December 19, 2014 at 6:39 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Supreme Court won’t halt Florida same-sex marriages
Supreme Court, gay news, Washington Blade

The U.S. Supreme Court won’t halt same-sex marriages in Florida. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Same-sex couples may begin to marry in Florida after Jan. 5 as a result of a district court ruling striking down the ban on same-sex marriage in the state, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered late Friday.

In a one-page order, the court announced it has rejected the request from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, a Republican, to place a hold on same-sex marriage in the state beyond Jan. 5 as litigation seeking the right for same-sex couples to marry in Florida continues on appeal.

Although the request was submitted to U.S. Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, who’s responsible for stay requests in the Eleventh Circuit, the order indicates that he referred the matter to the entire court, where the stay was subsequently denied. However, the order indicates Thomas and U.S. Associate Justice Antonin Scalia would have granted the stay for the continuation of the appeals process.

In August, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle ruled against the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, known as Amendment 2, but placed a stay on his order until 91 days passed after the appeals process was completed in the Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia marriage cases. When the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review these cases, it set for date for same-sex couples to be able to marry in Florida starting Jan. 5.

Bondi tried to extend the stay on the same-sex marriages as she continued to defend the law in court, but her requests were by denied by the district court as well as the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which ordered the stay to be lifted “at the end of the day” on Jan. 5.

In a statement, Bondi said Florida will acquiesce to the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the stay to expire after Jan. 5 as initially ordered by the district court.

“Tonight, the United States Supreme Court denied the State’s request for a stay in the case before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals,” Bondi said. “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 Jan. 5.”

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.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • Thank you SCOTUS for upholding our constitutional birthright that had been denied since 1776!

  • It is impossible to apply the Constitution to Same Sex Marriage, as the Judges are doing, and ruling for it. It is impossible for the Constitution to protect more than an Individual. It is impossible for it to protect multiple Persons vying for an event, designed for only two opposite Genders, and to not comply to the requirements. Opposite Genders are reasonable, since, there are only two Genders, and one of each is perfect equality. Each Gender, then has an equal Right to the event of Marriage, which is true equality. The Constitution cannot say that each Individual Gender is denied that Right to apply for that event. Any Male that applies for that Male position will not be denied. The Constitution cannot protect two Males applying for the one Male position. Only one Male will obtain that position, not two Males. (likewise for the Female)
    Judges are wrong, on many counts. The Constitution can only protect the Individual. The Constitution cannot protect Orientations, and cannot redefine or redesign, what is fundamentally established by an entity, especially by State or Govt. In this case, (SSM) the Constitution can only protect the Individual Male's Right, to be treated equally as all the other Males. This is equality under the Law, nothing else. To consider and compare, multiple Genders, multiple couples, multiple Orientations, multiple characteristics, is beyond the reach of the constitution, beyond its design. It is impossible for any Judge to consider it that way.
    Of course, the Homosexual community will not accept it, perhaps denying that the Constitution, protects Individually. That the Constitution can "give" them Rights, not spelled out in it. But can they prove, that it can do it for them? NO. They will rely on the Judges interpretation of the wordings, in the Constitution, but it is only their Individual interpretation, and that interpretation, defies reality and logic. The Constitution was not meant to deal with or into, established entities created by others, out there in Society. It was not meant to recognize Orientations and statuses of People. It would simply implode. SCOTUS should correct this.

  • Good news. Can't wait for SCOTUS to rule in favor of nationwide marriage equality.

  • Kenny Claing, you statement is neither rational nor logical.

  • Michigan next!!

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