Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), is calling on the Supreme Court to stay an appeals court ruling striking down Virginia's ban on gay marriage.

Michelle B. McQuigg, clerk of Prince William County's Circuit Court, turned to the Supreme Court after a 3-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond denied her request to stay its ruling. Chief Justice John Roberts has set a Monday, August 18 deadline to respond to McQuigg's request.

(Related: Federal appeals court denies stay in Virginia gay marriage case.)

Without the Supreme Court's intervention, gay and lesbian couples could start marrying as early as Thursday. The decision would also affect similar bans in West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

“We urge the Supreme Court to grant Prince William County Clerk Michèle McQuigg's request for a stay of the decision in Bostic v. Schaefer while the matter is appealed,” Brown said. “The 4th Circuit has wrongly rejected the request for a stay, and now it lies with the Justices in Washington to ensure that this case can be appealed in an orderly and reasonable fashion without the spectacle of premature same-sex ‘marriages’ filling the news as an affront to the people of Virginia who voted overwhelmingly to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. As the Court stayed a similar decision in the case coming out of Utah, we urge them to find the same good reasons for staying the present decision, maintaining the dignity and credibility of the judicial process and giving the people of Virginia the respect they deserve to defend their vote for marriage before our highest court.”