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Marriage Equality

WATCH: Marriage Begins in Florida, But Will It Stick?

WATCH: Marriage Begins in Florida, But Will It Stick?


Although marriage starts this week in Florida, opponents aren't yet out of tricks to stop couples from being wed.

Beginning at 2 p.m. local time today, Miami-Dade County will begin issuing the first same-sex mariage licenses in Florida, making the state the 36th with the freedom to marry -- but it might not stay that way.

Multiple marriage lawsuits continue to work their way through state and federal courts, and antigay activists continue to file suits and adjust policies in an attempt to thwart same-sex couples hoping to tie the knot.

The federal cases that resulted in the suspension of Florida's marriage ban aren't completely resolved yet. The cases, originally known as Brenner v. Scott and Grimsley v. Scott, are currently pending before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals under the collective name Brenner v. Armstrong.

The next steps for the cases remain murky. There's currently no schedule for a hearing or deadline for a ruling. If the 11th Circuit reverses the lower court's ruling, marriage equality could theoretically be suspended in Florida. But that's somewhat unlikely, since the 11th Circuit has already allowed marriages to begin, signalling that at the very least the judges don't think a reversal of the lower court's pro-equality decision is a certainty.

In addition, more than a dozen counties have suspended courthouse weddings altogether, preventing any couples from completing the marriage process without seeking a separate officiant.

And the antigay law firm Liberty Counsel is attempting to inject itself into the proceedings as well. The Orlando-based group has sued several state officials simply for expressing their plans to encourage gay and lesbian couples to marry. Also, Liberty Counsel lawyers have promised to defend any clerk who refuses to issue licenses to Florida same-sex couples.

The start of marriage equality in Florida is a huge milestone and a promising step forward. But it's far from the final skirmish in the fight for equal rights.

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Matt Baume