The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Virginia will not have to begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples this week, staying a decision by the Fourth Circuit from earlier this summer. Chief Justice John Roberts, who considers stay requests for the Fourth Circuit, had referred the question to the entire Court.
The stay reflects previous decisions by the Supreme Court to institute a stay while marriage equality cases are still pending, such as in Utah. However, the Court has not stayed rulings in which cases were not appealed like Pennsylvania and Oregon, which made Virginia a potentially interesting test case. The state is not defending the ban, but Attorney General Mark Herring joined the county clerks who are in requesting the stay.
Several clerks’ offices in Virginia were ready to begin issuing licenses Thursday morning, but will now have to wait until the Supreme Court takes up another same-sex marriage case.