The US Supreme Court granted a request Wednesday to stay a decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit overturning Virginia’s marriage equality ban. The appeals court decision – finding the ban unconstitutional – would have allowed same-sex couples to start getting married this week in Virginia.

“Loving couples and families should not have to endure yet another standstill before their commitment to one another is recognized here in Virginia,” said James Parrish, Executive Director of Equality Virginia.

The Supreme Court’s decision means that Virginia is also not required to recognize same-sex marriages performed out-of-state.

Lambda Legal, which filed one of the lawsuits that led to the Fourth Circuit decision, vowed to “do everything in our power to make sure this issue is decided as quickly as possible” by the US Supreme Court. The Supreme Court issued a similar stay on same-sex marriages in Utah last January.

Same-sex couples currently have the right to marry in 19 states and in Washington, D.C., and there are lawsuits on the matter pending in all remaining states. Virginia’s attorney general, Mark R. Herring, refuses to defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban and is pushing to have the Supreme Court review the case.

In a news conference in Richmond, Virginia, when the Fourth Circuit decision was announced, Herring said, “Sometimes battles have been fought in the legislature, sometimes in the courtroom, sometimes even in the streets, but inevitably no effort to restrict the rights or limit the opportunities of our fellow Americans has ever succeeded in the long term.”

The Fourth Circuit includes North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia.

Media Resources: The New York Times 8/20/2014; Equality Virginia Press Release 8/20/14; Lambda Legal Press Release 8/20/14; Feminist Newswire 7/30/2014;

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