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A federal judge who threw out Alabama's same-sex marriage ban ordered a 14-day stay on her ruling on Sunday, though she said the state wasn't likely to succeed on appeal.
U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade put same-sex nuptials on hold to allow Alabama's attorney general to appeal the decision she issued Friday. But citing many similar failed appeals by other states to the Supreme Court over bans, she said Alabama's would likely fail, too.
"As long as a stay is in place, same-sex couples and their families remain in a state of limbo with respect to adoption, child care and custody, medical decisions, employment and health benefits, future tax implications, inheritance and many other rights associated with marriage. The court concludes that these circumstances] constitute irreparable harm," she wrote. "In its discretion, however, the court recognizes the value of allowing the Eleventh Circuit [Court of Appeals] an opportunity to determine whether a stay is appropriate."
If the appeals court doesn't extend or lift the stay over the next two weeks, Granade said, her stay on same-sex marriages in Alabama will expire on Feb. 9.
Not including Alabama, 36 states, plus the District of Columbia, allow gay men and lesbians to wed. The Supreme Court said in mid-January that it would hear a challenge from four states to same-sex marriage bans, with many experts predicting that the nation's highest court will finally settle the gay marriage question nationwide.