RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Same-sex couples could marry in Virginia in one week under a ruling issued Wednesday, unless the Supreme Court steps in.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request on Wednesday by Prince William County Clerk of Court Michéle B. McQuigg to delay issuing marriage licenses until the Supreme Court weighed in.
Click here for a PDF of the ruling: shout.lt/BLMR
Wednesday's decision means couples may begin marrying as soon as the appeals court's mandate is issued, which is expected on Wednesday, according to a spokesman for Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. It would also allow some marriages in other states to be recognized in Virginia.
The appeals court recent ruled against the state's same-sex marriage ban, upholding a lower court's decision.
Same-sex marriage proponents hailed the appeals court's decision.
"There is no doubt that Virginia is ready for the freedom to marry," said James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia. "We are thrilled that the 4th Circuit denied the request for a stay and hope that we will see wedding celebrations in Virginia as early as next week."
Lawyers for McQuigg appealed Wednesday's decision to the Supreme Court, which can intervene at any time and put any marriage licenses on hold.
"We hope that the Supreme Court will leave this ruling in place, so that same-sex couples may begin marrying right away," said Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, Executive Director of the ACLU of Virginia. "Our clients have already waited far too long to exercise their constitutional right to marry, or to have their marriages from other states recognized."
However, opponents felt the appeals court ruling would create issues in the state and criticized the judges.
"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," said Victoria Cobb, President of The Family Foundation of Virginia. "This decision suggests an arrogance by these judges that is simply appalling."
Mark Herring has asked the Supreme Court to take on the state's same-sex marriage case and requested a delay in issuing marriage licenses.