WASHINGTON (CN) - In similar relief it awarded Utah, the U.S. Supreme Court has blocked an order that would have allowed gay couples in Virginia to marry.
Such unions were set to begin Aug. 21 after the 4th Circuit last month called
Virginia's ban on gay marriage "the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance." Virginia's laws also denied gay couples recognition of marriages performed in other states.
Judge Paul Niemeyer had dissented from the other two members of the appellate panel in arguing that same-sex marriage would lead to recognition of "polygamous or incestuous relationships."
That line cites Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's dissent, which was rejected overwhelmingly in Romer v. Evans
, a landmark decision overturning state legislation preventing gay, lesbian and bisexual people from being recognized as a protected class.
On the eve that gay Virginia couples were set to marry, however, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the 4th Circuit's mandate with a brief order. It said the stay will remain in place unless the court denies Virginia clerk Michele McQuigg a writ of certiorari.
Timothy Bostic is the lead plaintiff in the case.
Days before the 4th Circuit had affirmed the injunction against Virginia, the Supreme Court had stayed
a similar ruling that ordered Utah to recognize gay marriages.