Amicus Brief

Bostic 4th Circuit Amicus Brief

POFEV has organized a group of Virginia congregations and clergy to file an amicus (Friend of the Court) brief in the appeal of the Bostic v. Schaefer marriage equality case to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Altogether, 15 Virginia congregations and 46 Virginia clergy joined POFEV in signing the brief.

At the U.S. District Court, Judge Arenda Wright-Allen found that Virginia's marriage laws discriminating against lesbian and gay couples violated the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause.  The Commonwealth of Virginia, under the new leadership of Attorney General Mark Herring, had reversed its position and argued that the laws were unconstitutional, but the two clerks of court who were the other defendants in the case appealed the decision to the Fourth Circuit.

Amicus briefs are filed by groups or individuals who are not parties to the litigation to provide additional information to the Court that might not otherwise be available to it.  Our amicus brief put Virginia's laws excluding lesbian and gay Virginians from marriage in the context of a long history of Virginia laws excluding marginalized groups from legal marriage including indentured servants, slaves, interracial couples, religious minorities, persons judged to have mental illnesses or intellectual disabilities, and person with epilepsy.  It showed that marriage discrimination laws have been used to suppress many disfavored groups in Virginia and have been critical to enforcing larger regimes discriminating against oppressing those whom the state sought to marginalize.  By bringing forth this history, we were able to demonstrate that Virginia's current marriage laws excluding same-sex couples from legal marriage must be viewed as intentional tools of discrimination and cannot reasonably be understood to be "protecting and promoting marriage."

You can read the brief here.

POFEV is particularly pleased to have so many congregations and clergy join the brief!  The collective voices of these congregations and individuals helped to demonstrate to the Court the broad support for marriage equality within Virginia's faith community.  Below are the congregations and individuals who joined POFEV as amici:

Congregations: Celebration Center for Spiritual Living, Clarendon Presbyterian Church, Commonwealth Baptist Church, Congregation Or Ami, Hope United Church of Christ, Little River UCC, Metropolitan Community Church of Northern Virginia, Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church, St. James UCC, St. John's UCC, New Life Metropolitan Community Church, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Sterling, United Church of Christ of Fredericksburg, Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun,

Individuals: Rev. Marie Hulm Adam , Rev. Marty Anderson, Rev. Robin Anderson, Rev. Verne Arens, Rabbi Lia Bass, Rev. Joseph G. Beattie, Rev. Marc Boswell, Rev. Sue Browning, Rev. Jim Bundy, Rev. Mark Byrd, Rev. Steven C. Clunn, Rev. Dr. John Copenhaver, Rabbi Gary Creditor, Rev. David Ensign, Rev. Henry Fairman, Rabbi Jesse Gallop, Rev. Tom Gerstenlauer, Rev. Dr. Robin H. Gorsline, Rev. Trish Hall, Rev. Warren Hammonds, Rev. Jon Heaslet, Rev. Mary Henderson, Rev. Douglas Hodges, Rev. Phyllis Hubbell, Rev. Stephen G. Hyde, Rev. Janet James, Rev. John Manwell, Rev. James W. McNeal, Andrew Mertz, Rev. Andrew Clive Millard, Rev. Dr. Melanie Miller, Rev. Amber Neuroth, Rev. James Papile, Rev. Linda Olson Peebles, Rev. Don Prange, Rabbi Michael Ragozin, Rabbi Ben Romer, Rev. Jennifer Ryu, Rev. Anya Sammler-Michael, Rabbi Amy Schwartzman, Rev. Danny Spears, Rev. Mark Suriano, Rev. Rob Vaughn, Rev. Daniel Velez-Rivera, Rev. Kate R. Walker, Rev. Terrye Williams, and Rev. Dr. Karen-Marie Yust.