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Judge removes Va governor from gay marriage suit

Monday - 12/23/2013, 7:49pm  ET

LARRY O'DELL
Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A judge has removed Virginia's governor from a lawsuit challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban but is allowing the case to continue with two other defendants.

U.S. District Judge Michael Urbanski in Harrisonburg said in Monday's ruling that Gov. Bob McDonnell is protected by the constitutional doctrine of sovereign immunity. However, he refused to dismiss Staunton Circuit Court Clerk Thomas Roberts as a defendant. The other defendant is Janet Rainey, the state registrar of vital records.

The lawsuit was filed by two couples -- Joanne Harris and Jessica Duff of Staunton and Christy Berghoff and Victoria Kidd of Winchester. They claim Virginia's constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage and denying recognition of such unions sanctioned by other states violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the Constitution.


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