Judge Michael Urbanski has certified as a class action a lawsuit challenging Virginia's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. This WDVa lawsuit, filed by the ACLU on behalf of two Shenandoah Valley couples, is proceeding parallel with a similar action in the EDVa (Norfolk). Given the speed of the "rocket docket," the EDVa case is expected to be decided before the WDVa action, although both are destined for review by the Fourth Circuit.
Newly sworn-in Attorney General Mark Herring made news last week by deciding not to defend the ban because he wanted to put Virginia "on the right side of history." Herring specifically referenced Virginia's sordid history opposing school desegregation, opposing interracial marriage, and insiting upon single-sex education at Virginia Military Institute.
As a native Virginian, I remember some of these battles and live with the history of others. For example, my daughter goes to one of the public schools that Governor Lindsay Almond decided to close in 1958 instead of obeying federal Judge John Paul's order to desegregate Lane High School and Venable Elementary in Charlottesville, Virginia. Massive resistance is a dark stain on Virginia's proud history. Regardless of how the same-sex marriage cases are resolved, I am confident that we will not have the same state political resistance to federal court rulings.