FLORIDA: Marriage Ruling To Be Appealed

Via the ACLU of Florida:

Today, defendants in two federal lawsuits challenging Florida’s marriage ban – Governor Scott appointees John Armstrong (Surgeon General) and Craig Nichols (Secretary of the Department of Management Services), and Washington County Clerk of Court Harold Bazzell— filed a notice that they are appealing the August 21 ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle overturning Florida’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. The ruling, a result of two separate federal lawsuits—one brought by the ACLU of Florida, the other brought by Jacksonville attorneys William Sheppard and Sam Jacobson—made Florida the 16th state in which a federal court has found a marriage ban unconstitutional since the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down the main provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.  Responding to the notice of appeal, ACLU of Florida LGBT rights staff attorney Daniel Tilley stated: “We are very disappointed that Governor Scott has taken this affirmative step to keep in place laws that he knows cause substantial, concrete harms to families across Florida. He has the power to end this now, yet he has chosen to perpetuate the second-class status of lesbian and gay couples. State officials are only delaying the day when all Florida families are given the respect, dignity and responsibility that come with marriage. We will not rest until the marriages of all of Florida’s loving couples are recognized.”

Earlier this week Equality Florida launched a video campaign which urged Gov. Scott not to appeal.


UPDATE: Equality Florida reacts.

Make no mistake, the responsibility for today’s appeal belongs to Gov. Scott. This appeal would not be moving forward without his full support. The Governor’s continued strategy of trying to hide behind the attorney general and even his own employees is a shameful display of election year cowardice. The responsibility is his and so is the remedy. Gov. Scott can still use the power of his office and call for an end to the these costly and hopeless appeals and allow Florida’s ban on marriage equality to end this month. If Gov. Scott insists continuing his crusade to keep people who love each other from marrying, he should stop mumbling and hiding and take full responsibility for the continued suffering the ban inflicts every day it remains in place.

Four years ago this month, then Gov. Charlie Crist faced a nearly identical scenario when an appeals court declared Florida’s notorious ban on adoption by gay and lesbian people unconstitutional. Crist showed true leadership, responding the same day by publicly embracing the decision, calling for an immediate end to the ban and paving the way for thousands of prospective parents to begin adopting the children they loved. We call on Governor Scott to stop these senseless appeals which if withdrawn would allow the marriage ban to fall on September 22, the 4 year anniversary of the day the adoption ban ended.