Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is appealing a ruling earlier this year that invalidated the state’s same-sex marriage bans.
In August, a federal judge ruled Florida’s same-sex marriage prohibitions are unconstitutional, and the case now heads to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
According to ACLU spokesman Baylor Johnson, even though the federal ban known as The Defense of Marriage Act—or DOMA—was struck down last year, state laws can get in the way of same-sex couples applying for federal benefits.
“In states where the state doesn’t recognize a marriage between people of the same sex,” Johnson says, “there are still federal benefits and federal issues that these families are left in limbo about.”
This is because some federal agencies look to the state of residence to determine eligibility for benefits. It can be a major problem for couples living in a state that doesn’t recognize an out of state marriage license.
The lower court ruling that invalidated Florida’s ban came with a stay that runs out January 5 next year. If the appeals court does not extend the stay, marriages could go forward as early as January 6.