A Virginia county clerk on Friday asked a federal appeals court to stay its ruling striking down the state's ban on gay marriage as the case is appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond handed down its ruling on Monday and it was to take effect 21 days later.

(Related: Appeals court strikes down Virginia's gay marriage ban.)

Michelle B. McQuigg, clerk of Prince William County's Circuit Court, said in filing for the delay that it would “ensure the orderly resolution of the important constitutional question presented in this case while avoiding uncertainty for the public and irreparable injury to the commonwealth.”

McQuigg is represented by the Christian conservative Alliance Defending Freedom, whose lawyers said in a statement that Virginians are “free to preserve that understanding of marriage in their laws.”

After its marriage ban was declared unconstitutional by a federal appeals court in June, Utah said it would appeal the case to the Supreme Court.