The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today issued a ruling striking down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage. The case is Bostic v. Harris; it was a 2-1 decision with Circuit Judge Henry Floyd writing the court's opinion and being joined by Circuit Judge Roger Gregory; Circuit Judge Paul Niemeyer dissented and argued that the same-sex marriage ban should stand.
The majority's rationale was a ringing clarion for human dignity and liberty:
The choice of whether and whom to marry is an intensely personal decision that alters the course of an individual's life. Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits them from participating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance.
This ruling is the second by a federal court of appeals to strike down a state's same-sex marriage ban. Last month, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals sitting in Denver struck down Utah's same-sex marriage ban in the case Kitchen v. Herbert.
On August 6, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in Cincinnati in cases challenging Kentucky's same-sex marriage ban and that of other states in the circuit. Circuit Judges Jeffrey Sutton and Deborah Cook along with Senior Circuit Judge Martha Daughtrey will sit on the panel that will decide those cases.