The U.S. Supreme Court has further stalled marriage equality in Virginia, issuing a stay on a lower court's ruling that found the state's marriage ban unconstitutional.
Same-sex couples in Virginia would have been able to marry starting Thursday, if the stay had not been issued. Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit denied a motion to delay its July 28 ruling, striking down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage.
The Alliance Defending Freedom filed a petition Thursday asking the high court to weigh in on the stay. The Alliance, a right-wing legal group, is representing a Virginia county clerk in defending the ban, as state officials refused to defend it. The request first went to Chief Justice John Roberts. who referred it to the full court this week. The court unanimously agreed to the stay, as it did with a similar case in Utah.
The plaintiffs in Bostic v. Schaefer will ask the Supreme Court to hear their case, according to the Americans for Equal Rights. If the justices take the case, a stay will remain in place until a decision comes from the high court.
"The federal court system agrees, the majority of Americans agree, and the president of the United States agrees that it is time this country treats its same-sex couples and their children just the same as all other loving families," says lead co-counsel David Boies of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, LLP, who is working with AFER. "We are confident that when the Supreme Court reviews the Bostic case, it too will agree and end the flagrant injustice of segregating Americans based on sexual orientation."