North Carolina has asked a federal
judge to hold off consideration of a case challenging the state's ban
on gay marriage until an appeals court rules on a similar case in
The Cleveland, Ohio-based United Church
of Christ (UCC) filed the lawsuit in March.
The plaintiffs, which also include
several gay and lesbian couples who wish to marry, argue that North
Carolina's 2012 voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting
marriage to heterosexual couples violates the First Amendment of the
U.S. Constitution. It is the first of the nearly 6 dozen marriage
equality cases filed nationwide to bring First Amendment religious
“A stay of all proceedings pending
the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit's opinion
in Bostic v. Schaefer is appropriate in lieu of the requested
injunction,” the state argued in a filing Tuesday. “In that
case, the Fourth Circuit is considering arguments that are similar to
A three judge panel of the U.S. Fourth
Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond heard arguments in Bostic v.
Schaefer on May 13.
The Fourth Circuit holds appellate
jurisdiction over district courts in Virginia and North Carolina.
North Carolina filed its request on the
same day that a federal judge put a similar case challenging West
Virginia's ban on hold pending the outcome of Bostic.
puts hold on case challenging West Virginia's gay marriage ban.)
In response to plaintiffs' request for
the court to rule on the matter, North Carolina officials argued that
“the motion for preliminary injunction should be denied because the
injunction sought by Plaintiffs will significantly alter the status
According to gay weekly Q
Notes, the court is expected to respond by June 23.