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The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay Wednesday on a lower court's ruling that struck down same-sex marriage in Virginia, preventing the ruling from taking effect on Thursday.
As previously reported, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel struck down the state's gay marriage ban in a 2-1 decision. In the majority opinion, Judge Henry F. Floyd explained the voter-approved statute "prohibits [same-sex couples] from participating fully in our society."
Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring sought a stay on the ruling, despite being against the ban, but wanted to let the highest U.S. court weigh in on the matter before allowing marriage licenses to be issued. The appellate court refused to grant the hold and didn't explain why.
The Supreme Court issued the stay, just a day ahead of when County clerks could begin issuing licenses to any gay couple, The Washington Post reports.
With nearly every gay marriage lawsuit having gone in the way of plaintiffs, with the exception of Tennessee, the Supreme Court will likely have to eventually have the final say on the matter, but for the moment has only been willing to silently grant stays that have made their way to the court's steps.
The Post notes that the moves could likely mean the justices want to see how other lower courts continue to rule as nearly every state has a lawsuit, if not several, challenging gay marriage bans.