Federal appeals court declines to stay Alabama same-sex marriage ruling

Federal appeals court declines to stay Alabama same-sex marriage ruling

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website] on Wednesday declined to further stay a lower court’s ruling that overturned Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage. Last month a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Alabama [official website] struck down [JURIST report] the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment and the Alabama Marriage Protection Act [text] but placed a two-week hold [JURIST report] on that. That stay is set to expire February 9, and the appeals court ruling means that same-sex marriages could begin in Alabama as early as Monday. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange [official website] expressed disappointment [press release] with the result and has asked the US Supreme Court [application, PDF] to extend the stay.

Same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] continues to be one of the most polarizing legal topics in the US today. The Supreme Court agreed last month to rule [JURIST report] on same-sex marriage, granting certiorari [order list, PDF] in four cases. The court consolidated appeals from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee after the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld bans [JURIST report] in those states. The court granted one hour and 90 minutes for oral arguments, which will likely be held in April with a decision expected in June. The four consolidated cases are Obergefell v. Hodges, Tanco v. Haslam, DeBoer v. Snyder and Bourke v. Beshear [dockets].