Florida Same-Sex Marriage Update

By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Same Sex Marriage & Divorce on Monday, December 22, 2014.

Florida may recognize same-sex marriages and divorce beginning on January 6th. That’s because the U.S. Supreme Court refused to delay a lower court’s finding that Florida’s ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court rejected the Florida Attorney General’s request to keep a district court judge’s stay order, which would have continued to stop same-sex couples from marrying. By denying the request, the Supreme Court cleared the way for gay marriages to begin.

The Supreme Court issued its order last Friday, in a short statement:

The application for stay presented to Justice Thomas and by him referred to the Court is denied. “Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas would grant the application for stay.

The stay order began in a ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle, which I blogged about in August. Judge Hinkle ruled that Florida’s 2008 ban on same sex marriages is unconstitutional.

But as in many similar cases, Judge Hinkle stayed his own ruling to give the Attorney General time to appeal. That stay order is set to expire at midnight on January 5th.

Florida asked for longer stay in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal appeals court which covers Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. But a three-judge panel declined to prolong the stay.

Neither the 11th Circuit nor the Supreme Court has ruled on the merits, and the Attorney General has expressed “confusion” over whether all 67 counties will issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples before appeals are settled.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida said it expects the state to fully recognize same-sex marriages once the stay order expires.

If the stay order expires, Florida would become the 36th state to recognize same-sex marriages. However, Florida filed an appeal with the 11th Circuit. That court has yet to hear, or schedule a hearing on, arguments on the merits.

CNN covers the issue here.