4th Circuit Marriage Case Appeal Events

Fourth Circuit Oral Argument Week Events

2014.05.13_Rev._Mark_Byrd_and_Rev._Robin_Gorsline_at_Fourth_Circuit_Court_of_Appeals_Steve_Helber_-_AP.jpgThe oral arguments in Virginia's marriage discrimination case (Bostic v. Schaefer) were held on Tuesday, May 13, in Richmond at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and POFEV was there.  In the 48 hours leading up to the hearing, POFEV also was present across the state.  From Sunday to Tuesday, we worked with local congregations and supporters to hold interfaith services in Norfolk and Richmond; courthouse witnesses in Christiansburg, Harrisonburg, and Winchester; and an overnight Vigil and witness at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, where we had just a few weeks before filed a friend of the court brief supporting marriage equality - all to show that Love Changes the World!


POFEV Joined by Va. Clergy and Congregations in Amicus Brief

The POFEV amicus brief in the Bostic case was joined by 46 clergy and 15 congregations across Virginia.  One of those clergy members, Rev. Dr. Rob Vaughn, pastor of Community of Faith United Methodist Church in Herndon, talked with WUSA-TV 9 in Washington, D.C., about why he signed on to the brief and his call to the United Methodist Church nationally to embrace marriage equality for all.

 

Over 50 Witnesses Gather in Christiansburg at Montgomery Circuit Courthouse

2014.05.12_Gail_Moore_and_Veronica_Santo_at_Christiansburg_Witness_for_LOVE_Matt_Gentry_-_AP.jpgCongregations held an interfaith service in Norfolk at New Life Metropolitan Community Church on Sunday, May 11, in support of Norfolk-area residents and equality plaintiffs Tim Bostic and Tony London.  The next day, witnesses from the Christiansburg area, led by New River Valley Unitarian Universalist Church and its minister Rev. Dara Olandt, gathered across the state at the Montgomery Circuit Court.  Festooned with rainbow banners and a sea of welcoming signs, the witnesses stood before the courthouse in solidarity with those who could not receive marriage licenses there because they are the sex as the person whom they seek to marry.  You can see and hear local television station WDBJ coverage here and Virginia Tech public radio station WVTF in Blacksburg here. Media coverage also included photographs from AP that were published in outlets as far away as the Wichita, Kansas Eagle and the Bellingham, Washington, Herald


 Faithful in Winchester Join to Bless Equality Plaintiffs

2015.04.12_POFEV_Blessing_and_Send-Off_in_Winchester_for_Marriage_Equality_Plaintiffs_Victoria_Kidd_and_Christy_Berghoff_Ginger_Perry_-_AP.jpegPOFEV gathered in Winchester at the Winchester City and Frederick County Circuit Courts on Monday, May 12, to bless and send off local residents and marriage equality plaintiffs Victoria Kidd and Christy Berghoff. Joined by local clergy Rev. Gail A. Minnick of the Metropolitan Community Church of the Shenandoah Valley, Rev. John Copenhaver and other faculty and members of the Shenandoah University community, the people gathered joined in blessing Victoria, Christy, and their daughter Lydia and thanking them for their courage and leadership as plaintiffs in their challenge to Virginia's marriage laws in the U.S. District Court for Western Virginia.  You can see pictures of the rally from The Winchester Star here and the full story from The Winchester Star here.


Harrisonburg Gathering Marks Site of Western Virginia Federal Court Challenge

Victoria_Kidd_and_Christy_Berghoff_at_Harrisonburg_Federal_Courthouse_Witness_for_Love.jpgAlso on May 12, POFEV supporters gathered at the Federal courthouse in Harrisonburg, where the assembled group prayed for the two plaintiff couples in the Federal Western Virginia District court case Joanne Harris & Jessica Duff and Victoria Kidd and Christy Berghoff, for their legal team at the ACLU, ACLU of Virginia, Lamda Legal, and Jenner & Block LLP, and for the court.   After the decision in the Eastern Virginia District Court, the two couples in the Western Virginia case intervened in the appeal to the Fourth Circuit in Richmond.  POFEV was thrilled to be present in Harrisonburg to note the important Western District branch of the Virginia marriage discrimination case.


All Night Vigil Begins with Interfaith Service and March

Photo: Last night People of Faith for Equality in Virginia hosted a prayer vigil for marriage equality. Notice (back row, middle) 80 year old ally Ed Dickson holding a sign. Ed is a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church where the service was held. Participants then walked to the Court House where the hearings were conducted this morning. As Ed emailed his kids, "Who would have imagined your 80 year old dad standing in a picket line protesting injustice?" Thank you Ed Dickson!On the evening before the oral arguments began, more than sixty people of faith in Richmond gathered at St. Paul's Episcopal Church to pray and sing for all the plaintiff couples, and especially Richmond area residents Carol Schall, Mary Townley and their daughter Emily Schall-Townley, who were part of the Norfolk district court case. It was a moving service, so much so that it prompted many who had not contemplated joining the march along the grounds of the Virginia Capitol and General Assembly building to the Fourth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, to do so, including Ed Dickson, a member of St. Paul's(pictured center in the photo at right, holding poster of plaintiffs).  As Ed emailed his kids, "Who would have imagined your 80 year old dad standing in a picket line protesting injustice?" Thank you Ed Dickson!

Once at the Fourth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, prayers were said again, and an all night vigil for the plaintiffs, their attorneys, and the court began.  POFEV supporters took shifts through the night, with Rev. Jay McNeal and Rev. Tom Gerstenlauer leading the late night shift.  Many well-wishers and curious Richmond residents came by during the evening, including both couples from the Eastern Virginia District, Tim Bostic & Tony London, and Carol Schall & Mary Townley, and their daughter Emily Schall-Townley, who graciously stood for pictures with the posters that we had made from images they had provided so we could honor them and help to keep them and their stories in the forefront of the case.

Tony_London_and_Tim_Bostic_at_POFEV_Overnight_Vigil_on_Eve_of_Fourth_Circuit_Oral_Arguments_May_12_2014.jpgMary_Townley_Carol_Schall_and_Emily_Schall-Townley_at_POFEV_Overnight_Vigil_on_Eve_of_Fourth_Circuit_Oral_Arguments_May_12_2014.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As daylight broke, lines began to form at the entrances to the courthouse for people eager to hear the arguments.  Our board chair John Humphrey, who authored the amicus brief, was among that number, and he later participated as a panelist in a national call discussing the arguments that Marriage Equality USA sponsored with POFEV. 

At 8:30 a.m., POFEV again said prayers and blessings for the proceedings about to begin in the courthouse.  Equality Virginia joined POFEV in the courthouse witness, and soon hundreds of supporters of marriage equality were gathered along Bank and Main Streets next to the courthouse, face-to-face with busloads of opponents. 

The television coverage of the demonstrations and the hearings was substantial, including WJLA ABC in Washington, D.C. (click link to left if player does not work):


WVEC ABC in Hampton Roads (click link to left if player does not work):

 

WRIC News in Richmond (click link to left if player does not work):

ABC 8NEWS - WRIC | Richmond, Virginia News

 

WWBT NBC News 12 in Richmond (click link to left if player does not work):

 

NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News