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Virginia prepares for possibility of gay marriage

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 20, 2014 at 3:53 am •  Published: August 20, 2014

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Virginia officials are preparing for the possibility that same-sex couples will be able to wed in the state Thursday by drafting a revised marriage license form for courthouse clerks to use as soon as they open their doors.

The state's ban on same-sex marriages was struck down by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which decided not to delay its ruling while it is appealed. Unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes, same-sex marriages will be legal beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday.

The revised license forms "would reflect the constitutional right of same-sex couples to legally marry in Virginia by asking for the name and gender of each spouse, whereas before, the form required a bride and groom because that was all the Commonwealth could legally recognize," Michael Kelly, a spokesman for the Virginia Attorney General's Office, said in an email to The Associated Press.

The request for a delay will either be considered by Chief Justice John Roberts or the full court. The court has twice granted delays in related cases.

While they wait on a decision, some clerks in urban areas are already preparing for an influx of marriage license applicants.

In northern Virginia, Arlington's circuit court has prepared an overflow room.

In Richmond, deputy clerks will be brought in to assist that city's marriage-license desk in anticipation of a large crowd.

Earlier this year, the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimated that between 5,487 and 7,122 same-sex Virginia couples would get married within three years of a change in law. That's based on 2010 Census figures showing Virginia had 14,243 same-sex couples and past experiences with Massachusetts after gay marriage was legalized there.

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