In our opinion: A prudent stay

Published: Saturday, Feb. 15 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

Updated: Wednesday, Feb. 19 2014 12:33 p.m. MST

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, at podium, speaks during a news conference concerning a hearing on Virginia's ban on gay marriage in Norfolk, Va., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014. On Feb. 13, a federal district judge in Virginia struck down the commonwealth’s definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

Steve Helber, Associated Press

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A federal district judge in Virginia on Thursday struck down the commonwealth’s definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. But the judge who did so, Arenda L. Wright Allen, stayed her opinion until it can be reviewed by a panel of judges on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Similarly, last month, U.S. District Judge Terence C. Kern struck down Oklahoma’s constitutional amendment that similarly defined marriage. In that case, too, Kern stayed his decision until it could be reviewed by higher judicial authorities.

These stand in stark contrast to the action of U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby in Utah, who struck down Utah’s law without granting a stay. His actions have put thousands of individuals in Utah in an untenable situation. As Utah and other states appropriately stand up for the many benefits of man-woman marriage, the imprudence of Shelby’s December decision becomes clearer.

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