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Supreme Court blocks Virginia same-sex marriages

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Wednesday put a hold [order, PDF] on same-sex marriage in Virginia as it takes time to decide whether same-sex couples should be allowed to wed nationwide. The hold, which is the result of the court granting a stay application filed on behalf of opponents of same-sex marriage, means that the July 28 ruling [opinion, PDF] by the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] that declared Virginia's voter-approved same-sex marriage ban to be unconstitutional will not yet be put into effect. The hold was not unexpected, as many lower courts have recently struck down same-sex marriage bans. Analysts say the court is most likely going to choose from one of three currently pending same-sex marriage cases in order to decide the matter for the nation. The cases, which the court will most likely take up during its upcoming term, include bans in the states of Virginia, Utah and Oklahoma.

Since the Supreme Court struck down [JURIST report] section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act [text] last year, many federal courts have declared state same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional. Last week a Tennessee county court was the first court in the country to uphold a state's same-sex marriage ban [JURIST report] since Section 3 was declared unconstitutional. Earlier this month the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit heard oral arguments [JURIST report] in six lawsuits challenging same-sex marriage bans in four states. In July the US District Court for the District of Colorado struck down [JURIST report] Colorado's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, but he immediately stayed his ruling pending an appeal to a higher court.

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