RICHMOND, Va. — A federal appeals court decision invalidating Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban would have at least some impact on similar prohibitions in three neighboring states, gay-rights activists said Monday.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond will hear arguments Tuesday on a judge’s ruling striking down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban. U.S. District Judge Arena Wright Allen ruled in February that the prohibition violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection and due process guarantees.
North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia also prohibit gay marriage and are part of the 4th Circuit. A ruling affirming Allen’s decision could either strike down bans or virtually ensure the success of similar lawsuits in the other states, leaders of gay-rights organizations said.
“We hope the ruling is sweeping, but even if it’s not we hope it will provide precedent for our own legal challenge,” said Ryan Wilson, executive director of South Carolina Equality.
Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality North Carolina, said activists are excited about the possibility of the Virginia ruling striking down his state’s same-sex marriage ban.