[JURIST] South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson [official profile] on Tuesday requested an emergency stay [application, PDF] postponing same-sex marriage in the state. The request comes after the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit refused to block [order, PDF] same-sex marriage in the state. Wilson requested that Chief Justice Roberts issue a stay and that “the stay last while the appellate process is completed … at the Court of Appeals and while any Petition for Writ of Certiorari is considered by [the] Court.” Wilson also asked that the court clarify matters of federalism pertaining to the “domestic relations exception.” He argued that the “domestic relations exception” exceeds the “issue of the constitutionality of a ban of same-sex marriage” and bleeds through to issues regarding whether states retain sole jurisdiction to make laws regarding the domestic relations of those within their states. Roberts can make a determination on his own or consult other justices as he is the Circuit Justice for the Fourth Circuit.
Last Wednesday US District Judge Gergel ordered state officials to stop enforcing [JURIST report] South Carolina’s same-sex marriage ban. He based this decision on a recent Fourth Circuit opinion on Virginia, which held [opinion, PDF] that the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment [text] creates a fundamental right for same-sex couples to marry. Earlier this month the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld same-sex marriage bans [JURIST report], creating a split in the circuits as the US Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Seventh, Ninth and Tenth Circuits [JURIST reports] have ruled same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] bans unconstitutional. Last month the Supreme Court declined to hear [JURIST report] seven pending same-sex marriage cases, allowing those appeals court rulings to stand and effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in several states.