[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia [official website] on Thursday delayed ruling on a lawsuit challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Judge Robert Chambers [official profile] stated that the case, brought on behalf of three same-sex couples and the child of one couple, has issues that overlap with a case before the US Supreme Court [official website]. The Supreme Court blocked [NYT report] same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] in Virginia last month and will return from recess in October to decide whether to take up the case. Chambers has said he will wait to see how the Supreme Court handles the issue before deciding the West Virginia case.
The debate over same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] is one of the most polarizing issues currently facing the American legal community Since the Supreme Court struck down [JURIST report] section three of the Defense of Marriage Act last year, numerous state and federal courts have ruled on state same-sex marriage bans. Earlier this week the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit approved a stay [JURIST report] blocking same-sex marriage in Indiana until the Supreme Court weighs in on the issue. Earlier this month the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments [JURIST report] in three cases involving same-sex marriage in Idaho, Nevada and Hawaii. Also this month 32 states asked [JURIST report] the Supreme Court to issue a definitive ruling on same-sex marriage. In late August the Florida Second District Court of Appeal issued an opinion [JURIST report] calling upon the Florida Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Also in August the Ninth Circuit dismissed an appeal [JURIST report] by the National Organization for Marriage over the lifting of Oregon's same-sex marriage ban.