Federal court denies motion to dismiss Virginia marriage case

RICHMOND, Va. – A federal court denied a motion from the Staunton Circuit Court Clerk today seeking dismissal of a lawsuit challenging Virginia’s ban on marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this year on behalf of two couples by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Virginia, Lambda Legal, and the law firm Jenner and Block, will move forward with the Staunton Circuit Court Clerk and the Registrar of Vital Records remaining as named defendants. The court today also removed the governor as a named defendant in the case.

“We’re grateful that we have the chance to move ahead to challenge this discriminatory ban on behalf of loving and committed Virginia couples,” said Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia.

“We will continue to fight for families in Virginia and all across the country,” said Joshua Block, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “All loving families deserve the protection and dignity that come with marriage.”

“The court recognized that ‘[i]t is abundantly clear that plaintiffs’ alleged harm is actual, concrete, and particularized,’” said Greg Nevins, Lambda Legal counsel. “We couldn’t agree more, and we are happy that the court is going to force Virginia to defend its marriage exclusion on the merits.”

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