VICTORY: Extension of hold on marriage equality denied!

The countdown is on! Will the state of Florida appeal?

Marriage equality will arrive on the shores of our beautiful Sunshine State as soon as January 6th!

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Today, a panel of judges at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the State of Florida’s motion to extend the stay that has prevented a federal court’s decision striking down Florida’s ban on marriages for same-sex couples from going into effect.

On November 5th, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle issued an order stating that the stay would be lifted at the end of the day on January 5th, allowing his previous ruling striking down the marriage ban to go into effect on January 6th. The ruling striking down the marriage ban was the result of two cases -- one brought by the ACLU of Florida on behalf of 8 couples, a Fort Myers widow and SAVE, South Florida’s largest LGBT rights organization; the other by Jacksonville attorneys William Sheppard and Sam Jacobson.

The State then filed a motion on November 18 asking the 11th Circuit to extend the stay until the appeals in the cases are resolved.. The ACLU filed a response asking the 11th Circuit to deny the motion on November 26th.

In its order today, the panel from the 11th Circuit, made up of Judges Frank M. Hull, Charles R. Wilson, and Adalberto Jordan denied the State’s motion to extend the stay. If no other extension is placed on the stay, marriages will be able to go forward and marriages performed in other states will be recognized starting January 6th.

“I am so happy to hear that the 11th circuit has denied the State’s motion to extend the stay on the favorable ruling in our case," said SAVE Executive Director Tony Lima in response to today's news. "It means that relief is finally in sight for the same-sex married couples suffering under Florida’s refusal to recognize their legal unions.”

ACLU of Florida LGBT rights attorney Daniel Tilley stated:

 “Today, in denying the State’s request to further delay the ruling, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the State’s argument that allowing same-sex couples to marry and have their marriages recognized will cause harm to the State and refused to make these families wait any longer.  The Court effectively ruled that the State does not have a likelihood of succeeding in its appeal.

“The stories of the individuals represented in our case demonstrate that Florida’s ban on marriages for same-sex couples hurts Florida families, and we are hopeful that that harm will finally be coming to an end soon. We will continue to watch this issue and will provide the public with updates on when all loving couples who want to be married can be, and can have their marriages recognized in Florida.”

A copy of the 11th Circuit’s order is available here: http://aclufl.org/resources/11th-circuit-denial-of-motion-to-extend-marriage-stay/

Attorneys from the ACLU, the ACLU of Florida and Stephen F. Rosenthal of Podhurst Orseck, P.A. represent eight same-sex couples, a widow from Ft. Myers, and SAVE, South Florida’s largest LGBT rights organization, in a federal lawsuit challenging Florida’s marriage ban.

More information on the case, including bios of the couples, is available at: http://savedade.org/savemarriage


 

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