RICHMOND -- A three-judge panel Tuesday heard the appeal of Bostic vs. Schaefer, the ruling that struck down Virginia's 2006, voter-approved Marriage Amendment.
Norfolk federal judge Arenda L. Wright Allen in February ruled the amendment was unconstitutional but stayed her order pending the appeal. That sent the case to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.
Timothy Bostic and Tony London applied for a marriage license in July 2013. Their request was denied by Norfolk Clerk of Courts George Schaefer in accordance with Virginia law.
Outside the courthouse Tuesday, people on both sides of the issue, including a busload of gay rights supporters from Norfolk, rallied outside the courthouse.
Janet James, a Presbyterian USA pastor based in Richmond, supports same-sex marriage.
“God blesses all marriages because if people look to invite God to be part of their relationship, who am I to stand in their way?,” she said.
Attorneys for the group arguing in defense of the same-sex marriage ban say they are here to defend Virginia voters. Jordan Lorence, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, represents the Prince William County Clerk of Courts.
"The Supreme Court should do, as well as the 4th circuit and the other federal appeals courts, is to make a clear declaration that the voters, the legislatures are the ones that have the authority to do this and that it is a legitimate, non-bigoted decision to say that marriage is only defined as one man and one woman.”
Wayne Jimmerson came from Norfolk for the hearing.
"We stand for traditional marriage. We don't need to define what marriage is."
Stay with 13News Now and WVEC.com for the latest developments.