By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
August 20, 2014
WASHINGTON — Just hours before clerks of court in Virginia were slated to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the United States Supreme Court has issued a stay on the federal appeals court ruling that struck down that state’s marriage protection amendment, much to the relief of supporters of traditional marriage throughout the 4th Circuit, including North Carolina.
“This is certainly an answer to prayer as so many Christians have earnestly asked for intervention in this matter,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League.
“Although a number of three-member judicial panels at the federal level have chosen to ignore the will of the people and have upended democratically determined marriage referendums, same-sex marriage is not the law of the land,” he said. “It would certainly have been the wrong thing to do to allow these legal unions prematurely.”
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has represented the Prince William County Clerk of Court in pushing for the stay. ADF Senior Counsel Byron Babione said the Supreme Court’s is “making clear, as it already did in the Utah marriage case, that it believes a dignified process is better than disorder.”
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 ruled against the state’s marriage protection amendment, which was passed in 2005 by 57 percent of Virginia voters.
The move also endangers marriage protection amendments in West Virginia and the Carolinas, which are part of the 4th Circuit. Likewise, the stay is a welcome relief for marriage defenders in those states.
“Now our prayer is for continued wisdom from the nation’s High Court as they begin to discuss how and when to take up this issue,” said Dr. Creech.
“By taking the action they did today, Supreme Court justices apparently want more lower courts to weigh in instead of giving what some might construe as implied approval of recent rulings striking down marriage protection amendments.”
Late September would be the first chance the Supreme has to talk about same-sex marriage, when justices will meet privately to consider petitions that have come in throughout the summer. They may then opt to grant one or more of the cases for the 2014 term or wait for other appeals.
The stay issued Wednesday will only remain in effect if the High Court decides to take up the 4th Circuit case. “It appears from the way the stay was written, the High Court is giving a hint they will take up this particular case,” said Dr. Creech. “If they do, the stay will remain in effect all the way until a final ruling.”
The court could also combine the Virginia case with similar federal rulings on marriage. Therefore, the stay would remain in place until a final ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.