William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice


Faith A. Parker


On June 26, 2015, the Obergefell decision recognized same-sex marriage. While same-sex couples celebrated their new rights to marriage equality, they still face legal battles in the realm of domestic violence. Both married and unmarried same-sex couples face discrimination when reporting incidents of domestic violence. While most domestic violence statutes are gender-neutral on their face, their implementations disparately impact same-sex couples. Furthermore, domestic violence statutes that include same-sex couples punish same-sex couples more harshly than opposite-sex couples. This Note will examine the domestic violence law in Virginia, arguing that the laws are too vague to properly protect same-sex couples and that mutual restraining orders are an undue burden on same-sex couples seeking protection in domestic violence cases.