SCOTUS Won't Take Up Gay Marriage Appeals

Oct 6, 2014

Attorney General Pam Bondi was hoping for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. Instead, justices refused to hear cases in 5 other states, leaving the appeals up to lower courts.
Credit Rick Scott/flickr

The Supreme Court’s refusal to consider gay marriage cases in five other states may soon impact Florida, now that a federal judge is being asked to clear the way for same-sex marriage in the Sunshine State.

Circuit courts and a federal court have ruled that Florida’s ban against same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Attorney General Pam Bondi has said she wants an answer from the U.S. Supreme Court as to whether states can prevent same-sex couples from marrying.

Baylor Johnson with the ACLU of Florida says Bondi now has her answer.

“The justices on our nation’s highest court sent a strong message to the entire country that they are willing to let equality in marriage happen,” Johnson says.

The answer came not with a ruling, but with an absence of action from the Supreme Court: Justices won’t hear appeals from other states trying to prohibit gay marriage.

“What the court has said is that they don’t feel like there’s a reason for them to step in and get involved,” Johnson says.

In a case brought by the ACLU of Florida, federal judge Robert Hinkle overturned the ban, but he issued a stay saying no same-sex couples could get married until the Supreme Court ruled on similar cases that were pending.

Now Johnson says the ACLU will ask Judge Hinkle to lift the stay.

“Since the stay was tied to these other cases and now in these cases people are going to be able to start getting married,” Johnson says, “there’s no reason why the stay should remain in place in the Florida case.”

Bondi’s office released a one-sentence statement saying: “We are reviewing the impact of these decisions, as well as other cases around the country.”