Still no word from Roberts as deadline for Virginia stay request passes
Justice Roberts set a 5 PM deadline yesterday for both sides of Virginia’s same-sex marriage fight to explain why he should (or shouldn’t) grant a stay which would stop marriages from happening Thursday morning.
Lawyers for both camps have made their arguments public in the hopes of drumming up support.
“We will fight these last-ditch desperate attempts to delay the inevitable arrival of the day when same-sex couples can marry in Virginia,” said Jon Davidson, Legal Director at Lambda Legal who is fighting Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban. “But if the Court grants a stay, we want this issue to be decided as quickly as possible.”
“We will do everything we can to ensure that same-sex couples do not have to wait a day longer than necessary to finally receive the dignity and protection that only comes with marriage,”said James Esseks, Director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. Esseks was one of the lawyers who argued the case before the federal appeals court. “The historic Supreme Court case that affirmed the right of people of different races to marry started in Virginia. In the 47 years since then, committed same-sex couples in the Commonwealth have been patiently waiting for the freedom to marry the person they love.”
Lawyers for Northern Virginia Clerk of the Court Michele McQuigg argue the stay should be put in place because the shifting state of stays in other court districts has further complicated the legal process – specifically when the 10th Circuit Court allowed same-sex marriages for a short period and a stay was later granted putting about 1300 Utahn LGBT couples in legal limbo.
“The State of Utah now declines to recognize the licenses that were issued to same-sex couples during that interim
period,” reads the stay motion. “Same-sex couples who obtained licenses during that period filed a lawsuit in federal court to require the State to recognize those licenses as valid.”
“If the Supreme Court ultimately disagrees with this Court’s split opinion, staying the mandate will prevent this Court’s decision from bringing about temporary results in those cases that will all need to be undone,” reads the stay. “In short, staying the mandate will allow the orderly and dignified resolution of this important constitutional question not only in Virginia, but throughout this entire Circuit.”
Virginia’s Attorney General Mark Herring sent out a comment just before the 5 PM deadline yesterday saying he supported a stay (a stance he has held since early on), but stressed SCOTUS should provide an answer for all same-sex marriage cases promptly.
“Throughout this process we have fought for equality while also recognizing the need for an orderly process,” said Attorney General Herring. “I’ve worked to move the case along quickly and asked the Supreme Court to take this extraordinary step because I don’t want this discriminatory ban to stay in place one day longer than necessary. However, a stay is warranted in light of the negative impact on Virginia children, families, and businesses if the Supreme Court eventually rules against marriage equality and forces an unwinding of Virginians’ marriages, adoptions, inheritances, or workplace benefits.”
AG Herring said he was working with the Governor’s office to update marriage licenses and make the process of same-sex marriage as smooth as possible if SCOTUS does not issue a stay on the ruling.
If you plan to get married Thursday, find out how here – and here is a list of clergy available to perform your same-sex wedding.
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