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Charlie Crist Pens Letter to Florida Gov. Rick Scott Asking Him to Stop Defending Gay Marriage Ban

Crist

Charlie Crist has written an open letter to Rick Scott asking the Florida governor to stop defending the state's gay marriage ban in court, writing that "Florida deserves a governor who will stand up for all of the people of this state."

Four years ago, a district court of appeals ruled Florida’s ban on gay and lesbian adoption unconstitutional.
 
When the ruling came down, I believed it was my job as Governor to exercise the authority vested in me by the people and our Constitution. The day the judge ruled, I declared Florida’s adoption ban over. Gay and lesbian parents began adopting the children they loved immediately.
 
It is one of my proudest moments as an elected official.
 
Last Thursday Federal District Judge Robert Hinkle gave you the same chance to speak out for what is right when, in a ruling that would apply statewide, he struck down Florida’s ban on same sex marriage. By declaring the marriage ban finished you could discourage any future appeals and end the nightmare that loving same sex couples all across our state endure every single day, ending court battles that could drag on for months or years.

You can read the full letter HERE

Crist, who as Republican governor supported the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage when it was passed by Florida voters back in 2008, is now running as a pro-equality Democrat in this year's gubernatorial race.

Pam Bondi, the state attorney general working with Scott to defend the ban, has refused repeated calls to stop defending the ban, saying "I am just getting started"


Appeals Court Rejects Florida AG Pam Bondi's Request to Hold Off On Gay Marriage Rulings

Yesterday, a state appeals court rejected Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's request that state courts stop considering same-sex marriage cases until the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether states have the right to ban gay marriage. 

The Miami Herald reports:

Bondi“Upon consideration, appellant’s motions to stay briefing are denied,” the Miami-based Third District Court of Appeal said in a terse ruling Thursday.

“That is the best news of the day. We would have been sitting in limbo for an undetermined amount of time,” said attorney Bernadette Restivo, who represents Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, two Key West bartenders who on July 17 won the right to marry in Monroe County Circuit Court. “Pam Bondi’s stay would have caused enormous irreparable harm to the plaintiffs and others similarly situated. Every day that we move forward in this case will hopefully mean we are moving closer to ending this oppressive discrimination.”

Said Bondi’s spokeswoman Jennifer Meale: “The Court has ruled that the case will move forward, and we will proceed accordingly.”

Following last week's federal court ruling overturning Florida's gay marriage ban, Bondi vowed to continue defending the ban in court, saying "I am just getting started"

 

 


Florida Supreme Court Asked To Rule On Constitutionality Of Same-Sex Marriage

FloFlorida’s Second District Court of Appeals has asked the state’s Supreme Court to decide whether the ban on same-sex marriage passed by 62% of Floridian voters in 2008 is unconstitutional, the AP reports. In its decision, the Second District Court urged the higher court to take up the matter due to "great public importance”:

The ruling is connected to a Hillsborough County divorce case involving a same-sex couple who had been married in Massachusetts but since relocated to the Tampa area. Their petition to dissolve their marriage was rejected by a Florida judge who noted that state law does not recognize gay marriage.

"Resolution of the constitutional questions will no doubt impact far more individuals than the two involved here," states the unsigned opinion. "And there can be little doubt that until the constitutional questions are finally resolved by the Florida Supreme Court or the United States Supreme Court, there will be a great impact on the proper administration of justice in Florida."

A panel of judges with the Lakeland based appeals court earlier this summer rejected a request to forward the case up the state Supreme Court. But that ruling was overturned in a 10-3 decision by the entire appeals court.

Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage has been overturned on five separate occasions now

Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi, unswayed by the latest ruling against the marriage ban which came only last week from U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle, has stated that she hopes the U.S. Supreme Court will settle the question of gay marriage.


Florida AG Pam Bondi Pledges to Continue Defending Gay Marriage Ban: 'I Am Just Getting Started'

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has responded to yesterday's ruling by a federal judge overturning her state's ban on same-sex marriage, the Sun-Sentinel reports:  

Bondi“We want finality. There are good people on both sides. We want finality. That’s what we need. The U.S. Supreme Court’s going to hear this. They are going to make this determination. And if you hear that I have criticized people personally, I have not. I never will. This is me doing my job as attorney general. And I will continue to do that and if anybody wants me to moderate my message or stand for less I have a message for them: I am just getting started.”

Later, in answering reporters’ questions, this is what she said about the Democratic candidates who would drop the defense of the ban:

“All I’m going to say is I put my hand on a Bible and I raised my right hand and swore to uphold the Constitution of the state of Florida. This was voted into our Florida’s Constitution by 62 percent of the voters not even six years ago....”

Earlier this month, Bondi, citing her desire to "preserve taxpayer and judicial resources" asked state courts to stop considering same-sex marriage cases until the U.S. Supreme Court decides the issue. 

Bondi is running for re-election this year.


Federal Judge Strikes Down Florida's Gay Marriage Ban

A federal judge in Florida has struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, becoming the first federal judge to do so.

Four state judges have already issued rulings against Florida's gay marriage ban.

The AP reports:

FloridaU.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle in Tallahassee ruled that the ban added to Florida's constitution by voters in 2008 violates the 14th Amendment's guarantees of equal protection and due process. Hinkle issued a stay delaying the effect of his order, meaning no marriage licenses will be immediately issued for gay couples.

Hinkle, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, compared bans on gay marriage to the long-abandoned prohibitions on interracial marriage and predicted both would be viewed by history the same way.

"When observers look back 50 years from now, the arguments supporting Florida's ban on same-sex marriage, though just as sincerely held, will again seem an obvious pretext for discrimination," Hinkle wrote in a 33-page ruling. "To paraphrase a civil rights leader from the age when interracial marriage was struck down, the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice."

Equality on Trial adds that Judge Hinkle has issued a preliminary, statewide injuction preventing the state from enforcing the ban while the case moves forward. The decision is stayed pending Supreme Court action.

Read the ruling below:

Florida Preliminary Injunction via Equality Case Files


Orlando Bans Anti-Trans Discrimination

Orlando City Council

This is some wonderful news, especially out of a place as unexpected as Florida. The Orlando City Council gave its final approval this past Monday to ban discrimination against transfolk, thus placing gender identity in the realm of protected classes alongside race, religion, and orientation. The ban means that someone who identifies as trans may not be denied employment or promotions, public accommodations, service, or prevented from buying or renting a home because of their gender identity. The ordinance was unanimously approved and about ten supporters showed up to speak in favor of the ordinance, while - shockingly (again, this is Florida) - no one spoke up in dissent. Said Mayor Buddy Dyer:

We've gotten to the point where we can do — with very little controversy — things we ought to be doing, so I'm very proud of that.


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