Appeals Court Clears Way for Same-Sex Marriage in Florida

A federal appeals court has refused to extend a stay on a ruling that struck down Florida's gay marriage ban, in a decision that means tgay couples could begin marrying as early as Jan. 5.

The 11th U.S. Court of Appeals denied a request by the state to extend the stay past Jan. 5, saying it will consider the state's appeal of the ruling that found the ban unconstitutional on an expedited basis.

The ruling from three-judge panel means that barring any action from the entire court or from the  upreme Court, same-sex marriages could begin early next year in the state of Florida.

Because the original ruling came from a federal court, it supercedes the rulings in state courts.

The case came to the 11th Circuit after U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled in August that the Florida gay marriage ban was unconstitutional.

He stayed his decision while the state appealed his ruling, but that stay expires on Jan. 5.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi had asked the appeals court to keep the state’s ban intact while other appeals were completed. Her office said it was reviewing the decision.

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