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Lawyer: Va. marriage ban necessary for ‘procreation’

Anti-gay Alliance Defending Freedom files brief with federal appeals court



Josh Duggar, Victoria Cobb, Family Foundation of Virginia, Allison Howard, Concerned Women for America, E.W. Jackson, Norfolk, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade
Josh Duggar, Victoria Cobb, Family Foundation of Virginia, Allison Howard, Concerned Women for America, E.W. Jackson, Norfolk, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade

A lawyer with the Alliance Defending Freedom argues in a brief submitted to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban is necessary for “procreation.” (Photo courtesy of the Family Foundation of Virginia)

A lawyer for an anti-gay legal group said in a brief filed with a federal appeals court on March 28 that Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban is necessary for the “procreation” of children.

“Redefining marriage harms marriage’s ability to serve those interests by serving marriage’s inherent connection to procreation and communicating that the primary end of marriage laws is to affirm adult desires rather than serve children’s needs, and suppressing the importance of both mothers and fathers to children’s development,” wrote Byron J. Babione of the Alliance Defending Freedom in a brief he filed with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., on behalf of Prince William County Circuit Court Clerk Michèle McQuigg.

Babione argued that U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen “sought to discredit these procreation- and child-focused purposes for marriage” in her Feb. 13 ruling that struck down Virginia’s constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

“Plaintiffs ask this court to use the law’s power to redefine the institution of marriage,” said Babione. “That redefinition would transform marriage in the public consciousness from a gendered to a genderless institution – a conversation that would be swift and unalterable, the gendered institution having been declared unconstitutional.”

Babione also cites the Witherspoon Institute in his brief to make the argument that it is “best for a child to be reared by his or her own mother and father.” The New Jersey-based conservative think tank largely funded Mark Regnerus’ study on the issue that a federal judge earlier this month dismissed as “entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration” in his ruling that struck down Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban.

“Genderless marriage communicates that marriage exists primarily for the government to approve emotional or romantic bonds, because those sorts of bonds (and not sexual conduct of the type that creates children) would be the prominent feature shared by the couples who marry,” said Babione.

David B. Oakley, who represents Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk George Schaefer, III, in the case, said in a separate brief he filed with the federal appeals court on March 28 that Allen “began her opinion with the misconception that Virginia’s definition of marriage is solely based upon prejudice and animus towards gay and lesbian couples.” She opened her ruling with a quote from Mildred Loving, whose challenge of Virginia’s interracial marriage ban prompted the U.S. Supreme Court to issue its landmark Loving v. Virginia decision in 1967.

Oakley further argued Schaefer and others who issue marriage licenses would “face exposure to additional lawsuits” from those denied them if the 4th Circuit upholds Allen’s ruling.

“Same-sex marriage proponents want to open the door of marriage for their benefit and then slam it shut behind them,” wrote Oakley. “It will not be long before other groups come knocking.”

Court records indicate the Family Research Council on March 26 sought to file an amicus brief in the Bostic case, but the federal appeals court blocked it as “premature.” The Washington Blade was unable to immediately obtain a copy of the filing.

Timothy Bostic and Tony London of Norfolk and Carol Schall and Mary Townley of Chesterfield last year challenged the commonwealth’s marriage amendment. The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal – who filed a separate lawsuit last summer on behalf of Victoria Kidd and Christy Berghoff of Winchester and Joanne Harris and Jessica Duff of Staunton – have been allowed to join the Bostic case.

U.S. District Judge Michael F. Urbanski in January certified the ACLU and Lambda Legal lawsuit as a class action.

The federal appeals court on May 12 is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the Bostic case.

Attorney General Mark Herring earlier this year announced he would not defend Virginia’s marriage amendment that voters in 2006 approved by a 57-43 percent margin.

Briefs from the lawyers who are representing the plaintiffs are due to the court on April 11.

“Our attorneys will review the briefs from the clerks and will respond as appropriate in the brief the commonwealth will file by the April 11 deadline,” Herring spokesperson Michael Kelly told the Blade.

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  1. Bobby Oliver

    April 1, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Look back at the photo provided by "The Family Foundation of Virginia," and see the smug, smiling religious faces of intolerance and bigotry who want to legislate and institute their brand of "Sharia" Christian Fundamentalism.

  2. Lauren T. Furey

    April 1, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    I think any couples who have chosen not to have children or couples who have married beyond child bearing age should rise up against this argument. It is insulting to say that marriage is all about procreation.

  3. Lauren T. Furey

    April 1, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    I think any couples who have chosen not to have children or couples who have married beyond child bearing age should rise up against this argument. It is insulting to say that marriage is all about procreation.

  4. Martha Chambers

    April 1, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    I agree with you wholeheartedly Lauren.

  5. Chris Griffin Pascuzzi

    April 1, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Yes it is insulting on every level!

  6. Barbara Shine

    April 1, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    This is ridiculous! Bob and I married when I was beyond child-bearing age (not to mention sterilized!); clearly, we married for reasons other than procreation, and fortunately, VA had no say in the matter. Who are these people to keep meddling on the lives of others?

  7. Leonie Child

    April 1, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Marriage is a civil action. No church needed. The civil action gives access to many things not least to be recognised as a family unit. There are many 'rules' which miraculously fade away. A very simple example: K is recognized at our pharmacy and gets the lower cost because of my scripts. Our family doctors have us together as a family. K has been with me through all my pain dramas. I went to K's Graduation as did my parents. It is a collection of little things, none of which are church-based.

  8. Ken Cage

    April 1, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Love it when they trot out that hoary old chestnut that opening the door to same-sex marriage will lead to not being" long before other groups come knocking.” Where in the world has this happened in countries which have had same-sex marriage for years? Nowhere! Unfortunately Americans are so conditioned to naval gazing that they can't see the picture in an international context.

  9. Joshua Griffin

    April 2, 2014 at 10:12 am

    These people have no idea how unspeakably cruel they are. It is hate and bigotry and ignorance disguised as rationality and should be struck down hard whenever it raises it's ugly head.

  10. Joshua Griffin

    April 2, 2014 at 10:12 am

    These people have no idea how unspeakably cruel they are. It is hate and bigotry and ignorance disguised as rationality and should be struck down hard whenever it raises it's ugly head.

  11. Dennis Fowler

    April 2, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    If the sole purpose of marriage is procreation then all conservatives are only allowed to have intercourse once a year, and then only to procreate. If they are unable, then they forfeit the next year. Let's take this seriously folks, how far down the rabbit hole do conservatives want to go?

  12. Kevin Tamarit

    April 2, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Yea.. it's all about procreation. So then let's let men marry as many women as each one would need to fulfill his holy obligation to be fruitful and multiply.

    I can see it now: "out ma way bitch! I got cookies to bake!! an I be all fresh outta ovens!!!"

  13. Jay Madole

    April 2, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    It's retarded. Actually marriage is too as it was originally a religious institution. Once again, the government gets involved and fucks everything up.

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Comings & Goings

Nathanson takes role at Outright Action



Rikki Nathanson

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected] 

The Comings & Goings column also invites LGBTQ+ college students to share their successes with us. If you have been elected to a student government position, gotten an exciting internship, or are graduating and beginning your career with a great job, let us know so we can share your success. 

Congratulations to Rikki Nathanson on her new position as Senior Advisor – Global Trans Program with OutRight Action International in New York. Nathanson will be based in D.C.  

 “I am absolutely thrilled to be taking on this new role as Senior Advisor in OutRight’s Global Trans Program,” said Nathanson. “I have finally found the perfect fit for me: as a trans woman who has been fighting for equality not only for myself, but for others globally, this position is not only a job, it’s intrinsically part of who I am. So, what better way to live, nurture and grow myself.” 

Nathanson will be working closely with all program staff to ensure a cohesive and intentional approach to gender issues throughout OutRight’s programs, including its approach to gender ideology movements. She will lead new initiatives on gender advocacy and policy change, focused but not limited to legal gender recognition and anti-discrimination legislation and policies.

Prior to this Nathanson was director of housing programs at Casa Ruby in D.C. She has also held a number of other positions including: founder/executive director of Trans Research, Education, Advocacy & Training (TREAT), Zimbabwe; chairperson Southern Africa Trans Forum, SATF, Cape Town, South Africa; executive director, Ricochet Modeling Agency, Zimbabwe; and company secretary for Dunlop Zimbabwe Limited, Zimbabwe. 

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SMYAL Director Shakir to step down Dec. 31

Board to launch Executive Search beginning in January



SMYAL Executive Director Sultan Shakir addresses the crowd at the 2021 Fall Brunch. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Sultan Shakir, who has served as executive director of D.C.’s LGBTQ youth advocacy organization SMYAL since August 2014, announced on Friday that he will be stepping down from his position effective Dec. 31.

In a Dec. 3 announcement, SMYAL said details of Shakir’s future career plans would be announced in the coming weeks.

“While we are sad to see Sultan leave, we wish him nothing but the same success in his new endeavor as he had at SMYAL,” said Rob Cogorno, SMYAL’s board chair. “His leadership and vision enabled SMYAL to expand greatly needed services to LGBTQ youth in the DC metro area throughout his tenure,” Cogorno said.

“I am immensely proud of the work we have been able to accomplish together in my time at SMYAL,” Shakir said in a statement released by SMYAL. “SMYAL has been an integral and vital resource in the DMV community for over 37 years, and while we have come a long way in combating homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexual health stigma, homelessness, violence against the LGBTQ community, and oppression, we have a long way to go,” he said.

“This work has never been about one person,” said Shakir. “SMYAL was founded by our community and we’re still around because of our community,” he said. “I leave knowing that the commitment and passion of the SMYAL Board, staff, volunteers, and youth leaders have created a solid foundation from which our work will continue to grow until LGBTQ youth no longer need us.”

The SMYAL statement says that under Shakir’s tenure, SMYAL, which stands for Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders, expanded its programs and services for LGBTQ youth. Among other things, in 2017 SMYAL opened its first of several housing facilities for homeless LGBTQ youth that include culturally competent case management, education and employment assistance.

“The Youth Housing Program now comprises five programmatic models that serve a combined 61 youth residents,” the statement says.

It points out that also under Shakir’s leadership, SMYAL expanded the age range of the youth its programs serve under a new Little SMYALs program, which welcomes LGBTQ youth ages 6-12. And earlier in 2021 under Shakir’s guidance, SMYAL began a new Clinical Services Department “which provides affirming and accessible mental health counseling,” the statement says.

“The SMYAL Board of Directors will officially launch an Executive Search beginning in January 2022 and expects to have named a new Executive Director by summer 2022,” the statement says. It says the board will soon name an interim executive director to work with SMYAL’s Deputy Executive Director, Jorge Membreno, and the organization’s leadership team to oversee the day-to-day activities until a new executive director is named.

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Rainbow History Project to honor LGBTQ ‘Pioneers’

Virtual celebration to take place on Dec. 9



David Mariner, gay news, Washington Blade
David Mariner (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

D.C.’s Rainbow History Project says it will honor and recognize 12 individuals and one organization by designating them as Community Pioneers “for their diverse contributions to the Washington-area LGBTQ community” at a Dec. 9 virtual celebration.

“Rainbow History Project is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing the LGBT history of metropolitan Washington, D.C.,” the group says in a statement announcing the event. “The Pioneers awards recognize diverse community leaders for their roles as organizational founders, innovators, advocates and volunteers,” the statement says.

“The Pioneers celebration will be held virtually and is designed with special features that reproduce the feeling of attending in-person, such as live streaming and video chatting with other attendees and Pioneers before and after the core awards programing,” according to the statement.

“Celebrating our Community Pioneers has been a cherished tradition since Rainbow History Project’s founding 21 years ago,” said Rob Berger, the organization’s chairperson. “It’s always an inspiring event, and we are happy that our virtual platform will still allow participants to meet and talk with the Pioneers,” Berger said in the statement.

The virtual event is free and open to the public, the statement says. Organizers released this link for those interested in attending, saying a short registration process may require registering in advance. 

Remo Conference

Following is the list of Community Pioneers scheduled to be honored at the Dec. 9 event as released by Rainbow History Project along with the project’s description of their backgrounds.

Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance, a local group that since its founding has addressed equal rights issues for LGBTQ Virginians from a state and local perspective.

– Eboné F. Bell, founder and editor-in-chief of Tagg Magazine and Tagg Communication LLC.

Bart Forbes, founding member of “Gay Fairfax,” a pioneering television newsmagazine program in Northern Virginia.

– Ellen Kahan, youth and family advocate, president of Rainbow Families, former director of the Lesbian Services Program at Whitman-Walker Health, and currently senior director of programs and partnerships at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

– Theodore Kirkland (deceased), a co-founder of D.C. Black Pride in 1991, member of the Gay Liberation Front and Skyline Faggots, active community health volunteer and advocate.

– Paul Marengo, community leader through LGBTQ organizations including Reel Affirmations, Cherry Fund, and Pride celebrations for youth, Latino, Black and Transgender communities.

– David Mariner, executive director of CAMP Rehoboth, and former executive director of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community.

– Mark Meinke founder longtime chair, Rainbow History Project, and co-founder of Rainbow Heritage Network, a national organization for the recognition and preservation of sites, history and heritage associated with sexual and gender minorities.

– Michael “Micci” Sainte Andress, artist, health educator and advocate and an early leader in bringing African Americans into HIV/AIDS clinical trials.

– Boden Sandstrom, founder and owner of Woman Sound (later City Sound), the first all-woman sound company, which makes LGBTQ rights rallies and the women’s music scene possible.

Casse Culver (deceased), nationally acclaimed D.C. lesbian feminist singer-songwriter, and partner of Boden Sandstrom, whose followers said her love songs and feminist lyrics moved audiences from foot stomping to silent reflection.  

Alan Sharpe, playwright, director and co-founder of the African American Collective Theater in Washington, D.C., in 1976, which now focuses on LGBTQ life and culture in the Black community.

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