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article imageSupreme Court puts hold on Virginia same-sex marriages

By Karen Graham     Aug 20, 2014 in Lifestyle
Without an explanation or a release of the vote totals, the U.S. Supreme Court today has stayed a ruling that would have allowed same-sex couples in Virginia to marry beginning on Thursday morning.
The High Court granted a request from a court clerk in Northern Virginia on Wednesday to block same-sex marriages across the Commonwealth while the issue is being appealed to the Supreme Court. Interestingly, no explanation was given for the court's decision.
The request the Supreme Court granted came from Prince William County Circuit Court Clerk Michele B. McQuigg. McQuigg's lawyer said allowing same-sex couples to marry before a Supreme Court review could create "uncertainty for the public” and “irreparable injury to the commonwealth.”
Carl Tobias is a professor of constitutional law at the University of Richmond School of Law. He pointed out that the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit of Appeals had upheld a ruling last month by a Norfolk federal judge who overturned Virginia's constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman.
“The cryptic nature of the court’s order makes it difficult to ascertain its reasoning. All of the 15-plus federal district courts and two appeals courts that have resolved the same-sex marriage issue have ruled for plaintiffs as in the Virginia case," said Tobias.
The High Court put a hold on same-sex marriages in Utah in January, pending a hearing from the federal appeals court in Denver, Colorado. That court upheld the decision that struck-down Utah's ban on same-sex marriages, but delayed its decision on it taking affect, pending an appeal to the Supreme Court. Most other federal courts have done the same thing.
More about Supreme court, Virginia, Samesex marriage, Thursday morning, 4th US Circuit of Appeals
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