Virginia's attorney general lost his bid to delay a lower court ruling that struck down the state's anti-sodomy law while the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to hear his appeal.
Chief Justice John Roberts on Friday denied the request for a stay from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
In March, a divided three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond declared Virginia's law against oral and anal sex unconstitutional.
Cuccinelli appealed the ruling in June, and later asked the justices to issue the stay.
His request was opposed by attorneys for a man who was convicted under Virginia's so-called crimes against nature law.
In 2005, a judge in Colonial Heights convicted William Scott MacDonald, then 47, of criminal solicitation for allegedly demanding oral sex from a 17-year-old girl. His conviction occurred two years after the landmark Lawrence v. Texas decision effectively struck down anti-sodomy laws in that state and several others.
In his appeal, Cuccinelli argues that the Texas ruling did not apply to sex acts between adults and minors. MacDonald's lawyers dispute that analysis.
The federal appeals court said that while the Supreme Court did not expressly carve out an exception for minors, it left open the possibility of state legislatures doing so.