[JURIST] Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring [official website] on Friday filed an appellate brief [text, PDF] in support of the district court's ruling that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The brief, filed with the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website], argues that the state's statutory and constitutional bans on same-sex marriage violate the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment [text]. Herring announced [JURIST report] in January that his office will no longer defend legal challenges to the state's same-sex marriage bans. "All Virginia families deserve to be treated fairly and equally," Herring stated. "And that, our Constitution guarantees to each of us." The Fourth Circuit is scheduled hear oral arguments in the case on May 13.
Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] is one of the most hotly debated topics in the legal community today. Earlier this month a federal judge granted an emergency request [JURIST report] to force Indiana to recognize an out-of-state same-sex marriage on a death certificate. One day earlier the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a federal lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging North Carolina's ban on same-sex marriages. Earlier this month a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio [official website] vowed [JURIST report] to overturn the state's ban on recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages. In March US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] announced that the federal government would recognize same-sex marriages performed in Michigan between the striking down of the state's ban and a stay that was placed on further marriages [JURIST reports] until the case is appealed.