Virginia

Appeals Court Ruling Clears Way for Gay Marriage in the Heart of Bible Belt

David Boies, left, and Ted Olson, of the American Foundation for Equal Rights. Creative Commons image by Steve Rhodes.

A federal appeals court panel in Virginia became the second one this summer to strike down a state ban against same-sex marriage Monday, making it more likely that the Supreme Court will settle the issue as early as next year.

The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond ruled 2-1 that gay men and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry that is paramount to state marriage laws. The ruling affirmed a district judge’s decision rendered in February.

“We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable,” said Judge Henry Floyd, originally appointed a district judge by George W. Bush and elevated to the circuit court by President Obama. “However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws.”

The circuit court has jurisdiction over Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The panel’s decision will not take effect until at least Aug. 18 while circuit clerks defending the state’s ban decide whether to appeal to the full appellate court or the Supreme Court.

Like the first appeals court panel to rule on the issue this year in Utah and Oklahoma, the three-judge panel was deeply divided.

8-year-old Student Not Feminine Enough, Christian School Says

Image screenshot from CBS affiliate WDBJ

The family of a little girl in western Virginia has removed her from her private Christian school after administrators said she did not appear feminine enough.

Sunnie Kahle, 8, likes autographed baseballs and hunting knives alongside stuffed animals and jewelry, according to CBS affiliate WDBJ.

“It’s fun,” Sunnie said.

Sometimes her schoolmates at Timberlake Christian School asked whether she was a boy or girl, Sunnie told the station.

Something to Celebrate on Religious Freedom Day

RNS photo courtesy Wikimedia
Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Matthew Harris Jouett. RNS photo courtesy Wikimedia

Today is Religious Freedom Day — a day to celebrate the adoption of Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Establishing Religious Freedom. Why celebrate it?

Celebrate because our government does not use our tax dollars to propagate religion, something Jefferson found “sinful and tyrannical.” This does not mean that you have a right to stop any government action that you happen to think violates your religious beliefs — a ridiculous claim repeated during last year’s battle over insurance coverage for contraceptives.

Video Monday: 'Wagon Wheel'

The band Old Crow Medicine Show, via oldcrowmedicineshow.com.
The band Old Crow Medicine Show, via oldcrowmedicineshow.com.

Old Crow Medicine Show's Ketch Secor and Critter Fuqua first met in the seventh grade in Harrisonburg, Virginia in Rockingham County, and began playing music together. They performed open mics at the Little Grill diner which was "really the first chance that . . Critter had to play on stage." Being "a bit younger" than the "college students at James Madison University who typically hung out there" Secor "was considered a townie." As Secor says today: "They knew that we had talent, but it was raw. I mean, I was up there beating on a jaw harp when I was 13." (wiki)

Virginia boys.... Amen.

Watch the video for the band's song "Wagon Wheel" inside the blog ...

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