April 26, 2014 | by Michael K. Lavers
Plaintiff in Va. marriage case denied university tenure

Tim Bostic, Tony London, Virginia, same-sex marriage, gay marriage, marriage equality, Equality Virginia Commonwealth Dinner, gay news, Washington Blade

On left, Tim Bostic with partner Tony London at the 2014 Equality Virginia Commonwealth Dinner. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A plaintiff in a federal lawsuit challenging Virginia’s constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman has dismissed suggestions the university where he teaches English denied him tenure because of the case.

The Mace and Crown, a student newspaper at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., quoted several students and professors who questioned the decision to deny Tim Bostic his tenure in a story that ran on the front page of the publication’s April 23 issue.

“Denying his tenure cannot have anything to do with his competence nor his effectiveness,” student Gary Welliver told the Mace and Crown. “I have to believe it must be political. My opinion of the character of the university leadership has been dashed.”

Bostic told the Washington Blade on Saturday the decision to deny him tenure “really has nothing to do with the case.” Old Dominion University Provost Carol Simpson reiterated this point to both the Mace and Crown and the Virginia Pilot newspaper.

“It has to do with one upper level administrator with a very weak ego who decided to target me because I know some personal information,” said Bostic, without providing any specific details.

Bostic told the Blade he feels his appeal of the decision would have been successful. He noted he “did some soul searching” after his father, grandmother and the brother of his partner of 25 years — Tony London — passed away and decided to return to secondary education.

“My students and colleagues are angry and mistakenly wanted to illustrate to me how angry they were, which is why the Mace and Crown did the article,” said Bostic. “Please know I am completely fine with my decision, and I am looking forward to the change.”

Bostic and London last July filed a federal lawsuit against Virginia’s marriage amendment after the Norfolk Circuit Court denied them a marriage license. Carol Schall and Mary Townley of Chesterfield joined the case less than three months later.

Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union last summer filed a second lawsuit against the state’s same-sex marriage ban on behalf of Christy Berghoff and Victoria Kidd of Winchester and Joanne Harris and Jessica Duff of Staunton.

U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen in February ruled the commonwealth’s gay nuptials ban is unconstitutional.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., last month ruled Lambda Legal and the ACLU can join the Bostic case. The federal appeals court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the lawsuit on May 13.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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