Barring intervention by the United States Supreme Court, same-sex couples in Virginia will be able to marry beginning Aug. 20. In a split-decision ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit denied a request to delay an earlier court ruling that struck down a Virginia law denying same-sex couples the right to marriage. The ruling will additionally allow same-sex couples married outside of the state to be legally recognized in Virginia for the first time.
This decision may have immediate ramifications for the College of William and Mary, as same-sex partnered employees may now be eligible to receive state employee health coverage if they were married in another state or become married in Virginia. Former College Rector Jeffrey Trammell ’73 previously attempted to pass legislation in the Virginia General Assembly that would allow health coverage for another adult living with a state employee, as a means to work around Virginia’s anti-same-sex marriage laws. Trammell’s efforts to expand insurance coverage to domestic partners may reach fruition if Virginia continues to move toward equal marriage rights.
“There is no doubt that Virginia is ready for the freedom to marry,” Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish said in a statement. “We are thrilled that the 4th Circuit denied the request for a stay and hope that we will see wedding celebrations in Virginia as early as next week. Marriage validates the commitment couples make to one another and, if the Supreme Court doesn’t intervene, achieving marriage equality in Virginia will be a tremendous step forward.”