The Virginia Equality Bar Association


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  • 06 Oct 2014 2:22 PM | Bary Hausrath (Administrator)

    The decision of the Fourth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals will stand and same sex marriages will now be performed in and recognized in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  For the many gay, lesbian and bi people with questions about what this means for their coupling, children, and family, here is the basic overview.


    1.     You are now legally married in the Commonwealth of Virginia and afforded all of the rights and obligations of a legally married couple.
    2.     You are legally married for all purposes under federal law.
    3.     You must now file married state as well as federal tax returns.
    4.     If you are the non-legal parent of your children, you may now obtain a step-parent adoption in the Commonwealth of Virginia and become a legally recognized parent of your child(ren).
    5.     You may now travel across local state lines (MD, DC, and VA) and your marriage will be recognized in all jurisdictions.
    6.     The question of how far back your marriage will be recognized will not be answered in advance.  If other jurisdictions are any indication, your marriages will at least relate back to when your same sex marriage became legal in this Commonwealth:  either when the Fourth Circuit decision came down (July 28, 2014), or when the District Court decision came down (February 14, 2014).  There is the possibility that your marriage can relate back to when it was validly performed in the jurisdiction in which you were married.
    7.     You may now re-deed any Virginia property between you and your spouse so that it is owned as Tenants by the entireties – a right only afforded to legally married couples.
    8.     You may now qualify for coverage of health insurance and other spousal benefits available through your spouse’s employer.
    9.     You may now get divorced in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and all of the rights and privileges as well as obligations of marriage, including, but not limited to spousal support, child support, child custody, child visitation/custodial access, equitable distribution, and fault based divorces are now available to you.


    1.     You may now get married in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
    2.     If you want to legally adopt your children, you may do so via step-parent adoption if you first get married.
    3.     If you get married, and then have children, your children should be the product of your marriage and you should both be legally recognized on the birth certificate as parents.  Because not all 50 states recognize your marriage, you should still perform a second- or step-parent adoption so that your legal relationship to your children can be recognized in all 50 states.
    4.     Before rushing to get married, you should consult a family law attorney to discuss possible Premarital Agreements, Property Agreements, and/or Custody Agreements.

    This Press Release is provided for informational purposes only, courtesy of Zavos Juncker Law Group PLLC. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, the contents of the Press Release should not be construed as legal advice, which, of necessity, must relate to specific factual situations and claims. This Press Release DOES NOT create an attorney-client relationship between the Virginia Equality Bar Association or its contributors and any reader. You are urged to consult with counsel concerning your own situation.

  • 06 Oct 2014 11:58 AM | Bary Hausrath (Administrator)
    VEBA Board member Cordel Faulk's editorial in Sunday's Richmond Times Dispatch entitled "A Proud Virginian: Come Out" reminds us of Harvey Milk's admonition to come out "[f]or your sake. For their sake. For the sake of the youngsters..."

    "It still is as important as ever that gay Virginians stand up and boldly live an authentic life, so everyone who lives with and loves them sees a human face attached to the struggle for equality."

    The editorial is particularly timely, as news of the Supreme Court's action on same sex marriage becomes widespread.  Says Faulk, "[s]ome bad stuff might happen because you come out — but even better stuff will happen, too. Living an authentic life and being able to truly fall in love is living. Suffocating in a closet is biding time until you die. Gay brothers and sisters ... You must come out."

  • 06 Oct 2014 10:17 AM | Bary Hausrath (Administrator)

    Today the US Supreme Court denied the petitions for certiori in the Virginia marriage equality cases (and in cases impacting several other states).  The court's order is here.   Attorney General Herring has said that marriages can begin as soon as 1 p.m. today (October 6, 2014).  

    Clerks in Richmond, Charlottesville, and elsewhere have indicated that are now ready to start issuing marriage licenses.  

    This is an evolving story.  Keep checking back for updates...

  • 06 Oct 2014 9:57 AM | Bary Hausrath (Administrator)

    VEBA's first continuing legal education (CLE) and clinical program was a huge success, helping 24 attendees at the Virginia TIES program with the necessary paperwork for name and/or gender marker changes.  

    VEBA is grateful to the attorneys, law students, and summit attendees who joined us for the programs.  A very special thank you goes out to Amy Nelson from Whitman Walker Health, Arli Christian from the National Center for Transgender Equality, and Rachel See (seasoned volunteer attorney for the Whitman Walker name and gender marker change clinic) for coming down from the DC area to act as faculty and mentors to the attorneys participating in the clinic.


  • 08 Sep 2014 4:53 PM | Bary Hausrath (Administrator)

    California is poised to make history as the first US state to ban so-called "gay panic" defenses.  For those not familiar, these defenses argue that a revelation about actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender identity should excuse a murderous outburst so that it is merely manslaughter and not murder.  

    The Washington Post has a write-up about the bill, which currently awaits Governor Brown's signature.  

    VEBA is an affiliate of the National LGBT Bar Association, the bar organization that spearheaded passage of the California measure and continues to work to end such defenses around the country.  Support VEBA through membership, volunteerism, or a financial contribution and you can be part of the effort to stop these defenses here in Virginia.

  • 28 Jul 2014 3:59 PM | Bary Hausrath (Administrator)

    VEBA and its Board are delighted that the Fourth Circuit affirmed the freedom to marry for all people by holding that the Virginia ban on marriage of same-sex couples violates the U.S. Constitution. With this decision, Virginia becomes the first state in the South to uphold the fundamental right to marry of all Americans, including those who choose to marry a person of the same sex. As the 24th consecutive decision to come down this way, we are proud that the Fourth Circuit has placed the Commonwealth of Virginia on the right side of history.  The Richmond Times Dispatch has coverage here, and the full opinion is available here. A special congratulations to the happy couples who acted as plaintiffs in the case!  Thank you!

  • 02 Apr 2014 12:17 AM | Bary Hausrath (Administrator)

    An article in the Atlantic highlights the inequitable treatment of same sex married couples in taxation.  VEBA treasurer Marc Purintun is quoted about the legal issues facing married same sex couples.  Who knew deciding how to file could be so complicated?  Your colleagues in VEBA, that's who...

  • 16 Mar 2014 9:46 PM | Bary Hausrath (Administrator)

    VEBA President Chris Svoboda's work for LGBT rights was featured in this week's Metro Weekly.  Check out the article here

  • 25 Nov 2013 12:14 AM | Bary Hausrath (Administrator)

    Law student board member Ashley Moore's efforts to help form VEBA earned the attention of her alma mater. Read the full story here.

  • 11 Oct 2013 9:06 PM | Bary Hausrath (Administrator)

    (Richmond, Virginia) The Virginia Equality Bar Association (VEBA) came out today on the 25th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, a day on which people across America celebrate coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or as an ally. The theme this year is “Coming Out Still Matters,” and the Virginia Equality Bar Association showed that it agrees with the theme by choosing to “come out” today.

    The Virginia Equality Bar Association is a newly organized, independent, non-partisan, voluntary professional organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) legal professionals and their allies in the legal community that will seek to secure equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and oppose discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. More than twenty legal professionals came together over the last few months to discuss the need for an organization like the VEBA that can provide a forum for education and advocacy on LGBT related issues.

    “We chose to announce the formation of the VEBA on National Coming Out Day because the founding of this new bar association is an organizational coming out in every sense of the term,” said Timothy Lyons, Associate Attorney at Livingston Law in Charlottesville, one of the initial directors of the VEBA. Lyons added, “Just as coming out often educated our families and friends about the struggles and triumphs of functioning in society with an orientation not considered mainstream, by forming an organization such as this, this ‘out’ bar association will help us educate our colleagues and other members of the legal community on the struggles and triumphs facing LGBT Virginians who have no protections or status under current Virginia law. VEBA will work towards ensuring the legal systems of Virginia function without regard to a person's sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”

    In articulating why the VEBA was founded, Christina Svoboda, another of the three initial directors of the Association, explained “great work has been done on a national level, and it is our intent to use this momentum to move Virginia forward in the fight for full equality for everyone.”

    Cordel Faulk, Director of Admissions at the University of Virginia School of Law, also an initial director of the VEBA, described the overarching ideas of the new Association, “the greatness of the American Experiment stems from the fact that this country has been willing to acknowledge the need to broaden the Founders ideals of freedom and equality. Maybe not always as quickly as some would like–and often with a fight–but the grand sweep of this nation's history is in the right direction. The Virginia Equality Bar Association will help the commonwealth do its part to continue proving all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, are created equal.”

    Membership inquiries should be directed to

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