Today the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of the Fourth Circuit’s July 28 ruling, which held that Virginia’s denial of the freedom to marry to same-sex couples is unconstitutional.
The Fourth Circuit had declined to stay, or freeze, its decision, but today’s procedural action by the Supreme Court means that same-sex couples will continue, for now, to be denied the freedom to marry in Virginia as the case makes its way through the appeals process.
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:
“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.”
Opponents have begun the process of seeking Supreme Court review of each of the three appellate rulings in favor of the freedom to marry so far, including the Virginia case in the Fourth Circuit and Utah and Oklahoma cases in the Tenth Circuit. Since the Supreme Court struck down the heart of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013, 37 state and federal courts have upheld the freedom to marry, with only 1 ruling the other way. Every appellate ruling has been in favor of the freedom to marry.