disappointed that marriages will have to wait, this was not unexpected. We feel that this case deserves to be heard by the Supreme Court and be finally decided for all Americans. There are thousands of couples just like us in 30 other states waiting to get married. It is time for all Americans to be able to enjoy the freedom to marry, no matter what state they live in.”

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

“Every federal court across the nation has reached the same conclusion: there is simply no reason to deny loving, committed gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry,” said Adam Umhoefer, executive director of American Foundation for Equal Rights. “Having successfully restored marriage equality in California following the first ever Supreme Court oral argument on the constitutionality of marriage for same-sex couples, AFER looks forward to achieving its mission of securing the fundamental right to marry for all Americans.”

Bostic was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in July 2013 to challenge Virginia’s marriage laws on the grounds that they violate the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

On February 13, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen ruled that all laws prohibiting gay and lesbian couples from marrying in Virginia are unconstitutional, and recognized that they single out gay and lesbian Virginians for a disfavored legal status, thereby creating a category of “second-class citizens.” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed that ruling on July 28, 2014.