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The U.S. Supreme Court has stayed the Fourth Circuit's decision in the Virginia gay marriage case, which means licenses won't be handed out to same-sex couples tomorrow. Anyone surprised by this? Thought so.

And despite a national trend toward increased support for same-sex marriage, at least one state is still staunchly opposed. Any guesses?

And finally, who wants to see a Supreme Court justice dump a bucket of ice water on his or her noggin? (Answer: We all do!)

Same-sex marriage: It's the hottest legal topic out there, one that despite a bit of issue fatigue, we end up covering every single day because there is some fascinating legal development at hand.

What's the latest on the many gay marriage appeals? After the Fourth Circuit declined to issue a stay in the Bostic case, where that court ruled against Virginia's gay marriage ban, state officials reached out to the U.S. Supreme Court for some timely intervention -- if no stay is issued, then gay marriage becomes legal in Virginia on Thursday.

Meantime, oral arguments in the Sixth Circuit, and a decision in a state court in one of that circuit's states, have drawn renewed attention to a decades-old order in which the Court already decided the gay marriage debate. But is it still valid?

We jokingly handicapped the race a few weeks ago, but man, it's like these states really are racing to be the first in line on the first day of proceedings at First Street.

As predicted, the first state to get an appeals court judgment against its ban, Utah, has filed its petition for certiorari. It was quickly joined by its fellow Tenth Circuit-er, Oklahoma, and by Virginia, which recently had its ban wiped out by the Fourth Circuit.

Here's how the three states shake out:

What a week! And we were worried that we'd be topic dry once the Supreme Court's summer session hit.

As is our usual Friday bit, we're going to do a roundup of Supreme Court-related headlines. This time, Utah is seeking a stay on "interim" marriages (same-sex couples married before the Supreme Court's grant of a stay), the Tenth Circuit rules against Oklahoma's ban, and Florida gets its first pro-gay marriage opinion.

And then there's California: foie gras and the death penalty.

Gay marriage is coming to the Supreme Court, sooner rather than later. And for the dozens of cases proceeding nationwide, expending resources to litigate on a state-by-state basis, the answer can't come soon enough.

How soon are we talking? Could it happen this year? And which state(s) will be the ones to get there? Utah will obviously be the first to file certiorari, as we noted last week, but will the court take the first case in the cert. pool?

Another year, another child abduction case in the Supreme Court.

This time, the issue is equitable tolling, or to put it in non-legal terms, whether a parent should benefit by hiding a kid away for more than the one-year period for presumptive return of the child.

Diana Montoya Alvarez absconded with her child, first to a battered women's shelter (there was a non-dispositive and disputed issue of abuse), then to France, then to the United States. Manual Lozano, the father, was unable to locate the child to initiate legal proceedings and seek a return until well after a year had passed.

Unless you have been spelunking for the past few months, you know that there is something pretty major going on in Utah right now.

A federal district court invalidated the state's ban on gay marriage and refused to stay the decision until the Tenth Circuit could hear the case. The Circuit Court also denied a stay, leading to an estimated 1,000 gay marriages being performed in the state before the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in and stayed the lower court's decision pending the Tenth Circuit's expedited appeal.

Judicial restraint. It's a concept that makes us all feel warm and fuzzy. Judges don't go too far, or reach unnecessary conclusions in a case, because that's the way it should be, right? Repeat after me: judicial activism is bad. Narrow holdings are good.

Except, imagine where marriage equality would be if the Court just said what it seemed to want to say. (The parties would certainly save on filing fees.)

When Lawrence v. Texas was decided, and laws criminalizing consensual sodomy were found to be unconstitutional, Justice Scalia famously warned that bigamy, incest, bestiality, and gay marriage would follow. In Windsor, he warned that the Court's opinion, striking down the definition of marriage found in the federal Defense of Marriage Act, would lead to the demise of state laws prohibiting gay marriage.

"As the State Supreme Court read [the Indian Child Welfare Act], a biological Indian father could abandon his child in utero and refuse any support for the birth mother--perhaps contributing to the mother's decision to put the child up for adoption -- and then could play his ICWA trump card at the eleventh hour to override the mother's decision and the child's best interests. If this were possible, many prospective adoptive parents would surely pause before adopting any child who might possibly qualify as an Indian under the ICWA."

Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl's holding was unambiguous. Justice Alito, writing for the majority, held that the Indian Child Welfare Act did not apply to situations where the biological parent had waived his rights pre-birth, and had never taken responsibility before contesting the adoption. The Court vacated the South Carolina Supreme Court's decision mandating a return of Baby Veronica to Dusten Brown, the biological father contesting the adoption.

There were no winners in this week’s Adoptive Couple decision. On one side, you have a biological father, who despite not taking responsibility initially, has fought for the right to raise his then four-month, now four-year-old child, and has done so since the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in his favor, citing the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.

On the other side, you have the adoptive couple, which supported the biological mother, emotionally and financially, throughout her pregnancy and delivery. They also raised the child initially, and are ready, willing, and eager to take responsibility for the young girl.

In between, you have the dictionary and the plain text of the relevant statutes, which together, point directly in the adoptive parents’ favor.