Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has been fighting the rulings on marriage equality in the state and waiting for the Supreme Court to do something. They did. Okay, Ms. Bondi, over to you.
The decision arrived at an awkward moment for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, whose office has filed appeals in several suits challenging the state’s ban.
Immediately after the Supreme Court issued its orders, Bondi faced renewed pressure from gay marriage advocates to drop those appeals. She was already scheduled to appear on a televised debate with her opponent in the November election, who quickly added his voice to the chorus of critics.
“My office, this just came out less than three hours ago, will be reviewing that, see what happens next, there are a lot of other cases in the pipeline,” Bondi said during the debate aired on Bay News 9. “What I’ve always said is that the court must decide this — we need finality from the judiciary.”
Translation: Hamana hamana hamana.
You wanted finality? You pretty much got it.
The one wrinkle that could come is that the 11th Circuit Court in Atlanta, which is hearing the case of a couple in Tallahassee, could rule next year.
Filed in March, the Brenner case is the furthest along of any of the legal challenges filed in federal court in Florida, and is the first of its kind to reach the 11th Circuit, which also has jurisdiction over Alabama and Georgia.
The plaintiffs are a gay couple who married in Canada in 2009 before moving to Tallahassee, where their marriage license was about as useful as snow shoes.
Gay marriage advocates expect the 11th Circuit to decide the Brenner case in early 2015. Assuming it is appealed, they are optimistic it will travel the same path laid Monday by the Supreme Court, an expedited journey that could bring gay marriage to Florida a year from now. If this happens, bans in Alabama and Georgia would likely topple as well.
Still, there is no guarantee that the 11th Circuit, known for being conservative, would strike down Florida’s ban. If it upholds the law, becoming the first federal appeals court in the country to do so, it could provide the Supreme Court an opportunity to step in to resolve conflicting rulings.
Given yesterday’s punt, it is unlikely that the Supreme Court will even take the case, and if they do, rule in favor of the defendant. They will be drowned out by wedding bells.