Pam Bondi and Rick Scott Refuse to Lift Ban on Same-Sex Marriage, Despite SCOTUS Ruling
Following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to reject same-sex marriage appeals in several states earlier this week -- opening the door to lifting the ban in a total of 30 states -- the attorney general and Gov. Rick Scott are still sticking to their guns in trying to keep same-sex marriage banned in Florida.
Gay rights activist groups pounced on Bondi and Scott following the ruling, calling for them to cut out their political shenanigans and get with the times.
But Bondi's office has come out and said it will continue to fight against having the ban lifted, while Scott has remained silent on the issue.
Following the ruling, the ACLU of Florida came out with guns blazing calling on U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle to lift a stay from his own ruling saying that Florida's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
It also called out Scott and Bondi to get out of the way, finally.
"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," ACLU of Florida LGBT rights staff attorney Daniel Tilley said in a news release. "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."
Equality Florida released a similar statement, saying: "In light of today's action, we call on Pam Bondi and Rick Scott to immediately announce they will now drop their senseless appeals. There is no reason to wait another day or waste another dollar crusading to keep discrimination in place in Florida. For Florida, this ruling eliminates the last refuge for Attorney General Pam Bondi and Governor Rick Scott to hide behind."
While Scott didn't stay totally silent on these news releases, he did send out a release of his own through his office that didn't say much, other than to defend Bondi's stance on the matter.
"The Attorney General is defending Florida's constitution, which is her duty," wrote Scott spokesman John Tupps in an emailed statement. "This is a matter that will be decided by the courts. Whatever the eventual outcome is from the courts, Florida will of course abide with it."
Bondi has yet to make any comment but was forced to address it during her debate with George Sheldon on Monday, saying that the Supreme Court could still resolve the issue.
"There are a lot of other cases in the pipeline," she said during the debate.
This isn't the first time Bondi and Scott have been called out to step out of the way.
Immediately after Hinkle's original ruling back on August 21, Rand Hoch, Florida's first openly gay judge, called on Bondi and Scott to refrain from appealing the federal court decision.
"Without an appeal, the matter of marriage equality will finally become settled uniformly throughout the state," Hoch said in a statement via the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council. "Gay and lesbian Floridians will then be able to have their relationships -- and their marriages -- formally recognized."
And even before Hinkle's ruling, Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida, released a statement asking Bondi to stop stalling the other cases that had issued similar rulings.
"Apparently Florida's attorney general has run out of arguments in her attempt to defend the indefensible," Smith said. "This is a clear attempt to delay resolution on an issue the majority of Floridians support. There is no certainty when or even if the Supreme Court will take a marriage case. While Bondi delays, thousands of Florida families are denied the security and protections that come with the freedom to marry."
Weirdly, Bondi and Scott seem to be the last of the GOP leadership in the country stubbornly sticking to their guns on the same-sex marriage issue, which was banned in Florida in 2008.
On Monday, Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker declared that the same-sex marriage ban in his state was kaput.
"I think it's resolved," said Walker, who, like Rick Scott, is running for reelection in November.
"For us, it's over in Wisconsin. Others will have to talk about the federal level."
Scott and Bondi, meanwhile, aren't budging.
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