Immediately following the Supreme Court's action this week in other federal jurisdictions, the ACLU of Florida asked U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle to end Florida’s same-sex marriage ban.
The motion sent to the federal judge calls for the stay to be lifted on same-sex marriages in Florida because the Supreme Court opted not to hear any same-sex marriage appeals from five different states. None of those cases, though, come from circuits that oversee Florida. Lawyers argued the precendent should apply anyway.
“If the Supreme Court merely wanted to delay review until a circuit split arose, it could have simple 'held' the petitions and not taken any action on them until it was prepared to grant certiorari in a case raising this issue,” reads the motion. “Instead, the Supreme Court denied review outright in all of the cases before it, sending a strong signal that any remaining doubt about the Supreme Court’s ultimate resolution of the legal issue does not justify continuing to deny recognition of same-sex couples’ valid out-of-state marriages.”
Attorney General Pam Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott, who is in a reelection fight with pro-marriage Democrat Charlie Crist, have vowed to continue the fight against marriage equality in Florida.
“The attorney general is defending the constitution, which is her duty,” Scott told Tampa Bay Times via an email sent by spokesman John Tupps. “This is a matter that will be decided by the courts. Whatever the eventual outcome is from the courts, Florida will of course abide with it.”
Judge Hinkle decided in August that the ban on both recognizing and performing same-sex marriages in Florida are unconstitutional. Bondi won a stay on the ruling.
“The governor could end this today if he wanted to,” said Howard Simon, the executive director for the ACLU of Florida, in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times. “Don’t put all this on Bondi. It’s time the governor recognizes the message that the U.S. Supreme Court has sent. It’s over."
Meanwhile, a state agency, the Florida Department of Health, has for the first time legally recognized a married same-sex couple, reports the Associated Press.
A death certificate for Carol Goldwasser listed Fort Myers resident Arlene Goldberg as her surviving spouse. The couple had been together for 47 years but weren't recognized by Florida law while Goldwasser was alive.