FLORIDA: Attorney General Pam Bondi Objects To Paying Legal Fees For Same-Sex Marriage Battle

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi doesn’t think the state should have to pay the legal fees of the gay couples who successfully overturned her state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Because reasons. Via the Tampa Bay Times:

Last week, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi objected to a motion concerning legal fees from lawyers who represented gay couples seeking to have their marriages recognized in Florida. In response, she wrote that because Florida voluntarily dismissed its appeal after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the right to same-sex marriage nationwide, the state should not have to cover the cost of the lengthy appeals process it initiated. Attorneys who worked to defeat the marriage ban said they have not come up with the exact amount they are owed. However, one suggested that it could be in the realm of $500,000. “It’s ludicrous,” said Elizabeth White, a Jacksonville civil rights attorney who helped bring one of the cases that challenged the state’s gay marriage ban. “Quite frankly, the state vigorously litigated this. Now they’re saying, ‘We lost, but we don’t want to pay.'” Last year, when a federal judge in Tallahassee struck down Florida’s gay marriage ban, the Attorney General’s Office went the route taken by many other Southern states and continued to fight. First, it appealed the ruling to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Then, when judges there refused to delay the lower court’s decision from taking effect, the state appealed again, taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. It was unsuccessful there as well. Each time the state filed an appeal, lawyers for the gay couples fought back.

Same-sex couples have already been awarded their legal fees in multiple other states. (Tipped by JMG reader Dennis)