Pam Bondi Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Block Florida Gay Marriage

Pam Bondi just won't leave gay marriage alone. Despite the growing consensus in the Sunshine State drifting toward marriage equality, the state's top law official now is asking the country's highest court to block same-sex-marriage next month -- the latest move in Bondi's campaign to keep Florida's gay population from tying the knot.

This time, she says its to avoid "statewide confusion."

Bondi's motion to the U.S. Supreme Court asks for an emergency stay to stop a recent federal court decision that ruled Florida's ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional and left open the possibility for marriages to begin on January 6.

Bondi appealed that decision, but in December a three-panel federal appeals court upheld the lower court's decision. Now, the Attorney General is kicking up to the highest court in the land.

Bondi's motion on Monday asks the Supreme Court to intervene for the sake of clarity, or in the words of a release from her office, "maintain uniformity and order throughout Florida until final resolution of the numerous challenges to the voter-approved constitutional amendment on marriage."

Clerks of court in various counties throughout the state have looked to legal experts for guidance on how to proceed with issuing marriage licenses for gay couples. On July 1, Greenberg Traurig, which represents the Florida Association of Court Clerks, advised clerks that, according to their interpretation of the legal cases, only the parties in the lawsuits would be permitted to marry and divorce come January 6; the ruling wouldn't make it a free-for-all for all gay couples.

The Broward County clerk's office has said it is watching the legal maneuvers and will be ready for marriages to proceed as soon as they are legally viable.

The Attorney General's appeal to the higher court is probably just a last-ditch effort. All year, the U.S. Supreme Court has opted to stay out of the gay marriage issue. Kansas and South Carolina both asked the court to intervene so they could defend their gay marriage bans; the court shot down both requests.

Bondi has said her opposition to gay marriage is not personal and that she is protecting the ban on gay marriage because voters opted to include the ban as a constitutional amendment in 2008 and her job is to protect the voters' will.

"It is unsurprising, given how hard Governor Scott, his appointees, and Attorney General Bondi have fought to keep loving and committed couples from getting married and having their marriages recognized in Florida, that they would keep up this dead-end fight," the Florida ACLU's Daniel Tilley said late Monday in a press release.

"Since October, the Supreme Court has refused all requests to stay rulings striking down the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in other states. We are hopeful they will do the same here so that loving couples and their children can get the protections for which they have waited so long."

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Kyle Swenson
Contact: Kyle Swenson