What the Supreme Court's Move on Gay Marriage Means for Florida
It seems a bit strange that gay couples in Moab, Utah; and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, are now free to marry, while LGBT citizens in gay meccas like South Beach, Wilton Manors, and Key West are still forbidden to even enter a civil union. But the path toward progress doesn't always make sense.
Though the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to turn away multiple gay marriage cases without comment this morning doesn't directly effect Florida, it makes Attorney General Pam Bondi's quest to keep Florida's gay marriage ban in place look like a fool's errand.
While gay marriage supporters hoped the Supreme Court would take up a case involving gay marriage in Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin, and Indiana and lead to gay marriage across every state, its decision to turn away the case lets lower courts' rulings stand. Thus, those states all now have legal gay marriage.
In the past several months, several judges have ruled that Florida's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional, but their decisions have been stayed pending further appeal. AG Bondi has said numerous times she'd ultimately like to see the matter decided by the Supreme Court.
The ACLU of Florida quickly announced it would work to have the stay of a judge's decision that Florida must recognize out-of-state gay marriages lifted in the wake of the ruling.
"We are preparing now to take the necessary steps to ask the court in our case to lift the stay and allow Florida couples who are married out of state or who wish to be married to have those marriages respected by their home state as soon as possible," ACLU of Florida LGBT rights staff attorney Daniel Tilley said in a statement. "Given that the justices of our nation's highest court just sent a strong message that they are content to let equality in marriage happen, we hope that Governor Scott and Attorney General Bondi will give up their dead-end campaign to resist what is now clear historical inevitability by treating same-sex couples who wish to solemnize their love for one another in marriage as legal strangers."
Others are asking Bondi to immediately drop her appeals and allow gay marriage in Florida.
"In light of today's action, we call on Pam Bondi and Rick Scott to immediately announce they will now drop their senseless appeals," read an Equality Florida statement. "There is no reason to wait another day or waste another dollar crusading to keep discrimination in place in Florida."
Bondi has not yet commented on the matter.
Of course, the news comes less than a month before Bondi and Scott are up for re-election. The Republican duo's opponents -- George Sheldon and Charlie Crist -- have both stated they'd like to see decisions that the ban is unconstitutional stand, thus allowing gay marriage in the state.
Incidentally, today is the last day to register to vote for the November 4 elections.