[JURIST] Groups supporting same-sex marriage on Monday urged the US Supreme Court [official website] not to put a hold on a lower court ruling [opinion, PDF] that would allow same-sex couples in Virginia to marry. After the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] declined to stay its decision declaring Virginia’s voter-approved same-sex marriage ban to be unconstitutional last week, Prince William County clerk of court Michele McQuigg filed an emergency stay [JURIST reports] application at the Supreme Court seeking to block the ruling. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has expressed his support [WP report] for the hold, stating that while he supports the Fourth Circuit ruling, he believes it would be better for the Supreme Court to impose the delay and accept the case for review. Lawyers representing same-sex couples [Reuters report] who want to get married have said that because McQuigg cannot prove that there is a high probability that the justices would reverse the lower court, so there is no need for US Chief Justice Roberts [JURIST news archive] to delay it. If the court does grant the stay, the groups opposed to the ban have encouraged the Court to accept Virginia’s case in order to settle the question of the Constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans.
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 [official website] 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 [official website] 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.