Supreme Court Stays Ruling Allowing Same-Sex Marriage In Virginia
Not unexpectedly, the Supreme Court has granted a request to stay the ruling of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that would have allowed same-sex couples in Virginia to get married legally:
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued an order that will stop same-sex couples in Virginia from being able to marry starting Thursday morning.
The Supreme Court, responding to an application filed with Chief Justice John Roberts that he referred to the whole court, issued a brief of that puts the lower court ruling striking down the ban on hold until the Supreme Court decides whether it will hear an appeal of the case.
The court’s order stated that the mandate putting the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in effect, which was scheduled to be issued Thursday morning, is “stayed pending the timely filing and disposition of a petition for a writ of certiorari.”
Notably, the court stated that the stay will “terminate automatically” if it does not take and denies certiorari in the case — which is the process by which the court formally takes cases. If it grants certiorari, then its stay ends when it “send[s] down … the judgment of this Court.”
As I noted last week when the Fourth Circuit declined to stay its ruling, this outcome is not unexpected and indeed was requested by several parties involved in the Virginia litigation, including the state’s Democratic Attorney General, who has declined to defend the marriage ban in Court. The next step in this case, as in the cases arising out of Utah and Oklahoma, is the filing of the Petition For Writ Of Certiorari asking the Court to accept the case for appeal. In all likelihood, the Court will end up having to rule on these petitions one way or the other before the end of the year, meaning that we would likely see oral argument some time early in 2015 if the appeals are granted.