John M. Becker

BREAKING: SCOTUS Declines to Stop Florida Marriages

Filed By John M. Becker | December 19, 2014 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Clarence Thomas, Florida, gay marriage, marriage equality, same-sex marriage, SCOTUS, Supreme Court

florida-satellite-view.jpgThis just in: the U.S. Supreme Court has just denied Florida's request for a stay of a federal district court ruling striking down the state's marriage discrimination amendment.

Justice Clarence Thomas, who handles such requests from the 11th Circuit, referred the matter to the full Court. Thomas and Scalia said they would have granted the stay, but a majority of their colleagues did not agree.

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinckle handed down the ruling on August 21, but temporarily stayed it until the end of the day on January 5, 2015. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi sought to extend the stay while the state appeals, but the 11th Circuit refused to grant that request earlier this month.

Now that the Supreme Court has done the same, same-sex couples in Florida should be able to marry and have their out-of-state marriages recognized beginning on January 6, 2015.

Today's move by the Court is additionally significant because, unlike other instances where the Supreme Court has denied a state's request to stop same-sex marriages (Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina), the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has not yet ruled in favor of marriage equality, meaning that there is no binding precedent at the appellate level.

Because of this, many thought that the Court would grant Florida's stay request. Its decision not to do so sends a powerful signal about how the Court may rule the next time the question of nationwide marriage equality comes before it.

The order is after the break, via Equality Case Files.

14A650 Florida Stay Denied by Equality Case Files

UPDATE: Pam Bondi responds.

Via the Washington Blade:

In a statement, Bondi said Florida will acquiesce to the Supreme Court's decision to allow the stay to expire after Jan. 5 as initially ordered by the district court. "Tonight, the United States Supreme Court denied the State's request for a stay in the case before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals," Bondi said. "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."

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