Supreme Court Stays 4th Circuit’s Ruling On Virginia Gay Marriage Ban


The Supreme Court has decided to stay the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling that found Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. As Chris Geidner from BuzzFeed reports, the lower court's ruling is on hold until the Supreme Court decides whether it will review the case or not:

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.”

Same-sex marriage was scheduled to become legal in Virginia on Thursday had the Court not intervened.

USA Today reports that in its coming term, the Court will have a number of same-sex marriage cases to consider:

The justices will get their first crack at the broader issue in late September, when they meet privately to consider petitions that accumulated through the summer. They could grant one or more gay marriage cases for the 2014 term or wait for additional appeals.

More cases could arrive at the court this fall from the 6th Circuit appeals court, which heard cases earlier this month from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee; from the 7th Circuit, which will hear Indiana and Wisconsin cases next week; and from the 9th Circuit, which will hear Idaho and Nevada cases early next month.

(Image via Chris Geidner, Twitter).


  1. Disgusted American says

    Nothing like 9 out of touch heterosexuals……(well,Kagan we’re not sure about) deciding the fate of MILLIONS of TAX PAYING LGBT Americans

  2. Cowardly Justices says

    What kind of Third World country has the United States become with part-time Supreme Court justices? Get your cossetted a.$.$.e.$ into chambers and start deciding cases?

    And what kind of puritanical site has Towleroad become that censors the word ‘as”ses’?

  3. Kyle says

    Malcom, they are not required to grant the stay. They’re not even require to hear the case. When deciding to grant a stay, courts are required to consider 4 factors: (1) the likelihood of success on appeal; (2) the threat of irreparable harm if the stay is not granted; (3) the absence of harm to opposing parties if the stay is granted; and (4) risk of harm to the public interest.

  4. Malcolm says

    As other attorneys will tell you, Courts can consider any of those factors when making their rulings, but those are merely guidelines. From the start, it has been clear that SCOTUS wants any favorable marriage equality rulings to be stayed, and it is not just the conservative Justices that think this. It is assumed that SCOTUS thinks that it is premature to allow gay marriages until it has definitively ruled on the merits of the issue. Until then, they think there is a chance that a lot marriages will occur in states that will eventually be voided or invalidated by a subsequent High Court decision, which would result in untold chaos. They are not gonna take the chance that that will happen because it would constitute “irreparable harm” and inconsistency. The only exception is in states like Oregon and Pennsylvania, where it is clear no one with standing with appeal favorable rulings. Moreover, regarding factor 1), I can tell you that at least 4 Justices think the anti-gay marriage side is or should be likely to succeed, not the pro-gay side. Some have wrongly assumed Kennedy is pro marriage equality, but that may be a foolish assumption. The Court is making it clear that it wants these favorable decisions stayed until it rules on the merits.

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