Supreme Court decision makes same-sex marriage legal in Virginia
Same-sex marriage now is legal in Virginia.
The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to take up appeals on same-sex marriage cases originating in five states, including Virginia.
The decision means that lower court rulings striking down same-sex marriage bans will take effect.
Besides Virginia, the court decision affects appeals from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah and Wisconsin, according to news reports.
“The Supreme Court rejected all petitions for certiorari related to Virginia's marriage equality litigation, thereby letting stand the Fourth Circuit's decision that same-sex couples in the commonwealth are entitled to all the rights and privileges of marriage,” Attorney General Mark Herring said. “The Fourth Circuit is expected to issue its mandate at 1 p.m., meaning marriage licenses for same-sex couples can be issued at that time and the commonwealth will recognize all marriages that were lawfully performed in other states.”
Another six states under the jurisdiction of federal appeals courts that struck down same-sex marriage bans also will be affected. They are Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming.
The numbers of states where same-sex marriage is legal will rise from 19 to 30 plus the District of Columbia.
“This is a historic and long overdue moment for our commonwealth and our country,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, said in a statement. “On issues ranging from recognizing same-sex marriages to extending health care benefits to same-sex spouses of state employees, Virginia is already well-prepared to implement this historic decision. Going forward we will act quickly to continue to bring all of our policies and practices into compliance so that we can give marriages between same-sex partners the full faith and credit they deserve.”
Virginia House Speaker William J. Howell, a Republican who supports traditional marriage, said he was disappointed by the court's action. “The debate over Virginia's constitutional amendment defining marriage needs a clear and decisive resolution from the Supreme Court,” he said in a statement. “The court’s decision today leaves Virginians without an affirmative answer on this issue, unnecessarily prolonging the political debate and creating long-term uncertainty regarding the status of same-sex marriages in Virginia depending on the outcome of litigation in other parts of the country.”