The Commonwealth of Virginia on Monday filed a notice of appeal [text, PDF] of a recent ruling overturning the state's constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, to the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website]. The amendment was struck down [JURIST report] as unconstitutional in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] by federal judge Arenda Wright, but the ruling was stayed until after the government's appeal could be heard. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring [official website] has stated his opposition to the ban, but claims the appeal will "ensure that higher courts can swiftly rule on the critical issues in this case."
Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] has been a highly polarizing issue in the American legal community. Numerous challenges to same-sex marriage bans have arisen in federal and state courts in recent months. Last week a federal judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois [official website] ruled [JURIST report] that same-sex couples in Cook County could be issued marriage licenses immediately, instead of having to wait until June. Earlier that week Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum [official website] announced [JURIST report] that her office would no longer be defending that state's ban on same-sex marriage. A judge for the US District Court for the Western District of Kentucky [official website] ruled [JURIST report] earlier this month that the Kentucky must recognize valid out-of-state same-sex marriages.