LGBTQ South Florida

U.S. judge keeps Florida same-sex marriage stay in place until Jan. 5

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks with reporters outside the Supreme Court in Washington in 2012.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks with reporters outside the Supreme Court in Washington in 2012. AP File

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle on Wednesday ruled he would keep his stay in place until Jan. 5 and not allow same-sex couples to immediately marry in Florida.

“We are disappointed that the day in which all Florida families are treated with fairness and dignity under the law is not happening sooner, but that day is still coming,” said Daniel Tilley, an attorney for the ACLU of Florida, which originally filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of eight same-sex couples and LGBT-rights group SAVE.

Hinkle ruled in August that Florida’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional and stayed his ruling. Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi appealed his decision to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

Last month, the ACLU of Florida asked Hinkle to lift his stay after the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would not hear federal appeals of similar gay-marriage victories in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin and Indiana.

“The plaintiffs assert the stay should be lifted immediately or in any event within 7 days,” Hinkle ruled Wednesday. “This would leave the Eleventh Circuit insufficient time to make a considered judgment on whether the stay should remain in place and thus would be inconsistent with the public interest in implementing just once the constitutional decision on same-sex marriage in Florida.”

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