Earlier this week, 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.
But on Friday, the Supreme Court delivered a blow to Bondi's plans as they denied her motion for a stay on U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle's original ruling that Florida's same-sex ban was unconstitutional.
In other words, same-sex couples wishing to get married on January 6 and beyond are once again free to do so.
The stay is set to expire at the end of the day on January 5.
Back in August, Hinkle became the fifth judge in the state to rule against the same-sex marriage ban. Like the previous rulings, however, Hinkle immediately stayed his ruling, meaning that gay and lesbian couples still couldn't get marriage licenses.
Following Hinkle's ruling, gay rights activists called on the state -- particularly Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott -- to refrain from appealing Hinkle's federal court decision.
Even before Hinkle's ruling, Bondi filed two motions in a state appeals court requesting a freeze on appeals by same-sex couples who are challenging Florida's gay marriage ban. With the motions, Bondi wants 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.
"We are thrilled the U.S. Supreme Court has denied the State's request to delay marriages in Florida," said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida via a statement. "Every day of delay is another day of harm experienced by thousands of loving and committed same-sex couples in Florida. It's time to break out the wedding bells! We look forward to January 6th being a special day -- Florida is ready for the freedom to marry."
This is the second victory this week for same-sex marriage in Florida.
On Wednesday, Broward County Circuit Court Judge Dale Cohen granted a same-sex couple a divorce after ruling that Florida's same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional.
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