On Monday, Attorney General Pam Bondi filed an emergency request with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in an attempt to keep the ban on same-sex marriage in place past the January deadline, when LGBT couples were going to be allowed to legally wed in the state.
On Tuesday, Justice Thomas, who oversees emergency appeals from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals for Florida, Alabama and Georgia, agreed to hear the argument over a recent federal court decision that ruled Florida's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. That decision denied Bondi's original request for a stay in the ruling, which meant that same-sex couples could start filing for marriage licenses on January 6.
On December 3, the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida denied Bondi's request for an extended stay on same-sex marriage in the state placed by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle upon request from the attorney general, after he had ruled the ban was unconstitutional.
Bondi has been fighting against the tide of a rising number of Floridians in favor of marriage equality, as well as a handful of judges who had ruled against the state's ban on gay marriage. In the past year, she filed two motions in a state appeals court requesting a freeze on appeals by same-sex couples who had challenged the marriage ban. With the motions, Bondi wanted the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether states have the right to ban gay marriage. Her contention is that it would be a burden on the state's taxpayers to keep bringing these issues to court.
And now, it appears she's getting her way.
Justice Clarence Thomas agreed to consider extending the temporary hold.
Justice Thomas can make his own judgement or bring in his fellow Justices to help him on the ruling. Thomas is known to be a conservative, but is also known for interpreting the Constitution by the letter.
His most famous case dealing with gay issues came in 2003′s Lawrence V. Texas. This case involved whether Texas was allowed to outlaw sodomy. The Court eventually ruled that this violated the due process of the Constitution.
The ruling eventually overturned anti-sodomy laws across the U.S.
In his opinion, Thomas wrote, "If I were a member of the Texas Legislature, I would vote to repeal it. Punishing someone for expressing his sexual preference through noncommercial consensual conduct with another adult does not appear to be a worthy way to expend valuable law enforcement resources."
Thomas also called the anti-sodomy law "uncommonly silly."
However, Thomas did see the issue as a matter for states to decide for themselves, which is essentially what Bondi is seeking.
So, as it ever was, same-sex marriage in Florida remains in a never-ending holding pattern.
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