WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts granted a motion to stay a Fourth Circuit decision on Virginia’s anti-LGBT constitutional amendment on Aug. 18.
The stay puts a hold on same-sex marriages in the commonwealth, which could have begun the next day absent Roberts’ decision. The Fourth Circuit had refused to stay its own decision, which struck down the Virginia amendment banning recognition of same-sex marriages.
The decision did not have an immediate impact on the anti-LGBT constitutional amendment in North Carolina, which is included in the Fourth Circuit along with South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia and Maryland. Marriages are already recognized in Maryland.
The Fourth Circuit’s decision was handed down July 28. Hours later, North Carolina Atty. Gen. Roy Cooper announced he would no longer defend the state amendment. The ruling, he said, did not immediately strike down the amendment, but set a precedent North Carolina federal courts would not be able to ignore.
“Our attorneys have vigorously defended North Carolina’s marriage law, which is their job, but today our marriage law will almost surely be overturned as well,” Cooper said at the time. “Simply put, it’s time to stop making arguments we will lose and instead move forward knowing that the ultimate resolution will likely come from the U.S. Supreme Court.”
On Aug. 18, Raleigh news station WRAL reported on Twitter an initial suspicion that North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis might intervene in the four federal cases challenging the North Carolina amendment. The station later clarified, with Tillis saying he had yet to consult with state Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger. Both men were supporters of the amendment when it went on the ballot in May 2012. Voters in that election approved it 61 percent to 39 percent.
The Supreme Court has issued marriage equality stays in every request it has received — two requests from Utah — since it struck down portions of the Defense of Marriage Act last year.
The Fayetteville, Ark., City Council passed an LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance after 3 a.m. on Aug. 18, after nearly 10 hours of debate. The city becomes the first to pass such an ordinance in Arkansas.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council rejected by an 8-4 vote an LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance on Aug. 14. The measure would have offered employment, housing and other protections to individuals in the City of Baton Rouge and Parish of East Baton Rouge.
Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro and niece of Fidel Castro, broke with tradition and cast a no vote on a workers’ rights bill she felt didn’t go far enough to protect transgender people or those living with HIV. It is the first time the Associated Press said a no vote had been cast in Cuba’s 612-seat National Assembly, which meets only twice a year and has approved all other measures before it unanimously.
Twenty-seven men were arrested in an Aug. 9 bathhouse raid in Beirut, Lebanon, for alleged crimes including “unnatural sex” and “public indecency.”
Israeli officials have adopted new rules allowing Jews to immigrate to Israel with their non-Jewish same-sex spouses, bringing treatment of LGBT couples in line with opposite-sex couples.