Late Thursday, January 29, U.S. District Court Judge William S. Duffey, Jr. released an order in Lambda Legal’s case seeking the freedom to marry in Georgia, Inniss v. Aderhold. In the order, Judge Duffey granted, in part, a motion to stay the proceedings in the case. But he also certified an earlier order in the case – his January 8 order denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss the case – for immediate appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
Judge Duffey did not rule on the constitutionality of Georgia’s marriage ban, instead indicating that the 11th Circuit should review the case before he issues an order. Already before the 11th Circuit are marriage cases from Florida and Alabama, with the Florida case fully briefed. No oral argument has been scheduled.
Judge Duffey noted that the Eleventh Circuit Court already has before it a federal judge’s decision nullifying Florida’s ban, and he pointed out that he has taken a different approach from the Florida decision and suggested that it would be proper for the Eleventh Circuit Court to have those differences before it, if it is willing to let Georgia appeal.
The plaintiffs and defendants now have ten days to appeal the January 8 order to the 11th Circuit, which can either accept or reject the appeal. Lambda Legal has said they will be filing an appeal within a few days.
We know this order is a bit confusing – and that Georgians across the state are excited about the campaign to win marriage in the Peach State. That’s why Georgia Equality and Lambda Legal are hosting a Marriage Town Hall on February 4.