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A federal appellate court panel on Wednesday refused to stay its ruling striking down Virginia's voter-approved same-sex marriage ban.
The same court panel from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in late July against the state's gay marriage ban on a 2-1 ruling. In the majority opinion, Judge Henry F. Floyd wrote that the ban "prohibits [same-sex couples] from participating fully in our society."
Opponents of gay marriage plan on appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court, The New York Times reports, since the federal appeals court refused to grant a hold on the ruling. The panel did not reveal its reason for denying the stay.
"The people of Virginia and every other state should continue to be free to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman in their laws if they choose to do so," Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Byron Babione said following the setback.
The July decision is currently already before the U.S. Supreme Court, who will likely grant the state's emergency stay, but should they not, gay couples in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia will be able to start applying for marriage licenses starting Aug. 20.