No Florida Weddings Yet, Judge Rules

The same judge who ruled against the state's marriage ban has denied a motion to issue licenses to same-sex couples immediately.

BY Trudy Ring

July 22 2014 1:21 PM ET

Plaintiffs William Lee Jones (left) and Aaron Huntsman

Same-sex couples can’t get married in the Florida Keys quite yet.

Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia, who last week ruled that Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution, Monday rejected a motion to let marriages begin immediately, the Associated Press reports. He had initially said marriages could begin today in Monroe County, which includes the Keys, “but that was blocked by an automatic stay triggered when Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi immediately filed notice that the state will appeal,” the AP notes. Garcia then agreed that his ruling would be on hold while the appeals process played out.

The two Key West men who filed the original marriage suit, Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, had filed the motion seeking immediate marriages. Their attorneys said the state is unlikely to win on appeal and that denial of marriage rights causes harm to gay and lesbian people. “Every day that goes by, plaintiffs and other same-sex couples are being deprived of important constitutional rights and suffering additional serious, ongoing, and irreparable dignitary, legal and economic harms,” the attorneys wrote in their motion.

There are two other marriage equality suits pending in Florida, one in a state court and one in a federal venue.

Meanwhile, a Republican congressman from Florida has announced support for equal marriage rights. “As a matter of my Christian faith, I believe in traditional marriage,” said Rep. David Jolly, who represents the Tampa Bay area, in a statement published by The Washington Post Monday. “But as a matter of Constitutional principle I believe in a form of limited government that protects personal liberty. To me, that means that the sanctity of one’s marriage should be defined by their faith and by their church, not by their state. Accordingly, I believe it is fully appropriate for a state to recognize both traditional marriage as well as same-sex marriage, and therefore I support the recent decision by a Monroe County Circuit Judge.” He is one of eight congressional Republicans on record as endorsing marriage equality.

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