The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked same-sex marriage in Virginia as it decides whether gay and lesbian couples should be legally allowed to wed nationwide, USA Today reported Wednesday

Though the action is not a ruling on the merits of gay marriage, it just means it will not be implemented during litigation.

The court stayed a decision by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which was found to be unconstitutional in Virginia last month, less than 24 hours before gay and lesbian couples could have applied for marriage.

It's not the first time the Supreme Court has put a hold on gay marriage. A similar order occurred in Utah and Oklahoma, so it was not entirely surprising when it happened in Virginia, Reuters wrote. If the court declines to hear the Virginia appeal, couples would be allowed to get married, but that’s not going to happen since an application to prevent the appeals court ruling from going forward was filed last week.

"The Supreme Court acted wisely in restraining the lower court from implementing a ruling of this magnitude before the high court has a chance to decide the issue," Byron Babione, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents those opposed to same-sex marriage, said in a statement.

After a June 2013 ruling in the United States v. Windsor case, it was determined that federal law would not define marriage as between one man and one woman. Nearly 30 federal and state courts have ruled against bans on same-sex marriage at the state level. Only one ruled in favor of a state ban. Fourteen months after the monumental case, 19 of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage.

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