When Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia overturned Florida's 2008 constitutional gay-marriage ban and ordered that couples wishing to be married in Key West should be allowed to do so as early as this week, Attorney General Pam Bondi worked quickly to stamp out the ruling.
Bondi's office issued a statement this week saying that the issue needs to be tackled by the U.S. Supreme Court and appealed Garcia's ruling to the Third District Court of Appeal.
On Thursday, same-sex couples walked into Bondi's Tallahassee office and delivered 7,000 petitions signed by Floridians asking her to "stop wasting taxpayer resources defending the state's discriminatory exclusion of gay and lesbian couples from marriage."
Six same-sex couples (pictured above) met in Tallahassee with the petitions in tow.
"We met outside the beautiful capitol building in Tallahassee and walked right in," Equality Florida's Get Engaged Coordinator Jennie Reiken tells New Times. "We entered the office and handed the 7,000 petitions to the reception area.
"The feeling in the air this morning was filled with love and hope," she added.
Bondi has been vocal about her stance against same-sex marriage in Florida. Just last month, she argued against the six gay and lesbian couples suing the state for the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Bondi wrote, "Disrupting Florida's existing marriage laws would impose significant public harm."
She added, "Florida's marriage laws have a close, direct and rational relationship to society's legitimate interest in increasing the likelihood that children will be born to and raised by the mothers and fathers who produced them in stable and enduring family units."
Still, more and more polls show the majority of Floridians support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.
Just last August, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS ruled that it would recognize joint tax returns of gay married couples in Florida. This means that Florida residents are able to get married in a state where same-sex marriage is legal and receive federal benefits once they come back home.
But the state still doesn't recognize their marriages, and any gay couple who wants the benefits married couples receive needs to go through the trouble of traveling elsewhere to get hitched.
The couples who delivered the petitions to Bondi on Thursday are Amy Gutierrez and Krystlen Lata, Sean and Christopher Cooley, Donna Brown (her partner Lynne Morneau is out of town), Sharon and Terry Kant-Rauch, Sheila Ortiz-Taylor and Joy Lynn Lewis, and Linda Wright and Robin Gray.
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