Court to Begin Hearing Gay Marriage Case Tuesday

By: Brendan Ponton Email
By: Brendan Ponton Email

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- The ruling in a gay marriage case beginning Tuesday could be another big step for either side, but it will mostly likely not be the last step.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond has 16 judges, of which three will hear arguments. It's unknown right now who will be on the panel. The court has jurisdiction over Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, meaning that the decision made in this case would impact those five states.

The court has become more moderate in recent years.

Supporters of the ban say this is a case that should be left to the states. This case impacts procreation, saying children are better with a mother and father; however, opponents say the government has no public policy justification or rational basis to ban same-sex marriage.

Dr. Bob Roberts, a local political analyst, said it will be important which three judges will hear Tuesday's arguments.

"You're going to get a very early sense in terms of what their view on the issues are. Right now, we haven't had for the last two years, any federal court uphold it. It's going to be very interesting. There's great pressure. There's being pressure brought to bear on the federal judges not to uphold it," said Roberts.

After the arguments Tuesday, the three judges will then issue their opinion. That is a process that could take weeks, or even months. The losing side can challenge the ruling for the entire Circuit Court of Appeals or to the United States Supreme Court.


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