RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring on Friday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision that struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, giving the high court its third such case to choose from when justices return in September.
Herring, who declined to defend the ban in federal court and who supports the lower court’s decision that struck down the ban, has also asked the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to stay its decision because he believes there could be unintended consequences.
“I believe the district and appeals courts ruled correctly in striking down Virginia’s discriminatory marriage ban, but it has long been clear that the Supreme Court will likely have the final word. I want that decision to come as soon as possible and I want the voices of Virginians to be heard,” Herring said in a statement.
In the brief, Herring calls Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban “one of the most stringent in the country,” as it not only prohibits same-sex marriages and recognition of same-sex marriage performed in other states, but also forbids same-sex couples from adopting children, nullifies any contract that is created by same-sex couples in another state, and blocks any legal rights that gay couples might seek if those rights were “plainly repugnant” to the marriage ban.
Herring announced earlier this week he would file the petition on Friday.
Article continues belowHis request is unique in that it is the first appeal to the Supreme Court by state officials that supports a court’s ruling that their same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.
Earlier this week, Utah officials and attorney’s representing the defendants in Oklahoma’s same-sex marriage case appealed the Tenth Circuit Court’s rulings that both states’ bans are also unconstitutional.
Plaintiffs in the Utah case have also asked the Supreme Court to hear Utah’s appeal.