RICHMOND, Va. -

A federal appeals court has denied a request to delay its ruling striking down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban.

A panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond on Wednesday denied the request by a county court clerk in northern Virginia to stay the decision while it is appealed to the Supreme Court.

That means that without the U.S. Supreme Court intervening, same-sex couples could begin marrying and have their out-of-state marriages recognized by next Wednesday.

Last month, the court ruled that Virginia's gay marriage ban approved by voters in 2006 is unconstitutional.

Representatives for the defendants have no immediately commented.