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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

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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" »


Disgusting Wingnut Bryan Fischer Links Bestiality Conviction With Homosexuality

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Vile wingnut rent-a-voice Bryan Fischer has taken to Twitter to link bestiality with homosexuality, according to Good As You.

Fischer is head of anti-gay listed hate group American Family Association, a pitiful organization which recently claimed the reason gay people are gay is because they suffered sexual abuse and are broken individuals

Responding to a story on USA Today about a Florida man who has been jailed for five years for raping his 8-month-old pitbull puppy, Fischer tweeted:

"How long before an attorney defends a guy like this on grounds it's his orientation, he was born this way?"

The response to Fischer’s disgusting tweet? Gratifyingly angry...

 


Florida AG Pam Bondi Appeals Broward County Decision Striking Down Gay Marriage Ban

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6d563e9970b-200wiFlorida's Attorney General Pam Bondi has filed a motion appealing Broward County Judge Dale Cohen's ruling that struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Judge Cohen stayed his ruling for 30 days, allowing the state time to appeal before his ruling would take effect. If the state did not appeal, same-sex marriages were said to be allowed to commence in Florida's second-most populous county. However, Judge Cohen later vacated his ruling upon learning that Bondi's office was not properly notified of his decision. According to Bondi's motion, the state is stepping in to "defend state law, ensure further review if necessary, and promote an orderly resolution of the legal issues presented." Bondi previously stated that she wanted the U.S. Supreme Court to have the ultimate say on Florida's marriage ban. Florida's new motion suggests the issue will likely be decided by the high court while at the same time asserting the state's interest in upholding its discriminatory ban: 

The challenges to Florida’s marriage laws turn on the same question: Whether the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution requires a state to recognize same-sex marriage. The United States Supreme Court has the final word on federal constitutional questions, and it is likely to resolve this question definitively in the near future. Until then, the State of Florida has an interest in defending its laws against challenges asserted by the petitioner here.

[h/t Joe.My.God]


Broward County, Florida May Start Issuing Gay Marriage Licenses Next Week After Appeal Deadline Passes

FloridaA Broward County, Florida clerk is contemplating whether to start issuing marriage license to same-sex couples starting next week following the passing of an appeal deadline in a case overturning the state's gay marriage ban, Equality Florida reports:

On August 4, Broward County Judge Cohen ruled Florida's ban on marriage for same-sex couples unconstitutional - and included the state must recognize legal out of state marriages. 

The judge stayed the ruling allowing for a 30-day appeal period. But as of Thursday, the deadline has passed and no appeal was made to the ruling. 

The case involved a woman from Lake Worth, Heather Brassner, who was seeking a divorce from her estranged partner. The couple had a civil union in Vermont back in 2002. 

The Miami Herald adds:

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 5.02.02 PM“Now we know the state isn’t appealing and we will have the first valid same-sex divorce in Florida,” said Coral Springs attorney Nancy Brodzki, who represents art dealer Heather Brassner in her divorce from Megan Lade. A hearing in the case, before Broward Circuit Judge Dale Cohen, is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday for the divorce to become final.

“That very much leaves open the question as to whether the clerk of courts, on his own, will take it upon himself to say a judge in this circuit has [declared the ban] invalid and I will now issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples,” Brodzki said.

Broward County Clerk Howard Forman [pictured] said he expects to decide by early next week.

“I’m researching it as quickly as I can. We’ve been researching it for months,” Forman said Thursday evening. “Florida’s changing a lot and we’re vetting the issue as hard as we can.”

Joe.my.god adds "With 1.7M residents, Broward is Florida's second-most populous county and includes the state's highest concentrations of gay residents in Fort Lauderdale, Wilton Manors, and Oakland Park"

And although Attorney General Pam Bondi didn't appeal this case, she did file a notice of an appeal in federal court on Thursday challenging a separate ruling striking down the state's gay marriage ban. 


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