University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Bostic v. McDonnell PB-VA-0005
Docket / Court 2:13-cv-00395 ( E.D. Va. )
State/Territory Virginia
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
On July 18, 2013, two Virginia residents filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia against the state of Virginia under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for both declaratory and injunctive relief barring ... read more >
On July 18, 2013, two Virginia residents filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia against the state of Virginia under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for both declaratory and injunctive relief barring enforcement of Va. Code §§ 25-45.2 and 20-45.4 and Article I, § 15-A of the Virginia Constitution, alleging that these provisions are unconstitutional. Specifically, the plaintiffs allege that these Virginia laws and constitutional provisions denying individuals the opportunity to marry a person of their same sex violated the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

On August 9, 2013, the state moved to dismiss the case on grounds of sovereign immunity. On September 3, 2013 plaintiffs amended their complaint to add two additional plaintiffs and two additional defendants to the lawsuit. The newly added plaintiffs were Virginia residents married under the laws of California who sought recognition of their marriage under Virginia law. The additional defendants included the Clerk of the Circuit Court for the City or Norfolk and the State Registrar of Vital Records.

On January 23, 2014, Defendant Rainey, in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General, submitted a formal change in position, and relinquished her prior defense of Virginia's marriage laws. The Prince William County Clerk, Michele McQuigg, was granted defendant intervenor status and continued to defend the marriage ban.

The plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction, and both sides sought summary judgment; a hearing was held on February 4. On February 13, 2014, the District Court (Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen) granted summary judgment and a preliminary injunction for the plaintiff, and entered an order enjoining Virginia from continuing to enforce the marriage ban. The court held that these laws violate both due process and equal protection. However, Judge Allen stayed execution of this injunction pending the final disposition of any appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

On July 28, 2014 the Fourth Circuit affirmed, agreeing with the district court that the same-sex marriage ban violated the constitution. The majority opinion, by Circuit Judge Henry Floyd, found that the ban impermissibly infringes Virginians' fundamental right to marry. A dissent by Judge Paul Niemeyer disagreed; Judge Niemeyer said that the state had a right to define marriage to cover only relationships between one man and one woman.

Under the ordinary rules governing appeals, judgments do not take effect until the mandate issues, and that happens 7 days after expiration of the time to file a petition for rehearing, or 7 days after entry of an order denying a timely petition for panel rehearing, rehearing en banc, or motion for stay of mandate, whichever is later. In this case, the mandate was scheduled to issue August 21, 2014. However, on August 20, the Supreme Court granted a stay of the Court of Appeals mandate, "pending the timely filing and disposition of a petition for a writ of certiorari."

Carlyn Williams - 11/04/2013
- 08/20/2014

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Sexual orientatation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Clerk of Circuit Court
State Registrar of Vital Records
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs include one gay couple who desire to get married in Virginia, and one lesbian couple who were legally married in California and desire to have their marriage recognized in Virginia.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2014 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing PB-VA-0004 : Harris v. McDonnell (W.D. Va.)
PB-NC-0001 : Fisher-Borne v. Smith (M.D. N.C.)
PB-NC-0006 : General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Cooper (W.D.N.C.)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Limited Partnership
By: Thomas G. Miller
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  United States Government says L.A. Gay Couple’s 1975 Marriage is Valid
The Pride L.A.
Written: Jun. 07, 2016
By: Troy Masters
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

13-cv-00395 (E.D. Va.) 02/13/2014
PB-VA-0005-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory, Injunctive and Other Relief 07/18/2013
PB-VA-0005-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint for Declaratory, Injunctive, and Other Relief 09/03/2013
PB-VA-0005-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion to Dismiss as Moot the Governor and Attorney General's Motion to Dismiss and the Commonwealth of Virginia's Motion to Intervene 09/06/2013
PB-VA-0005-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order 02/13/2014 (970 F.Supp.2d 456) (E.D. Va.)
PB-VA-0005-0005 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
[Opinion] 07/28/2014 (760 F.3d 352)
PB-VA-0005-0006 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order in Pending Case 08/20/2014 (135 S.Ct. 32)
PB-VA-0005-0007 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Supreme Court website
Opinion [Denying Certiorari] 10/06/2014 (135 S.Ct. 314)
PB-VA-0005-0008 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Allen, Arenda Lauretta Wright (E.D. Va.)
PB-VA-0005-0005 | PB-VA-0005-9000
Floyd, Henry Franklin (Fourth Circuit, D.S.C.)
Niemeyer, Paul Victor (Fourth Circuit, D. Md.)
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Boies, David (New York)
Boutrous, Theodore J. Jr. (California)
Fiebig, Chantale (District of Columbia)
Goldman, Jeremy Michael (California)
Hendrick, Andrew Mitchell (Virginia)
Isaacson, William A. (District of Columbia)
Lipshutz, Joshua S. (California)
Lustig, Charles Barnet (Virginia)
PB-VA-0005-0001 | PB-VA-0005-0002 | PB-VA-0005-9000
McGill, Matthew Dempsey (District of Columbia)
Olson, Theodore B. (District of Columbia)
Porcaro, Erik C. (Virginia)
Ruloff, Robert Eugene (Virginia)
PB-VA-0005-0001 | PB-VA-0005-0002 | PB-VA-0005-9000
Schiller, Josh (New York)
Shuttleworth, Thomas Brady (Virginia)
PB-VA-0005-0001 | PB-VA-0005-0002 | PB-VA-0005-9000
Silver, Robert Brian (New York)
Tayrani, Amir Cameron (District of Columbia)
Defendant's Lawyers Beale, Rita W. (Virginia)
Brady, Michael H. (Virginia)
Cuccinelli, Kenneth T. II (Virginia)
Getchell, Earle Duncan Jr. (Virginia)
PB-VA-0005-0003 | PB-VA-0005-9000 | PB-VA-0005-9000
Oakley, David Brandt (Virginia)
Thomas, Norman Allan (Virginia)
Tysinger, Allyson (Virginia)
Other Lawyers Matney, Mark Randolph (Virginia)
Mattox, Michael Casey (District of Columbia)

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