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Despite Ruling, Florida AG Pam Bondi Still Wants Marriage Decided by Supreme Court

Despite Ruling, Florida AG Pam Bondi Still Wants Marriage Decided by Supreme Court

Despite Ruling, Florida AG Pam Bondi Still Wants Marriage Decided by Supreme Court

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's plans to take marriage equality directly to the state supreme court don't match a recent court decision on the issue.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi isn't changing her tune on how marriage equality should be decided, despite a recent ruling that essentially rejected Bondi's request to take pending marriage cases straight to the Florida Supreme Court.

Outside the Versailles restaurant in Miami, the Attorney General told local news station WLPG-TV that she still wants the case to be fast-tracked directly to the Florida Supreme Court.

But that may not be possible, as just last week, Florida's Third District Court of Appeals rejected Bondi’s request to bypass appellate courts and send the case directly to the state Supreme Court.

This rush to send the case to the state's highest court comes months after Bondi initially asked the Florida appellate courts to delay a decision on the pending cases, awaiting a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on marriage equality nationwide.

"A ruling from the United States Supreme Court would end the constitutional debate, end this appeal, and end all related cases,” Bondi wrote to the Third District Court of Appeals in August, according to The Miami Herald. "The State of Florida will respect the United States Supreme Court’s final word. In the meantime, this Court should preserve taxpayer and judicial resources by staying briefing until the United States Supreme Court rules."

But earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court made the decision not to hear any of the seven marriage equality cases before it from five states. By declining to review the pro-equality decisions of lower courts, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively allowed marriage equality to begin in five states, with several more states adopting the now-binding decisions from federal circuit courts and embracing the freedom to marry in the following weeks. While the Supreme Court's non-decision essentially brought the total number of U.S. states with marriage equality to 32 (plus the District of Columbia), none of the rulings affirmed by the Supreme Court came from circuits with jurisdiction over Florida.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court's action, Bondi and fellow Republican Gov. Rick Scott promised to continue fighting against marriage equality in Florida. Scott left the issue of marriage equality to Bondi entirely, claiming she was defending the Florida Constitution.

In August, U.S. District Court Judge Robert L. Hinkle ruled that Florida's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, as it violated the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Hinkle granted the state's request for a stay on that ruling, placing it on hold as Bondi appealed. The federal judge’s decision came after state judges in Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe, and Palm Beach counties struck down the marriage ban.

Bondi is up for re-election this year and is running against Democratic candidate George Sheldon. Sheldon, a Democrat, not only supports marriage equality, but has spoken out against Bondi's stalwart defense of discrimination. 

"The Attorney General of Florida has no business defending a case that harms citizens of our state," Sheldon said on his website. "This is no different from an Attorney General defending racial segregation half a century ago. Defending prejudice is wrong then and it is wrong now. This egregious act is another example of why Floridians deserve an attorney for them, not for Rick Scott."


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Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez