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Virginia County Clerk Petitions SCOTUS to Stop Gay Marriages, Scheduled to Begin Thursday


A Virginia county clerk backed by an anti-gay Christian legal group has filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block same-sex marriages expected to begin in the state next week following the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals' refusal to delay its decision late last month striking down Virginia's gay marriage ban. 

It was reported earlier that, barring SCOTUS intervention, same-sex couples in Virginia could begin getting licenses to wed as early as next Monday or Wednesday, but now it appears the Fourth Circuit's decision will go into effect at 9am Thursday.

Washington Blade reports:

Alliance Defending Freedom, which is defending the ban on behalf of Prince William County Circuit Court Clerk Michèle McQuigg, made its case in a 26-page brief for why justices should overturn a decision from the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to refuse a stay on the same-sex marriages.

“Unless this Court issues the stay requested here and makes clear that the courts of appeals should stay their mandates in these cases, it is likely that other circuits will mistakenly follow the Fourth Circuit’s lead,” the brief states. “Yet that would invite needless chaos and uncertainty rather than facilitate the orderly and dignified resolution of a constitutional question of enormous national importance.”

The petition from ADF was delivered to Chief Justice John Roberts, who’s responsible for stay requests for the Fourth Circuit and can decide the matter on his own or refer the request to the entire court for consideration.

SCOTUSblog adds:

Twice before, the Supreme Court has blocked same-sex weddings or state recognition of existing same-sex marriages when asked to do so by state officials in Utah [Kitchen v. Herbert & Evans v. Utah].  Some judges have interpreted those orders as indicating that the Justices do not want such marriages to go ahead until after appeals have been resolved.

Despite this, National Center for Lesbian Rights legal director Shannon Minter says there's a possibility that the Court could deny a stay this time around in the Virginia case.

Court to deny a stay this time around in the Virginia case. “A lot has changed since the Court issued a stay in Kitchen, which was the first district court decision in the entire country striking down a state marriage ban after Windsor,” Minter said. “There are now many other such decisions, in every corner of the nation. The Court could decide that a stay is no longer warranted.” 

 Read McQuigg's petition below:

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  1. I love that a group called "Alliance Defending Freedom" is actively fighting *against* freedom (in this case, freedom to marry)...

    Their taste-buds must have been destroyed in order to not be able to taste irony this spicy!

    Posted by: MikeKV | Aug 15, 2014 10:10:35 AM

  2. Let's remember that Chief Roberts has a very openly gay cousin, Jean Podrasky, who lives here (SF) with her wife, and is thought of very well by the Roberts family. During the Prop 8 Supreme Court hearings Jean and wife were invited, by the Chief Justice, to sit in the family section of the Court. He would be smart to reject the plea.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Aug 15, 2014 10:31:25 AM

  3. It's more likely SCOTUS will issue a stay again, though I would love to be surprised.

    Posted by: Ernie | Aug 15, 2014 10:43:38 AM

  4. don't need robert's support

    Kenedy as a libertarian / social liberal is the 5th


    + kenedy

    Posted by: Hislv | Aug 15, 2014 11:48:25 AM

  5. Last week, Virginia AG Herring asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review lower court rulings. Previously he had asked the 4th Circuit to stay its ruling until the Supreme Court acts. Not sure if he will also ask the high court to stay.
    It is not too surprising that SCOTUS will stay the ruling if Utah case was an indication.

    Posted by: simon | Aug 15, 2014 11:53:53 AM

  6. Except @HISLV Roberts is the justice assigned to the 4th Circuit, so he can make the stay decision on his own or refer it to the whole court as the other justices have done in similar stay requests. (And, in similar cases, the stay was granted.) Granting a stay doesn't necessarily break down along conservative/liberal lines and doesn't imply anything about how SCOTUS will eventually decide the case, if they take it up.

    Posted by: Ernie | Aug 15, 2014 12:01:25 PM

  7. thanx for info ernie

    Posted by: Hislv | Aug 15, 2014 12:17:15 PM

  8. She needs an orderly and dignified kick in the ass out the door. Do your job.

    Posted by: JEFF YORK | Aug 15, 2014 2:05:52 PM

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