Supreme Court stays gay marriage ruling that could impact N.C.

Aug. 23, 2014 @ 02:47 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court last week put a temporary hold on the implementation of a recent lower federal court ruling on gay marriage in Virginia that could have a ripple effect on the same-sex marriage ban in North Carolina.

Late in July, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, overturned a ban on gay marriage, which was placed in the Virginia Constitution by voters there eight years ago. The appellate justices ruled that provisions of the U.S. Constitution and a Supreme Court ruling last year on the federal Defense of Marriage Act trump state rules on gay marriage, even in state constitutions.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals oversees cases out of North Carolina, which would include ongoing challenges to the state’s constitutional gay marriage ban. In May 2012, North Carolina voters approved Amendment One by 61 percent of the vote, codifying the state’s previous law against gay marriage into the state Constitution.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court granted a request from a county clerk in Virginia to prevent same-sex marriages in the commonwealth while the issue is appealed to the Supreme Court. Across the nation, other court rulings clearing the way for gay marriage in states that prohibit it have been stayed as well.
“At least three petitions for review will be before the justices this fall, and more are on the way from lower courts across the country,” according to the N.C. Justice Center, a liberal group out of Raleigh that supports same-sex marriage.
A conservative group out of Raleigh opposed to gay marriage welcomed the Supreme Court’s intervention.
“We strongly believe that voters in individual states like North Carolina and Virginia should remain free to preserve marriage as the union of a man and a woman in their laws, like they have done in 31 states by passing marriage amendments like ours,” according to the N.C. Values Coalition.
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