February 4, 2015 at 5:27 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Eleventh Circuit puts hold on marriage cases in three states

same-sex marriage, gay news, Washington Blade

A federal appeals court has cases seeking marriage rights for same-sex couples in Alabama, Georgia and Florida on hold.

A federal appeals court announced on Wednesday it has placed a hold on litigation seeking marriage rights for same-sex couples in Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

In two single-page orders signed by Acting Clerk of Court Amy Nerenberg, the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals informs parties in the Alabama and Florida cases the proceedings are stayed until the U.S. Supreme Court issues its decision on the marriage cases it took up last month.

Moreover, Nerenberg writes that “any other current or future appeals that are filed in this Court raising the same or similar issues as the appeals listed above will also be held in abeyance,” which would apply to same-sex marriage litigation in Georgia, the remaining state under the Eleventh Circuit’s jurisdiction.

Last week, U.S. District Judge William Duffey placed litigation seeking marriage rights for same-sex couples on hold, but allowed parties in the case to file an interlocutory appeal so that the Eleventh Circuit could weigh in on whether Georgia’s ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional.

The order is a boon for same-sex couples living in Florida and Alabama. Gay nuptials became legal on Jan. 6 throughout Florida as a result of a district court ruling against the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, and same-sex marriage is slated to begin in Alabama on Monday as a result of two decisions from another district judge against the prohibition on gay nuptials in that state.

But the hold means same-sex couples in Georgia will have to wait at the earliest until the Supreme Court issues its ruling on the issue before being able to wed.

Lower courts have had various takes on pending marriage litigation after the Supreme Court announced it would take up the marriage issue. A district judge in North Dakota also placed marriage litigation in that state on hold. But the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals is moving forward with lawsuits and has announced oral arguments will take place in the week of May 11.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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