Aug 20, 2014
Supreme Court Delays Virginia Marriages
Richmond, V.A. (August 20, 2014) – On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court stopped Virginia officials from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, delaying a lower court ruling that said the unions could start as early as Thursday, August 21.
In a one-page order released late Wednesday afternoon, the nation's highest court stayed a decision by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which on July 28 affirmed a district judge’s ruling that Virginia’s marriage ban is unconstitutional. On August 13, the same 4th Circuit panel declined to stay its own ruling.
Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, said he was "deeply disappointed" with the Supreme Court's decision, and called on the Court to act quickly to make marriage equality the law of the land.
"We are deeply disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to delay the 4th Circuit Court’s decision granting Virginia families the freedom to marry," said Sgro.
"Loving and committed gay and lesbian couples all across the Commonwealth of Virginia, the state of North Carolina, and the entire South, have waited long enough for the freedom to marry, long enough to protect and insure their spouses, long enough to adopt their children, and long enough for all of the recognitions and responsibilities that only marriage affords. Because, in the end, there is no legal substitute for marriage."
Sgro added, "Equality NC now stands with our sister Equality Virginia in urging the Supreme Court to take immediate action and finally bring a national resolution in favor of the freedom to marry."
According to the Robert Barnes of the Washington Post, the move by the nation's highest court was expected. "Wednesday’s stay was not surprising. The justices already had taken similar action in the Utah case, after judges found that state’s ban unconstitutional and refused to issue a stay.
And the Supreme Court later put on hold a judge’s order that the state must recognize the 1,000 or so unions that took place between the decision and the justices’ ruling that the marriages should stop."
Barnes added, "The action indicates that the high court wants more lower courts to weigh in instead of giving what might be construed as implied approval of an unbroken string of federal court decisions striking down state bans on same-sex marriages."