Florida Hub




Supreme Court Denies Stay Request in Florida Gay Marriage Case, Marriage Equality Set to Begin January 5

Scotus

In a one page order released Friday afternoon, the Supreme Court of the United States denied Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's request for an emergency stay on Judge Robert Hinkle's August ruling overturning the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

The order indicates that Justices Scalia and Thomas would have granted the stay request.

Earlier this month, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to extend Judge Hinkle's temporary stay on his ruling. With the Supreme Court now choosing not intervene in Florida, gay couples in the state are expected to be able to wed at the end of the day on January 5.

BondiBondi has released a statement saying:

“Tonight, 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 January 5.”

Chris Johnson with the Washington Blade writes on the importance of SCOTUS denying the stay request:

The refusal from the Supreme Court to stay same-sex marriages in Florida is noteworthy because although justices have denied similar requests to halt same-sex marriages in Alaska, Idaho, South Carolina and Kansas, they’ve never done so before in a state where a federal appeals court has yet to rule on the issue. The decision with regard to Florida could be a sign the Supreme Court is ready to rule in favor of nationwide marriage equality no matter what the federal appeals courts decide in the interim.

Here's the order, via Equality Case Files:


Florida Court Clerks Association Warns Clerks Who Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses May Face Criminal Charges

Florida

Florida’s State Court Clerks Association has begun sending out notices to clerks throughout the state informing them that they may face legal action if they issue marriage licenses to same sex couples this upcoming January.

“Florida’s Court Clerks & Comptrollers’ duty is to act in accordance with Florida law,” warned the association in a statement. “Florida Statutes are unique in regard to prohibiting the issuance of a marriage license to a couple that is not a man and a woman, in that it provides that a Clerk who violates this prohibition is guilty of a criminal act and subject to a fine and/or imprisonment.”

BondiCurrently Florida’s ban on same sex marriage is in a state of legal limbo. Earlier this year U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle found that Florida’s ban was unconstitutional and moved to stay his decision until January 5th of 2015. Pam Bondi, Florida’s Attorney General, unsuccessfully appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to have the stay extended past its current January expiration, and has since requested an extension from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

It’s expected that gay couples throughout Florida will apply for marriage licenses on the 6th of January, but the Court Clerks Association hazards that the details of Hinkle’s repeal of Florida’s ban only applies to a specific clerk explicitly named in the initial lawsuit that led to the ruling.

“When a federal judge declares a law unconstitutional, all public officials should cease enforcing that law. Period,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU in Florida. “Let’s leave the legalistic hypotheticals for the law school classroom and look at the practical reality: Are local officials seriously preparing to arrest and criminally charge Miami-Dade Clerk Harvey Ruvin for enforcing a federal judge’s order? That’s preposterous.”

In related Florida news, the ACLU has filed a response to Bondi's Supreme Court motion, with the ACLU asking the high court to reject Florida's request for further extension of the stay. 

Read the ACLU response below:


Judge Grants Florida's First Gay Divorce

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c71b6664970b-800wiBroward County Judge Dale Cohen, who in August ruled that the state must recognize same-sex marriages performed out of state and recently re-affirmed that decision, has granted the state's first gay divorce. The decision comes on the heels of the announcement from the U.S. Supreme Court that Justice Clarence Thomas will consider to stay another Florida Judge's ruling striking down the state's same-sex marriage ban. The AP reports:

Circuit Judge Dale Cohen on Wednesday dissolved the marriage of Heather Brassner and Megan Lade. They were united in a 2002 civil union in Vermont. Cohen had ruled in August that Florida's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional and that out-of-state gay marriages should be recognized.

Brassner attorney Nancy Brodzki said it was Florida's first gay divorce.

Brodzki says she expects Attorney General Pam Bondi to appeal the decision, just as she has several other rulings against the gay marriage ban. There was no immediate reaction from Bondi's office.

Voters approved the ban in 2008.


Clarence Thomas To Consider Staying Same-Sex Marriage in Florida

ThomasSupreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has accepted a request from Florida's Attorney General Pam Bondi to hear arguments on a federal judge's ruling that overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage. The ruling in question comes from Judge Robert Hinkle. Hinkle found that Florida's voter-approved marriage ban violated the U.S. Constitution and declared that same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in the Sunshine State starting January 6. Bondi for her part has appealed that ruling to the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and wants Justice Thomas to stay Judge Hinkle's ruling so that it will not go into effect until the 11th Circuit has a chance to consider the question. Bondi is hanging her hopes on the incongruency that now exists in the wake of the 6th Circuit upholding a state's ban on same-sex marriage, becoming the only circuit court to uphold such a ban. The Sun-Sentinel reports:

[Pam Bondi] pointed out there is a conflict among federal appellate rulings -- the sixth district upheld a state marriage ban while all other federal appeals courts that have heard such cases have overturned these bans.

Bondi also claimed the likelihood was the Supreme Court would have to hear this case, and that it would, upon review, "likely reaffirm the States' nearly exclusive authority to define marriage and hold that the Fourteenth Amendment allows states to define marriage as Florida has." [...]

Attorneys seeking same-sex marriage have until 5 p.m Thursday to present their case for why the hold should be lifted.

Thomas is the justice who accepts requests from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Florida, Georgia and Alabama. On December 3, that appellate court refused to delay Hinkle's ruling.

After receiving arguments from all parties involved in the suit, Thomas can either act alone to continue the hold, allow it to be lifted on January 5, or else bring the matter to his colleagues on the Court.

This is not the first time the Supreme Court has been asked to continue such a stay, but it has previously turned down such requests.

However Thomas "has indicated in previous, similar cases that he would have granted a stay," said Elizabeth Schwartz, an attorney involved in same-sex marriage lawsuits in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties that are going through state appellate court.

Thomas has no deadline by which to decide what to do in this case, but in previous instances, the court and individual justices have ruled quickly. 

"I don't think anyone was surprised that [Thomas] asked for more information, and I think it's also likely he'll want to continue this with the full court," Schwartz said. "I do think they'll rule on it possibly on Friday."


Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi Asks Supreme Court to Stay Gay Marriage Ruling

BondiFlorida Attorney General Pam Bondi has filed a motion with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas asking for an emergency stay on Judge Robert Hinkle's August ruling overturning the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Earlier this month, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to extend Judge Hinkle's temporary stay on his ruling. If the Supreme Court chooses to not intervene in Florida, gay couples will be able to wed at the end of the day on January 5.

Responding to today’s filing, ACLU of Florida LGBT rights attorney Daniel Tilley stated:

“It is unsurprising, given how hard Governor Scott, his appointees, and Attorney General Bondi have fought to keep loving and committed couples from getting married and having their marriages recognized in Florida, that they would keep up this dead-end fight. But with just weeks until the ruling is scheduled to go into effect, it is disappointing.

“Florida families have waited long enough for the end of a ban that a federal court has declared unconstitutional. Since October, the Supreme Court has refused all requests to stay rulings striking down the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in other states. We are hopeful they will do the same here so that loving couples and their children can get the protections for which they have waited so long.”

Back in August, Bondi pledged to continue defending her state's gay marriage ban, saying she was "just getting started".

Last month, SCOTUS denied an emergency request in South Carolina's gay marriage case, but Justice Thomas stated he would have granted the stay. 

Read Bondi's motion via Equality Case Files:


Florida State University Lecturer Resigns Following Racist, Homophobic Rant - VIDEO

Deborah O'Connor

Florida State University College of Business senior lecturer Deborah O’Connor has resigned from her position following an outburst last week on Facebook in which she used racist, Islamophobic and homophobic slurs, reports the Tallahassee Democrat.

Eborah O'connor 2In response to a post by hair stylist Colin Lively last Thursday on the police killings in Ferguson, Staten Island and Cleveland, O’Connor’s comments included:

“YOU elected POTUS, Holder et al. And they are supposed to represent all Americans, not just blacks … why don’t these ass clowns insert themselves into their stories?”

“Take your Northern fagoot [sic] elitism and shove it up your ass.”

“I teach at a University, you asshole. What do you do?”

“You are an intellectual fraud, just like your Messiah. Obama has single-handedly turned our once great society into a Ghetto Culture, rivaling that of Europe. France is almost at war because of his filthy rodent Muslims who are attacking Native Frenchmen and women.”

O'Connor has confirmed her decision to bring a planned retirement next spring forward as “the path of least resistance.” Her comments have since been deleted.

Lively said:

"I'm surprised her employers weren't aware of her and hadn't done something about it. I feel very bad for any woman who carries that kind of rage inside her heart. I feel very bad and sorry for her."

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Florida State University Lecturer Resigns Following Racist, Homophobic Rant - VIDEO" »


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged