Tallahassee – Equality Florida delivered 7,000 petitions to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office, asking her to withdraw her notice of appeal that has put a stay on a judge’s decision that Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
“We have been gathering petitions all across the state to show Pam Bondi that our friends and our neighbors are asking her to do the right thing and to respect all of our families and to let Judge Garcia’s ruling stand,” said Jennie Reiken, a Get Engaged coordinator for Equality Florida. “It was just a great way for folks to be a part of the amazing work that’s going on here in Florida”
Reiken said there was a lot of love and hope in the air as Florida Equality Institute—along with six same-sex couples—as the petitions were delivered July 24 to the receptionist at Bondi’s office.
“For her to see 7,000 Florida on those petitions that come from all political backgrounds, all faiths and from all parts of our state, we hope that she would consider dropping her appeal of the lawsuit and being on the right side of history and helping to usher in the freedom to marry in Florida,” said Michael Farmer, director of development for Equality Florida.
Garcia ruled July 17 that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitional after a lawsuit was filed in April by a Key West couple. Judge Garcia’s ruling only applied to Monroe County, and he ordered the clerk’s office to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples within a week. Couples applying for the licenses did not need to be residents of Monroe County.
Bondi’s motion put those plans on hold.
Bondi and her office have been fighting against overturning the ban, which she says she must uphold since more than 60% of voters approved the ban in 2008 through a constitutional amendment. Watermark contacted Bondi’s office for a comment on the petition, but calls were not immediately returned.
“I think it’s really a shame because right now she is the sole person who is preventing same-sex couples from having the freedom to marry in Florida,” said Farmer.
While in 2008 state voters approved of the amendment, Public Religion Research Institute released “A Shifting Landscape: A Decade of Change in American Attitudes about Same-Sex Marriage and LGBT Issues” at the end of February 2014 noting that 57 percent of Floridians now support same-sex marriage.
“Great change is happening here in the state of Florida,” Reiken said. “Judge Garcia’s decision was huge, and we’re going to keep moving forward like we’ve been doing in all these states across the country.”