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Religious Tolerance logo

Virginia: Recognition of same-sex relationships & marriage equality

Part 13: During 2014-AUG:
Polls consistently show majority of Virginia voters
favor marriage equality between 2013 and now.
Bostic v. Rainey renamed McQuigg v. Bostic.

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"LGBT" is an acronym referring to the Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, and Transgender/Transsexual community.
SSM refers to same-sex marriage.

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This topic is a continuation from the previous essay

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LGBT symbolSupport of, and opposition to, marriage by same-sex couples in Virginia:

Support for the freedom for same-sex couples to marry both within Virginia and throughout the U.S. has been gradually increasing.

Date Source % Support % Opposition
Constitutional Amendment
Washington Post poll
Washington Post poll 1
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner 2
Quinnipac University3
Christian Newport Univ. 4
Quinnipac University 5

The margin of error of each poll is about ±3.3 percentage points in each poll.

During an eight year interval, support and opposition to marriage equality has changed from a margin of 14 percentage points of voters being opposed to same-sex marriage, to one poll showing a plurality in favor, to five consecutive polls showing a majority in favor.

This indicates that if the amendment to the Virginia Constitution were voted on today, it would be almost certain to fail miserably. The public now clearly supports marriage equality in the state.

Registered Republican voters have shown the largest shift of opinion in support for marriage equality.

The results show that a majority of Virginia voters have supported marriage for same-sex couples since 2013 MAY. That certainly weakens the moral authority of the ban on SSM that resulted from the amendment to the Virginia Constitution in 2006.

The Human Rights Campaign commented about the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll in mid-2013:

"Fifteen percent of the state report hearing anti-gay messages from the pulpit and, when asked about directly, 17 percent of the state heard their pastor, rabbit, priest or other religious figure deliver an anti-gay sermon." 2

We have never considered rabbits to be expert religious or social commentators.

We alerted the HRC to the typo.

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Comments about the stay being sought to prevent same-sex couples from starting to marry during the week of 2014-AUG-17:

Michael Kelly, a spokesperson at the Attorney General's office, said that Attorney General Mark Herring:

"... has been a strong proponent of the right to same-sex marriage since he took office, promising in January to press for the overturning of the state's ban. But the forthcoming filing — due at the Supreme Court by 5 p.m. Monday [AUG-18] — will make similar arguments to those Herring made previously.

It will reiterate the fact that the Attorney General agrees with the lower court rulings and believes the ban is unconstitutional, but in light of the problems that could be presented if [same-sex] marriages are eventually unwound, he thinks a stay is appropriate until the Supreme Court rules definitively."

Solicitor General Stuart Raphael has expressed concern in previous petitions that if the U.S. Supreme Court eventually rules that state prohibitions of marriages of same-sex couples are constitutional, that:

"... unwinding [such] marriages ... would present wrenching and intractable problems."

Byron Babione a lawyer for Alliance Defending Freedom -- a conservative Christian advocacy group which strongly opposes marriage equality -- referred to a very similar recent case in Utah. The U.S. Supreme Court had stayed the ruling of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals pending an appeal to the high court.

Babione said:

"By doing this, the court signaled to all lower federal courts that they must take similar steps to preserve the enforcement of man-woman marriage laws until this court definitively settles whether states are within their power to ban same-sex marriage."

In his petition to the Supreme Court he asked the court to "... correct the Fourth Circuit's misstep."

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2014-AUG-17: Current status of McQuigg v. Bostic (formerly called Bostic v. Rainey):

  • Chief Justice John Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court has asked all parties involved in the Bostic v. Rainey case to file their petitions for or against a stay to the Court by the afternoon of Monday, AUG-18.

  • Either Chief Justice Roberts or the entire Supreme Court will decide whether to issue a stay of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, presumably before AUG-21 when the ruling is currently scheduled to become effective. The Court is expected to almost certainly issue such a stay. Under almost identical circumstances in Utah during, the Court did issue a stay , and there is no obvious reason why they wouldn't follow that precedent in Virginia.6

  • We suspect that hundreds or thousands of same-sex couples will prepare in advance to descend on their local county clerks' offices to purchase marriage licensees in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court does not issue a stay.

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Virginian's changing views on gay marriage," Washington Post, 2013-MAY-14, at:
  2. "New attitudes in the new dominion,"Human Rights Campaign, 2013-JUL-11, viewed at 2014-AUG-16, at:
  3. Kevin Liptak, "Majority favor same-sex marriage in Virginia,"CNN, 2013-JUL-18, at:
  4. "Poll: Va. voters support gay marriage," WTOP-FM, 2013-OCT-16, at:
  5. "Virginia voters back gay marriage as court hearing nears: poll," Reuters, 2014-MAR-31, at:
  6. Paul Dujardin, "Will same-sex marriages begin in Virginia this week?," Daily Press, 2014-AUG-17, at:
  7. David Demirbilek, "Southern Poverty Law Center repeats 'hate group' claim about Family Research Council," Daily Caller, 2012-SEP-13, at:
  8. "Family Research Council Praises US Supreme Court for Issuing Stay on Virginia Marriage Ruling," Family Research Council, 2014-AUG-20, at:
  9. Jess Bravin, "Supreme Court Blocks Start of Same-Sex Marriages in Virginia," Wall Street Journal, 2014-AUG-20, at:
  10. Emma Margolin, "A silver lining in delaying gay marriage," MSNBC, 2014-AUG-08, at:

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How you may have arrived here

Site navigation: Home > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > Menu > Virginia > here

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Copyright © 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2014-JUL-29
Latest update: 2014-NOV-08
Author: B.A. Robinson

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