U.S. Eleventh Circuit - The FindLaw 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

With 11th Cir.'s Denial, Gay Marriage to Start in Fla. on Jan. 5

Add another state to the list of those that allow same-sex marriages -- unless the U.S. Supreme Court steps in first, that is.

On Wednesday, the Eleventh Circuit denied Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's request to continue blocking same-sex marriages in the state of Florida, which means same-sex couples can start sending out save-the-dates for any time after January 5, 2015. However, there are a couple of (admittedly unlikely) ways in which the High Court could step in and prevent that from happening.

Very Unlikely: SCOTUS Rules Against Gay Marriage

We, like many Court-watchers, were all but certain that the Court would take up gay marriage this term. And then, the Court punted. However, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted that were a circuit split to happen, the Court might be forced to act.

A circuit split happened. A cert. grant in the Sixth Circuit cases seems certain now, and a decision could still happen this term.

Is there any way the Court rules against gay marriage? Almost certainly not. You'd imagine the four liberal justices are a lock for a pro-equality holding. And the swing vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy, wrote Windsor and has a clear record as a friend to the gay rights movement.

Also Unlikely: A SCOTUS Stay in the Interim

What about a stay pending appeal? That was the normal procedure before the Supreme Court punted on a bundle of same-sex marriage cases earlier in the term, but since then, the Court hasn't been granting stays, nor have intermediate appellate courts.

The only reason why a stay would make sense is if the Court is planning on taking the Sixth Circuit case up and wants to hold off any drastic changes in the law until that case is resolved. If that was a concern, however, you'd imagine that the Court would have granted stays to the handful of states (such as Idaho) that have requested them in recent months.

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