US: Virginia officials prepare for same-sex marriages to begin

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Officials in the US state of Virginia are preparing for same-sex marriages to begin on Thursday, as long as the US Supreme Court does not intervene.

According to reports, officials have drafted a revised marriage licence form in order to allow courthouse clerks to marry couples as soon as they open. The new forms would ask the name and gender of each spouse, rather than containing boxes for ‘bride and groom’.

Attorneys representing two same-sex couples in Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban case had until Monday evening to respond to a request to stay the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts requested the response after attorneys representing a Virginia county clerk asked the Supreme Court to stay the July decision to strike down the ban.

The request came after the appeals court refused to stay the ruling while an appeal was made to the high court.

Should Roberts reject to stay the decision, same-sex marriage would become legal in Virginia on Thursday morning.

The Supreme Court, however, has granted stays in the past in two similar cases.

A Virginia federal appeals court struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban in late July. 

The Attorney General of Virginia asked the US Supreme Court to review that ruling on 9 August.