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County clerk to 4th Circuit: Uphold Va. marriage amendment

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent Prince William County clerk

RICHMOND, Va. — Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing the Prince William County clerk of court have filed their opening brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit to defend Virginia’s laws affirming marriage as the union of one man and one woman. A federal district judge struck down the marriage laws on Feb. 13, though her decision is on hold until all appeals have been exhausted.

“Marriage expresses the reality that men and women bring distinct, irreplaceable gifts to family life, especially for children, who deserve both a mom and a dad,” said Senior Counsel Byron Babione. “That is why 57 percent of Virginia voters approved a constitutional amendment to affirm marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The 4th Circuit should affirm the right of Virginians to define marriage consistent with this public policy, which is motivated by their concern over what’s best for children and society.”

“The district court ruling sidestepped the real reasons for Virginia’s definition of marriage,” explained Litigation Staff Counsel Ken Connelly. “Rather than upholding the marriage amendment, the court endorsed the recently conceived notion that marriage is about special government recognition for adult relationships. The court should not have substituted that view of marriage for the one that Virginia families affirmed at the ballot box.”

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent Prince William County Clerk of Court Michéle B. McQuigg, whom the district court allowed to intervene in defense of the state’s marriage laws in January because she is tasked with issuing marriage licenses in that county.

The opening brief in Bostic v. Schaefer explains that those who filed the challenge to Virginia’s voter-approved constitutional amendment mistakenly “contend that the Constitution itself defines marriage as a genderless institution, and that the People have no say in deciding the weighty social, philosophical, political, and legal issues implicated by this public debate.” The brief establishes that this view is mistaken because the “Constitution has not removed this question from the People, and it has not settled this critical social-policy issue entrusted to the States.”

  • Pronunciation guide: Babione (BABB’-ee-own)


Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.


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