U.S. Supreme Court puts 4th Circuit ruling on hold
August 20, 2014
Today, August 20, the United States Supreme Court granted a request for a stay in this summer's marriage ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit that ordered the freedom to marry in Virginia and paved the way for the freedom to marry in North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia. The ruling will be stayed - meaning that same-sex couples in Virginia will be temporarily unable to receive marriage licenses - pending potential review from the United States Supreme Court.
Without the stay, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals' mandate in the case was set to take effect on Thursday morning at 8:00am.
Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson commented on the procedural decision today. He said:
This Supreme Court’s stay of yet another freedom to marry ruling underscores the urgency of the Court’s granting a full review and bringing the country to national resolution by next year. Americans across the country are being deprived of the freedom to marry and respect for their lawful marriages, as well as the tangible protections and precious dignity and happiness that marriage brings. It is time for the Supreme Court to affirm what more than thirty courts have held in the past year: marriage discrimination violates the Constitution, harms families, and is unworthy of America.
The stay was granted in Bostic v. Schaefer, a federal case originally brought by Shuttleworth, Ruloff, Swainn, Haddad & Morecock, P.C., and joined by the American Foundation for Equal Rights, Lambda Legal, and the American Civil Liberties Union.
The defendants in Bostic have filed a request for the Supreme Court to stay this case and petitioned to have that request be considered as their writ of certiorari (their formal request for the Supreme Court to consider the case), but in today's order, the Court denied that request. The defendant must now file a formal writ of certiorari. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has also requested SCOTUS review. Two other marriage cases - from Utah and Oklahoma - are also in the process of making their requests for review by the nation's highest court. Learn more about these cases here.