Explainer: Major Marriage News About To Happen In Virginia

Things just got really complicated in Virginia, but never fear: here’s everything you need to know about what’s going on, and why this week is going to be make-or-break for the freedom to marry.

For the last few months, AFER’s latest marriage equality lawsuit has been churning along through the federal court system in Virginia. Then suddenly, following a super-close election, the state got a new Attorney General named Mark Herring. Herring, a Democrat, just announced that he will no longer defend the state’s marriage ban in court.

But that still leaves some county clerks as defendants, so unlike in California, there is still a government entity willing to defend the ban. And then about a month ago, court scheduled a hearing for Thursday of this week.

But then after the AG’s announcement, the court asked all parties to submit status reports last Friday. The reports were to address whether oral argument was still necessary. That means that the court could decide to skip the hearing and rule right away. Or they could still hold the hearing, and rule in a couple of weeks. Or they could hold the hearing and rule immediately from the bench. Or maybe even something else! Courts are mercurial.

But whether the hearing happens or not, we’ll see major news this week. If nothing else, the court will decide whether oral argument is needed, which is itself a major decision.

Meanwhile, lawsuits are continuing to pile up in other states, as are yet more favorable polls.