Key marriage case deadline is Oct. 24

By : Jamie Hyman
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Tallahassee – Same-sex Florida couples could start getting married Oct. 24, depending on what happens in a Tallahassee federal district court.

The possibility stems from Grimsley and Albu v. Scott, a case filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of eight married same-sex couples and SAVE, a South Florida LGBT rights organization. The case fights for marriage recognition for gay couples legally married out-of-state.

On Aug. 21, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle ruled that Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. As in other Florida marriage equality cases, an appeal by Florida attorney general Pam Bondi meant a stay was placed on the ruling. On Oct. 6, when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear same-sex marriage appeals from five states, it opened the door for the ACLU to attempt to kill Florida’s stay on marriage.

“The day after the Supreme Court denied review in the marriage cases before it, we filed a motion with Judge Hinkle in Tallahassee explaining why the stay in our case should be lifted and our clients’ marriages should be recognized immediately,” said Daniel Tilley, the ACLU of Florida’s staff attorney for LGBT rights.

That motion set an Oct. 24 deadline for the state to file a response to the request.

“If Judge Hinkle indicates he will lift the stay, he will very likely give the State an opportunity to ask the Eleventh Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court to keep the stay in place,” Tilley said. “If the stay is lifted, couples married out of state will have their marriages immediately recognized in Florida, and same-sex couples will be able to marry right here in Florida.”

If the stay remains, Tilley said they’ll have to get relief from the Eleventh Circuit.

“Briefing in the Eleventh Circuit is underway, and we will continue to make the case why the State’s senseless, destructive discrimination should end now,” he said. “It’s time for [Florida governor] Rick Scott and Pam Bondi to put this matter to rest.”

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