U.S. Supreme Court Paves Way for Florida to Recognize Marriages of Same-Sex Couples

Affiliate: ACLU of Florida
October 6, 2014 12:00 am

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Federal Judge Had Tied Stay on Decision Overturning Florida’s Ban to Stays Ended by the Supreme Court today
Update 10/7: ACLU files motion asking court to lift stay

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Miami, Fla. Today, the United States Supreme Court announced that it has declined to hear 7 different appeals from states seeking to prohibit the marriages of same-sex couples. Those cases, from the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 4th, 7th, and 10th Circuits, all resulted in pro-marriage rulings, and although the decisions in those cases were stayed pending Supreme Court review, the Supreme Court’s action today means that the decisions will go into effect today as soon as the circuit courts issue their mandates, and marriages will go forward immediately in Virginia, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Utah.

Although Florida was not one of the states involved in the appeals before the Supreme Court, the court’s refusal to hear arguments in the case also impacts the case brought by the ACLU of Florida in which U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle overturned Florida’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples but issued a stay that was tied to the stays issued in the cases from other states that the Supreme Court refused to hear arguments in today. The case was brought on behalf of eight couples, a Ft. Myers widow and SAVE, South Florida’s largest LGBT rights organization. Judge Hinkle’s stay on the decision in that case, along with a case brought by Jacksonville attorneys William Sheppard and Sam Jacobson, postponed implementation of the decision that would allow same-sex couples to marry in Florida and couples married outside of Florida to have those marriages recognized by the state.

Responding to today’s developments from the Supreme Court, ACLU of Florida LGBT rights staff attorney Daniel Tilley stated:
“The decision by the Supreme Court not to hear arguments in the marriage cases before it is a huge win for all families across the nation, including in Florida. Because Judge Hinkle tied the stay in the ACLU’s case to the lifting of the stays in the very cases which the Supreme Court today refused to hear, we are now one step closer to the day when every Florida family can have the respect, protection and responsibilities that come with marriage.

“We are preparing now to take the necessary steps to ask the court in our case to lift the stay and allow Florida couples who are married out of state or who wish to be married to have those marriages respected by their home state as soon as possible. Given that the justices of our nation’s highest court just sent a strong message that they are content to let equality in marriage happen, we hope that Governor Scott and Attorney General Bondi will give up their dead-end campaign to resist what is now clear historical inevitability by treating same-sex couples who wish to solemnize their love for one another in marriage as legal strangers.

“We said that marriage equality is coming to Florida. After today’s message from the nation’s highest court, we know that it is coming even sooner.”

Attorneys from the ACLU, the ACLU of Florida and the Podhurst Orseck law firm represent eight same-sex couples, a widow from Ft. Myers, and SAVE, South Florida’s largest LGBT rights organization, in a federal lawsuit challenging Florida’s marriage ban. More information on the case is available at www.aclufl.org/marriageequality

UPDATE 10/7: This afternoon, the ACLU of Florida filed its motion asking the court to lift the stay. The motion is available here: http://aclufl.org/?p=5753

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