UPDATE! Florida attorney general has filed a response to the request to lift the stay on Monroe County marriages.
“The United States Supreme Court has issued orders staying lower court decisions regarding same-sex marriage lawsuits. So have several federal courts of appeals. And
many trial courts have stayed their orders on their own. They have all acted to maintain the status quo while the issues presented are resolved. This Court should likewise maintain the status quo and leave the automatic stay in place until further appellate proceedings are concluded,” the response reads, after stating that “This Court should deny the motion.”
The attorney representing the Key West gay couple who sued for marriage equality is asking the Monroe County judge who ruled in their favor to lift a stay on same-sex marriages.
Plaintiffs Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones sued Monroe County Clerk Amy Heavilin in April for marriage licenses.
On July 17, Circuit Judge Luis M. Garcia overturned the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The ruling applies to Monroe County only. Later that same day, Florida attorney general Pam Bondi filed an appeal which triggered an automatic stay on Judge Garcia’s ruling.
“With many similar cases pending throughout the entire country, finality on this constitutional issue must come from the U.S. Supreme Court,” reads a statement Bondi’s office released.
Had Bondi not filed the appeal, same-sex marriages would have begun July 22.
The emergency motion argues that the plaintiffs continue to suffer “irreparable harms” as long as the stay is in place and the state has little odds of success with their appeal.
“Every day that goes by, Plaintiffs and other same-sex couples are being deprived of important constitutional rights and suffering additional serious, ongoing and irreparable dignitary, legal and economic harms. The Court’s ruling was based on a thoughtful and carefully reasoned application of the precedents that control this case and is likely to be affirmed on appeal. The relevant factors are ‘overwhelmingly tilted’ in favor of lifting the stay,” the motion reads.
It’s not clear when Judge Garcia may rule on the request to lift the stay.
There also is still no ruling on several other Florida lawsuits fighting for marriage equality. A Miami Dade Circuit Judge heard arguments July 2 in a lawsuit filed by six Miami Dade same-sex couples and the Equality Florida Institute. That ruling could come any day.