Summary: Should the United States Supreme Court not intervene in Virginia’s battle against same-sex marriage, couples could begin to tie the knot as early as next week.
If the United States Supreme Court does not intervene, same-sex marriages in the state of Virginia could begin next week, according to The National Law Journal. A request to stay the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit was rejected this week with a 2-1 vote by the same court.
The court issued its ruling last month that struck down the Virginia bans on same-sex marriages and recognizing those marriages from other states.
The decision is scheduled to take effect on August 20 if the Supreme Court does not get involved.
The delay was requested by Prince William County Circuit Court clerk Michele McQuigg. She is represented by lawyers from Alliance Defending Freedom. The lawyers said they would ask the top court in the nation to stay the ruling while a petition is filed for review.
“The people of Virginia and every other state should continue to be free to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman in their laws if they choose to do so,” Alliance senior counsel Byron Babione said in a written statement. “Because the Fourth Circuit chose not to place a hold on its decision as other courts—including the U.S. Supreme Court—have done in nearly identical cases, we intend to ask the high court to do so in this case before the Fourth Circuit’s mandate goes into effect. We trust the Supreme Court will grant our request in order to ensure an orderly and dignified resolution of this important constitutional question.”
Some 14,000 same-sex couples from Virginia are represented by the ACLU of Virginia, the U.S. ACLU and Lambda Legal in their case against the state.
“We hope that the Supreme Court will leave this ruling in place, so that same-sex couples may begin marrying right away,” said Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia. “Our clients have already waited far too long to exercise their constitutional right to marry, or to have their marriages from other states recognized.”
Judges Henry Floyd and Roger Gregory voted in favor of rejecting the stay of their earlier ruling. They did not comment on the issue. The other judge, Paul Niemeyer, dissented from the stay denial and dissented in the original ruling. Niemeyer also did not issue comment about the vote.