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Virginia AG Mark Herring to ask Supreme Court to review gay marriage ban

Virginia's Attorney General Mark Herring speaks at a press conference after The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional July 28, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia.
Virginia's Attorney General Mark Herring speaks at a press conference after The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional July 28, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia.
Photo by Jay Paul/Getty Images

The gay marriage fight in the state of Virginia is a step closer to making its way to the Supreme Court. According to a report by the Associated Press Friday, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is expected to file a petition asking the justices to review a ruling made by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Herring first made headlines when he made the decision not to defend the ban in the initial challenge that led to the voter approved ban being ruled unconstitutional. Despite being in support of the lower courts decision, Herring has asked the 4th U.S. Circuit of Appeals to stay its decision until it is reviewed by the Supreme Court. His purpose of filing a petition is to avoid any unintended consequences.

Herring released a statement clarifying his position and further substantiating his stance on gay marriage. He said, “I believe the district and appeals court 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.”

The plaintiffs in the Virginia case want same-sex couples in the state of Virginia to be issued marriage licenses before the U.S. Supreme Court can role on the issue. They see the ban as harmful to the “fundamental” right of gay couples each remaining day that it is enforced. Without a stay, couples could be issued marriage licenses by August 18. This can occur with or without the Supreme Court’s opinion.

Justices expect to make a decision on whether they will hear the case in September. In filing the petition, Herring is protecting same-sex couples from his view. He doesn’t want couples to get married and then have those marriages go unrecognized if the Supreme Court decides to uphold the ban. Virginia is one of many states is expected to take the gay marriage fight to the higher court.