And Friday a stay was issued by Michelle B. McQuigg, a clerk of Prince William County’s Circuit Court.
“The absence of a stay will likely produce legal uncertainty and confusion,” reads the stay request sent to the Fourth Circuit before citing the situation in Utah where marriage licenses were issued and then stopped shortly after. “Staying the mandate will allow the orderly and dignified resolution of this important constitutional question not only in Virginia, but throughout the entire circuit.”
The ACLU of Virginia, one of the legal parties in the challenge against Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage, has filed a motion opposing the stay before the courts, saying the stay advances no government interests.
“The government will not be irreparably harmed if the stay is denied,” reads the motion. The ACLU also targeted McQuigg’s argument about Utah saying the “legal limbo” for those few same-sex couples who were married is invalid.
“The “legal limbo” in Utah has been caused by the Utah Governor and Attorney General’s assertion that they can place these valid marriages “on hold”… In contrast, Virginia’s Governor and Attorney General have never asserted they would seek to retroactively invalidate legal marriages in this manner.”
Finally, the ACLU states granting a stay will further harm done to same-sex couples, and refusing a stay will cause no harm to the defendants.
“The plaintiffs and their children have waited long enough to exercise the constitutional rights to which this Court has held they are entitled,” reads the motion. “The defendants have not demonstrated that they will suffer any irreparable harm if immediate relief is granted.”
In May, AG Herring made a statement supporting a stay. “While I deeply understand that it is difficult and unfair to ask loving couples to wait even a day longer to exercise their fundamental rights,” said Herring in the statement. “Our commitment to the rule of law dictates that this process moves forward in the orderly way that a stay will provide.”