same-sex marriage

USDA via Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled same-sex couples throughout the country must be allowed to marry.  The finding recognizes a universal right to marriage under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

Breaking:  10:10 a.m.: The Supreme Court has found in a 5-4 decision that the Fourteenth Amendment grants a constitutional right to marriage for same-sex couples.  Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion and he was joined by the Court's liberal wing--Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. 

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi spoke Wednesday at an Associated Press media event at the Capitol.
State of Florida

Same-sex marriage gets a hearing in the U.S. Supreme Court this April, and in Florida, the Attorney General is making a familiar argument against a piecemeal approach. 

Florida began issuing same-sex marriage licenses at the beginning of this month.  At the time, officials argued the federal ruling throwing out the state’s marriage ban was narrow and only applied to the couples named in the case.  Wednesday Attorney General Pam Bondi argued the greatest harm is lack of consistency.

Gay marriage rulings
MGN Online

The U.S. Supreme Court says it will decide whether same-sex couples nationwide have a right to marry under the Constitution. The decision by the high court to take up the case has supporters and opponents of gay marriage excited.

(L-R) Ayana Powell, their officiant and Rochelle Cornwall
Nick Evans

This week, Florida became the 36th state to allow same-sex marriages.  Tuesday morning as a Governor and an Attorney General that have long opposed the change celebrated their inauguration, same-sex couples were reciting their wedding vows just blocks away.   

Right outside the Leon County Clerk’s office is a small park.  Tuesday morning, Ayana Powell and Rochelle Cornwall got married standing beneath one of its oak trees.  It was a chilly morning, but the sun had crept up high enough to send bright shafts of light down through the branches. 

Myles Robertson and Jim Van Riper (seated, L-R) flanked by city and county officials as they register for their marriage license.
Nick Evans

When the Leon County Clerk’s office opened Tuesday morning, it was business as usual—sort of.  The office issued marriage licenses just like it does any other day, but after a federal stay expired overnight, the clerk was able for the first time to offer licenses to same-sex couples.

Among the early-risers at the county clerk’s office, were the entire Tallahassee City Commission, a handful of county commissioners, and even a state representative.  Why all the brass? 

Same-sex couples in Miami were the first in the state to celebrate marriages after Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel lifted her stay Monday.
Adam Lederer via Flickr

A South Florida Judge cleared the way Monday for same-sex marriages to go forward in Miami-Dade County.  The decision comes just ahead of an expiring stay allowing same-sex marriages across the state.

Same-sex marriage activists have long had January 6 circled with a big red marker on their calendars.  That’s because a stay halting a federal ruling against Florida’s same-sex marriage ban was set to expire at midnight on January 5.  But Monday, state circuit judge Sarah Zabel pushed the timeline forward.

Leon County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Bob Inzer
Leon County Circuit Court

An expiring stay in a federal appeals court case has led to speculation that same-sex couples in Florida might start walking down the aisle early next year.  But it may not be quite that simple.

On January 5, an order delaying a federal court ruling against Florida’s same-sex marriage ban will expire.  But Leon County Clerk Bob Inzer says attorneys have advised the state’s clerks not to begin issuing marriage licenses. 

Florida's same-sex marriage restrictions were struck down in August, but Attorney General Bondi is appealing to the decision.
Adam Lederer via Flickr

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is appealing a ruling earlier this year that invalidated the state’s same-sex marriage bans.   

In August, a federal judge ruled Florida’s same-sex marriage prohibitions are unconstitutional, and the case now heads to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.  

According to ACLU spokesman Baylor Johnson, even though the federal ban known as The Defense of Marriage Act—or DOMA—was struck down last year, state laws can get in the way of same-sex couples applying for federal benefits.

Capital Report: 10-10-2014

Oct 13, 2014

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has announced plans to keep defending the state’s ban on same-sex marriage Lynn Hatter reports the move comes after the nation’s high court refused to take up several appeals to gay marriage rulings from around the country.

A Leon county circuit judge ruled Thursday the plaintiffs in Florida’s redistricting lawsuit can recover some of their legal costs, but not attorney’s fees.  Nick Evans reports the voting rights activists are looking to a legal concept known as the private attorney general to make their request.

wedding bands
Andrew Malone via Flickr

The Florida Supreme Court is weighing whether to hear a same-sex divorce case. A lower court has asked for guidance after judges in the state recently ruled Florida’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.

The spouses in the case are Florida residents who were married in Massachusetts four years ago. Early this year, they filed for dissolution of their marriage, but their circuit court judge said because Florida doesn’t recognize their union, the state lacks jurisdiction to grant their divorce.

pride flag waves
Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

A federal judge in Tallahassee has struck down the state’s gay marriage ban as unconstitutional. The ruling comes with an automatic stay preventing the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

U.S. Circuit Judge Robert Hinkle found in favor of eight same-sex couples who had married in other states, one couple seeking to get married, and one woman whose partner had died. 

Florida Attorney General

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is asking a Florida appeals court not to act on two pending same-sex marriage cases for the time being. Bondi says Florida will respect whatever the U.S. Supreme Court eventually rules on the issue.

wedding bands
Andrew Malone via Flickr

The Florida Bar Family Law Section plans to throw its support behind a same-sex couple trying to get divorced. In a case called Shaw v. Shaw, the family lawyers plan to file a brief arguing gay couples are being denied equal access to the courts.  

In March, a Hillsborough County couple filed a divorce agreement, but their judge said the Florida Constitution does not recognize their Massachusetts marriage and therefore a divorce could not be granted.

Sean and Christopher holding baskets
Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

Same-sex couples delivered thousands of petitions to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office today asking her to reverse course on gay marriage. It’s been a week since Bondi appealed a Florida Keys judge’s ruling striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

Five couples and a handful of supporters carried baskets of petitions through Capitol security first thing Thursday morning. Donna Brown was among them. She says the petitions ask Bondi to stop treating gay people as “second-class citizens.”

same-sex wedding cake
Equality Florida via Facebook

Florida gay-marriage advocates are exploring legal options to get Monroe County to be allowed to issue same-sex marriage licenses. State Attorney General Pam Bondi immediately appealed a judge’s ruling Thursday—at least temporarily stopping wedding plans in the Florida Keys.

For a short time Thursday, it looked like same-sex couples could start getting married soon in the Keys.

“I have a feeling that there were a couple of hours yesterday where guest houses were getting a lot of reservations for next week," says Equality Florida Deputy Director Stratton Pollitzer. 

Florida State Attorney General Pam Bondi has appealed a judge’s ruling declaring Florida’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional. She filed the appeal within hours of the ruling on Thursday. 

A Monroe County circuit judge made the ruling, which applies only to the Florida Keys.

Judge Luis Garcia agreed with a Key West couple suing for the right to get a marriage license. The men are celebrating their 11-year anniversary together and were turned down when they applied with the Monroe County clerk.

gay marriage protest sign
Sushiesque via Flickr

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says the state’s recognizing same-sex marriages would "impose significant public harm." Bondi made the comment in a motion asking a judge to throw out a federal lawsuit.

Eight same-sex couples filed the suit in March asking the judge to force the state to recognize marriages legally performed out of state. The group Safeguarding American Values for Everyone, or SAVE, is also a party to the suit. SAVE Executive Director Tony Lima says Bondi’s filing represents an outdated viewpoint.

Alex Johnson/MettaMomma via Flickr

Three groups that campaigned heavily for Florida’s constitutional gay marriage ban have asked a Miami judge to allow them to intervene in a lawsuit challenging it. They want to be allowed to argue against six same-sex couples.

The motion was filed Tuesday by groups called People United To Lead The Struggle For Equality, the Florida Democratic League, and Florida Family Action. Florida Family Action President John Stemberger says throwing out the same-sex marriage ban would disenfranchise millions of voters who decided the matter in 2008.

Gay Rights Group Launches New Campaign

Jun 19, 2013

Florida advocacy group Equality Florida is launching a new campaign to legalize same-sex marriage. Group members say the first step is to get more members of the public on board.

The “Get Engaged” campaign will use a combination of merchandising, social media and outreach to create a public push to get Florida’s ban on same-sex unions removed from the state constitution. 

Crist Supports Allowing Same-Sex Marriage

May 9, 2013

Amid speculation he will run as a Democrat for his old job, former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist on Wednesday said he supports allowing same-sex marriage.

In a message posted on his Facebook page, Crist described as "great news" a decision by Delaware officials to become the 11th state to allow same-sex marriage.

"I most certainly support marriage equality in Florida and look forward to the day it happens here,'' Crist said in the message, initially reported by the political site SaintPetersblog.

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson has long been opposed to same-sex marriage.

Up until as recently as last week, Nelson had said marriage should be between a man and a woman. But now, those beliefs have changed, with the Senator endorsing same-sex unions.