One Equal World

AFER Battles Marriage Inequality in Virginia

Posted on: October 11, 2013

marriage equality

AFER stepped up to fight for marriage equality in Virginia.
Image: Shutterstock

When Timothy B. Bostic and his partner Tony C. London were denied a marriage license in Virginia this past July, the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) became their most valuable ally. AFER is the organization that represented the plaintiffs during their fight against Proposition 8 in California, which resulted in a great victory for marriage equality. The dismantling of Proposition 8 set the precedent for state-specific marriage equality justice, and solidified AFER as a force to be reckoned with for human rights.

It’s no surprise that AFER became involved with the case in Virginia; the group is passionate about achieving justice for all people, and hopes to gain momentum for universal marriage equality. A representative from the organization explained, “The answer is simple: How could we not [get involved]? Because for all the progress we’ve seen, so much remains the same. We’re here today because so much more work needs to be done,” in a press release about their commitment to Bostic and London.

Prominent AFER board members Ken Mehlman and Chad Griffin have expressed similar awareness of the work that lies ahead for marriage equality. Despite the monumental strike down of Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, equal rights for same-sex couples are still not recognized universally. AFER’s contribution to the fight for equal rights in Virginia will hopefully act as a domino effect, encouraging other states to start rallying for change.

On behalf of plaintiffs Bostic and London, as well as long-time partners Carol Schall and Mary Townley, AFER’s defendants will argue that Virginia’s unequal treatment of gay and lesbian couples is unconstitutional. The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees equal protection rights that are not being honored to same-sex partners in Virginia. With Bostic and London’s brave activism coupled with advocacy from AFER, change may soon come to this state, and spark momentum in others.


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