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Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi Files Motion to Keep Stay on Pro-Marriage Equality Ruling

Back in August, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle became the first federal judge to strike down Florida's gay marriage ban when he ordered the state to issue a new death certificate for Carol Goldwasser, naming Arlene Goldberg (her partner for 47 years) as her wife. Hinkle, however, issued a stay covering all aspects of the federal case except Goldwasser's death certificate until the Supreme Court resolved the marriage cases before it.

Pam bondiWith the Supreme Court declining to take up any of the cases earlier this month, the ACLU proceeded to ask Hinkle to lift his stay on the ruling, but Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has now filed a motion asking the stay remain in place until the case is heard by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Miami Herald reports:

“This Court has already entered a limited stay after recognizing the ‘substantial public interest in stable marriage laws,’ and it should continue the stay until the federal appeals court can review the decision,” Bondi wrote to Hinkle. “On balance, it is in the public’s best interest to wait for an appellate decision before implementing an order of this significance.”

The paper adds:

Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, responded: “This is how an Attorney General uses the law to serve an ideology and partisan politics, rather than justice.”

If Hinkle lifts the stay, it is likely he would give Bondi another week to file an appeal to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta before allowing couples to marry, Simon said.

“It’s disappointing that Attorney General Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott have chosen to continue to swim against the tide of inevitable history and block Florida families from having the protections that come with being married,” said Daniel Tilley, the ACLU of Florida’s LGBT rights staff attorney.
 
Read the full motion below via Equality Case Files.

Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart Have a Field Day Over the Florida Gubernatorial Electric Fan Debate: VIDEO

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As anticipated, the Wednesday debate night snafu between Florida Governor Rick Scott and challenger Charlie Crist over the use of an electric fan was first-rate fodder for both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert - with the two late night hosts having a blast mocking the absurdity of the whole "fangate" debacle. 

Said Colbert:

"Folks, clearly for Scott's campaign last night blew - and, if you turn the switch the other way, it sucked. But the whole thing is unfair. I don't blame Crist for wanting to bring his own coolant - based on that skin tone I'd say his core temperature is about 450 degrees."

Said Stewart:

"Honestly, we could have delved into all the terrible, actual answers Rick Scott gave in the debate about his horrifying policies for Florida, but that is not nearly as fun as him missing four minutes of a debate because his opponent had a fan pointed at his balls."

Check out the funny segments, AFTER THE JUMP...

And if you happened to have missed the "extremely peculiar situation" from Wednesday's debate, you can watch that HERE

Continue reading "Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart Have a Field Day Over the Florida Gubernatorial Electric Fan Debate: VIDEO " »


'Extremely Peculiar Situation' Delays Florida Gubernatorial Debate: VIDEO

Crist

Florida Governor Rick Scott refused to come out on stage for a debate against challenger Charlie Crist last night because of an "extremely peculiar situation."

"As you can see, the two candidates who were invited to take part in this debate, right now, are not stepping up on the stage."

Watch the madness go down in the Sunshine State, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "'Extremely Peculiar Situation' Delays Florida Gubernatorial Debate: VIDEO" »


Attorney General Pam Bondi Asks Florida Supreme Court to Decide Gay Marriage Cases Now

Attorney General Pam Bondi filed papers late Monday asking the Florida Supreme Court to step in and decide whether gay couples can marry in the state, the Miami Herald reports:

Bondi“That is unquestionably an important issue, and the Plaintiffs, the State, and all citizens deserve a definitive answer,” Bondi’s office wrote in a 6 p.m. filing to the state’s Third District Court of Appeal. “Until recently, the issue was squarely before the United States Supreme Court, and it appeared that a definitive answer was coming. ... Unfortunately, the United States Supreme Court decided not to answer the question.”

Bondi has suffered two losses in defense of the state's gay marriage ban, the cases were consolidated, and sent to the Florida Supreme Court. At that time, Bondi asked the Florida Supremes to hold off and wanted SCOTUS to decide.

Since those cases, the state's gay marriage ban has suffered an additional three losses in Broward and Palm Beach counties and in federal court in Tallahassee.

FloridaAdded Bondi:

“Florida’s courts will therefore need to resolve the issue without further United States Supreme Court guidance...Because there are cases pending in multiple districts, and because this is an issue of great public importance that now warrants immediate Florida Supreme Court review, the State respectfully suggests pass-through certification.”

Equality Florida's Nadine Smith released a statement last night:

“While we look forward to having this matter move forward to the Florida Supreme Court, and asked for this on July 30th, AG Bondi and Governor Rick Scott continue to waste taxpayer money while same-sex couples throughout the state continue to endure the indignities of being treated like second-class citizens. Nearly two-thirds of the country now live in a state that values equality.  How much longer must loving couples in Florida wait to protect their families?  Now is the time for AG Bondi and Gov Scott to step on the right side of history and not let Florida go down in history as one of the last states to uphold the principles of fairness.”

Read Bondi's filing below:

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Florida Recognizes First Same-Sex Couple As ACLU Asks Judge to End State's Gay Marriage Ban

Back in August, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle became the first federal judge to strike down Florida's gay marriage ban when he ordered the state to issue a new death certificate for Carol Goldwasser, naming Arlene Goldberg - her partner for 47 years - as her wife. 

FloridaOn Wednesday, Goldberg recieved Goldwasser's newly issued death certificate, making her and her late spouse the first gay couple to have their marriage recognized in the Sunshine State, Broward Palm Beach New Times reports:

"It's hard to put into words how meaningful this is to me," said Goldberg in a public statement. "For 47 years, Carol and I made our lives together, all the while being treated like strangers in the eyes of the law in Florida. It's bittersweet that Carol isn't here to share this joy with me, but for the first time in 47 years, our marriage was respected. Our relationship and commitment to each other is finally recognized." 

Meanwhile, the ACLU of Florida has asked Hinkle to lift the stay on his ruling - a stay which covered all aspects of the federal case except Goldwasser's death certificate.  Attorney General Pam Bondi, backed by Governor Rick Scott, is continuing to defend the state's gay marriage ban. 

Said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida:

"The governor could end this today if he wanted to. Don't put all this on Bondi. It's time the governor recognize the message that the U.S. Supreme Court has sent. It's over. If Scott Walker can make that decision, so can Rick Scott."


Hillsborough County, Florida Extends Non-Discrimination Protections To LGBT Citizens - VIDEO

Kevin beckner

Florida’s Hillsborough County Commission voted Wednesday to extend its Human Rights Ordinance to protect LGBT citizens, reports The Tampa Tribune.

The ordinance prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodations, real estate transactions and county contracting and procurement.

The unanimous 7-0 vote reverses a 1995 decision that removed gay people from the county’s protection ordinance.

Several speakers at the commission meeting opposed extending protections to LGBT citizens. One speaker referred to homosexality as a “disfunction” and suggested that to extend protections would lead to special rights for pedophiles.

The vote was a victory for Kevin Beckner, the county's first out gay commissioner, who had assembled a business coalition in support of the amended ordinance, making it easier for some of the more-conservative commissioners to vote yes.

Members of the coalition argued that a more inclusive and diverse community is also more prosperous and attractive to highly trained workers.

Terry Wolfe, a resident who spoke in favor of the ordinance, said that the vote “goes a long way toward creating a climate of equality” in the county.

Watch a report on the leadup to the vote, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Hillsborough County, Florida Extends Non-Discrimination Protections To LGBT Citizens - VIDEO" »


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