Judge denies request to lift stay on Monroe County weddings

By : Jamie Hyman
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Same-sex weddings in Monroe County will continue to be on hold.

Circuit Judge Luis Garcia has denied an emergency motion requesting that he lift a stay on his July 17 ruling that overturned the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Florida attorney general Pam Bondi filed an appeal which triggered an automatic stay on Judge Garcia’s ruling. Had Bondi not filed the appeal, same-sex marriages would have begun July 22.

On July 21, attorneys for Plaintiffs Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, who sued Monroe County Clerk Amy Heavilin in April for marriage licenses, filed an emergency motion requesting that the stay be lifted. Bondi’s office filed a response to the motion, stating that the court should deny it based on preceding actions from other courts.
Judge Garcia ruled to deny the motion to lift the stay.

“Based on decisions of the United States Supreme Court and other courts to stay proceedings in similar challenges, the court DENIES the Emergency Motion,” the July 21 ruling reads.

The stay will remain until the appeals process is complete or until the court makes further orders.

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.

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