Same-sex marriages could begin next week in Fairfax County and the rest of Virginia, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit denied a request to delay implementation of its ruling striking down Virginia laws denying marriage to same-sex couples.
The court’s action means that unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervene in the next few days, couples may begin marrying and having their out-of-state marriages recognized in Virginia beginning Aug. 20.
Prince William County Circuit Court Clerk Michèle McQuigg had asked the court to stay the ruling while she asks the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. McQuigg may still ask the Supreme Court to stay the Fourth Circuit ruling, according to the ACLU of Virginia.
“We hope that the Supreme Court will leave this ruling in place, so that same-sex couples may begin marrying right away,” Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, Executive Director of the ACLU of Virginia, said in a statement. “Our clients have already waited far too long to exercise their constitutional right to marry, or to have their marriages from other states recognized.”
When the initial ruling was made in late July, John T. Frey, Clerk of Fairfax Circuit Court, said current marriage license practices would not change while the parties were still involved in the court case. A court spokesman said on Wednesday the process will not change until same-sex marriage in Virginia is a done deal.
“No mandate has issued from the U. S Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit,” Frey said . “Accordingly, our process for issuing marriage licenses remains the same. The Attorney General of Virginia has advised Clerks that unless and until a mandate issues, Virginia’s current practices are not altered. ”