Gay marriages could begin in Virginia as early as next week


A federal appeals court denied the state of Virginia's request for a stay on Wednesday regarding their decision to approve same-sex marriage, Fox News reports.

The court upheld the lower court's reversal of Virginia's gay marriage ban in a July 28 decision. A Prince William County clerk asked the court to issue a stay on its decision until the Supreme Court ruled on the issue. The appeals judges did not state a reason for their refusal.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Ken Connelly said that his client, Clerk of Court Michele B. McQuigg, will file a motion for an emergency stay with the Supreme Court "as soon as possible."

In 2006, Virginia voters passed an amendment to their constitution defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The first challenge to the legislation came in July 2013, and the amendment was ruled unconstitutional in several legal proceedings in 2014.

Connelly said that he expects the motion for a stay to be granted, as he saw no "substantive difference" between the Virginia case and Utah's gay marriage legal battle. The Supreme Court has granted stays on federal decisions on two occasions in Utah.

Utah's 2004 gay marriage ban was ruled unconstitutional in a December 20, 2013 federal ruling. Following that decision, more than 1,300 same-sex marriages were performed before a stay on the decision was issued on January 6, 2014. The fiasco has been cited by other states that have requested stays in similar cases.

The Justices ruled in July that Utah will not recognise the unions until the appeal process is exhausted.

Gay marriage is legal in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington D.C., Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, and last year, the federal government allowed same-sex partners to receive federal benefits.

Court cases are pending in several other states after federal judges have ruled their gay marriage bans unconstitutional.