(AP) - Less than a day before same-sex couples could begin getting married in Virginia, the Supreme Court in Washington has placed a hold on those marriages.
The court on Wednesday granted a request from a county clerk in northern Virginia to block same-sex marriages across the state while the issue is being appealed to the Supreme Court. The court provided no explanation for its order.
Without court intervention, same-sex couples would have been allowed to wed as of Thursday.
In January, the justices issued an order putting same-sex unions on hold in Utah while the federal appeals court in Denver was hearing the case. That court upheld the decision striking down Utah's gay marriage ban, but delayed its decision from taking effect pending appeal to the Supreme Court.
Most other federal court decisions in favor of same-sex marriage also have been put on hold.?
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring remarked on the Supreme Court's decision via social media Wednesday afternoon, saying that the Commonwealth "will keep fighting for [the Supreme Court of the United States] to take the case ASAP."
"At every step we have expedited this case and asked [the Supreme Court of the United States] to take it up as soon as possible because Virginia families are waiting," Herring said on his Twitter account.
President of People of Faith for Equality in Virginia Rev. Robin Gorsline, issued a statement moments after the decision came down in Washington.
"We are disappointed that the many thousands of gay and lesbian couples in Virginia who seek legal recognition of their love will not yet have their day, but we know that day is coming. We are determined to carry on our work to help everyone in Virginia be ready for it. It is only a delay not an end."
The Family Foundation also commented on the stay of same-sex marriages in Virginia.
"We are pleased that for the sake of Virginia's families and all involved that the Supreme Court showed consistency and granted a stay just as it has in other similar cases. Even Attorney General Herring, who supports redefining marriage, asked for a stay, understanding that this issue is likely to be dealt with by the Supreme Court in the very near future. The debate over marriage should be allowed to continue in the public square, in the legislature and at the ballot box, and not be imposed by the courts. Let's have a civil, reasonable debate over marriage and the government's involvement in marriage. It would be unfortunately if that debate was cut off by a handful of judges."Copyright 2014 ABC News