FLORIDA: Another State Appeals Court Defies Attorney General Pam Bondi

Two days ago Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals disregarded the instructions of Attorney General Pam Bondi and kicked the marriage equality case before them upstairs to the state Supreme Court. Yesterday the Third District Court of Appeals also rejected Bondi’s demand.

A state appeals court has rejected Attorney General Pam Bondi’s request to hold off deciding the constitutionality of Florida’s gay marriage ban until after the U.S. Supreme Court someday rules on the issue. “Upon consideration, appellant’s motions to stay briefing are denied,” wrote the 3rd District Court of Appeal in a terse ruling Thursday. “That is the best news of the day. We would have been sitting in limbo for an undetermined amount of time,” said attorney Bernadette Restivo, who represents Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, two Key West bartenders who on July 17 won the right to marry in Monroe County Circuit Court. “Pam Bondi’s stay would have caused enormous irreparable harm to the plaintiffs and others similarly situated. Every day that we move forward in this case will hopefully mean we are moving closer to ending this oppressive discrimination.” Bondi’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Meale, said: “The court has ruled that the case will move forward, and we will proceed accordingly.”

The Third District Court also yesterday agreed to combine the case of the Key West bartenders with the suit brought in Miami-Dade County, whose plaintiffs are represented by the National Center For Lesbian Rights. (Tipped by JMG reader Joel)