Metro Weekly

Prince William clerk who challenged marriage equality dies

Michele McQuigg, who defended Virginia's same-sex marriage ban but was gracious in defeat, dies at 69

McQuigg – Photo: Prince William County Circuit Court.

The Prince William County Clerk of the Circuit Court who intervened in the case that eventually led to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Virginia has died, according to the Prince William Times.

Michele McQuigg, Prince William County’s Clerk of the Circuit Court, passed away after an illness on Thursday at age 69. McQuigg, a Republican, gained notoriety for attempting to intervene in a lawsuit out of Hampton Roads in order to defend Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage. But she graciously accepted defeat and allowed gay and lesbian couples to obtain marriage licenses after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling striking down the ban. 

Both a state statute and a 2006 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage remain on the books in Virginia, even though both have since been declared unconstitutional. Republican lawmakers in the Virginia General Assembly have steadfastly refused to reverse the constitutional amendment, and have kicked the question of the statutory ban over to the Code Commission for study. 

McQuigg previously served on the Prince William Board of Supervisors from 1992 to 1998, and as a member of the House of Delegates from 1998 to 2007, before being elected as the Clerk for the Circuit Court. A special election will be called to fill her seat for the remainder of her term, which ends in 2019. 

U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), who represents the bulk of Prince William County in Congress, took to Facebook to comment on McQuigg’s passing, writing: “Michele McQuigg was a trailblazer for women in public service in Northern Virginia. From serving on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, then on to a distinguished nine-year term in the House of Delegates, and finally serving as the County’s Clerk of the Circuit Court, her tireless service to the Prince William County community was extraordinary. I am deeply saddened by her passing and I offer my heartfelt condolences to Michele’s husband Clancy, her two daughters Heather and Kati, and her many friends. Prince William County has truly lost a great woman.”

LGBT rights organization Equality Virginia declined comment for this story. The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Leave a Comment:

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!