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Appeals Court Clears Way for Same-Sex Marriage in Alabama

The ruling means that same-sex marriages could begin as soon as next week.

Same-sex marriages could begin as soon as next week in Alabama after a federal appeals court Tuesday decided not to suspend an earlier ruling that struck down the state's gay marriage ban. The state had asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to put a federal judge's ruling on hold while the Supreme Court is expected to take up four similar same-sex marriage cases from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee — and definitively settle the issue nationwide.

In a short, unsigned order, the 11th Circuit court denied the state's appeal with no explanation or noted dissent. The state could still ask the Supreme Court to issue a stay. "I am disappointed in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court’s decision not to stay the federal district court’s ruling," Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said in a statement. "The confusion that has been created by the District Court’s ruling could linger for months until the U.S. Supreme Court resolves this issue once and for all." The federal judge in Mobile had put a self-imposed hold on her order until Monday, clearing the way for same-sex marriages to start.


— Pete Williams