4TH Circuit Court Denies Stay; Same-Sex Couples Could Wed in Virginia as Early as Next Week
By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
August 15, 2014
Homosexual couples could be saying their wedding vows in Virginia as early as 8 a.m. Thursday morning now that the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to issue a stay in its July 28 ruling against the state’s marriage protection amendment. But many watching the case across the nation say the Supreme Court is likely to step in before that date and put the process on hold.
“That is certainly our hope and what we are urging believers to pray for,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League.
Representatives from Alliance Defending Freedom, who is representing the Prince William County Clerk of Court in the case, say they anticipate intervention from the High Court.
“We trust the Supreme Court will grant our request in order to ensure an orderly and dignified resolution of this important constitutional question,” said Byron Babione, ADF senior counsel. Another ADF lawyer, Ken Connelly said prior rulings in a similar scenario in Utah make the action likely.
We would expect, being no substantive difference, that the Supreme Court would grant the application,he said.
University of Richmond School of Law professor Carl Tobias also told the media this week that he believes a Supreme Court stay is likely. He pointed out that the three 4th Circuit judges, who ruled 2-1 on the case and in denying the stay, did not elaborate as to their reasoning for the most recent verdict.
The initial case, involving a male couple denied a marriage license this summer and a lesbian pair married in California but demanding that Virginia recognize their union, came before the 4th Circuit in late July. The Circuit Court’s ruling trampled the state’s marriage protection amendment, which was passed in 2005 by 57 percent of voters, an estimated 1.3 million people.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring had refused to defend the state’s constitution, but has called for Supreme Court review of the case because he hopes it could set a national precedent.
North Carolina’s attorney general has announced he will no longer defend traditional marriage in the Tar Heel state, where the American Civil Liberties Union is pushing for a quick reversal of the MPA.
On Wednesday, the ACLU filed documents noting that the 4th Circuit’s ruling sets a precedent that must be followed in all states in the Court’s jurisdiction, which includes West Virginia and the Carolinas in addition to Virginia and Maryland, where same-sex marriage is legal.
Federal Judge William Osteen in Greensboro has not announced a timeline for any ruling on whether North Carolina’s marriage protection amendment can stay in place.
The Supreme Court could take up same-sex marriage during its next term, starting in October.