For the last couple of months, many states, including Florida, have been sitting on pins and needles, waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to make a decision regarding the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans. Five states brought appeals before the high court requesting assistance after several federal courts weighed in on the issue, calling the bans a violation of same-sex couples' constitutional right to equal protection under the law.
As you may know, decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court hold incredible weight in cases across the nation. A decision from the high court would have settled the issue of same-sex marriage in the United States and meant sweeping changes to marriage laws across the nation. But when the U.S. Supreme Court turned away the appeals this month, it forced many states to continue litigation and further the discussion about constitutional rights.
Here in Florida, Attorney General Pam Bondi is requesting that two cases be brought before the Florida Supreme Court. In each case, judges ruled that our state's same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional. It's a decision that has been made in other states that have similar bans including Virginia and North Carolina. Bondi's appeal requests a final decision on the issue in the event that changes should be made to our state's laws.
Even though U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled the ban unconstitutional, which should have made same-sex marriage legal in Florida, his request for stay prevented any changes in marriage laws until the U.S. Supreme Court made its decision. Some are now arguing that the stay should be lifted because the appeals were turned away. It's unclear though how this will affect the attorney generals appeal to the state's Supreme Court.
Sources: Florida Today, "Florida attorney general seeks court ruling on gay marriage," The Associated Press, Oct. 14, 2014
The News and Observer, "Federal judge nullifies ban on gay marriages, but allows GOP to intervene in lawsuits," Anne Blythe, Oct. 14, 2014