To Stay Or Not To Stay; Or, When 3 Is Greater Than 1,000,000+


August 13, 2014

Today, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals surprised just about everyone by refusing to grant a “stay” in its recent decision finding Virginia’s marriage amendment unconstitutional (see for reaction, including TFF’s). A stay is a legal action temporarily halting a judicial decision from taking effect, pending appeal to a higher court — in this case, the U.S. Supreme Court. Practically speaking, today’s decision means that the state could begin granting marriage licenses to same sex couples as early as August 20.

That seems unlikely, however, given that the U.S. Supreme Court just last month granted a stay in the Utah marriage case, which is very similar to Virginia. Even Attorney General Mark Herring, who violated his oath of office by rejecting his client — the people of Virginia — and joined the plaintiffs against the Virginia Constitution, argued recently to keep the stay in place. Our understanding is that the attorneys defending Virginia’s marriage amendment, Alliance Defending Freedom, already are appealing to the Supreme Court to get the stay reinstated (see ADF news release).

So, essentially, today’s decision simply invited confusion and chaos to an already challenging debate. It’s unfortunate, but it’s not the final decision.

Family Foundation President of Virginia Victoria Cobb released this statement regarding the highly unusual — some would say, peculiar, even arrogant and in-your-face — decision, which was made by the same 2-1 vote of the three judge panel as prevailed in the case itself.

It’s shocking that the Fourth Circuit has introduced chaos to Virginia where other appellate courts have recognized that the final decision will likely be made by the Supreme Court. This decision suggests an arrogance by these judges that is simply appalling. Regardless, we applaud clerks Michelle McQuigg and George Schaefer for their steadfast defense of the laws of Virginia and their willingness to stand for the citizens of the Commonwealth and look forward to having the Fourth Circuit’s poor decision reviewed by the Supreme Court.

Virginians adopted the Marriage Amendment in 2006 with 57 percent of voters supporting the natural definition of marriage. So far, the voices of three unelected federal judges (one at the district level and two at the appeals level) have overturned the will of the people to determine state law.


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10 Responses to “To Stay Or Not To Stay; Or, When 3 Is Greater Than 1,000,000+”

  1. Jonathan says:

    I want to take my vote FOR the amendment back and vote against it. I, for one, applaud this decision by the judges as do many others who feel differently today than they did nearly 8 years earlier. Indeed, if the same vote were held today, would it be a 57% majority favoring the amendment, or would it only be less than 50%?

  2. Dale says:

    Jonathan, I agree. I have always been for equality under the law for ALL Americans. As for the FFoV, why are you concentrating your bigotry on gay folks, something Jesus Christ never mentioned and not on divorce (over 50% of christian couples divorce), something on Jesus Christ has said A LOT?

  3. Jim Smith says:

    Vicki and co are toast on this matter. It’s just a fundraising gambit until marriage equality rules nationwide. And it won’t be long, my pretty.

  4. Glen says:

    When the 3 are upholding the U.S. Constitution they are greater than not just 1,000,000 but are greater than 350,000,000.

    If the 350,000,000 do not like the fact that the U.S. Constitution provides for a particular thing the judges determined that it does (in this case equal protection of marriage law regardless of the participants genders), then they are welcome to amend the Constitution.

    Of course in this case you do not have 350,000,000 nor indeed the majority of the nation on your side anymore, so your odds of amending the U.S. Constitution to carve out some unwarranted discrimination from the 14th amendment to satisfy your religious based desires are not very good.

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