Supreme Court Blocks Same-Sex Marriages in Virginia

August 21, 2014 - 9:06 AM

The Supreme Court of the United States has Stayed the 4th Circuit ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, effectively upholding, at least temporarily, state marriage amendments. The practical effect is that gay and lesbian couples will be blocked from marrying in Virginia this week, and indicates that the High Court indeed edges closer to deciding whether marriage should be defined by state law or whether same-sex marriage should be legalized nationwide. Read more at http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/nation/2014/08/20/gay-marriage-virginia-supreme-court/14282579/.

Today's ruling puts on hold the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision last month striking down Virginia's ban on gay marriage. That case, like others that ended similarly in Utah and Oklahoma, is being appealed to the Supreme Court. The request for the Stay was litigated by Regent Law graduate David Cortman ('96) among others. That Application to Stay can be accessed at http://www.adfmedia.org/files/SchaeferStayApplication.pdf. The petitioners effectively argued that 1) the question presented regarding marriage expansion is sufficiently meritorious to grant certiorari, 2) there is a fair prospect that the Supreme Court of the United States will reverse the 4th Circuit decision toward forced marriage expansion upon states, and 3) that irreparable harm will likely result from denying the Stay.

Although citizens in nearly 40 states voted to define marriage in their state codes and constitutions as between one man and one woman, nearly all federal and state courts have ruled in favor of same-sex marriage since the high court issued two landmark decisions in June 2013. To learn more about those cases read the article at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2462093 for a big picture perspective, and at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2427462 for a Virginia perspective.

Today's Stay by the High Court is an important step toward upholding state regulatory authority in domestic relations regulation toward family restoration.