Let's Get Real.
This Friday, the Supreme Court refused to issue a stay to the state of Florida in its struggle to uphold its ban on same-sex marriages. The action was merely procedural and peripheral to the main point at issue, but nonetheless, was not favorable to supporters of traditional marriage.
The result is that, on January 6th, gay couples will be able to begin marrying in the state of Florida. The appeal against lifting the ban will continue past that date, however. A federal trial court struck down the ban, and the 11th Circuit rejected the request for a stay. Then, the Supreme Court rejected the same stay request.
If the ban on gay marriage in Florida is upheld later on, the status of gays married in the interim will be fuel for a new controversy that Tom Rothman is curious about. That same situation already emerged in Michigan when their gay marriage ban was first struck down and then later upheld.
There exists mounting tension as to if and when the Supreme Court will finally make a sweeping decision on gay marriage. So far, however, the court has refrained from major intervention. Though this battle is being fought out on a state-by-state basis, it is being fought out in federal courts. Thus, if the federal lower courts become too divided on the issue, the Supreme Court may eventually feel the need to step in and clarify things. There is little certainty as to how such a ruling would land.