Family Law Attorney Lisa McDevitt Offers Observations On Virginia Gay Marriage Lawsuit
Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) September 16, 2013 – A gay Virginia couple has filed a federal lawsuit against state officials because they were denied a marriage license.
Timothy Bostic and Tony London filed the lawsuit July 18, claiming that they were denied a marriage license on July 1, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. Although the Supreme Court’s ruling did not overrule Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage, legal experts said it provides an opening to challenge it.
“Same-sex marriage is not legal in Virginia, and the Supreme Court’s ruling did not change that,” said Lisa McDevitt, a family law attorney not involved in the case. “However, plaintiffs can now argue that the state is denying them access to federal benefits that they would have if they were married.”
According to the lawsuit, Bostic, a professor at Old Dominion University, and London, a Norfolk real estate agent, have been in a committed relationship since 1989. They claim they were denied a marriage license at the Circuit Court in Norfolk due to Virginia’s 2006 constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Section 3 of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, holding that restricting the federal definition of marriage to heterosexual unions was unconstitutional. The court left Section 4 of the Act in place, which allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriage.
Bostic and London’s lawsuit asks the court to enjoin enforcement of statutes excluding gays and lesbians from marriage, arguing that by prohibiting same-sex marriage, Virginia deprives couples of numerous benefits that are available to married people, such as Social Security and Medicaid benefits and favorable treatment under state and federal law with regard to income and estate taxes.
The lawsuit cites the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision on the Defense of Marriage Act and its 1967 ruling in Loving v. Virginia, which allowed for mixed-race couples to marry. “Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’” Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote in that decision, “fundamental to our very existence and survival.”
Lisa Lane McDevitt
2155 Bonaventure Drive
Vienna, VA 22181
Toll Free: 866-602-7850
- When filing for a divorce, finding fault is not always necessary
If there was ever an appropriate circumstance, divorce proceedings would seem a prime candidate for an exercise in finger-pointing. However, legally speaking, there are situations in which spouses parting ways should seek what is known as a no-fault divorce. Traditionally, some sort of misconduct has formed the grounds for a divorce. But modern divorce laws […]
- As circumstances change, ‘Last Will and Testament’ may not be final word on an estate
“Last Will and Testament” is a popular title for the document in which a person, known as a testator, names one or more people to manage his or her estate and provides for the distribution of his or her property after death. But when a person’s life circumstances change, a “Last Will and Testament” may […]
- When a couple divorces, debts as well as property must be equitably divided
Marriage can be likened to a business contract, and when that contract is dissolved during a divorce the division of assets is an important and often contentious matter. But debts are an equally important matter to resolve when any contract, including marriage, terminates, as any debts a couple holds will also be allocated between the […]
- IRS offers holiday season tidings on tax exclusions estate planners should remember
The holiday season upon us, meaning that the remainder of the year will see a significant amount of purchasing and bestowing gifts. The spirit of giving is not lost upon the federal government, particularly regarding those gifts with significant valuations, or those bequeathed by an estate. Accordingly, the Internal Revenue Service has announced its gift […]
- Parental communication helps pave the way for a reasonable visitation schedule
When couples with irreconcilable differences end their marriage through a divorce, the bonds between the spouses are effectively severed. Each party can proceed with his or her life separately. However, if a soon-to-be-splitting couple has children, some level of communication between the parents will necessarily linger, particularly once child custody has been determined and reasonable […]
- When spouses wish to part ways, the finality of divorce is usually best
As a popular culture would have us believe, breaking up is hard to do. With all the emotional and financial upheaval that is often involved with a nuptial parting of the ways, some on-the-rocks couples opt for what may seem to be the easier route of some form of separation. Despite the first-blush attractiveness of […]