On Monday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of marriage equality in a Virginia case. It marks the second time a federal appeals court has decided in favor of same-sex marriage since last year’s historic U.S. Supreme Court decision. Similar rulings were handed down last month by a three-judge panel of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Utah and Oklahoma cases.
Currently, same-sex couples can wed in 19 states and the District of Columbia, which means that 44 percent of Americans live in states where there is marriage equality. A recent poll by the Washington Post/ABC News found that 59 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage. In March of this year, a Quinnipiac poll found that 50 percent of Virginians support same-sex marriage while 42 percent oppose it.
A total of 29 federal and state court decisions in recent months have struck down bans on same-sex marriage.
“[Monday’s] decision is another milestone in the fight for full marriage equality,” said Adam Umhoefer, executive director of the American Foundation for Equal Rights. “There is no denying it: Americans want their gay and lesbian family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers to enjoy the same rights they enjoy—rights that are guaranteed by our Constitution and its promise of liberty and justice for all.”
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement: “It was in a case out of Virginia that the Supreme Court ended race discrimination in marriage. And…in another Virginia marriage case, a federal circuit court ruled against discrimination in marriage, affirming the freedom to marry for loving and committed gay couples. The Fourth Circuit’s ruling echoes what over 25 other federal and state courts have held: same-sex couples deserve the dignity of marriage, and anti-marriage laws are indefensible. Every day of denial is a day of injustice and tangible harms. It’s time for the Supreme Court to bring the country to national resolution and secure the freedom to marry for all.”