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A federal appeals court has denied a request to delay its ruling striking down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban, meaning same-sex couples could begin marrying in the state next week. The clerk who requested the stay from the appeals court will ask the Supreme Court to stay the ruling, her attorney said.

Wednesday's ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., means that unless the Supreme Court intervenes, the state also would need to start recognizing same-sex marriages from out of state by next Wednesday.

Prince William County Circuit Court Clerk Michèle McQuigg had asked the court to stay the ruling while the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether to review Bostic v. Schaefer.

JULY 28: Appeals panel strikes down Virginia gay marriage ban
JULY 18: Supreme Court keeps Utah same-sex marriages on ice

The appeals court's order did not explain why it denied the northern Virginia clerk's request.

While clerks in other states within the 4th Circuit — West Virginia and the Carolinas — technically wouldn't have to begin issuing licenses as well, federal courts in the state would probably make them if they don't, said Nancy Leong, a law professor at the University of Denver. Maryland, another state in the circuit, already allows same-sex marriages.

The Virginia lawsuit was filed by Timothy Bostic and Tony London of Norfolk, Va., who were denied a marriage license, and Carol Schall and Mary Townley of Chesterfield County, Va. The women were married in California and wanted their marriage recognized in Virginia, where they are raising a 16-year-old daughter.

Tony London and Tim Bostic are thrilled with the federal appeal court's decision in refusing to delay it's ruling striking down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban, their attorney Bob Ruloff said.

However, the couple said they will not get married next week in Virginia. The couple has decided to wait until the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled definitively on the legality of gay marriage.

The couple remains hopeful their case will be chosen by the high court out of the dozens of others working their way through other states, Ruloff said.

In a statement, Byron Babione, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing McQuigg in the case, said, "The people of Virginia and every other state should continue to be free to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman in their laws if they choose to do so. Because the 4th Circuit chose not to place a hold on its decision as other courts — including the U.S. Supreme Court — have done in nearly identical cases, we intend to ask the high court to do so in this case before the 4th Circuit's mandate goes into effect. We trust the Supreme Court will grant our request in order to ensure an orderly and dignified resolution of this important constitutional question."

After the ruling, James Parrish, the executive director of Equality Virginia, issued a statement, "There is no doubt that Virginia is ready for the freedom to marry. ...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. Marriage validates the commitment couples make to one another and, if the Supreme Court doesn't intervene, achieving marriage equality in Virginia will be a tremendous step forward."

Late last month, the court became the second one this summer to strike down a state ban against same-sex marriage, making it more likely that the Supreme Court will settle the issue as early as next year.

The three-judge panel ruled 2-1 that gay men and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry that is paramount to state marriage laws. The ruling affirmed a district judge's decision rendered in February.

Last week, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring asked the Supreme Court to review the district and appeals courts' decisions striking down the Commonwealth's same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional.

According to the Office of the Attorney General, "Herring is the first state attorney general to successfully argue in court at the district and appellate levels that a state marriage ban is unconstitutional, and the first who supports marriage equality to petition the Supreme Court for review."

Contributing: Richard Wolf, USA TODAY; WVEC-TV, Hampton-Norfolk, Va.; The Associated Press

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