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Gay Marriage Begins in Florida Jan. 6 as U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Bondi’s Plea For Stay

| December 20, 2014

No kidding.

No kidding.

It’s no longer a maybe, an if or a pending: clerks of court in Florida must begin issuing gay-marriage licenses on Jan. 6 as the U.S. Supreme Court Friday evening denied Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s request that a stay on the matter be extended.

The August 21 federal court ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle striking down the marriage ban was the result of two cases — one brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida on behalf of eight couples, a Fort Myers widow, and SAVE, South Florida’s largest LGBT rights organization; the other by Jacksonville attorneys William Sheppard and Sam Jacobson on behalf of two couples. A temporary stay was placed on that ruling.

On November 5th, Judge Hinkle issued an order stating that the stay would be lifted at the end of the day on Jan. 5. The state asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, where the appeal of the decision is pending, to extend the stay for the duration of the appeal. When the 11th Circuit denied that request, Florida’s attorney general filed an application for a stay extension at the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The application for stay presented to Justice [Clarence] Thomas and by him referred to the Court is denied,” the high court’s order read. “Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas would grant the application.” (Thomas and Scalia are among the court’s justices who oppose gay marriage.)

“Tonight,” Bondi said in a statement, “the United States Supreme Court denied the State’s request for a stay in the case before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Regardless of the ruling, it has always been our goal to have uniformity throughout Florida until the final resolution of the numerous challenges to the voter-approved constitutional amendment on marriage. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court has now spoken, and the stay will end on Jan. 5.” Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott oppose marriage equality, citing Florida’s same-sex marriage ban, which was reinforced by 62 percent of voters in a 2008 referendum, though the ban was already on Florida’s statutory books.

Marriage equality advocates celebrated Friday.

“This is a thrilling day for all Florida families. As we explained to the Court, every day that the ban remains in place, couples are suffering real harms. We are grateful that the Court recognized that, and that as a result, those days are finally coming to an end,” ACLU of Florida LGBT rights staff attorney Daniel Tilley said. “Now that the last-ditch efforts of Governor Scott and Pam Bondi to delay implementation of Judge Hinkle’s ruling have failed, we turn our focus to marriage equality coming to Florida. The nation’s highest court has now given its blessing to marriage going forward in Florida. Those who were waiting for the Supreme Court to weigh in have gotten exactly what they asked for. We expect public officials in all of Florida’s 67 counties to understand the significance of this development and look forward to full implementation of Judge Hinkle’s decision across our state.”

“We are thrilled the U.S. Supreme Court has denied the State’s request to delay marriages in Florida,” said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida, the state’s largest advocacy organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Floridians. “Every day of delay is another day of harm experienced by thousands of loving and committed same-sex couples in Florida. It’s time to break out the wedding bells! We look forward to January 6th being a special day — Florida is ready for the freedom to marry.”

Despite the Supreme Court’s order, which would appear top leave no room for ambiguity, there is still some question as to whether every clerk of court in the state’s 67 counties will comply with the ruling. ” The law firm representing the clerks’ association has warned them they could be in violation of Florida law if they issue same-sex marriage licenses before the U.S. Supreme Court settles the issue,” the Miami Herald reports.

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16 Responses for “Gay Marriage Begins in Florida Jan. 6 as U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Bondi’s Plea For Stay”

  1. Nancy N says:

    Aww, don’t get your tinsel in a tangle, Pam.

  2. Ron R. says:

    I guess Bondi will have to find another right-wing cause on which to fixate.

    • Lancer says:

      Yep…those “right wing concepts” like:

      Balancing a budget
      Paying down debt
      National Defense
      Reducing government size
      Not having bills passed on lies and fraud.

      …another Gruber Democrat speaks!!

  3. mjmarx says:

    “This is a thrilling day for all Florida families.”

    The use of “all” implies 100% of the state is in agreement with him. This guy is an attorney? How would that statement hold up in a court of law? I don’t care which side of the fence you’re on with this topic or any other topic for that matter, saying “all” is a weak attempt at making the other side feel like they’re in the minority to perhaps try and sway their opinion their way. This person doesn’t know me, nor did they ask my stance on it, so they shouldn’t be speaking on my behalf.

  4. boomer says:


    • Nancy N says:

      It’s also not normal to be that fixated on what other people may or may not be doing in the privacy of their bedrooms and think you should have the right to control it.

      Keep your opinions in your own bedroom.

      (oh and you do know that some straight people do that, right? so I guess we should outlaw straight marriage too….)

  5. James D says:

    People, GIVE IT UP! Fair is fair, equality is equality and the highest court in the land has spoken…..

  6. Gia says:

    They are the disgrace of America

  7. SW says:

    THX for wasting so much time /energy/resources/$$, and alienating our alternative lifestyle residents in FL PAM . You should resign!

  8. Dave says:

    gross and sick!!!!!!!

  9. So good to see! There is no good reason to deny that we must keep evolving until an adult, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, monogamy or polyamory, race, or religion is free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage (and any of those without the others) with any and all consenting adults. Polyamory, polygamy, open relationships are not for everyone, but they are for some. The limited same-gender freedom to marry is a great and historic step, but is NOT full marriage equality, because equality “just for some” is not equality. Let’s stand up for EVERY ADULT’S right to marry the person(s) they love. Get on the right side of history!

  10. Rachel says:

    YEAH! It’s about time! As a heterosexual woman who has been married for 35 years, I just can’t understand the vitriol and bizarre arguments against gay marriage. Same sex marriage is certainly NO threat to my marriage or anyone else’s! Opponents of SSM have no legitimate argument except the tired old religious one and guess what? They don’t own marriage, let it be a civil thing not a crackpot Christian thing!

  11. Tracey M says:

    The only problem that I have with this, is very simple – Florida’s same-sex marriage ban, which was reinforced by 62 percent of voters in a 2008 referendum, though the ban was already on Florida’s statutory books. Doesn’t this bother anyone that a majority of the voters rejected this and a Federal Court throws out what the majority of the people want?? Forget about personal opinions, this is dangerous to have the voters rights trampled on.

  12. Lancer says:

    Get your lawyers ready…

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