Richmond, VA, United States (4E) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the ruling of a federal appeals court in Richmond allowing same-sex couples in Virginia to marry.
The stay was in response to last week’s appeal by opponents to same-sex marriage, including Prince William County Circuit Court Clerk Michele B. McQuigg. They argued that allowing same-sex couples to marry without the Supreme Court’s review could create “uncertainty for the public” and “irreparable injury to the commonwealth.”
Attorney General Mark R. Herring, who refused to defend Virginia’s marriage amendment, also asked the Supreme Court to allow the stay.
Last month, the 4th U.S. Circuit of Appeals upheld the February ruling of a Norfolk federal judge overturning Virginia’ constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. The 2-1 ruling by the three-judge panel follows similar rulings by 15 federal district courts and two appeals court.
The plaintiffs in the case are Timothy B. Bostic and Tony C. London.
A federal judge in Utah was the first to strike down a state ban of gay marriage doing so in December. The judge did not issue a stay so more than 1,400 same-sex couples married in the following days until the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the ruling. The legality of the marriages is now unclear.
Bostic said waiting for the Supreme Court’s verdict is preferable to get the final ruling on the issue. The justices will discuss the petitions late next month